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Want to Travel to Asia? Here’s Where to Go.

Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a foodie, a history buff, or a nature lover, Asia offers a lot of everything for everyone.

by EF Ultimate Break
Updated May 23, 2024

"Asia" text over an aerial shot of a boat cruising down a blue river with trees on either side.

Want to travel to Asia? Let us be the first to say HELL YEAH. As the largest and most diverse continent in the world (we’re talking almost five billion people, people) Asia’s rich history, vibrant cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes, and drool-inducing cuisines make it an absolute must-visit on any adventurer’s bucket list. From the balmy tropical havens of Bali and Thailand to the buzz of Japan and South Korea, these are the best countries to visit in Asia with EF Ultimate Break.

For First-time Visitors to Asia

People with umbrellas standing at the base of a red Japanese pagoda with a yellow pagoda in the background.


Ah, Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun—and land of sensory-overload-level contrast in the best way possible. Technology meets history. Skyscrapers meet temples. City energy meets stunning natural beauty. In Tokyo, Japan’s ginormous capital (which is also the largest city in the world), you can explore the neon-lit streets of Shibuya and Harajuku, inhale the best ramen and sushi you’ve ever had, and look down at the city from the top of the world’s largest freestanding tower, the Tokyo Skytree. There are historic temples like Senso-ji, where you can immerse yourself in traditional Japan, and chill spots like the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for a little break from the chaos.

Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines and is an absolute can’t-miss for history lovers. The iconic Kiyomizu Temple boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the city, and the Kinkakuji Zen Buddhist temple is covered in actual gold leaf, nbd. Kyoto is pretty much Tokyo’s opposite, with a more tranquil vibe—unless you’re night-owling it up at some of the city’s many bars and clubs.

If you’re looking to chow down, Osaka’s got your name written all over it—it’s actually referred to as “the kitchen of Japan.” Known for its taste bud-tingling delights, endless restaurants, and lively atmosphere, it’s a true foodie heaven. Wind your way through the maze of Dotonbori, where you can gorge on street food while being simultaneously blinded by all the neon lights. Ever had octopus on a stick? It’s a wild ride.

For some more modern(ish) history, you can hop on the bullet train and head to Hiroshima—at a casual 200 miles per hour. You’ll travel back in time to 1945, when Hiroshima was hit by the first atomic bomb, and see how the city was impacted at the Peace Memorial Museum.

A traditional wooden Thai boat resting on the shore of a tropical bay with greenery-covered islands in the background.


Uh, why wouldn’t you want to visit a country known as the Land of Smiles? It makes perfect sense, because when you’re in Thailand, you’re probably doing a lot of it.

Not to be dramatic, but Thailand is an absolute dream, and as one of the best countries to visit in Asia, you can’t miss it. But if you’re tired of reading about ancient temples, dazzling beaches, finger-licking-good food, and friendly locals, well, skip this, because Thailand has it all, and it’s impossible not to fall head over heels.

Throughout Thailand you’ll experience the intricate architecture of some of the world’s most iconic temples like the dazzling Grand Palace and the colorful Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, or the gawk-worthy Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Suan Dok temples in Chiang Mai.

But Thailand isn’t all about history. It's also a tropical oasis with otherworldly beaches and clear blue waters. Picture yourself building sandcastles on the beautiful shores of Phuket, swimming with colorful fish in the crystalline waters of Koh Phi Phi, or cruising through the limestone cliffs and secret caves of Phang Nga Bay—it’s like living in your own personal aquarium. And of course, what’s a getaway to Thailand without a trip to an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, where you can observe the gentle giants in an ethically run environment?

Now, let’s talk about the food aka a party for your taste buds. Pad Thai like you’ve never had before, delicious mango sticky rice, tangy Khao Soi, flavorful curries, plus fresh produce like dragon fruit, lychee, and mangosteen—you definitely won’t go hungry in Thailand.

We’ve barely scratched the surface here, but traveling to Asia means you’ll experience a kaleidoscope of cultures, landscapes, cuisines, and experiences. There really is something for everyone—and maybe you’ll even discover that you’re a totally different kind of traveler than you thought. From the ancient wonders of Japan to the tropical paradise of Bali, the rich heritage of India to the friendly spirit of Thailand, you’ll find something exciting and awesome and delicious wherever you end up going (although we recommend going everywhere, obviously). So, pack your bags! Asia is waiting for you.

A city, river, and skyscraper at night in South Korea's capital city of Seoul.

South Korea

Get ready to experience all the K-pop, street food, palaces, and temples you can handle. Oh, and throw some sick beaches in there, too. An adventure through South Korea melds ancient tradition with forward-thinking, old af temples with high tech, and the past with the present.

South Korea’s rich history dates back thousands of years, and you’ll able to immerse yourself in its cultural heritage through endless millennia-old palaces, temples, and historic sites. Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul oozes royal charm thanks to its intricate architecture, and you can actually stay overnight at the UNESCO-listed Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju.

Seoul gets a lot of the hype, but as the second largest city in South Korea, the coastal gem of Busan deserves a visit. You'll stroll picturesque beaches like Haeundae, explore the Haedong Yonggun Temple on the shoreline, and learn to make makgeolli, traditional Korean rice wine.

And while we’re on the subject of traditional Korean tasties, the street food and restaurant scene in South Korea is unmatched. You’ll be able to try iconic dishes like bibimbap, kimchi, and Korean barbecue, and if you don’t eat the best dang dumplings you’ve ever had in your life, we’ll be absolutely floored.

Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, South Korea is pretty much all K-pop, all the time. It’s impossible to avoid (but why would you want to do that?) and if you’re looking to take it a step further with a K-pop dance class, we definitely won’t stop you.

For Returning Visitors to Asia

Colorful shacks floating on docks and boats in a bay with tall, greenery-covered rock formations in the background.


For anyone seeking history, nature, and again, amazing food, Vietnam should 100% be on your list of the best countries to visit in Asia. From the bustling streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the serenity of Ha Long Bay and historic Hoi An, a trip to Vietnam checks all the boxes.

Vietnam is a cultural melting pot that blends indigenous traditions and influences from China, Japan, France, and neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Known all around the world for its chef's kiss cuisine, Vietnam has the kind of dishes dreams are made of. We're talking pho, fresh spring rolls, mouth-watering banh mi sandwiches, and sweet, strong Vietnamese coffee. One sec, Googling the closet Vietnamese restaurant.

The natural beauty of Vietnam is also beyond mesmerizing, with landscapes running the gamut from lush rice terraces in Sapa to gorgeous beaches and surreal limestone island formations in Ha Long Bay (which, incidentally, is also one of the best places on Earth to play mermaids).

Vietnam's history is long and complex, and the sheer number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites reflects it. The ancient town of Hoi An, with its well-preserved architecture, will transport you back in time to the country's royal past. The Vietnamese people are also known for their warmth and hospitality, and fishing with locals or taking a cooking class will take you a long way in getting to know the country’s traditions.

A temple on a rocky cliff in the ocean on a sunny day with umbrellas, buildings, and trees on the coast in the background.


There’s a reason the Indonesian paradise of Bali has earned the nickname “the Island of the Gods”—it’s literally heaven thanks to its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and unique Hindu culture. Pristine coastline? Dense jungle? Ancient temples? Monkeys?! Bali has it all, and it’s nothing short of captivating.

Bali's natural beauty is truly awe-inspiring. The island is home to picturesque beaches like Seminyak and Uluwatu, where you can relax, surf, or simply soak up that vitamin D. The famed emerald-green rice terraces of Tegalalang, one of the most photographed spots in Bali, create a serene and scenic backdrop for all those selfies, and the majestic Mount Batur, which you can hike up for a spectacular sunrise view, combines heart-pumping activity with scene-stealing, well...scenery. You can also snorkel through crystal-clear water or go canyon tubing down the Siap River for even more adrenaline-packed ways to experience Bali’s landscape.

Because it’s so deeply rooted in Hindu traditions, you’ll be able take in colorful ceremonies at ancient temples like Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. The island’s unique arts and crafts, such as traditional dance performances, intricate wood carvings, and batik textiles, offer a glimpse into the artistic customs of Bali. The warm hospitality that the Balinese people are known for makes these experiences even more meaningful.

Bali is also a haven for wellness seekers, so if you’re seeking some time on the mat in one of the best countries to visit in Asia, you’ll be able to indulge your inner yogi and brush up on your meditation practice. It’s the perfect setting to rejuvenate your mind and body.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, at sunset.


India is at the top of many travel buckets lists, and it definitely deserves its spot. The Golden Triangle isn't just a fun nickname we made up for a samosa. This mesmerizing and culturally rich area in northern India is made up of three iconic cities—Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. The triangle is the ideal intro to India’s history, architectural marvels, vibrant culture, and delish North Indian food.

Delhi, India’s massive capital and the second largest city in the world, is your gateway to the Golden Triangle. Packed with history, this metropolis seamlessly blends the ancient and the modern. From the majestic Red Fort and huge Jama Masjid Mosque to Humayun's Tomb, Delhi is a treasure trove of historic wonders. Breathe in the pungent smells of baking breads called paratha, hop on a rickshaw and ride through Old Delhi, or get your Zen on in a Buddhist meditation center.

Your next stop on the Golden Triangle tour is the city of Agra, home to a little Wonder of the World that you may have heard of—the Taj Mahal. This eye-popping ivory and marble mausoleum, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in the 17th century as a tomb for Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife. Reflect on life (and maybe the tasty Mughlai chicken you had for dinner) while wandering the symmetrical gardens and absorbing the peaceful atmosphere.

Jaipur, aka the “Pink City,” completes the Golden Triangle circuit with its gorgeous palaces and colorful markets. Why is it pink, you ask? Well, when the Prince of Wales visited in the 1870s, the whole city was painted pink, the color of hospitality, to welcome him. Fun, right? For sweeping views of the landscape, you can’t beat Amber Fort, perched high on a hilltop. The City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal are other gems that showcase Jaipur’s regal heritage.

And while not technically a part of the Golden Triangle, the wildlife sanctuary of Ranthambore is a must-visit if you’re interested in spotting the elusive and endangered Bengal tiger (which duh, of course you’re interested). Head out on safari for a glimpse of the national park’s leopards, crocs, sloths, birds, and if you’re lucky, a Bengal or two.
Considering solo travel in France? DO IT. Whether you’re exploring entirely by yourself or thinking of booking a trip with a group of total strangers, you’re going to have an unforgettable adventure, and you’ll probably discover some things about yourself that will change how you travel forever. You won’t regret it. Pinky swear.

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