Of all the places on earth to visit, few are as magical, inspiring, and downright exciting as Asia. It’s a diverse land full of wonder, delicious food, beautiful scenery, and so much more. If you’ve never been before, then it can be difficult to know what to expect or how to get the most out of your trip. Read on for 15 ways to make the most of your trip to Asia!
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Whether you’ve traveled to Asia before, or you’re booking your first adventure to this culturally diverse continent, these Asian countries can be difficult to navigate. Indeed, this task is difficult even if you have been before! Below, we take a look at 15 essential tips to ensure that you’ll experience all that Asia has to offer in the best possible way.
15 Ways to Make the Most Of Your Trip to Asia
Asia is the largest of the seven continents, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific, Arctic, and Indian
Oceans. This continent is massive –consisting of 48 countries, with the majority of Asians considered to be Chinese, Japanese, Indian, or Arab. The land of Asia is divided into six regions: North Asia, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Each region has something unique to offer. The largest cities in Asia are Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Dehli, Mumbai, Manila, and Shanghai.
So now you see how overwhelming it can be to find ways to make the most of your trip to Asia, but we’ve provided travel tips to Asia below. Time to get excited about your trip!
1. Plan What You Want to See
Saying you’re going to “visit Asia” is as vague as saying you’re going to South America, Europe, or the United States. Like all those places, Asia is huge and full of different countries and cultures. You could get lost in the islands of Thailand, or you can take a trip to the future by spending some time in Japan. Needless to say, you won’t have the time to see absolutely everything.
Read through an Asian travel guide and see which parts of the continent you want to visit, and then figure out if it’s logistically possible to travel to all of them during your trip. If you don’t get to see everything this time, you’ll have the perfect excuse to return in the near future!
2. Get off the Beaten Track
Many travelers and tourists have visited Asia, and have been doing so for decades. As such, there are a lot of destinations that are well-traveled and catered for international visitors. And make no mistake: these places are fun, and you should include them on your itinerary. However, there’s more to Asia than just the places that westerners visit — much more, in fact!
Dig a little bit deeper when you’re planning your trip and try to discover some off the beaten path destinations – such as splurge on tasty seafood and stunning views in Quy Nhon, Vietnam. They’ll be just as rewarding as all the usual tourist highlights.
3. Go for as Long as Possible
As we mentioned above, Asia is pretty darn big! You could comfortably spend many a month – or even years – exploring everything it has to offer and never get bored.
If you have the time to do so, consider setting up a base on the continent. This will give you the chance to get to know Asia like a local, as well as offering you with all the opportunity you need to see as many countries as possible.
Flights within Asia are very cheap, so if you have a place, then you’ll be able to make quick side trips to many countries. There’s plenty of ways to find room for rent in Singapore, for instance. This will enable you to enjoy all the benefits of living in a modern city, and also have the rest of Asia just a cheap flight away. Flying to Asia can be expensive, but the cost will be worth it if you’re able to spend several months there.
4. Remember the Weather
Remember, the weather in Asia won’t be the same as back home, so it’s always worth checking the best times to visit the countries you’re planning on visiting during your trip.
Many Asian countries – especially those in Southeast Asia – have a rainy season, which is undoubtedly impressive to sit and watch, but might get a bit tiresome if you’re eager to get out and explore.
5. Money to Splurge
Large parts of Asia have been very popular with backpackers over the past few decades because of how affordable it is. While you can get by in some countries on little amounts of money a day, if you want to make the most out of your trip then you should avoid having a budget that’s too low.
You’ll enjoy your trip much more if you have the option of splurging a little bit; while some places are cheap, that doesn’t mean they don’t have luxury experiences too! This is especially relevant when it comes to accommodation. In certain places, it pays to rent a slightly more expensive room that comes with air conditioning. You won’t regret it!
6. Head to the Outdoors
When people think of Asia, they tend to think of either crazy cities with millions of people or pristine beaches that are perfect for swimming and diving. And yes, Asia does have both of those things in abundance, but it also has much more.
In particular, some of the world’s most breathtaking natural scenery can be found in Asia, making it an ideal spot to strap on some hiking boots and head for the hills. You’ll want to do some research before you set off, and maybe consider getting a guide, but if you follow your plans through it’ll be one of the highlights of your trip.
7. Take a First Aid Kit
There’s always the danger that something might go wrong when you’re traveling in unknown lands, but you’ll be at risk in certain places more than others. Asia has a lot of hypermodern, clean cities, but there’s also, like the rest of the world, areas that fall on the other end of the spectrum. To put it simply, you’ll be well-advised to carry antibacterial gel and tablets that can help calm an upset stomach.
8. Embracing Culture Shock
If you’re not from Asia, then you might find that you’re a little overwhelmed when you first land on the continent, especially if it’s in one of the bigger cities. Your first reaction might be to turn around and get back on the plane. But be aware that more or less everyone feels like this when they first land. Give yourself a couple of days to adjust.
Asia is nothing like the Western world (and why should it be?)! It’s best just to let yourself be taken on the culture shock ride. If you try to fight it, you won’t get anywhere.
9. Eat the Local Food
Asia has some of the world’s best cuisine, so please, make sure you’re eating the local dishes wherever you go. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on one of the main reasons for traveling to Asia! Wherever you are, you’ll be able to find food that has been “westernized.” Bypass these places altogether and eat where the locals eat. It’ll be cheap, healthy, and oh so delicious.
10. Know the Local Customs
You’re there to have a good time, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of offending people. You wouldn’t like it if someone came to your hometown and disrespected your land, so don’t do it when you’re visiting other people’s country.
Each country will have their own set of social norms and customs, so take a read before you go to prevent yourself from offending anyone.
11. Carry Cash
There’s nothing worse than turning up a place with all your cards, trying to pay and…they don’t accept cards. If you’re visiting Southeast Asia, make sure you have all the cash you need before you enter an establishment, because they won’t accept cards or there will be a heavy charge attached.
12. Watch Your Skin
You’re going to be out exploring all the best attractions in Asia, and there’s every chance that the sun is going to be beating down on you as you do it. As with all hot destinations, it’s extra important that you take good care of your skin. Make sure you’re topped up with sun lotion and drink plenty of water. Burning and sunstroke can be serious, and will greatly compromise your enjoyment!
13. Learn the Language
Asia is made up of many countries and languages, and nobody’s expected you to be fluent in all of them. In fact, no one expects you to be fluent in any of them! The locals will appreciate it if you’re able to say a few words in their language. Even hello, please, and thank you is enough. It’s just common courtesy when visiting another person’s land.
14. Be Smart, Be Safe
By and large, Asia is a safe and welcoming land. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance you’ll run into trouble. Like everywhere else on earth, there is a dangerous side to Asia too.
Before you go, look up any areas that should be avoided. Also, make yourself familiar with any common scams. Know where the nearest hospital is located. And of course, make sure you’ve purchased sufficient travel insurance coverage, too.
15. Go with the Flow
Finally, the best piece of advice to those visiting Asia is: just go with the flow. The continent is beautiful, good, bad, madness-inducing, and inspiring, often all at the same time. If something annoys you, just brush it off. There’ll be enough good things happening to make up for the slight inconvenience of a late bus and the like.
Throw yourself into all that it has to offer. Then you’ll come away with many an excellent travel story. And you’ll undoubtedly be planning your next trip as soon as you’re back home!
These photos of Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam are really stoking my interest. I love elephants, and the elephant sanctuary in Thailand has a special tug on my heart. But your photos of nature hikes and beaches also look amazing.
Since you mentioned it, one of the most epic and still memorable experiences I’ve ever had was an “elephant trainer” for a day at Patara’s Elephant Farm. Who knew that elephants are like oversized puppies, eager to please, bouncing back and forth on their heavy feet, ears and tail flopping?
Thought we’d get there this summer.
You should! Although China was interesting, Thailand really stole my heart.
Logistically challenging now with kids and school, but definitely on the list. Yes to spending as much time as possible. My husband has been to Singapore and loved it-I’d love to go too!
Asia is not an easy destination to get to..but once you’re there totally worth it. And I hear you — in order to really get the Asia experience, you’d have to take at least 2 weeks (in my opinion) vacation, and with kids in school, that’s a long time to be away.
Planning a trip to Asia is what keeps me from actually getting to Asia. The logistics seem overwhelming. Thank you for igniting my fire to visit once again.
Seriously, Cathy, Asia (specifically my 3 weeks in Thailand) still tops my list as the best trip ever. China was pretty amazing as well. Just go — totally worth it.