From a seaplane adventure in Vietnam to a remote monastery nestled in the craggy heights of Bhutan, we’ve rounded up six of the most fabulous views to be found in Asia. Which one will make it to your travel bucket list?
1. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Forget time travel: how about some make-believe space travel? Sure, a flight to the moon may be out of the question, but Mount Bromo’s alien landscape evokes lunar craters for a surreal experience with a killer view. Start your journey to this volcano within an volcano with mist creeping over the outer rim. Make your way by foot or vehicle over the reddish-brown, pitted plain of the outer crater, and you’ll arrive at the inner volcano’s base. You can even climb up a staircase hewn into the stone to peer inside the crater! Be warned, however that taking reckless crater selfies or breathing in too much of the toxic steam are both hazardous to your health.
2. Vang Vieng, Laos
Vang Vieng looks like it belongs in a fantasy novel: mountains wreathed in mist flank verdant valleys with statuesque limestone cliffs. The Nam Song River snakes through this elegant landscape, leading intrepid adventurers to hidden caves with secret histories waiting to be unearthed.
3. Hot Air Ballooning over Bagan, Myanmar
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in an era long past, before the age of bullet trains and jet planes: an era when air travel meant a flight in a hot air balloon, and steam engines were cutting-edge technology. We can’t quite do time travel (yet), but a hot air balloon ride over Bagan in Myanmar comes pretty close. It’s easy to think you’ve journeyed back in time as you soar over Bagan’s valley. The 2,000-odd ancient temple ruins add to the timeless charm of this unforgettable view. For a truly epic view, catch the sunrise or the sunset from your hot air balloon as you watch the Irrawaddy River meandering into the horizon.
4. Banaue, Northern Luzon, the Philippines
There are rice terraces, and there are the rice terraces of Banaue. What sets this UNESCO World Heritage site apart from the other rice terraces of North Luzon? It’s in the walls: in many other parts of the Cordillera, the rice paddy terraces have stone walls, but Banaue’s rice terraces have mud walls. This gives them a look that is softer than the stone-walled terraces, but far more impressive at the same time. The best views of Banaue’s rice terraces are found at the viewpoint, which can be accessed via a tricycle ride.
5. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
You might think that a remote monastery built in 1692 and nestled 3,000 metres above sea level in Bhutan is just a film trope, but we assure you that the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is very real. This is a view that you really have to work for; you’ll need guides and the reflexes of a mountain goat to lead you up the rocky, steep and sometimes alarming path to the monastery. Once you get to the top, the view of mountain tops and the Paro Valley below will chase away any lingering fatigue or regrets. Bonus: you can rest and meditate at the monastery while contemplating the stunning vistas.
6. Seaplane over Halong Bay, Vietnam
If you’ve gone on a cruise at Halong Bay, you’re probably familiar with its charming views. However, you haven’t quite seen Halong Bay in all its picturesque glory until you’ve seen it from a seaplane. There’s nothing like a bird’s-eye view of the emerald-green bay, freckled with karst islands. To get the best of both worlds, hop onto a junk boat for a cruise after your scenic seaplane experience.
Like the list? Leave us a comment if you have more travel spot to share!