Asia, the world’s largest continent, is home to some most spectacular places on earth, ranging from ancient temples to exotic islands. Selecting the best of the best is a tough task and the outcome will most probably stir controversy among those Asia visitors whose well-defined lists of faves are poles apart with the following. But, like in "The most beautiful places in Europe", you can share you own (but all the same fantastic!) picks with the readers.
Mongolia, with its vast, intact, and rough landscape, is considered by Lonely Planet to be one of the last unspoiled travel destinations in Asia. The country is located on the Central Asian plateau and it takes up 1.5 million square kilometers. It is the world’s nineteenth largest state, but its population is very small – the country is home to around 2.9 million people, and around 40% of Mongols live in the capital – Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia’s geography is diverse and beautiful. The Gobi Desert, the biggest desert area in Asia, spreads in the south, and the mountain ranges cover the northern and western parts of the country. Mongolia’s climate is harsh during winters (down to -40 °C) and extremely hot in summers (30°C). The country is home to a huge population of horses (more than 3 million), which outnumbers Mongolia’s human population.
Millions of tourists cannot be wrong – Thailand in one of the most beautiful Asian destinations in terms of landscapes, people’s hospitability and the richness of culture.
Exotic, lush islands surrounded by azure waters of the Andaman Sea from the west and the Gulf of Thailand from the east are excellent diving and snorkeling destinations as well as one of the world’s most popular vacation spots.
The wonders of Thai’s old and rich culture can be spotted at every step of the way in the country. The beautiful and colorful Buddhist temples called wats sprinkle the country and the scent of Thai’s excellent cuisine fills the air with the aroma of chilies, lemon grass and coconut milk.
Thailand is fully devoted to Theravada Buddhism, the national religion practiced by 95% of all Thais.
Tibet, the roof of the world, with its average elevation of 4,900 meters (16,000 ft), is the mountain land covered by Himalayas towering proudly above the magical landscape. Tibet is a truly spiritual place in terms of both the nature and religion. The incredible Tibetan monasteries fit perfectly into the remote and beautiful surroundings.
Tibet houses the highest world’s mountain – Mount Everest (8,848 m), which is located on the Nepali border. The Tibetan land is also dotted with turquoise high-altitude lakes called tso or co.
Tibet’s history begins in seventh century when Songtsan Gampo founded the Tibetan Empire. Today the region is controlled by People’s Republic of China that enforced its claim on Tibet in 1950. China set up the Tibet Autonomous Region that covers about half of cultural Tibet and other areas were incorporated into nearby provinces of PRC.
4. Angkor. Cambodia
Angkor in Cambodia is a spectacular religious complex featuring the world’s largest religious building, Angkor Wat. The temple was constructed between 1113 and 1150 by King Suryavarman II as a funerary temple – the complex is orientated towards the west, the symbolic direction of death.
The ruins of Angkor, which comprised around 1,000 temples, are located on a 3,000 square kilometer site – it was the largest preindustrial city in the world that could have supported the population of one million people.
Angkor amazes with its magnificent beauty and breathtaking architecture. The whole complex was built between 802 and 1120 by the Khmer civilization. Today visitors can admire around 100 temples – the spectacular remains of a huge religious and social complex.
5. The Maldives
The Maldives is the pearl of Asia. This shinning azure jewel is located southeast of India in the middle of crystal waters of the Indian Ocean. The country is comprised of twenty-six atolls featuring 1,192 islets.
It is a heaven on earth for honeymooners, divers, surfers and holiday makers. The landscape is lush, exotic and unbelievably beautiful.
Most of the coral islands are uninhabited. The abundant marine life, sandy beaches and warm waters attract thousands of visitors a year, but still many places and beach resorts remain remote and unspoiled getaways.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian state by both population (309,000 residents) and area (298 km2 ). It is also the lowest country in the world, with the average natural ground level of 1.5m above the sea level. Due to the global warming and a rise in sea level, the Maldives may, sooner or later, disappear from the world’s map.
6. The Great Wall. China
The Great Wall is…great. It is one of the most unique constructions in the world and a must-see site for visitors to China. The first fortifications defending the borders of Chinese states had started to emerge in the fifth century BC. In 221 BC Qin Shi Huang unified all separated Chinese states and ordered the construction of a new wall to connect the old fortifications with the wall protecting the borders of the new empire.
The Great Wall stretches across the country’s landscape, passing by the deserts, mountains, grasslands, and plateaus, from the Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west. It is around 6,400 km (4,000 miles) long and the entire wall with all its branches measures 8,851 km (5,500 miles).
7. Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka, with its exotic beaches, green tea plantations and tropical forests, is one of the most astonishing places in Asia. It is an island country located about 31 km off the southern coast of India.
The lush tea plantations are among the most dazzling sights here. The history of Ceylon tea begins in 1869 when the coffee rust had devastated the coffee plantations on the island. As a result the plantations’ owners decided to cultivate tea to diverse the crops. By the late 1880s almost all the coffee fields had been converted to tea.
Today the tea plantations cover 4% of the island’s area (around 221,000 hectares). The main tea growing regions are the Central Province, the Uva Province, the Southern Province and the Sabaragamuwa Province. Nuwara Eliya, one of the most important tea growing places, which lies in the Central Province, produces a unique tea flavor.
And that’s all folks as far as my choices go. What about yours?