Australians have an enduring love affair with Asia. The food and culture, beaches and bustling cities – they combine to make the region ideal for wide range of travellers.
Better still, our proximity to the continent means travellers can be walking on the white sandy beaches of the Philippines, or soaking up the rich culture of Japan in a matter of just hours with very little jetlag.
To celebrate the diversity of the region, Flight Centre has compiled its pick of Asian destinations.
BEST FOR BEACHES: PHILIPPINES
There are more than 7,000 islands – many with pristine white sandy beaches – in the Philippines meaning there’s a beach to suit every taste, traveller and budget here.
Whether it’s surfing, partying, diving, tanning, swimming or island hopping, the Philippines has you well and truly covered.
Those who crave the party island life and don’t mind crowds of tourists should head for Boracay.
If you’re keen to get back to nature and be one with the ocean, then Palawan is a better bet.
If you’re simply craving your own stretch of isolated beach, Sipalay’s Sugar Beach is the ultimate Robinson Crusoe-like destination while Pagudpud offers travellers the whites sand, bluest water and exceptionally scenic drives.
BEST FOR RELAXATION: THAILAND
Thailand abounds with wellness and meditation retreats hidden away in tropical forest, among rice paddies and on isolated beaches.
Here, visitors are encouraged to refresh and relax not just through its retreats and spas, but also through its happy, welcoming culture and fragrant, refreshing cuisine.
Whether it’s relaxing on a sun soaked beach, meditating in a sacred temple, devouring delicious Thai food at a wellness retreat or enjoying a quintessential Thai massage in the comforts of the resort spa; Thailand is the relaxation destination.
BEST FOR FOOD: HONG KONG
Famous for its glittering high rises that flank the harbour and bustling city, Hong Kong is equally renowned as the food capital of Asia thanks to its stunning array of street food, Michelin Star restaurants and everything in-between.
Speak to anyone who has visited Hong Kong and they will always mention the food first; whether it’s the delicious array of dim sum, dumplings and the soupy Xiao Long Bao, crispy roasted Peking Duck or the city’s ridiculously popular egg tarts.
It’s not just local cuisine and Chinese food that’s on offer – Hong Kong is a city that overflows with culture and travellers can delight in cuisines from around the world including Korean, Indian, French and Italian as well as some of the best steakhouses in all of Asia.
BEST FOR NATURE: MALAYSIA
There’s so much more to Malaysia than the shopping and sky scrapes of Kuala Lumpur. Get out of the city and nature lovers will discover some seriously enticing natural attractions.
Get off the beaten track in Malaysian Borneo to discover wild jungles filled with mountains, remote tribes, orang-utans, pygmy elephants and spectacular diving. In Langkawi you’ll find pristine beaches, world-class bird watching, jungle trekking, waterfalls and the oldest mountain on the Malay Peninsula.
In the cooler climes of the Cameron Highlands, travellers can explore tea plantations and strawberries filled with fruit, ripe for the picking.
BEST FOR A QUICK BREK: BALI
It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from most Australian capital cities, which makes Bali Flight Centre’s pick for a quick getaway.
It also offers something for everyone. There are pristine beaches, excellent surfing and diving, lush tropical rainforests, rice paddies and more resorts and private villas than you could poke a stick at.
Those looking for a little Asian chaos will find it in Kuta. Seminyak is better suited for those looking for a touch of designer luxury, while Ubud is better for those seeking tranquillity.
BEST FOR TOURS: VIETNAM
For a small country, there’s a lot of ground to cover in Vietnam. While the country’s diversity and beauty is quite astonishing, the destination can be overwhelming to even the most seasoned traveller which makes joining a tour a sensible option.
Join a tour to best explore old towns, sail turquoise waters dotted with limestone islands, or adventure into rural areas to taste the deliciously distinct, fragrant and fresh cuisine. Your tour company will take care of all the logistics for you.
BEST FOR CULTURE: JAPAN
Different to other Asian cultures, Japanese culture has been developed over thousands of years, is steeped in history and continues to evolve.
Geisha’s, samurai, Zen gardens and Japanese tea ceremonies often spring to mind when it comes to Japanese culture but it’s much more dynamic and distinct. Japan’s juxtaposition of old and new works perfectly from Kyoto’s Gion district where Geisha’s practice traditional song and dance, to Tokyo’s Harajuku and electronic districts that have embraced a kind of pop-culture that has to be seen to be believed.
BEST FOR HISTORY: CHINA
As one of the worlds oldest continuous civilised countries, dating back more than 10,000 years, China is perfect for history buffs who aren’t afraid to travel a little further.
From the crumbling Great Wall to beautiful Buddhist statues and the quaint Terracotta Warriors, to quaint villages and mountains topped with age-old temples, China has oodles of historic attractions.
BEST FOR A CITY BREAK: SINGAPORE
Singapore isn’t just a great Asian city, it’s one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and a favourite stopover destination for travellers from around the globe.
A jungle of skyscrapers, the city offers districts dedicated to luxury shopping, electronics and antiques. There’s the spicy allure of Chinatown, the resort-like ambience of Sentosa Island, cuisine ranging from excellent street food and hawker centres to five-star restaurants, accommodation to suit all budgets and styles and lush jungle on the city fringes. It truly is the city with it all.
Subscription successful! Thank you for subscribing.