If you are wondering what traveling in Asia is all about, we’ve got you covered. From Japan to Mongolia, you can decide where you want to go next!
We love traveling in Asia! That’s why we returned to Japan to live for another few years. We’ve been to Japan numerous times, but of course we’ve done the bulk of our Japan travels during the years that we lived there. In total, we’ve lived in Japan for 5 years. We’ve also lived in South Korea. We lived there for three years, and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
While living there, and in Turkey, we took advantage of the distances and traveled to as many Asian countries as we could. We try to spend at least a week, sometimes more in each country we visit. Below you’ll see which ones we’ve made to so far, and a quick overview of our impressions. We hope it will help you plan your next vacation in Asia.
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Best Asian Countries To Visit
Officially Negara Brunei Darussalam or The Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace, is a small country located on island of Borneo. It’s the fourth smallest country in Asia, and therefore we didn’t spend much time in this tiny country. It wasn’t even on our itinerary at first, but since we were traveling around Malaysian Borneo to see the wildlife, we couldn’t pass up the chance to tuck another country under the belt. We thoroughly enjoyed our quick 36 hours we were there.
Is it worth a visit? Yes. It’s small, so it’s easy to do on a quick trip, and it’s different from the other countries surrounding it.
How long do we need? We only spent two days there, and we feel it was sufficient. I’m sure you can learn more if you have the chance to stay a bit longer.
What is the general budget for visiting? It’s definitely more expensive than Malaysia, but it still is pretty cheap compared to Europe. An average cost for a nice hotel is about $65-90, and unless you are eating at the food stalls, a couple can have a great meal for about $40.
Cambodia was an eye-opener. Even though it has such a volatile history, we found the people content and willing to share their stories, their products, and their welcoming smiles. The main reason for visiting for us was to see the world heritage site, Angor Wat, which certainly was breath-taking. It’s definitely one of the most important sites to see in all of Asia, in our opinion.
Is it worth a visit? Yes. There is more to do than just Ankor Wat, and we feel we need to go back at some point, because we didn’t see much of Cambodia. Nowadays people go for the great beaches as well as the temples and history.
How long do we need? We didn’t give it enough time in the five days we stayed there. If you really want to explore the country, I would give it at least 10 days, and you’ll be able to work in a few relaxing beach days as well as the big sights.
What is the general budget for visiting? As an average, you can plan on really living it up for as little as $35-40 per day. Good hotels can easily be found for $25 per night, and there is so much cheap food around. However, even if you pick a restaurant a couple can eat a great meal for $25.
We’ve been to China twice and certainly plan on going again. There’s so much to do and see. Checking off walking on the Great Wall is something that we’ll never forget. Beijing is great, but our favorite city is Xian, because we had the most amazing time with some locals there.
We didn’t travel at all with a group or tour, however, China was one of the harder places to get around as far as language is concerned. Saying that, we always found someone who spoke English, and now they are teaching it much more prevalently in the schools, so it’s just going to get easier and easier.
This is a place where I think I wore the hotel desk clerks out, because I bombarded them with questions on where to go, where to eat, how to get there. Luckily they were very gracious, and we did have a great time. What I know a lot of folks do is get there and get a hotel then take day tours for all the sights they want to see, so they don’t have the hassle of the getting there and buying tickets, which I think is a fantastic option.
Is it worth a visit? Yes, yes, and yes! China is a fascinating country. It’s history is so vivid and ancient. The biggest problem I always face is where to go. It’s huge! I just say go.
How long do we need? Unless you are just passing through, don’t go for less than 2 weeks and try to hit some of the bigger sites. You can easily fly or train between cities, and it’s not that expensive.
What is the general budget for visiting? China is probably one of the more expensive Asian countries to visit, but don’t let it deter you. It’s well worth it. Hotels on average in Beijing should cost you about $90-120 per night, but other parts of the country could be less. Eating in China will run the gamut, you can eat very cheaply and of course much more, but at a regular sit down restaurant a couple can eat for about $20-30 easily.
One of the best places to start your Asian travels, Hong Kong is such a great mix of Chinese and British. It’s easy to navigate, but it has that Asian chaotic feel at the same time. It can be a bit overwhelming because the city is so big, and by that I mean high, and there’s so many people. However, if you like cities, you will love it.
As you can imagine, with such a large city, there is tons to do. A couple of our best memories were visiting the Wishing Tree Temple, heading up Victoria Peak, and eating amazing food.
Is it worth a visit? Yes, Hong Kong is well worth the visit. If you are looking for the Asian feel, especially in a place that almost everyone speaks English, it’s a great first trip.
How long do we need? I think the perfect amount of time for Hong Kong, with a day or overnight trip to Macau, should be right around five or six days. There’s lots to do, and you’ll have no trouble filling up your itinerary.
What is the general budget for visiting? Hong Kong is a bit more expensive than some other places in Asia. Hotels run from very cheap to very expensive, but I would not pick a super cheap place unless you are really up for an adventure. You can probably find a good hotel around $125 per night. Meals again will widely vary from cheap street food to more expensive sit-down restaurants. For a regular meal for one couple it could run you about $30.
It’s been some time since we visited India, but we loved the colors, the people, and it’s definitely one of the best cuisines in the world. It’s called the “subcontinent,” which tells you that it is huge. Unless you plan on staying for months, you cannot possibly cover much ground. We’ve been twice, and loved both trips. Some of our favorite places were Rajasthan, Varanasi, and taking a backwater cruise through Kerala.
Is it worth a visit? Visiting India is a bit overwhelming on your senses, but it’s so worth the visit.
How long do we need? No matter how much time you spend in this vast country, you will not be able to see it all, so pick a state or two to focus on. We road-tripped through Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and that was two weeks. We spent another nine days in Kerala as well. I think to get a good feel of the country, I would not recommend less than 10 days minimum.
What is the general budget for visiting? India is pretty cheap to travel around. Everything from hotels to food and souvenirs will not really tax the budget, unless you want to go super luxury. As an example, here are hotels in New Delhi, a more expensive place than most in the country. Meals are also inexpensive. A couple can eat at most restaurants for about $20 for a great meal.
Indonesia is one of those countries that we keep going back to again and again. We’ve been to Bali, Flores, Komodo National Park, Yogyakarta, and some amazing temples like Borobudur and Prambanan.
It’s an easy country to travel in budget-wise. You can really stretch your dollars, and the sights are amazing. I love that each island has its own personality, specialty foods, and of course things to do.
Is it worth a visit? Indonesia is a beautiful and easy place to travel with fantastic sites, so yes, it’s well worth a visit.
How long do we need? A country of islands, it really depends on what your interests are. You can fly or take ferries between islands for not too much money, so you can really utilize your time wisely and see a lot. I would recommend that if you are staying on one island one week would be sufficient.
What is the general budget for visiting? Indonesia is somewhat budget-friendly. Good hotels will run you about $55 per night, and you can upgrade to a much more luxurious experience for about double that, which in western terms is pretty cheap. Meals are also cheap, ranging from $5-10 per person for sit-down meal.
Israel, what a country! It’s at once ancient, religious, and such a mixture of culture and diversity. The cities are modern, the historical sights will take your breath away, and the food is amazing.
Is it worth a visit? Israel with its tumultuous history, diverse cultures, and amazing food is definitely worth a trip!
How long do we need? We spent ten days driving around the country and feel like it was the perfect amount of time. You could do more if you have more time, but for a good taste ten days was great.
What is the general budget for visiting? Israel requires a medium budget. Hotels in Jerusalem are a bit higher than other parts of the country, but you can still get a room for two for around $125 per night. Restaurant meals can be about $12-$15 per person.
One of our favorite countries in the world, Japan is all at once exotic, clean, easy to navigate, has some of the most courteous people in the world, and the food is completely different than anywhere else. After living there for five years, we still can’t help but go back for more. We absolutely love it.
From temples to festivals, Tokyo to Sapporo, there is so much to do and see. It just never gets old. They have the best themed restaurants, sumo wrestling, anime and manga, kawaii culture, supreme bathing, and so much more.
Is it worth a visit? Japan is so worth a visit. You will love everything about this island country. Trust me.
How long do we need? The very minimum a trip to Japan should be one week, and that is only if you plan on staying in the Tokyo area. If you would like to do more than that I would say 2 or 3 weeks would be even better.
What is the general budget for visiting? Japan is definitely one of the most expensive countries to travel in Asia. Transportation and hotel costs are some of the highest in the region. However, it’s all clean and orderly, and well worth it, in my book. To give you an idea, here are some hotels in Tokyo to compare. You are looking at $150-$175 per night. Meals can be very inexpensive, but if you are sitting down in a restaurant, plan on at least $30 per couple for an inexpensive meal. For more traditional meals, you will definitely be paying a premium price.
Having initially gone to Jordan to experience the world heritage site of Petra, we were so surprised how much there is to see and do in this fantastic country. The historical sites dating back thousands of year to include important religious sites as well as Roman ruins and gorgeous desert vistas.
Is it worth a visit? Jordan is well worth a visit. It’s a lovely country with tons of sights and delicious food.
How long do we need? Ten days in Jordan is enough to get you to many of the places around the country.
What is the general budget for visiting? The best thing about Jordan is the cheap gas. It’s about the cheapest we’ve ever paid. Other costs are not bad either. It’s rather budget-friendly. Amman hotels are some of the more expensive in the country, so you can get a good idea of costs. You will probably spend about $75-$100 per night at a good hotel. You can, of course, buy some cheaper meals on the street, like at our favorite falafel stands, however for a regular restaurant, plan on about $20 per person for a sit-down meal.
Malaysia is another country we keep going back to over and over again. It’s something to do with the beauty of the countryside, the amazing fauna and flora, the tasty foods, and fun, almost chaotic cities like Kuala Lumpur.
From Proboscis monkeys to mouse deer, stunning national parks and gorgeous architecture and handicrafts, Malaysia really has so much to offer the traveler. It’s proximity to so much also makes it attractive for those that want to combine a couple of destinations in one vacation.
Is it worth a visit? Malaysia is definitely worth a visit, especially if you love wildlife. There is so much to see.
How long do we need? Malaysia has everything from sight-seeing historical sites to lovely beach resorts, so no matter how much time you spend there, you’re going to want to return. However, for a first trip, one week to ten days will give you a great look into the country.
What is the general budget for visiting? Malaysia gives you a good return for your money. The resorts and hotels are a bit cheaper than other countries. If you are going through Kuala Lumpur, the capital and most expensive city, you can compare hotels here to give you an idea for your budget. Meals are very cheap. You can eat at many food stalls all over the country and get anything you want there for next to nothing, maybe $5.00 per person. And eating in full-on restaurants, regular ones, will only cost a few dollars more, about $8-12 per person.
One of the most adventurous and fun trips we have ever taken was to Mongolia. Taking a Russian Van across the vast steppes was eye-opening, exotic, dusty, and just plain fun.
We stayed in locally owned gers, went camel riding in the lesser Gobi Desert, ate a local specialty called Khuushuur. We didn’t stay long in the capital city, Ulan Bator, but instead really embraced the old capital of Karakorum and the peacefulness of the rural countryside and Mongolia had to offer. I would go back in a heartbeat!
Is it worth a visit? One of our favorite countries, Mongolia is well worth a trip.
How long do we need? It’s a bit tough traveling around the country, so it takes some time. I would recommend at least ten days if you are going to get out and do more than just Ulan Bator.
What is the general budget for visiting? Mongolia is a cheap destination. Here are some Ulan Bator hotels to make a comparison, but out in the countryside you are paying a minimal fee to sleep in a ger. Meals are cheap as well. You can eat a meal in a restaurant for about $10.00 per person.
We’ve been to the Philippines one time, which is by far, not enough. There are so many islands and things to see, that it’s impossible to do in a short time. We stayed for ten days were able to go to two islands, Luzon and Palawan.
Incredible bright green terraced rice fields climbing up into the sky, delicious roadside food stalls, and those incredibly colorful Jeepneys; what’s not to love about a trip to the World Heritage Banaue Rice Terraces in the Phillipines?
Is it worth a visit? If you love beaches, relaxing, fresh fish, and a few historical sites mixed in the Philippines is definitely worth visiting.
How long do we need? To do a little justice to seeing the sights, don’t go to the Philippines for less than ten days. In all actuality, you’ll need double that.
What is the general budget for visiting? The Philippines is a truly budget-friendly place to visit. Hotels and resorts widely vary, but you can still have a rather luxury, relaxing stay for about $100 per night. Meals are also super cheap and you can eat at a restaurant for about $20 per couple.
A short trip, we spent only a layover in Doha, Qatar. However, it is a very small country, and I think we made the most out of it. Some of our must-see things to do are the traditional souks, the Museum of Islamic Arts, and the really cool Al Zubarah fort.
Is it worth a visit? Qatar is a really great country to spend a few days, well worth a short visit.
How long do we need? One or two days is enough, more of course, would be better.
What is the general budget for visiting? Qatar was a little more expensive than other countries. Here are some Doha hotels to compare, but prepare to pay about at least $100-$150 per night. Meals are much more expensive than most of Asia. You are looking at $55 for a couple’s restaurant bill.
One of the smallest countries in Asia, Singapore packs a punch! When people ask us where to start traveling in Asia, Singapore is always our answer, because everyone speaks English and it’s super clean and easy to navigate.
Is it worth a visit? Singapore is so simple to get around and see such fantastic sights, that it is definitely worth a visit.
How long do we need? A minimum of three of four days should be spent in Singapore, but if you want to dive in a little deeper, we’d suggest staying a bit longer.
What is the general budget for visiting? Singapore is pretty expensive for an Asian country. Hotels in Singapore are higher priced than in other countries, however, at least you’ll know you’re getting air conditioning. This is key! If you eat meals at the Hawker centers, you can save some money, but eating at a restaurant will run you at least $20 per person.
Having lived in Daegu, South Korea for three years we grew to love the quirkiness and fun of the Korean people. This ancient culture grapples with the traditional versus the modern, and hey, they’re really making it work.
To hike and marvel at the beautiful temples is a tribute to their traditions and history, and then there is the modern day instagram worthy everything from libraries to statues, like the little men of Jeju Island.
However the very best thing about visiting Korea is the spicy food. Kimchee, fried chicken, even eggs have a Korean twist that make them oh so delectable.
Is it worth a visit? South Korea is definitely worth visiting, and should be on everyone’s Asia itinerary. You will love it.
How long do we need? Not a huge country, you can do quite a lot on a 2 week trip to South Korea. At the minimum, spend a few days in Seoul than go and see the rest of the country.
What is the general budget for visiting? South Korea is not as cheap as it used to be. However, it’s not too hard on the pocketbook. Hotels, like these in Seoul, will cost you about $100 per night. Cheap meals can be found, but for a restaurant meal plan to pay at least $25 per couple.
We spent a week traveling around the big sites of Sri Lanka. It’s a beautiful island, and the historical sights and temples are stunning. We visted Sigirya, Dambulla Temple, Temple of the Sacred Tooth, and much more. My favorite places were the elephant orphanage and probably Galle, because the beach was so pristine.
Is it worth a visit? Sri Lanka is well worth a visit. There are so many amazing sights and beaches. You’ll love it.
How long do we need? To visit Sri Lanka, plan on at least 10 days. It’s enough to see the sights and enjoy some beach time.
What is the general budget for visiting? Budget-wise, Sri Lanka gives you good value for your money. Hotels and resorts vary widely in price depending on luxury, but even still it’s cheaper than many places in the world. An average luxury hotel price is about $100-$200 per night. If you want to stay at a regular hotel it should cost around $50 per night. Meals are super cheap. This is mainly because there are not many sit down restaurants that aren’t fast food. So a meal can cost you as little as $2.00 and up.
After traveling to Taiwan a couple of times, we really like it as a stopover point. A few days here and there allow us to get some great food, take in a museum and walk around some of the gorgeous parks. Taipei is a modern city, and what I love to do there most is eat!
Is it worth a visit? Taipei and Taiwan are definitely worth a trip. The food is amazing and the landscape is just gorgeous.
How long do we need? If you are just visiting Taipei, a few days is sufficient for a trip. However, take a week and get outside the city. Go to the Gorge or a beach. It’s great.
What is the general budget for visiting? Taipei is a bit more expensive than some of the other Asian countries, but still a pretty good deal. Here are some hotels in Taipei for you to get an idea of prices. Meals prices can be all over the place. There’s super cheap street food that’s very accessible. Then there’s some amazing restaurants where you’ll pay at least $10-15 per person.
United Arab Emirates
UAE is one of the places that we’ve stopped over, in Dubai, many times. It’s a great place to explore for a few days then get back on the plane. One of our favorite experiences was a tour of dune bashing, camel riding, and a night show out in the desert. So much fun!
Is it worth a visit? Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates, is definitely a trip worth taking. It’s adventure and luxury all mixed up into one memorable trip.
How long do we need? Two to three days is enough to get a taste of Dubai. Just make sure to take the desert tour!
What is the general budget for visiting? Dubai is pretty expensive, so it’s nice you can do it on a layover. Dubai hotel prices will run you at least $160-200 per night. Meals are also a little more expensive and in a nice restaurant expect to pay about $50 per person. Of course there are cheaper options for a day to day occurrence, where you can pay about $15 per person for a schwarma or café meal.
Vietnam is a fantastic Asian destination. The first time we all went to Vietnam together as a family, and we loved Hanoi, Hoi An, and Hue. There’s so much more to do there, though.
Is it worth a visit? Definitely worth a visit, Vietnam is a great Asian destination with its exotic temples and markets.
How long do we need? To do a quick tour of Vietnam, 2 weeks should be the minimum amount of time in the country. There’s lots to see all the way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh.
What is the general budget for visiting? Vietnam is a rather inexpensive place to visit. Hotels will cost around $75 per night, and meals are really cheap. You can eat in a restaurant for anywhere between $5-10 for a meal.
Traveling in Asia is always fun, new, and pretty exotic. With this run down of our impressions of each Asian country we’ve visited, we hope it gives you some idea of where your next vacation will be.
Have you been to Asia? What did you enjoy most? Please tell us in the comment section.