Asia is arguably the most popular region in the entire world with travellers, what with the abundance of culture and beauty to discover within its countries. However, with certain spots becoming oversaturated with tourism, it’s time to look to the lesser-known areas to visit instead. Here are just six of the cities you should visit in Asia that aren’t at all overcome by travellers.
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Being such a massive, influential city in India, you’d think more people would flock to the wondrous Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta). However, it’s skipped over by many tourists in favour of the more vibrant Delhi and Mumbai. It’s a shame, really – but it means you’re free to explore the laidback, magical atmosphere of the city without distraction.
Audley recommends the delectable Bengali cuisine on offer here in Kolkata, but there’s plenty more to see and do here besides the food. Visit the extravagant Marble Palace, where the family members of its architect still reside to this day. And be sure to stick around for one of Kolkata’s festivals – the book and film events are popular with revellers from around the world.
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Many tourists flock to Tokyo, Japan’s biggest, brightest and busiest city without a doubt. But it’s the quieter, more wistful city on the other side of the country that you should really consider visiting. Kyoto is steeped in culture and history, boasting some of the country’s most majestic temples and beautiful scenery.
Whether you’re exploring said temples or simply strolling through Kyoto’s centre, you’ll be overcome by the air of traditional Japan that flows freely through the city. As you stroll by the bank of the river under a shadow of cherry trees, with geisha appearing elusively through the evening, you’ll easily be able to see why this is arguably one of the most beautiful place in the entirety of Asia.
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When visiting the Indonesian island of Bali, most travellers head to either Kuta or Ubud, both of which have become considerably overcome with tourism in recent years, therefore losing their uncharted appeal. Seminyak, however, is different. Showcased here is a luxurious side to the island, referred to by some as “the grown-up neighbour to Kuta”.
If you’re planning on visiting one of the aforementioned other cities for the beach, fret not – Seminyak’s is just as impressive, if not more so what for its lack of tourists parading along the sand. And with a massive range of delicious restaurants and sprawling, high-end hotels to reside in, it’s a no-brainer – this is Bali’s hidden treasure.
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Nepal in general is widely overlooked by tourists travelling through Asia, except for the obvious appeal of the impressive Mount Everest on the country’s border. But it’s the city of Kathmandu you should really consider seeing – the heritage of this city is evident through its ancient architecture and the old city sitting in the centre of it all.
There’s an array of temples and other majestic buildings to see here in Kathmandu, the most impressive of which being the Monkey Temple where hundreds of the animals roam freely throughout the grounds. And be sure to explore the nearby Himalaya range, the peaks being some of the tallest in the entire world.
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If you’re looking for a party, Boracay is where it’s at. This Philippines island is teeming with energy throughout, with a range of quirky, eccentric restaurants and bars, beautiful beaches and an array of nightlife where you’re welcome to let your hair down and run free.
Although Boracay does get busy, it’s usually more with locals instead of tourists. So, you’ll effectively get an authentic yet bustling insight into the Philippines, where the main focus is simply having a good time. If you’re looking for an alternative to the typical European party islands, this is the place to be.
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This Thai city is unfairly overlooked in favour of the more popular Bangkok and Phuket – but don’t rule out visiting Chiang Mai, as it may be the most impressive and rewarding of the lot. After all, it’s here that you can trek up to the peak of DoiSuthep and take in some of the country’s most beautiful panoramas.
Being less busy and teeming than its sister cities, Chiang Mai offers an authentic insight into Thai culture and lifestyle without it being detracted from by the effects of tourism. Be sure to try the delectable street food on offer, as well as attending one of the many festivals – Songkran (Thai New Year) is said to be one of the best.