There are a million different travel experiences you can have in Asia, but not all of them are truly unique to the region.
You can dive hidden coral reefs, hike pristine rainforest trails and explore ancient ruins in Asia, but these are things you could do in a number of different parts of the world.
For travel experiences you can only have in Asia, you need to tap into the knowledge of insiders like us, who know the best travel experiences unique to this part of the world.
To give you an idea of all the unforgettably amazing things you can do here, we’ve shared our Top 10 travel experiences you can only have in Asia.
The Top 10 Travel Experiences
1. Drive a VW over volcanoes and through rice fields
Where in the world you can you take a road trip in a convertible jeep through rice paddies, jungles and volcanic terrain?
The Island of the Gods: Bali.
You can drive right up along the caldera of the island’s most active volcano, Mount Batur, and then around its tallest volcano, Mount Agung, before descending down lush slopes through little villages, past ancient temples, wind whipping through your hair.
2. Ride a 250-meter-high historic railway to an old British summer town
It’s even more scenic than it sounds.
This unique travel experience begins in Lashio in the Myanmar’s Shan State, where you board a train bound for picturesque colonial town Pyin Oo Lwin across the towering trestles of the Gokteik Viaduct.
Constructed in 1900, this impressive railway bridge spans 689 meters and provides spectacularly green views of the gorge. Just keep a good grip on your camera when you’re taking those panoramic shots.
3. Join a city-wide water fight for New Year
‘Songkran’ – Thai New Year – sees the country celebrate with high-spirited water fights. You’re assured a good-natured dousing and are more than welcome to grab a water cannon and join in the fun.
Songkran’s ‘len nahm’ (‘play water’) is best experienced in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, where revelry concentrates around the walls of the old city, specifically Thapae Gate.
Merit-making and other Thai Buddhist rituals also play a prominent role at Songkran, so be sure to also catch the more spiritual side of this joyous occasion.
4. Stay in a cave house near an ancient ceramic army
Visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an is already a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience, but what if we told you that you could explore the area in a 1960s-style jeep? And stay overnight in a cave dwelling.
And not only that, you could whip around the spectacular Loess Plateau in the sidecar of a vintage motorbike, giving you a thrilling open-air ride.
That would definitely be one of the most unique travel adventures you could have in Asia – if not the world.
5. Flying in a hot air balloon over 2,000 Buddhist temples
Here’s an exclusive travel experience that might not be possible for much longer – hot air-ballooning over the temples of Bagan, Myanmar.
Imagine floating high above those thousands of spires, centuries of history passing underneath, and landing just in time to watch sunset from the terrace of a temple.
Hot air balloons might be banned in Bagan over the next year, so put this on our to-do list soon!
6. Taking a Vespa tour in a city with more than 8.5 million motorbikes
‘When in Rome…’ as they say. Saigon is home to more motorbikes per capita than any other city on the planet, and there’s no better way to get around than as the locals do: on two wheels.
For an unusual travel experience that will leave you breathless at times, hop on a vintage Vespa and take to the streets.
Stop for coffee, street snacks and local banh mi – and prepare to hear the song of hundreds of horns as you make your way around the city’s sights.
7. Exploring a recently discovered ancient Khmer civilization
Imagine there’s more to the ancient Angkor site than Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm.
That there’s an older and more complex city structure hidden in the countryside.
Now imagine few foreign travelers ever go there. Such a place exists and it’s called Mahendraparvata.
Located on the Phnom Kulen plateau, the extent of the city was only recently discovered by archaeologists using LiDAR laser technology.
To really feel like an intrepid explorer, plan your trip to Mahendraparvata before it becomes part of the international tourist trail.
8. Spying Komodo dragons in their pristine tropical habitat
Did you know that komodo dragons are native to Indonesia? And that you can see them in the wild on five remote tropical islands?
One of these islands is (unsurprisingly) called Komodo and is part of Komodo Marine Park, where you can charter sailing tours and go island-hopping and find secret pristine beaches far away from the tourist crowds.
Seeing majestic komodo dragons in their own home is an Asian island experience simply impossible to have anywhere else.
9. See a sumo wrestling match in the flesh with 13,000 other people
You’ve seen sumo on a screen but nothing quite compares to attending a tournament in person.
Only in Asia – Sumida in Tokyo, to be specific – can you join a crowd of 13,000 people in the legendary Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium for the full, authentic sumo experience.
The Kokugikan is where the wrestling takes place, but for an up-close look you can catch the rishiki (wrestlers) in the mornings training at their heya (sumo ‘stable’), dotted all around Sumida ward.
10. Trekking in the world’s first carbon-negative country
Here’s one of the most joyful travel experiences you could hope for – visiting a country where citizens’ happiness is more important than economic output and there’s negative carbon footprint. Where?
All this, plus glorious Himalayan trails, preserved ‘dzong’ temple fortresses and the cleanest air you could imagine. A unique travel experience if ever there were one.
Any travel experience can be memorable, but there are certain experiences only Asia can deliver.
While the above is just a short list of the amazing things you can do in the region, it’s worth sharing so that more and more travelers can get to know the diverse beauty and uniqueness of Asia.