If you are considering a backpacking trip to Asia, there are many authentic Asian attractions that you may have overlooked. Through booking cheap flights online to popular locations like Phuket, Thailand, and then accessing the increasingly interconnected regional travel network you can find yourself in an unspoilt paradise. It’s time to revise your map and visit these hidden-gem destinations in Asia.
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Phu Quoc is a peaceful tropical paradise island with beautiful beaches and warm turquoise waters where you can enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving. The Island is located 50km from the Vietnamese mainland and you can fly there on a 50-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Phu Quoc Island is open all year round. In recent years, Phu Quoc has become a new holiday destination for foreign tourists as well as Vietnamese. Many are drawn there by its untouched remote beaches and natural environment. If you want to stay away from the crowds, avoid travelling during the peak season from November to March.
Phu Quoc has a national park of over 37,000 hectares of forest with a wide variety of wildlife species. Given the great tourist potential, the Vietnamese government have allowed local and foreign investors to develop and improve the infrastructure of the Island. A tourist and trade centre will be built by 2020. You should head there to enjoy the remote beaches and calm blue waters before the island gets too crowded.
Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia. Founded in the 11th century, Battambang had a rich history. Located in the Northwest Cambodia, Battambang is the leading rice-producing province of the country. The tranquil waters of Sangker River flows along the main parts of Battambang city. This riverside town has a well-preserved French-period architecture. With improvement in infrastructure, it is easy for road travellers to make a trip here and use Battambang as a base to visit many nearby temples such as Phnom Banon and Wat Ek Phanom.
Hoh Xil, Tibet
Hoh Xil, which means ‘beautiful girl’ in Mongolian, is the third least populated area in the world because it is located 4,700 meters above sea level and is subject to low temperature, strong wing and rare rainfall throughout the year. The high altitude and harsh weather make it impossible for people to live here. However, there are as many as 21 endangered wildlife species such as the Tibetan antelope, the white-lip deer, the wild yak and the Tibetan wild donkey, making Hoh Xil the largest natural reserve area in Tibet.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
Chiang Rai is located next to Chiang Mai and has been inhabited since the 7th century. Chiang Rai is a popular escape for tourists looking for peace and relaxation. Travellers come here to explore the natural beauty of the countryside and immerse themselves in the indigenous culture of the various hill tribe communities. Chiang Rai has abundant natural attractions where travellers can visit the remote hill tribe villages, trek the jungle, explore the magnificent mountains, spot exotic wildlife, and check out the golden triangle, the former centre of the world’s opium trade. Many villages of diverse hill tribes groups are located along various hiking mountain trails.
Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Mongolia
One of the national parks of Mongolia, Gorkhi Terelj National Park is situated about 80km north-east of Ulaanbaatar. Travellers who want to catch a glimpse of and experience the nomadic Mongolia life should travel to the Gorkhi Terelj National Park. The Mongolians still stay in the traditional yurt dwelling. Those who like horse riding can watch the Mongolian cowboys breaking wild horses. Besides horse riding, there are many outdoor activities such rock climbing, hiking, rafting and skiing. The National Park has many rock formations for those interested and fit for rock climbing, including the Turtle Rock and the Praying Lama Rock. Climb behind the Turtle Rock to access a small hole to catch a superb view point over the valley. You can also enjoy a relaxing day at Khaginn Khar Lake and Yestii Hot Spring located nearby.
These must-visit places in Asia have stayed off the tourist radar for many years. Make sure you get there before the tourists flock there.
Jane Murray is a travel blogger from Liverpool. She currently spends most of her time near a beach in Thailand.