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10 Most Visited Countries in Asia

Asia is Earth’s biggest and most populous continent. It is located primarily in the eastern and northern hemisphere and it shares continental landmass of both Africa and Europe. Given its size and diversity, the tourism industry has nowhere to go but forward; in Asia, tourism thrives and continues to grow in well-developed countries as well as the developing ones. Here is the list of 10 most visited countries in Asia.

 

1. China

After only few decades of reforming and opening, China has grown into one of few superpower countries in the world. Rapid economic development, emergence of middle-class societies, and easing of restrictions by the authorities have pushed a tourism boom to the country. As a matter of fact, China is one of the most visited countries not only in Asia but also throughout the world. Some of the most iconic attractions include:

  • Forbidden City
  • The Great Wall
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • The Silk Road

China is gigantic. It is a combination of diverse natural landscapes, bewildering skyscrapers, extreme topographies including deserts, and cultures. It is as if China is comprised of several different countries. With vast geographic variations and billions of people of different backgrounds, the country is more dynamic than you think, more welcoming than you expect, better than you imagine.

 

2. Thailand

Stable political climate and the development of Bangkok as international air transport create a supportive environment for Thailand’s tourism industry to thrive. Thanks to tourists’ demands, both hotel and retail industries develop at rapid progression as well. A surprising fact about Thailand is that the Euromonitor International actually listed Bangkok, Thailand as the first top city destinations in 2016, surpassing the regular candidates including London and New York. Popular destinations include:

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • Chuing Mai
  • Grand Palace
  • Phanom Rung Historical Park
  • Phuket

In Thailand, expect to experience strong atmosphere of celestial world in Buddhist environment. Religious devotion in Thailand is mesmerizing and ubiquitous. Both modern and rural landscapes are sprinkled with temples and golden Buddha statues. Outside of the busy Bangkok and nightlife, be ready for treats of tropical gateway to enjoy surfing, diving, feasting on the beach, exploring cliffs, kite-boarding, or just laying your back down and getting a comforting treatment at health resorts.

 

3. Malaysia

Not so long ago, Malaysia was mostly dependent on exports for its economy. Since 2005, the efforts to shift that realm have paid-off thanks to the government’s policies to improve the tourism industry. Malaysia is now well-known for many of its major attractions such as:

  • Pulau Sipadan
  • George Town’s Colonial District
  • Cameron Highlands
  • Pulau Perhentian
  • Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

South China Sea divided Malaysia into two big regions. The peninsula is bursting skyscrapers, colonial architectures, tea plantations, and getaway islands; on the Borneo part, the country is home to wild jungle inhabited by orangutans, remote tribes, world-class diving sites, and granite peaks.

 

4. Japan

Let us start with something easy: Japan has 19 World Heritage Sites. Even if you visit Japan only for those sites, you’ll be pleased enough. The excitement fortunately does not stop at those internationally-recognized and praised locations, but it spreads all over the country even in remote places. Popular attractions in Japan include:

  • Kyoto Temples and Gardens
  • Oku-No-In at Koya-San
  • Great Buddha of Nara
  • Mount Fuji
  • Hiroshima
  • Sumo

True highlight of Japan is the way the country blends ancient sacred traditions with modern dynamic life as if those two were natural companions. In many other countries, those two values often contradict each other, but not here in Japan. Behind the cities’ blinding neon lights, there are admirable traditional cultures to explore.

 

5. South Korea

The Korean Wave, recent recognition of the countries pop cultures, has opened the tourism gateway wider than it used to be in South Korea. Japan perhaps is proud of its complex train networks, yet South Korea quietly is catching up. With massive networks of train station, any tourist should not find any difficulty in exploring major cities in the country. Popular destinations include:

  • Changdeokgung
  • Boryeong Mud Festival
  • Jeju-Do
  • Suwon’s Hwaseong Fortress
  • Gwangjang Market
  • Busan

Land of the Morning Calm probably represents the vast majority of South Korean landscapes, but not in Seoul. It is an economy powerhouse in Asia without any hint of serenity. Once you get further to the off-beaten paths, however, the calmness comes to reality. Laid-back traditional fisherman and farmers showcase their hospitality as if they’ve known you for long. They may even welcome you to their home to enjoy simple true homemade Korean dishes you will not get in New York’s city streets

 

6. Singapore

When the whole world was just starting to go environment-friendly, Singapore has been doing just that for a long time. It is friendly to the environment and to people as well. Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and because English is a dominant language, tourists find no trouble asking where to shop. Popular destinations in Singapore include:

  • Gardens by the Bay
  • National Gallery Singapore
  • Singapore Zoo and Night Safari
  • Orchard Road
  • Pulau Ubin

Shopping has always been major tourist activity in Singapore. While dirt-cheap prices are no longer around, the retail joyride is still pretty much in existence. Things that are hard to come by in other marketplaces are easy to find in Singapore; from popular street clothing lines to fancy wristwatches, from catwalk couture to just-released phones are all here to be found. You’d be wrong to think of Singapore merely as big commerce center; in the backyard, you can still find jungle, old-school shop houses, secret cocktails, and smoky temples.

 

7. Taiwan

Almost the entire Chinese traditions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism are inherited by Taiwan. Collections of deities and demons are all over the place, worshipped by most. Centuries of interactions and tolerances have brought unique respectable religious cultures into Taiwan. With temples, pagodas, museums, night markets, national parks, tourist gardens, and even tourist towns, the country is like a haven for the goers. Major attractions include:

  • National Palace Museum
  • Temple Treasures
  • Taroko Gorge
  • Kenting National Park

Known in the ancient times as Formosa, Taiwan is land with more characteristics than multifaceted gods. Apart from the treats you get in the crowded cities, this small island offers dramatic mountainous terrain, towering sea cliffs, tropical forest, gorges, and natural wonders for the adventurous.

 

8. Indonesia

A vast archipelago of more than 17,500 islands, with only less than half among which are inhabited, Indonesia is promising diversity. It also has the second longest coastline (after Canada) at more than 54,700 km. In general, people in different island have distinct cultures and that makes the entire country host a mixture of different traditional values. Popular destinations in Indonesia include:

  • Komodo National Park
  • Gili Islands
  • Balinese Dance
  • Raja Ampat Islands
  • Beaches of Bali
  • Lake Toba

The diversity continues to the landscape. From western tip of Sumatra to the eastern end of Papua, Indonesia is a stretch of heterogeneousness. Given the sheer amount of customs, cultures, wildlife, artworks, landscapes, and foods, the country is like a hundred of different nations combined into one.

 

9. India

Sacred sites and rituals are all over India. One of the main characteristics of India is indeed spirituality with people performing ancient traditions. Spirituality, however, is not the only thing India has to offer; it gives you mesmerizing landscapes and culinary delights too. Popular attractions in India include:

  • Taj Mahal
  • Beaches of Goa
  • Amritsar’s Golden Temple
  • Hampi

Inside of the cities, your eyes will be pleased by lavish temples; on the outside to the countryside, you will find beautiful beaches, treks leading to Himalaya, pine-scented forest, and wildlife safaris. India is a country of religious cultures and economic development, but the tourism industry is somehow slightly underrated. In reality, it has a lot of things to invite everyone: beaches, forest, big cats, exquisite architectures, and of course the spiritual experience.

 

10. Vietnam

Since only about two decades ago, Vietnam turned into a tourist-friendly country. Although Vietnam started a little bit late compared to most other Asian countries, the development of tourism industry happens at rapid rate. It is a new destination in South Asia for nature lovers, backpackers, beach goers, and even veterans. Local and international operators are ready to take you to minority groups in the remote locations in the country, kayak trips, and even cross-country travelling to Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. Major attractions in Vietnam include:

  • Hoi An
  • Halong Bay
  • Phu Quoc Island
  • Cat Tien National Park

The forests and ethnic groups are not the only things to see in Vietnam. There are 31 national parks, 8 world biosphere reserve zones, and 21 national tourist areas. Throughout the country, both domestic and foreign tourists can enjoy relaxing time mingling with villagers, enjoying the rice wine, tasting local dishes, and getting involved in many regional markets.

 

Conclusion

Other notable locations are Hong Kong and Macau, but they are actually part of China. They are located within close proximity to each other, too. Asia is a continent of cultures, natural wonders, ancient rituals, as well as demons and deities. If you are coming from Europe or the U.S., the great number of distinctive beliefs and landforms can easily bewilder your mind.

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