Most Underrated Places In Asia

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Asia is a continent celebrated for its iconic landmarks and bustling cities. It is also a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by intrepid travelers. While the Great Wall of China and the beaches of Bali have captured global attention, this article invites you on a journey to explore the lesser-known wonders of Asia—focusing on the most underrated places and hidden gems that beckon tourists and travelers.

1. Luang Prabang, Laos: A Tranquil Haven in Northern Laos

Nestled amidst the lush mountains of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is a destination that transcends serenity. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, it boasts a captivating blend of French colonial architecture, glistening temples, and a vibrant night market. Start your exploration at Wat Xieng Thong, a mesmerizing Buddhist temple adorned with intricate mosaics and gold leaf decorations. The town is renowned for the daily dawn almsgiving ritual by saffron-robed monks, an experience that leaves an indelible mark on the soul. For panoramic views, ascend Mount Phousi and savor a breathtaking sunset. Culminate your day by indulging in the local cuisine, sampling Laotian dishes at the night market, and taking a refreshing dip in the turquoise pools surrounding the Kuang Si Waterfalls.

luang prabang
Luang Prabang

2. Hoi An, Vietnam: Stepping Back in Time on Vietnam’s Coast

Hoi An, a coastal gem in central Vietnam, offers a journey back in time with its well-preserved ancient town. This living testament to Vietnam’s rich history is adorned with colorful lanterns and narrow, winding streets. Begin your exploration at the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, an emblematic symbol of the town’s charm. Immerse yourself in local culture through cooking classes, where you can whip up traditional Vietnamese dishes using fresh market ingredients. As night falls, witness the magical transformation of the town into a wonderland with lantern-lit streets and floating candles on the Thu Bon River. For a truly unique experience, time your visit with the Full Moon Lantern Festival, where the entire town is illuminated, and traditional performances unfold along the riverbank. Don’t forget to acquire tailor-made clothing from skilled artisans, ensuring a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Hoi An
Hoi An – Vietnam

3. Gili Islands, Indonesia: Tranquil Paradise Beyond Bali

Escape the hustle and bustle of Bali and set sail for the tranquil Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok. Comprising Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno, each island offers its own idyllic charm.

  • Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three, beckons with vibrant nightlife, bustling markets, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving.
  • Gili Air, with its relaxed atmosphere and charming beachfront cafes, provides a slower pace of life.
  • Gili Meno, the smallest island, is a true paradise for honeymooners and those seeking solitude.

Dive into an underwater wonderland, where vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine life await exploration. Whether you opt for a glass-bottom boat tour to spot sea turtles, embark on a snorkeling adventure, or try your hand at paddleboarding, the absence of motorized vehicles on the islands adds to the serene atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Gili Meno
Gili Meno – Indonesia

4. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Myanmar: Witnessing the Gravity-Defying Golden Rock

Perched precariously on the edge of a cliff in Mon State, Myanmar, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as the Golden Rock, is a testament to both faith and architectural marvel. The pagoda, believed to balance on a strand of Buddha’s hair, defies gravity and stands as an awe-inspiring pilgrimage site. To reach this sacred destination, embark on a scenic journey along winding mountain roads, followed by a thrilling truck ride up the hill. As you reach the summit, marvel at the golden boulder that appears to defy all odds, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lush countryside. Time your visit for sunset or sunrise, when the pagoda bathes in a golden hue, creating a surreal and unforgettable experience.

5. Mawlynnong, India: Asia’s Cleanest Village in Meghalaya

Tucked away in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, Mawlynnong has earned its reputation as “Asia’s Cleanest Village.” Beyond its exceptional cleanliness, the village showcases sustainable and eco-friendly practices, offering a refreshing escape from the chaos of modern urban life. A leisurely walk through the village reveals vibrant gardens, bamboo dustbins, and neat footpaths. Explore well-maintained houses made of bamboo and thatch, each contributing to the village’s unique charm. Visit the Living Root Bridge, a natural wonder formed by intertwining the roots of rubber trees, providing a sustainable solution for crossing rivers and streams. Immerse yourself in the local Khasi culture by trying traditional dishes such as Jadoh (a meat and rice dish) and Pudoh (a fermented rice cake). As you venture into the surrounding areas, be sure to visit the breathtaking Dawki River, known for its crystal-clear waters and the opportunity to go boating on traditional Khasi bamboo rafts.

6. Nara, Japan: Tranquility Amidst Japan’s Historical Treasures

While Kyoto and Tokyo often steal the limelight, the city of Nara, located in the Kansai region of Japan, holds its own distinctive charm. Renowned for its friendly deer population and historical treasures, Nara is a paradise for culture enthusiasts.

Begin your journey at Nara Park, where hundreds of freely roaming deer captivate visitors. These gentle creatures are considered sacred and believed to be messengers of the gods. Explore the ancient temples, including the magnificent Todaiji Temple, home to the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. Marvel at Kasuga Taisha, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of stone and bronze lanterns that line its paths. For a serene escape, visit Yoshikien Garden, a tranquil oasis featuring three beautifully landscaped gardens representing different styles of Japanese horticulture. Nara’s rich history and the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature make it a truly enchanting destination.

Nara Park
Nara Park

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7. Bagan, Myanmar: Ancient Temples and Pagodas Amidst Sprawling Plains

Myanmar’s Bagan is a mesmerizing treasure trove of ancient temples and pagodas, rivaling the grandeur of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The sprawling plains of Bagan are adorned with over 2,000 well-preserved temples, some dating back to the 9th century. Immerse yourself in the magic of Bagan by renting a bicycle or taking a hot air balloon ride to witness the sunrise or sunset over this breathtaking landscape.

Begin your temple exploration with Ananda Temple, a masterful architectural gem known for its exquisite murals and four gilded Buddhas. Discover Dhammayangyi Temple, the largest temple in Bagan, with its mysterious dark corridors and impressive brickwork. For panoramic views, climb to the top of Shwesandaw Pagoda, one of the popular sunset spots. Don’t miss the chance to visit smaller, lesser-known temples, where hidden treasures await. Moreover you can experience a more intimate connection with the history and spirituality of the region. As you wander through this ancient city, let the echoes of the past guide your steps and transport you to a different era.


8. Tashiding Monastery, Sikkim, India: Serenity Amidst the Himalayas

Nestled amidst the breathtaking Himalayas, the Tashiding Monastery in Sikkim, India, exudes an aura of serenity and spiritual energy. This sacred Buddhist site is revered by locals and pilgrims alike. Tashiding monastery offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Explore the monastery complex and admire the intricate woodwork and murals that depict Buddhist deities and teachings. Join the monks in their daily prayers and witness the colorful rituals that take place throughout the day. For a truly immersive experience, consider participating in a meditation retreat and discover the transformative power of silence and self-reflection. As you hike through the surrounding hills, be rewarded with panoramic views of the majestic Kangchenjunga. Kangchenjunga is the third-highest mountain in the world. The serene beauty and spiritual aura of Tashiding Monastery make it a hidden gem for those seeking inner peace and spiritual enlightenment.

9. Koh Rong, Cambodia: Pristine Island Paradise Off Cambodia’s Coast

For those seeking an island paradise off the coast of Cambodia, Koh Rong is a pristine gem awaiting discovery. With its dazzling white beaches, clear azure waters, and lush jungle interiors, this island offers a blissful escape from reality. Spend your days sunbathing, swimming in the warm waters, or snorkeling to explore the vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Embark on a jungle trek to discover hidden waterfalls and exotic wildlife. As night falls, witness the mesmerizing spectacle of bioluminescent plankton, illuminating the water like a starlit sky. Koh Rong’s laid-back atmosphere and unspoiled beauty create a tranquil environment where you can unwind and reconnect with nature.

Koh Rong
Koh Rong

10. Hampi, India: Captivating Ruins of Vijayanagara Empire

Step back in time and explore the captivating ruins of Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Karnataka, India. The ancient city was once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. But now a sprawling archaeological site filled with majestic temples, palaces, and ancient marketplaces. Start your exploration at the iconic Virupaksha Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and marvel at its impressive architecture and towering gopuram. Discover the stone chariot of the Vittala Temple, an architectural marvel and symbol of Hampi’s grandeur. Climb to the top of Matanga Hill for a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding ruins and the Tungabhadra River.

Explore the Royal Enclosure, which houses the Queen’s Bath, Lotus Mahal, and other structures that offer glimpses into the opulent lifestyle of the Vijayanagara rulers. As you wander through the ancient bazaar known as the Hampi Bazaar, you’ll encounter shops selling traditional handicrafts and local delicacies. Hampi’s architectural wonders and historical significance make it a captivating destination for history buffs and explorers alike.


Asia’s hidden gems beckon intrepid travelers to venture beyond the familiar and embark on an extraordinary journey of discovery. From the mystical pagodas of Myanmar to the tranquil islands of Indonesia, each destination offers a unique tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty. So, leave the well-trodden path behind, and uncover the hidden treasures that lie within the heart of Asia. Your next adventure awaits!