Traveler’s Pick: Best Places and Traveling Experiences in Asia 2016

traveling in asia 2016

With the tremendous increase of people who traveled in Asia this year compared to last, Asia is now the most appealing continent in the world among travelers. Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket topped the list with the most international arrivals among Asia-Pacific cities.

Before 2016 ends, I asked some travelers from around the world what places topped their list while traveling in Asia this year. I was surprised and amazed by their answers. Let’s find out what’s on their list.

1. Alex from Germany – Top Choice: Padar Island, Indonesia

padar island indonesia, asia
A photo just like any other yet this shot tells everything about my Asian Tour. I’m combining it with my destiny – an unplanned journey and achieved a goal that I never thought possible. I had to make some important decisions and make compromises. Nevertheless, I have taken this decision in order to have these experiences, moments and photos as a reminder that no one can take this away from me. 

2. Brooke from California – Top Choice: Palawan, Philippines

coron palawan asia

Island hopping in Coron, Palawan Philippines was unforgettable! In addition to seeing the crystal clear waters and idealistic beaches, you can even swim through a lagoon made of half fresh water and half salt water, making the water on the surface ice cold and much warmer below. When the water mixes, it looks like oil mixing underwater with how blurry it is! 

3. Juan Martin from ColombiaTop Choice: Kuang Si Waterfalls , Luang Prabang, Laos 

Kuang Si Waterfalls laos asia

Not only for its perfect blue waters or its almost mystical natural pools, the Kuang Si waterfalls are a natural wonder that you need to see with your eyes to believe it.

4. Jorden from Australia – Top Choice: Boracay, Philippines

boracay philippines

The Philippines has the clearest water I’ve ever seen. It’s the most underrated country in Southeast Asia. Get here before all the other travelers catch on! It’s amazing.

5. Vivien from Philippines – Top Choice: Malaysia

malaysia asia

It wasn’t in my original plan to travel across 5 Asian countries in the beginning of 2016. Anyhow, I was en route for my quest to explore Southeast Asia! I have been to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. But among 5 countries, I got Malaysia for the win as my top pick for best place and experience while traveling in Asia. I have 3 things to consider to mark a my trip as 3 thumbs up for me:

Safety – How can I say that Malaysia is safe? Yes, it is safer in Sigapore but as we cross boundary from SG to MY, I didn’t feel the need to adjust for precautions, given that we traveled at night from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. The night bus travel is cozy and convenient, and for the win – the taxis are metered! So no negotiation needed. We encounter very nice drivers and they speak english fairly. 

Affordable – For someone who travels in a shoestring like me, this will always come into consideration. I think I can always come back in Malaysia because I can afford and there’s so much more that I have to explore. In four days of stay in Malaysia I only spent less than 10,000 PHP vs my original budget of 13,000 PHP. Included there is Giordano tee and a pair of shoe. Haha! Yes, I still manage to shop a bit with a little budget. And for another FTW moment in Malaysia – got to experience seafood boodle dinner and my first time to try Sting Ray dish and Chicken Biryani! Sounds pricey foodie? But not really! 

It has it all – Peninsular Malaysia alone has sooo much to offer, from their city, Kuala Lumpur to their islands like Langkawi. So from city to island vibes it’s just so satisfying to me! And FTW again, going on top of a beautifully reserved mountain via SkyCab and walking across the SkyBridge between two peaks of Mat Cincang mountain range in Langkawi! 

6. Gunadi from Indonesia – Top Choice: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

angkot wat cambodia asia

If you have a chance to visit Cambodia, you shouldn’t miss the World Heritage Temple – the Angkor Wat. This temple is the largest religious monument in the world and was built in the early 12th century. The beauty of the building rocks will definitely surprise you. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

7. Mehdi Fliss from Tunisia – Top Choice: Myanmar

inle lake myanmar

One of my favorite places that I’ve visited in Asia was Inle lake in Myanmar. I had the chance to fly over the lake on a hot-air balloon and the feeling was just amazing. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. 

8. Vinz from Philippines – Top Choice: Cebu, Philippines

canyoneering cebu

Of all the places that I’ve visited this year, Cebu topped my list. It is an Island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas Region and consisting of the main island itself and and more than a hundred of surrounding islands and islets. These islands are the main reason why I fell in love with Cebu. There were a lot of water-related activities like whale watching toursswimming with the whales sharks and other colorful sea creatures, chasing waterfalls, cliff diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, helmet diving, wakeboarding, fishing, kayaking and my all-time favorite – the canyoneering.  But if you’re not into outdoor adventures, you’ll definitely enjoy seeing historical places, museums, monuments, statues, amusement parks, etc. Another notable thing about Cebu is the food. I really enjoyed their lechon, chicken wing, barbecue and seafood. People are very friendly and accommodating as well. 

9. Oli Green from Rome, Italy – Top Choice: China

great wall of china

Amazing experience, I took a bus from Beijing to the wall. There we climbed up on foot, it was an incredible experience. You could see the wall going for miles into the distance twisting around the hills. At the end we decided to make use of the Toboggan service to get down which was really fun also! If you take a tour, you have lunch provided normally in a tea room as well!

10. Yazid from Malaysia – Top Choice: Hounon Ridge in Kundasang, Malaysia

Hounon Ridge

Hounan Ridge & Farmstay is located in Bundu Tuhan Kundasang. It is the best spot to witness the magestic Mount Kinabalu from afar. Once in a while you have to get out of your comfort zone. You know why? Cause there’s so much things out there that waiting to be explore, endeavor and experience that can boost up your confidence in life. 

11. Jay Henson from Philippines – Top Choice: Wadi Shab, Oman 

wadi shab oman asia

I fell in love with one of the loveliest naturist view I have ever seen in the Mideast, Oman’s Wadi Shab. Located in the eastern region (two-hour drive from the capital Muscat), Wadi Shab is a desert paradise trail showcasing a breathtaking view of turquoise pools, waterfalls and terraced plantations in the middle of the rocky mountain range -perfect for nature watching and trekking.

12. Erin and Dale from England – Top Choice: Northern Thailand

northern Thailand asia

This picture explains how good it can be to just rent a moped and find your own sights to see in northern Thailand. 

13. Eugene Reimer from Germany – Top Choice: Andaman Island, India

india asia

Andaman Island is developing into a major tourism hub with exotic-looking beaches and pristine islands having exotic names, wonderful opportunities for adventure sports like snorkelling and sea-walking. Also, Andaman is a paradise for Scuba Divers. There are lot of scuba  diving centers in Andaman – the highest in India. There are options for  both pleasure divers and professional divers.

14. Steve from ItalyTop Choice: Northern Vietnam

vietnam asia

I have been travelling to many countries in Asia and in my travels I am always looking to meet local people to better feel the local culture. One of the places where I had an unforgettable experience was in a small ancient village called Ma Le near Dong Van, Ha Giang province in the north of Vietnam. In Ma Le village there are a lot of ancient houses, some of them are older than 200 years. People are keeping their traditions and it feels like you’re actually travelling back to the past. In the nearest town Đồng Van, the Sunday market is something unique. You can buy traditional clothes, food and cows. This experience will have a place in my heart for ever.

15. Pierce Ryan from New Jersey – Top Choice: Singapore

singapore asia

Singapore is like home away from home for me. The city has so much to offer like museums, amazing street food, nightlife, and of course stunning views. The little red dot has a big personality.

16. Peter Toth from Hungary – Top Choice: Thailand

Thailand peter toth

Thailand is smack-dab in the middle of everything. It’s three hours to Hong Kong, two hours to Singapore, four hours to Bali, and half way between Australia and Europe. You can get to a lot of places easily from Thailand, which, for a traveler like myself, is really appealing.

17. Ace from Philippines – Top Choice: Vietnam


Among Asian countries that I’ve visited for the past years, I chose Vietnam because of three endearing reasons.

1. Oriental Taste – it has a wide variety of original oriental dishes and cuisines that suit to my palate and not to mention its health benefits.

2. The Cultural Appeal – it has one of the oldest ancient cities dating back the time of their emperors and dynasties, they have one of the most preserve cultural heritages where every visitor can relive and experience.

3. Picturesque landscape – from North to South, they have a landscape that every traveler can feast on, great mountains of Sapa and Da Lat on the south, the sand dunes of Mue Ne, the recently included 7 wonders of nature Halong Bay, the white pristine beaches of Danang, and no one will ever forget the mighty river banks of Mekong Delta that empties on its Vietnam waters.

Truly Vietnam is one for the books for me, happy travels.

18. Ashwin Kardekar from India – Top Choice: Pangong Tso, Himalayas

pangong tso india

One of my favorite destinations in Asia is India because it has a variety of the world on its own. Right from the north to south and east to west it has mountains, seas, deserts, sanctuaries, etc. Also, it has a variety of religion, culture and language that makes India more interesting to visit. Traveling here in India is economically cheap and you’ll find everything you need in this country. India may not be as luxurious or modern type just like any other countries, but still India has a lot of interesting places and things to offer to every traveler around the globe. 

19. Nikhil from India – Top Choice: Pavagadh Hill, India

pavagadh india asia

Pavagadh Hill is less famous place among tourist but definitely worth the visit. A day trip on this hill is the best option.This hill is located in the municipality in Panchmahal district about 46 kilometres away from Vadodara in Gujarat state in western India. At the summit of Pavagadh hill, you’ll see the Kalika Mata Temple, which is the oldest in the area and dating from the 10th-11th centuries. You can reach the summit in many ways, the first one is via trek along a jungle footpath to the top of the hill or using a cable car which will haul you to the summit from about the midway point. Early in the morning, I went there using my bicycle. The entire surrounding was foggy and the view was stunning.

20. Roberto from Canada – Top Choice: Taman Negara, Malaysia

taman negara asia

Taman Negara in Malaysia is one of my favorite places of 2016. I had the opportunity to trek through one of the oldest rainforests in existence. I can spot the wildlife and I hear the sounds of nature, but what really made this jungle experience unique was that I slept in a cave of Taman Negara which is known as Gua Kepayang Besar. How many people can say they spent a night in a cave?

There you go! How about you? What’s that one place that topped you list? Share it in the comment box below. 

Author: Vinz

Vinz is a part-time travel blogger, part-time digital marketing specialist, and full-time dreamer. He loves the photographic medium for expressing what he loves about life. He always finds himself lost during travel. But he loves unfamiliar territories and finding his way around. Aside from his taste for adventure, he loves two things while traveling - meeting new friends and food.

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