The Hottest Destinations in Asia for 2016

With wanderlust becoming a rapidly growing phase among millennials, destinations catering to young backpackers have exploded. With tons of beautiful sights, cultural diversity, amazing cuisine and the value to the Canadian dollar, Asia has become a go-to destination. Travelcuts, an online travel brand that encourages young people to see the world their way, has put together their top five must visit Asian destinations for 2016.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Dubbed the ‘perfect destination’ for first time travellers to Asia, the capital city has reinvented itself as the epicentre of Cambodia. The city is bursting with ancient temples and ruins, including the stunning Angkor Wat – the largest religious monument in the world. Boasting no shortage of culture, you can find things to do on every corner of Siem Reap, from museums with rich historical significance and markets filled with great local finds to dining experiences fit for the professional foodie and exciting nightlife. Backpackers are guaranteed to be in heaven with the large selection of party hostels, easy navigation of the city and endless list of things to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Beijing, China

Although costs in Beijing have gone up significantly in recent years, it is still a backpacker’s paradise. The capital city’s unique combination of modernity and history has given it perfect charm that appeals to young people. Beijing’s vast history means visitors can gain insight into China’s imperial past, visiting everything from the Great Wall, to a mausoleum of emperors of the Ming Dynasty and the Forbidden City. There are plenty of hostels filled with young likeminded travellers seeking experiences throughout the city that won’t break the bank. For authentic Chinese delicacies, affordable drinks and traditional architecture, visit Nanluogu Xiang; it’s ideal for visitors on a tight budget in Beijing.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Fairly new to the tourism front, the Vietnamese capital’s rare history rooted in Chinese and French influences has given the city a distinct vibe. Backpackers can uncover the best local cuisine, visit plentiful street merchants, discover the growing Hanoi arts scene and explore the many sights including more than 600 temples and pagodas – all of which is extremely affordable. For history buffs, Hanoi is the only city in Southeast Asia with an embalmed leader on display – the body of Ho Chi Minh lies preserved in a mausoleum. With its affordability and sheer beauty including the city’s more than two dozen lakes and thousands of French colonial-era buildings, Hanoi is a must for 2016 Asian destinations.

Ubud, Bali

One of the most peaceful places on Earth, Ubud is a must-visit for those looking to discover culture and explore nature. The city’s serene surroundings, creative atmosphere and bountiful shopping offers a little something for everyone. Make sure to book a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, stop by the iconic 19 th century Ubud Palace, savour the Bali delicacy babi guling (roasted suckling pig) and unwind with yoga at some of the best mediation destinations in the continent. Ubud is the perfect stop on a cross-continent trek to relax, recharge and take in beauty of Bali.

Ko Tao, Thailand

For anyone looking to explore the world beneath the ocean, look no further than Ko Tao, literally meaning Turtle Island. Known as one of the diving capitals of the world, this western Thai island offers hundreds of daily diving classes for divers at every level. Get your full certification or opt for a two-day program giving you just enough time to get your feet wet in the Pacific. Nearby, visitors will find Koh Nang Yuan, a cluster of three small islands connected by a massive sandbar. This picturesque natural wonder overlooks crystal blue water, white sand beaches and incredible topography, making you feel like you’re in the middle of a postcard. Finally, this unique island offers a culinary scene foodies only dream of. Expect vendors on every corner offering Thai creations that will have you drooling for days. As for the nightlife, while you won’t find the full moon party here quite as rowdy as its neighboring island Ko Pha-Ngan, it certainly doesn’t disappoint – think Thai buckets, fire shows and beach party.

These destinations are only a few of the stops you should take in your cross-continent trek around Asia. There is so much more to see, do, and capture. And if you're looking for the ultimate travel souvenir to make your memories last, record your epic trip and even see if it wins this year’s travelcuts film fest.

James Chung

Vancouver Lifestyle, Cool Tech & Travel Adventure. Email: [email protected]

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