I am a huge Asia fan and have traveled extensively in the region, however when it comes to picking my favorite countries I think the following countries are my top five.
Nepal is an amazing country full of history, thousand year old temples and stunning scenery.
It is the perfect place for people who like nature and a bit of adventure. It is home to the majestic Himalayas and even if you are not an experienced trekker there are plenty of easy hikes for taking in the sheer beauty of this stunning mountain range. If you are into trekking though then Nepal has some of the best treks in the world, from the Annapurna circuit to the famous Everest Base Camp trek.
If trekking is not your thing then why not head to Pokhara for some wildlife spotting, including rhinos and elephants. Pokhara is also the perfect place for some adventure sports, such as white water rafting or zip lining. Nepal really has something for everybody and I highly recommend visiting it to anyone.
China is probably one of the craziest countries I have ever been to in Asia but it will always have a special place in my heart because it was the destination of my honeymoon.
At first I had a bit of a culture shock when I arrived in China.
People were repeatedly spitting on the floor, the food on sale on the streets was a little gross with everything from bats, scorpions and duck fetuses, and babies had holes in their trousers flashing their bare bottoms with what is called a Chinese diaper.
However, despite all this I visited some of the most amazing sights from the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, to the serene countryside with rice paddies in Guilin. China is massive and each region is so different. One day you can be in the cold mountains and the other day you can be in the tropical south. There really is something exciting to discover for everyone in China.
Vietnam is a beautiful country complete with rice paddies, gorgeous beaches and amazing food. Vietnam’s tragic past can still be witnessed throughout the country though, from bullet holes in buildings, to the remaining Cu Chi tunnels which were used by the Vietcong to hide from the American troops, and the War remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh City which displays very graphic photos of the horrors of the Vietnam War.
In my opinion it is important to visit these kinds of sights to get a true understanding of a country’s history and to understand present struggles that may be a result of these historic events.
Vietnam is also home to some amazing UNESCO World heritage sites though, such as the jungle temple of My Son or the incredible limestones in Halong Bay. Oh and if you are fed up of your backpacker clothes, then why not head to one of the many tailors all over the country? You can get a suit, shirts or dresses tailor made for a fraction of the price you would pay in a Western country.
When I first arrived to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur I thought I was in a Western city.
If it hadn’t been for the unusual street food such as the durian fruit that smells like foul eggs. Despite the smell it is a delicacy for locals, but you are not allowed to consume it in public buildings. The modern architecture has long replaced traditional wooden houses and the incredible Petronas Towers, once the highest building in the world, look like something out of Star Wars.
Kuala Lumpur is also a Mecca for shopaholics, from modern shopping malls to local markets, there really is something for everybody. Malaysia also has some incredible wildlife though. From the jungles of Taman Negara to Borneo, you can visit some of the oldest rain forests in the world and may even be able to spot a wild orang utang.
If you are a beach bum then Malaysia doesn’t disappoint either. You will be able to find some of the whitest beaches and clearest waters in Asia, perfect to try out some diving or even get PADI certified.
The last country in my top five I would like to highlight is my beloved Cambodia. I have lived in Cambodia for two years, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I initially came there for some volunteering work, but I soon found a paid job in International Development and so I stayed longer than my initially anticipated 6 months.
Cambodia is a country with a very tragic history, where the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the loss of millions of lives. That reign of horror was followed by years of civil war and the effects of those historic tragedies can be seen throughout the country to this day.
Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia, but it is also one of the most beautiful countries in this region.
Cambodia has undiscovered jungles, stunning deserted islands without a tourist in sight, and of course one of the most incredible UNESCO world heritage sites in the world – the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor Wat. There are 10 things you should definitely do when you’re in Cambodia. Cambodians are some of the friendliest and most warm hearted people I have ever met. Despite the poverty they always have the most heartwarming smile on their face. If you visit Cambodia I am sure they will warm your heart too!
So, which out of these countries would you like to travel too?
Tammy Lowe hails from Germany, but has been living an expat life for the past 10 years. In 2011 she and her hubby quit their cubicle jobs in London to travel the world and work and volunteer along the way. Tammy is currently in Cambodia volunteering as a communications adviser for a human rights NGO. She blogs about her experiences and misadventures on her blog Tammy & Chris on the move. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram.
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