Ready for an epic adventure? Check out these overlooked destinations in Asia for unique trips.
Now that the gates to the rest of the world have reopened, everyone’s ready to travel. But Japan? Bali? Australia? Been there, done that. In the age of Instagram and TikTok, authenticity (yes, it’s ironic) is key for us experience-hungry people. If you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime, check out our top picks for unique destinations in Asia.Unique destinations in Asia for 2022
1. Malapascua, Philippines
There’s a reason why Malapascua tops our list of unique destinations in the region. It’s an amazing spot for underwater activities and the only place in the world where you can dive with thresher sharks. Explore its sandy beaches and make time to dine at the amazing restaurants in the area. Tip: We recommend Ristorante Angelica for simple and delicious Italian cuisine. We love that there are so many luxury resorts on the island to choose from. It’s a cosy stay with picturesque beach views that you’ll miss dearly when you’re back in Singapore.
2. Haputale, Sri Lanka
Big nature fan? We have you covered. Take a trip to the town of Haputale in Sri Lanka. It’s full of lush greenery and agriculture, like roaring waterfalls and tea plantations. Stroll through the tea fields at the Dambatenne Tea Factory – and don’t miss the factory tour while you’re there. If you want to get outdoors, head to Horton Plains National Park and do the World’s End Hike. For a full immersion in local Sri Lankan culture and food, sign up for cooking classes taught by locals. You’ll be able to take these amazing Sri Lankan curry recipes home with you. What a treat!
Mongolia is an adventurer’s dream. Its landscapes are unparalleled and breathtakingly diverse. They include snow-capped mountain peaks, the Gobi Desert (the fifth largest in the world), towering sand dunes, red canyons, vast steppes and nature reserves. Have we mentioned the vast grasslands where thousands of white gazelles roam? It’s also one of the few nomadic countries in the world, with pastoralists making up a large part of the population. Venture into the wild: we recommend horse riding through the valleys or exploring the desert dunes on a camel. A good hike in the mountains will also provide eye-opening visits to majestic monasteries.
4. Sulawesi, Indonesia
Think Bali is the island of the gods? You haven’t seen anything like Sulawesi. Despite being one of Indonesia’s main islands, it’s quiet on the tourist front (and thank goodness for that). We’re happy to wax lyrical about its beauty – the rugged island is teeming with natural landscapes. In Tana Toraja, you’ll be greeted by emerald rice fields and rich tribal culture (where you can observe unique death rituals, including effigies and cave burials). There are also stunning dive sites with abundant marine life in Bunaken and Togean Islands, as well as volcanoes and lush rainforests.
Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, is Asia’s newest country – it gained independence from Indonesia in 2002. Still untouched by the hordes of tourists, the predominantly Catholic former Portuguese colony boasts incredible natural beauty. Think crystal clear waters teeming with marine life, tropical reefs and magnificent mountain ranges. Choose from a variety of itineraries that include cultural visits to traditional Bunak houses (an ethnic group who live in the mountains). Don’t miss out on activities like scuba diving and hiking!
6. Ladakh, India
For a unique take on India, skip the bustling capitals of Mumbai, Delhi or Rajasthan and head to Ladakh. It’s a favourite among trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts. Located in Jammu and Kashmir, the region is known for its barren landscapes and awe-inspiring jagged peaks. Of all the unique destinations in the world, you’ll find plenty of visual wonders here. Think of the stunning lakes in various shades of green and blue nestled in the Himalayas. Buddhism is their way of life, so expect to see the odd monastery nestled deep in the mountains.