6 Top destinations in Asia for 2019

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So, what are the top destinations in Asia, in 2019? I guess the only person who can answer that is you, it all depends on what you’re looking for!

One thing for sure is if you start looking at brochures/tour websites on where to spend your hard earned money you could find yourself stranded in one of the most over rated places known to man.

No matter how crap the place, there will always be someone trying to earn commission by selling it to you!

For example: Alleppey in south India, swarming in mosquitos, shit beach and nothing to do but take a boat ride on the sewage infested backwaters.

Proof you really can polish a turd!!

After a recent 9 month trip across Asia, over 40 destinations spanning 6 countries on two continents I guess its time to share the best/most under rated places I visited. 

Without anymore waffle, I’ve chosen one place that I thought was best from each country I visited. Here they are:

Pai – Thailand

river in pai thailand

Best time to visit:

I was there in April and the weather was perfect. Fairly hot and sunny in the day and still warm at night.

High season is November to March.

Why its on the list:

To put it simply, you can’t or shouldn’t go to Northern Thailand without visiting Pai. I spent nearly a week in Pai and only left because a 1 month visa really doesn’t last that long and I still had much more of Thailand to see. It’s not unheard of for people to do multiple visa runs and just blast the time in Pai.

Situated halfway around the Mae Hong Son loop this is an amazing place to explore by motorbike. Wide, smooth, twisty mountain roads smothered in beauty with a smattering of waterfalls, hot springs and viewpoints. It really is an adventurer’s playground.

Within the village constraints you’ll find a quite hippy/bohemian vibe, good night life and an abundance of cheap, tasty local street food. Northern Thailand is much cheaper than the more famous “islands” and in my eyes, far better.

I have written a full post about the magical world of Pai. Give it a read and see if its the place for you.

Where to stay:

As stated above, Pai is cheap, very cheap. With a dorm bed being found for as little as 80 THB per night. Although, I did walk past that place, I’m no snob but…..

I stayed in a place called Slow Life Sabadie. A little more expensive but well worth it. 250 THB per night, free breakfast and a swimming pool.

Pulau Kapas – Malaysia

Kapas island beautiful beach

Best time to visit:

I was there in June and the weather was perfect apart from a little rain for a couple of hours one afternoon.

October to February is the monsoon season and Kapas island is closed to tourists.

Why its on the list:

Pulau Kapas is stunning! Crystal clear blue water, no rubbish, cheap and peaceful. Do I really need to say more?

Kapas island is a place where you step of the ferry and basically throw your shoes away for the duration of your stay.

You can get everywhere on the island within a 10 minute walk either along the pristine beach or down the one sand trail to the other side of the island.  There’s no roads, no noise, no drama.  

You can’t book many of the hostels online, you just have to turn up and hope for the best. I asked one of the hostel workers how that is in today’s age of technology. He gave the simply reply of “we’re always full…”

Even with all of the accommodation full, the island doesn’t feel at all overwhelmed. There’s 4 or 5 good size sandy beaches and only a few guesthouses and bungalows.

There are a couple of scuba dive centres on the island but to be honest 3 of the beaches have really good snorkelling so no need to fork out on expensive dive courses.

There ain’t no full moon parties here, no neon clad hardcore ravers decimating the peace and tranquillity here.

How long will it last? Judging by pretty much every other paradise island in South East Asia…. Not long, not long at all!

Where to stay:

I stayed at a place called KBC (Kapas Beach Chalet) the accommodation was decent, 2 person chalets overlooking the beach.

The menu was limited. When I say limited what I mean is, you have a choice of 2 dishes at each meal time. Limited it may be, but the food was awesome!   

sunset on kapas beach

The communal area was excellent, hammocks, bean bags and floor mats. A nice place to sink a few beers and watch the sunset.

Koh Rong – Cambodia

Koh rong beach

Best time to visit:

With low humidity and dry sunny day the best time to visit Koh Rong is between November and May.

I was there in July and it was hot, sticky and rained for a couple of hours daily. With that said, it was quieter with cheaper prices.

Why its on the list:

Another island paradise, this time off the coast of Cambodia.

A quick 45 minute ferry from Sihanoukville and you reach this slightly more party orientated island. Koh Rong has beautiful blue water and long sandy beaches that stretch as far as you can see.

Koh Rong has lots to offer depending on what you are looking for.

Stay around the main tourist area of Kaoh Touch and you’ll be bombarded with drinking games and some seriously crazy night time antics.

However, if you’re looking for a more peaceful/ relaxing break then head 3km North East to Long Set Beach where there are less bars, less people and one of the best beaches in South East Asia. 

Koh rong beach

Where to stay:

I stayed in some big white glamping type tent right on the beach, it seem like a great idea until the sun came out and it hit 40C. place was like an oven. The only place you could relax in the daytime was in the sea.

Luckily for you, I’ve been the guinea pig on the glamping tent. Reef on the beach also do more substantial and COOLER wooden huts on the beach. Maybe try one of those.

Nice place to be though.

Ha Giang Province:

Ha giang province vietnam

Best time to visit:

Between May and August is the hottest time of year but also the wettest. Motorbike, switchback roads, sheer cliffs…. Maybe the wet season is not the best time.

The best weather to be had is between September and October. This is when its not raining everyday and still warm enough to not be freezing your arse off.

I went n September and other than the odd rainy day the weather was perfect.

Why its on the list:

Not really a single destination but hands down, the Ha Giang Province is the nicest part of Vietnam that I visited.

mountains in ha giang province vietnam

Hire a motorbike and hit the mountains of northern Vietnam for the ultimate adventure. You choose, will it be a 5 day 2ookm journey around just a small part of Ha Giang or will it be the full fat 11 day, 700km mission.

After trekking the Annapurna circuit this is the most fun I had in the 9 months I was in Asia. 

Although the villages in Ha Giang are not yet ruined by tourism there is the right amount of infrastructure so that finding a bed and food is easy in every village.

Once again, with the Ha Giang loop becoming ever more popular, soon enough, we will ruin it. So the time to go is now!!!

Click here to read more about the Ha Giang Loop.

Where to stay:

Depending on what part of the loop you do depends on where you’ll stay. I have mentioned some of the better guesthouses in the link above.

Jaisalmer – India

the jaisalmer fort entrance

Best time to visit:

People visit Jaisalmer in winter when the days are warm but the nights are pretty cold.

Travel to Jaisalmer in summer and you’ll be looking at daytime temperatures of well over 40C. Too hot to do anything!

I was there in December and the days were nice but you’ll certainly need some warm clothes at night. A nice change from south and central India where it’s just HOT!

It’s a desert though so no rain at all some years.

Why its on the list:

Culture, culture, culture!

When travelling in India you’ll notice that the north has much more culture than the south and Jaisalmer is certainly in the North so to speak.

A former medieval trade post, slap bang in the middle of the Rajasthan desert, complete with its own very impressive fort, there’s no doubt the “golden city” is up there with places to visit in India.

Jaisalmer, is nothing if not a little crazy. To be fair that all adds to its charm.

Sharing narrow streets with cows in the fort, to strolling around the market trying to buy some fruit be fore the cows steal it all.

Streets of the jaisalmer fort
jaisalmer market

Everyone has the perception that the Indian people have a deep respect for cows…. Tell that to the veg store owner who can be seen hitting the cow with a stick before it snaffles all of his veggies…

From Jaisalmer you can easily go off and spend a few days in the desert, either by jeep or by camel. (I recommend no more than 2 nights if you choose the latter).

lady walking across the jaisalmer desert

Failing that if you just want to go and have a relaxing time you could seek out the Bhang Lassi shop, (right in front of the fort gates, a little to the left) and then find a place with a nice roof top and settle in for a bit of people watching….

When it comes to to green lassi –

  • 150rs for a normal
  • 250rs for a strong
  • 400rs for a “full power, 24 hour, no toilet, no shower”.

See there’s something for everyone in Jaisalmer….

Where to stay:

In all honesty the place I stayed in Jaisalmer was a bit grim so I not be recommending it.

Accommodation in Jaisalmer is extremely cheap. you can find a bed for as cheap as £1, but with that said its probably an idea not to go with the cheapest as I found out.

Pokhara – Nepal

Pokhara lake

Best time to visit:

I was there in January and it was pretty quiet, roughly 20C in the day but pretty chilly at night.

Temperatures rise in the summer months but with the amount of bars around, my best guess is that it becomes one big 18-30’s resort….

All depends on what you are looking for.

Why its on the list:

Its just a nice place to be.

Out of many of the destinations I visited, Pokhara is one of the very few places I could envisage myself living long term.

In the off season anyway(Jan). Quiet, peaceful, beautiful lake amazing food and amazing people.

Although I didn’t get to see much of Nepal, as the Annapurna circuit took 19 days of my 1 month visa, the 7 days I spent in Pokhara were bliss.

After walking over 300km through mountains it was no secret that the pants were starting to hang off me and the fact that I needed to regain a little pork had never been so evident. What better place to do this than Pokhara!?

The amount of snack bars and restaurants here is unbelievable! Either on the main road or skip through the fake Disney world onto the banks of the lake and your surrounded by places to feed your face.

Prices of food are very reasonable here too!

Add this to the amazing Nepalese people and you’re always onto a winner.

Where to stay:

I stayed at the Pokhara Youth Hostel.

It has a great location, its cheap and the staff, like all Nepalese people are really friendly.

Stay here if you get chance.

9 months in the making

There you have it 9 months, 6 countries, 2 continents all condensed down to my 6 top destinations.

Out of the countries above would you agree!?


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2 thoughts on “6 Top destinations in Asia for 2019

  • May 29, 2019 at 8:14 pm
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    Hi Anthony,

    Interesting article, I went over To Kaula Lumpa (excuse the spelling) in Malaysia a couple of years back, I’m planning to visit Malaysia again next year but with the aim of seeing more of the country side as supposed to spending all my time in the city, Pulau Kapas sounds perfect, a quick question about the food though was it mainly seafood/ fish as I may struggle with that as I’m allegeric to alot of it 🙁

    Reply
    • June 8, 2019 at 7:10 pm
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      Hi Nate, thanks for reading. I’m quite fussy when it comes to food and I’m really not a fan of seafood. On Kapas there was a really good variety of food available. It’s only a 5 minute ferry ride away from the mainland so not as isolated as you may think.

      Reply

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