Asia: Five of the best destinations to visit in the world’s largest continent
Web Team | 29th September 2022
By Richard Jones
Asia is a land of staggering beauty, intriguing mystery and surprising contrasts. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, wildlife, history or romance, there is a bewildering choice of holidays in this epic part of the world.
After a stop off in the airline’s huge and comfortable Miles&Smiles lounge, the world is your oyster, as you can board one of hundreds of connecting flights from Turkey to take you further east.
Here are VIVA’s five of the best places to visit in the Instagram-lover’s dream that is Asia…
The Land of Smiles is home to otherworldly temples, jungle-laden national parks and beautiful islands scattered across a glistening emerald sea. On a visit to Thailand, you will encounter a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences, whether it’s whizzing between gleaming golden temples in a tuk-tuk, devouring street food at a night market, or watching elephants wander through a national park.
Thailand is also one of the few places in the world where you can see a rainforest, a beach and a big city in one trip. While vibrant Bangkok has endless shopping and intriguing nightlife, for those looking for a beach, Hua Hin Beach is just a 2.5-hour drive from the capital, in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.
With a long history from the reign of King Rama III, it’s a wide, 7km-long boulevard of golden sand, where vendors hawk food and drink. However, you can escape this parade by booking a relaxing beach massage or taking a horseback ride.
Sri Lanka Jaffna. Credit: Sri Lanka Bespoke.
Captivating and enigmatic, this tropical tear-drop island is bursting with unexpected treasures. Although it is perhaps best known for the beach resorts that line its extensive coast, Sri Lanka is also a culture lover’s paradise.
There are rock temples and fortresses, ruins of ancient and sacred cities, and relics of a colonial age. And if that’s not quite enough to tempt you, Sri Lanka also has rolling tea plantations and wildlife-rich parks and reserves where elephants, leopards, crocodiles and sloth bears roam free.
Sri Lankan cuisine is blessed with a diverse array of influences – you can find crab curries on the central west coast, pittu and dosai in the Tamil north, and egg hoppers in the hill. Sri Lanka Bespoke has recently launched its Food Mapping Journeys where guests can visit towns such as Negombo, famous for its crab dishes, to the Jaffna Peninsula, well known for its Hindu specialities such as roti and pittu.
Amari Kuala Lumpur Pool. Credit ONYX Hospitality Group
The Land Below The Wind is a spectacularly varied nation where the modern combines with the traditional. From rural villages and tea plantations, gorgeous beaches and tropical rainforests teeming with wildlife, to the Hindu temples, Buddhist statues, colonial architecture and beach resorts of Penangurban, you really can experience the best of Asia’s diversity in Malaysia.
The cosmopolitan capital metropolis of Kuala Lumpur acts as the perfect stop-off to destinations further afield. Set in this rapidly developing city is the brand-new Amari hotel which is directly connected to Aspire Tower, KL Eco City Mall and The Garden Mall. Meanwhile, across the South China Sea, Malaysian Borneo will tempt you further with its rich equatorial rainforests, orangutan-filled jungles, quaint tribal villages and warm and welcoming locals.
Lagoons in Mauritius. Credit: Mauritius Promotion Tourism Authority.
For a relatively small tropical island hidden away in the southern Indian Ocean, Mauritius packs a whole lot in. Yes, Mauritius holidays can be lazy days on the beach, but they can also be exciting marine adventures and varied island explorations.
The island’s diverse yet relatively short history has created a remarkably varied culture –descendants of European, African, Indian and Chinese immigrants make up the majority of the population and each group has made an indelible mark on the island. You can take Creole language courses, visit beautiful Hindu temples and grand sugar plantation houses, and dine on cuisine inspired by a melting pot of culinary traditions.
The Underwater Sea Walk is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure which allows guests to explore life across the ocean floor, accompanied by qualified and knowledgeable driver-guides.
Gili-Lankanfushi in the Maldives.
These Indian Ocean treasure islands really have to be seen to be believed and are a haven for honeymooners, who set their sights on the luxe overwater villas and spectacular snorkelling conditions where you will encounter turtles and sharks.
Here, your personal Mr Friday will arrange a romantic candlelit meal on the beach, before you take in a movie in the jungle cinema, and finally retire to your rustic overwater villa to enjoy a night sleeping under the twinkling stars.