Often when we think of Asia we’ll picture small wooden shacks on a white sandy beach but it’s the cities that are the true gems of the continent. With so many wonderfully unique places to choose from it’s difficult to pick a favourite but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5.
In the heart of the city centre sits the infamous Khao San Road, a street lined either side with market stalls selling everything you could possibly desire, from Thai souvenirs to living room settees! Haggle your way to the best bargains before stopping to refuel at one of the many food vendors found along the way. Spend the equivalent of £1 and you can eat well or splash out an extra £2 and eat like a king. For a calmer view of the city catch a short tuk tuk ride out to the Grand Palace where you’ll see the most beautiful building in Bangkok. It’s free to look but you’ll need a ticket to explore further inside.
With its bright neon lights and busy traffic, Tokyo is a concrete jungle with a colourful twist. Just as you’d expect from the Japanese capital there’s sushi and sumo wrestling found around every corner and awe-inspiring temples dotted about town. For the best free views of the city head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building where there’s an observation deck a whopping 202 metres up.
Arguably the most Western of Asian cities, Singapore represents a collision of various cultures. Start off in Chinatown where you can sample traditional Asian dishes before jumping onto the London-style Metro system which will take you all the way around the city. Make your last stop of the day Sentosa Island, home to Universal Studios and the exact replica of an all American theme park. Like all big cities the above are notoriously bad for muggings and theft so it’s advisable for anyone planning to visit to take adequate precautions. cheap travel insurance can be purchased before your trip to cover your losses if the worst should happen.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Whilst Siem Reap is best known for the stunning Angkor Wat temple which is widely acknowledged as one of the Wonders of the World, the city itself is a small wonder too. Particularly at night, Siem Reap transforms into a spectacle of endless market stalls and outdoor bars and nightclubs. Try the popular Angkor Wat? bar on Pub Street for a lively night out although with drinks served by the bucket, you may wish to avoid it the evening before you visit the real Angkor Wat (which is best viewed at sunrise!)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A cosmopolitan paradise, the capital of Malaysia is every shopper’s dream. There’s mall after mall filled with shops from all over the world, perfectly fitting for the vast numbers of expats living there. That said, you can still catch a glimpse of true Malay culture by delving into the outer areas of the city, namely Little India and Chinatown. Alternatively, catch the Metro right out of town to the Batu Caves, home to three Hindu temples and a whole family of wild monkeys. Entry is free as long as you make it to the entrance, 276 steps up a steep flight of stairs!