Asia is a stunning continent with hundreds of desirable destinations for culture-seeking travellers. However, with so many exciting places to enjoy, it can be difficult for a first-time visitor to know where to start. If you're a rookie traveller considering your first trip to Asia, here are six must-see spots you should add to your itinerary:
1. Borneo, Malaysia
Whether you're heading to Asia for a few days or a few months, the island of Borneo is one of the best places to start. Known as the country that is 'truly Asia', Malaysia offers a range of authentic experiences to help get you out of your comfort zone.
For wild rainforests, dynamic cities, inquisitive orangutans, huge granite peaks and friendly yet remote locals, the state of Sarawak provides the best Borneo has to share.
2. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is an important stop for many tourists, as the hub of accommodation and activity for those heading over to Angkor Wat, the world's biggest religious monument. Offering world-class dining, luxury spas and budget backpacker facilities, Siem Reap easily caters to travellers from all walks of life.
Ensure you leave enough time here to fully explore the Angkor Wat temples. While other historic sites can usually be covered in a day trip, the rocky temples of Angkor Wat will provide new sights and experiences even after three days.
3. Phuket, Thailand
The warm and welcoming beaches in Thailand are usually a safe bet for any traveller, and Phuket is home to arguably the best among them. Mingle with tourists from around the world, try out deep sea diving and immerse yourself in Thai culture on this beautiful beach-covered island.
4. Kyoto, Japan
While Tokyo may be the financial and political capital of Japan, Kyoto is the culture capital. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more authentic Japanese experience than the food, people and way of life in Kyoto. As a hub of culture and heritage, Kyoto offers plenty to do and see, including visiting one of the many intricate temples, shrines and gardens scattered through the city.
5. Xi'an, China
While most first-time travellers are happy wandering the Great Wall of China, you can achieve a more unique experience by heading over to Xi'an to view arguably the country's second-most-famous attraction: the Terracotta Warriors.
Xi'an also has an authentic Chinese wall tour for those wanting to travel back in time. Walk along the historic city walls and transport yourself back to a traditional China, before heading along to Lao Sun Jia – a world-famous restaurant more than 100 years old.
6. Hanoi, Vietnam
With a unique mix of rural charm and vibrant city life, Hanoi has a lot to offer visitors to Vietnam. Explore temples, museums and the Mausoleum to truly uncover the coloured past in Vietnam, where mediaeval architecture meets modern urban sprawl.