It’s easy for travellers to Asia to get distracted with trying to visit the usual sites, but there’s a depth and nuance here that shouldn’t be overlooked. So over the next few weeks we’re going to present some alternative places and help you see a different side of Asia.
If you are someone who has already dedicated a decent portion of your life to travelling around the world, chances are you’ve already visited the places you wanted to visit most. Everyone has a few places high up on their list of priorities growing up or in their teens, during a time when they already have their own interests but do not have enough of their own money to actually do anything with them.
If you’ve already gone through your initial travelling bucket list, then you are probably already seeking a destination for your new adventure. It’s just never enough, is it? Now you could go and visit the usual suspects, the beaches of Phuket, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Bali, you get the drift. Alternatively, you could be a bit more creative and actually feel like you’re on an adventure for once. If you cannot decide on a destination because all of them are somewhat appealing, go there for a “reason”.
Of course, the whole idea of going there should be reason enough, but just for that extra bit of assurance in the back of your mind, you can think of some more tangible reasoning. Let’s look at a few places you could visit, with some easier self-justification.
Now, there are many, maybe even too many reasons, to go to China. Other than the more obvious Great Wall of China, which is still amazing despite being overdone, China is simply filled with beautiful sights. Zhangjiajie is a landscape which looks like something out of a sci-fi movie with an overgrown jungle planet, yet tranquil and serene at same time. It is a prefecture-level city in the northwestern part of the Hunan province. Going there for some more unusual sightseeing might just prove to be the reason you’ve always needed to convince yourself to visit china.
If sightseeing isn’t really your thing then consider looking into some of the local cuisine. China’s cuisine is far from normal compared to western standards, and an easy point of interest for food lovers. If stuffing your face full of new flavours isn’t your thing, you can always try one of the other local specialities, namely tea. I
t is no secret that tea has been exported by the tonnes from China for centuries, and if you find yourself a bit of a tea enthusiast, you could always check out the World Tea Directory, and find out how to make the most of your tea-venture. There probably is no other place more suited towards some tea-oriented recon than China, and being indisputably the largest producer of tea in the world, it is a no-brainer to see why.
Once again, the far east, a place so alien to the average westerner, that there is a plethora of reasons to go from the get-go, no need for careful planning. Tokyo is a busy metropolis with towering buildings in the business district, intertwined with shrines and temples alike, creating a somewhat bizarre ensemble. A futuristic metropolis full of arcades, game centres, pachinko parlours, maid cafes, heavily contrasting with the traditionalism of Shinto shrines and small tranquil gardens.
Kyoto on the other hand, is much more traditional in a general sense. Geishas busying around in side streets, matcha flavoured everything, the Minami-za kabuki theatre on the main road of Gion-Shijo, men and women walking around in traditional outfits like kimonos and yukatas alike.
For the most part, a trip to Japan can be such a culture shock, that you will be left in awe wherever you go. If you really feel like you need to go for one good single reason, then go to Japan at the start of April, to see the Sakura (cherry blossoms). The Sakura Festival, called Hanami, is a sight to behold, and a near-ancient tradition celebrated through the centuries. Every year when the Sakura bloom, people gather to celebrate the beauty of the flowers in a spectacular fashion. If you cannot quite picture it, just run a quick google search for some pictures from previous sakura festivals, it should be more than enough to convince you to go.
There are many things to see and experience in the world’s largest continent than just the usual sights and sounds. So stayed tuned and we’ll continue to show you a different side of Asia.