Asia vacation ideas: Making the most out of the next visit

May 25, 2020

A trip to Asia for a lot of people coming from Australia is a pretty big deal. Some people are going for the first time in their life, while others are only going to have minimal experience on the continent.
Asia is not exactly close enough for a lot of Australians to spend only a couple of days, which is why longer trips are often preferred.
Generic Seaplane on sky, included in a tour, offered by Asia Vacation Group
The list below is separated by location, allowing people to go to certain parts of Asia to experience some amazing places that appeal to them the most. Many of the spots are in the same country, but the way geography works, there are some spots to visit that are close by but in different countries.
Ultimately, the goal should be to see as much as possible without feeling rushed. No one wants to fall in love with a certain location in Asia, only to spend an afternoon there and not get to see anything. Picking a few great destinations is better than trying to hit every city and country in a span of a week or two.

Maritime Southeast Asia

Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore are all top-rated tourist destinations in Maritime Southeast Asia. With beautiful weather to hit the beaches throughout the year, that is obviously one draw to this location.
Generic Scuba diver, included tours offered by Asia Vacation Group
There is also a lot of history in this part of Southeast Asia as well. People love having an opportunity to see a bunch of different ethnicities come together and create an exciting part of the world that has embraced modern technology as well.
Out of all the spots, it makes the most sense to combine a Malaysia trip with Singapore. They both offer some pretty amazing opportunities for people to explore without wasting too much money getting around.

Malaysia and Singapore

For people wanting to maximize their time in Maritime Southeast Asia, checking out Malaysia and Singapore is very doable. The countries are right next to each other, and travelling in between them is relatively easy. Most people will enjoy flying into the Singapore Airport, because it is internationally known as one of the best airports in the world. However, it is a combination of checking out Malaysia and Singapore that makes some of these locations the most visited cities in Asia.


Two cities that are high on the list for visitors to Malaysia have to be Borneo and Kuala Lumpur. Many consider the island of Borneo to be one of the best spots to visit one can imagine. It has a few different countries on the island, and staying in Malaysia allows for a lot of wildlife exploration. From orangutans to elephants, people can spot so many different animals that just are not seen in other parts of the world.

The island also offers some pretty nice beaches for people to check out if they want. Of course, other parts of Malaysia have some nice beaches as well, including just to the west of the major city of Kuala Lumpur. People can do all the shopping they want in the city, and there is some amazing cuisine there as well. The fact that the city, and the country as a whole, is very welcoming to different religions and ethnicities is also a plus.

Kuala Lumpur

What are the top five tourist destinations in Asia? The city of Kuala Lumpur might not always make those lists, but it should. It has grown into a perfect spot for people to visit who want to take a little bit of everything in a sometimes overlooked country. Malaysia has a lot of history, and with a metro population of over 7 million, it has certainly grown into a truly international city.
Not only is it one of the top 10 cities to visit in the world, but it offers some fantastic cultural diversity. The fact that it is also reasonably cheap to visit is undoubtedly enticing to people who are trying to stay on budget.
Langkawi Beach Aerial View, included in tours offered by Asia Vacation Group

Langkawi Beach – Malaysia

It does not have quite the same modern look as Singapore, but that is not to say that there are not some amazing spots in the city. The Petronas Twin Towers are probably the most iconic spots in the skyline, but there is plenty of hotspots worth checking out in the area.


Once a person has spent some time in the different spots in Malaysia, heading south to the country/city of Singapore is a must while close by. A lot of people like to combine these trips, and Singapore is one of the most visited cities in Asia as well just by itself.
A lot of people feel drawn to Singapore because of how much they have invested in making themselves as a tourist destination. They have one of the most modern looks in Southeast Asia, and it is very tourist-friendly considering how easy it is to get around.

Most people consider Singapore to be a little more expensive than Malaysia, but it is still very affordable for solo travellers or families visiting. A lot of people who go to Singapore tend to be on the older side, since there is quite a bit of nightlife and gambling going on. That is not to say that there are plenty of family-friendly places to check out, but do keep that in mind.
Beyond having a great nightlife, places such as Sentosa and their Botanical Gardens are some great family-friendly places to check out. Everything is pretty concentrated in a particular area of the city, so fitting in a lot in a short amount of time is easy.

Mainland Southeast Asia

Whether a person wants to visit Cambodia, Laos, or, Thailand, or Vietnam, there are plenty of exciting spots in mainland southeast Asia. It is a pretty condensed area, so certain cities are a little easier to check out in combination with others. Out of all the tourism ideas, perhaps the best is to combine a Thailand, Cambodia, and southern Vietnam trip into one.

Thailand, Cambodia, and South Vietnam

With three different countries relatively close, there are ways to see a few spots in each country and still only take about 10 to 14 days of vacation. People can even cram a few of the spots into a week, but keep in mind that it does take a little bit of time to travel in between.

Bangkok, Thailand

One of the most recognizable cities in all of Asia is Bangkok, Thailand. It easily makes Thailand one of those must visit countries in Asia, because there is so much history in this one city. Sure, there are a lot of places outside of Bangkok that are wonderful in Thailand, but those who are visiting for the first time should always get a chance to see the major city.
River bridge sunset aerial, included in tours offered by Asia Vacation Group

River bridge sunset aerial, Thailand

Some of the top sites of Bangkok include the Grand Palace, the Temple of Emerald Buddha, the Temple of Dawn, and more. There are also a lot of different opportunities for people to explore local markets and just take in all that the city has to offer. There is something for everyone in Bangkok, so any travel party should have plenty of fun and excitement.


The country is pretty compact, especially when doing a smaller tour of Asia like this. Between Thailand and Vietnam is the country of Cambodia, and while it is enticing to spend time in Phnom Pehn since it is one of the most overlooked best cities in Asia, the biggest draw will be Angkor Wat. This is the world-renowned temple, and there is plenty of opportunities to explore that entire region.
Angkor is included in Cambodia tours offered by Asia Vacation Group.

Angkor at sunset Siem Reap Cambodia

Be aware that seeing Angkor Wat is going to take at least a day, and it might actually take more than that if a person really wants to see everything in this pretty big tourist destination area. It certainly is not a spot that people can just swing by and get the gist of. Factor in travel time as well, and it is a nice diversion that checks off a major tourist spot in Asia.

Southern Vietnam

Getting to the north of Vietnam is a little tough logistically, but southern Vietnam is pretty close to Cambodia. A lot of people will head to Ho Chi Minh City, and there is certainly plenty to do that allows people to feel like a local. That is one of the beauties of Vietnam, as travellers will have the ability to be thrown right into the hustle and bustle of a major city. There is no need to have much knowledge about the city initially, and navigating is easier than ever since so many people speak English now.
Saigon Notre Dame church, Vietnam, included in tours offered by Asia Vacation Group

Saigon Notre Dame church, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City might be considered a vast city now, but it feels like a really big smaller city, if that makes any sense. People are very friendly, there are markets and food vendors all around, and there are some hidden historic spots all around. Each part of the city feels unique in its own way with the
If the city does not do enough for a person, there are plenty of caves and natural beauty spots just outside of Ho Chi Minh City as well. The largest cave in the world, known as Hang Son Doong, is located in central Vietnam for people who want to stretch their trip out a bit. However, there are still some pretty lovely caves to check out that are a little closer to Ho Chi Minh City and easier to pull off on a trip.

East Asia

With so many people living in East Asia, it should come as no surprise that so many people want to visit the area as well. There is so much history in the countries that make up this region, but it can be a little hard to fit it all in one trip. Out of the three major regions looked at in this article, it is probably most important to pick out a few specific locations in east Asia that are worth checking out.
It takes some time for Australians to get to East Asia, so most are going to be looking for as easy of a flight there as possible. Once there, too much travelling can take a toll on people as well. That is why, for an initial trip, sticking to Japan is perhaps the best way to go. There are a lot of different things to see and do in such a small country, and their public transportation makes it a breeze to get around.


The majority of people travelling to Japan are going to think about starting in Tokyo. It makes a lot of sense, as it is such a huge metropolitan area. However, if people want to go to a few different areas, starting in Osaka and working up the country might make more sense. There is less travel within the trip, and there are sometimes some good deals to go this route in the first place.


The second biggest city in Japan often gets overlooked by a lot of travellers. It is one of the best holiday destinations in Asia for family, as the weather stays a little warmer in the city than other parts of Japan. Not only that, but it is a little bit cheaper compared to Tokyo, while still offering so many different things to travellers.
Osaka castle is included in Japan tours offered by Asia Vacation Group.

Osaka Castle at night

They have everything from internationally recognized aquariums to historic temples worth checking out. Of course, they are known for their food, picking up the name “Kitchen of Japan.” There are so many choices locally to try out that it is best to find a recommendation from a local. Seafood is always a great choice, as they have the freshest options in the country.
Starting in Osaka also warms up people to the idea of going to Tokyo. Keep in mind that Japan is a tiny country as far as land is concerned, which makes it pretty hectic in the major cities. If Osaka seems too big, heading to Tokyo is going to be even crazier, so look for alternatives in the itinerary if that is the case.


In the middle of Japan is the largest city in the world in Tokyo. It is obviously one of the most visited cities in Asia, and the answer to the question many people have when someone asks, where should I travel in Asia for the first time?
Tokyo is just a little bit different than any other place in the world. Not only are there people everywhere, but they built the entire city with that in mind. The goal with any new construction is to maximize space as much as possible, and it is truly remarkable how they have fit so much into this area.
Rainbow Bridge is included in Japan tours offered by Asia Vacation Group.

Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo

As far as Tokyo destinations are concerned, a person can really take their pick from a bunch of options. Obviously, it makes sense at some point to check out the city from either the Tokyo Sky Tree, or the Tokyo Tower. They both offer some great spots for people to see the entire city from above. It really gives people a great idea on just how massive the city is, and some great sites far away as well.
Going on a historical tour and checking out some of the most famous temples is always a great option as well. There is a ton of history in Tokyo, whether it is seeing these temples up close, or checking out museums within the city.
One of the best suggestions for travellers in small groups is just to go ahead and explore all the different locations in a specific area of the city. There is bound to be something that catches the eye, and it is very easy to spend multiple days here without feeling like much of anything has been discovered. Some people opt to do their entire vacation in Tokyo, as they want to see as much as possible.

Northern Japan

The northern part of Japan does not exactly get named as a travel destination too many times, but it is a perfect place to see the other side of Japanese culture. Cities such as Akita, Aomori, and Iwate all make a lot of sense for people who do not want to be overwhelmed with major cities and a lot of tourism. If a person goes in the winter, they can experience some fun during that part of the year as well.

History is huge with any city in Japan, and the locals take a lot of pride in what they have accomplished over the years. There is a lot of green space and natural beauty in Japan that some people never get the opportunity to see, but it is worth checking out for those who have a little more time. If there is a local festival of any sort going on, that is also a bonus in this region.

Where should I travel in Asia for the first time?

Out of the three regions listed in this article, heading to mainland Southeast Asia might provide the best overall value. People can see a lot of different historical spots in one trip, and they can knock off multiple countries as well. It is a very affordable trip, and it is closer to Australia than some of the other spots in Asia.
Keep in mind that there are good times and bad times to travel to this particular region of the world. Stay away during the summer months, as it tends to get very hot, humid, and filled with bad weather. It can be very frustrating to see some of these historical spots outdoors, trying to fight off the bad weather. If a person mostly wants to visit the beaches, or wants to stay away from prime travel times, be prepared to suffer a bit from the heat.
This is what makes it one of the best places to visit in winter Asia. It is going to be a little more crowded leading up to the end of the year, so January and February might be the best value to head to this region. There is still a chance for some pop-up showers, and their mild temperatures are still fairly warm, but it is a lot more doable for people of all ages to spend all day outside.
Keeping the weather in mind, those forced to take a vacation during the summer months in the northern hemisphere should consider someplace in east Asia. It is a little more tolerable in the summer, and it does not rain nearly as much. Japan is beautiful in the spring and summer, even if they do experience some warmer temperatures.
Travellers who have the chance to visit Asia should go to all these regions to see what life is like. There is a high chance of making any of these three suggestions as one of the most memorable vacations ever.

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