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Exciting cities in Asia that everyone should visit at least once

Exciting cities in Asia that everyone should visit at least once

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Asia is one of the most beautiful continents in the world. If you’re going to explore countries in this part of the world then you need to explore the developed areas as well as admiring the natural beauty. Some travelers like to avoid big cities because they’re full of people and they don’t want to seem like a typical tourist. However, there’s often a good reason as to why those places are so popular. If you’re skeptical, then here are some exciting cities in Southeast Asia that you should visit once in your life. Seeing these places for yourself should change your mind.

Hanoi, Vietnam

hanoi sunset

One of the first cities you need to see in Vietnam is Hanoi. This unusual city is one of the must-visit destinations in Vietnam and a great place to kick off this list mainly because it’s different than any other city in Asia. Its architectural influence derives from France and China, but there’s still a clear identity that’s independent to Vietnam. You’ll see this for yourself when you stroll through the streets.

The Old Quarter is a maze of stunning architecture that dates back an entire century dotted with modern infrastructure and authentic local shops. Whilst you’re in this part of the city, make sure you take some time to admire the famous Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red River, and some remnants of the ancient Hanoi Citadel. There’s something beautiful about seeing ancient monuments sitting alongside modern buildings. It reminds you that this city holds proudly to its heritage, but it isn’t afraid to move with the times. There are plenty of beautiful parks and hundreds of stunning temples in the city to be seen too.

Hanoi wonderfully encapsulates everything that is so intriguing about Vietnam’s culture and history. If you’re going to visit this gorgeous country then the capital should be at the top of your list. Again, you’ll understand why tourists love this city so much when you see it for yourself. And finally, Hanoi is also very close to Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, two of the most spectacular natural attractions in the region. 

Related: Things I wish I knew before visiting Vietnam.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Southeast Asia travel tips

Malaysia is a beautiful country, and this city is the perfect summary of everything that makes it so great. Kuala Lumpur is a home to some beautiful, iconic buildings, such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque, the National Palace, and the Petronas Twin Towers. Even if you get tired of old architecture then there’s a modern side to the city too with plenty of great clubs, bars, and shopping malls.

Of course, cities such as Kuala Lumpur are so large and dense that it’s hard to cram everything into one short trip. If you like to travel for extended periods of time then you should definitely consider stretching out your stay in this city so that you can properly explore everything it has to offer. You might want to find a studio for rent in Kuala Lumpur so that you can spend a month or two exploring the city.

Taking the time to really experience a place such as this will help you to truly appreciate the culture and gain knowledge that you can take with you on your future journeys. This city has a lot of ancient heritage but also a thriving modern culture. There are two sides to the coin, and it’s worth experiencing both if you’re going to make the trip to this fascinating Asian city.

Bangkok, Thailand

exciting cities in Southeast Asia

Another incredible city that you have to see during your Asia vacation is Bangkok. It’s easy to see why Thailand’s capital ranks so highly on many lists of the best Asian cities to visit in the world. Bangkok is a city with many different sides. It’s one of those cities that has something in store for everyone, including partying travelers, adventurists, history geeks, and even people traveling with kids. This is why Bangkok is a central point of any well-planned Thailand itinerary.

You’ll find captivating golden palaces and charming floating markets that make up this utterly unique place. If you’re trying to choose which of the many magnificent buildings to see on your trip then the Grand Palace is a good place to start. In the heart of this ancient collection of stunning temples, you’ll find the Emerald Buddha. This is an iconic relic sculpture made of jade from the fifteenth century. The material from which it’s made contributes to its worth, but it’s the significance and age of this sculpture that makes it truly mesmerizing.

Related: Guide to traveling Thailand on a budget.


singapore travel tips

Unlike the other cities on this list, Singapore is more than a city; it’s an independent country. Singapore is one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural cities in the world, as we’ve discussed in this post before. It’s a city that can make anyone in the world feel welcome because…
well, it welcomes anyone in the world.

The cultural influence in Singapore is incredibly diverse, and that’s because the population is incredibly diverse. Residents hail from many different regions: China, Malaysia, India, and so on. This has led to the creation of an incredibly intriguing culture in the city of Singapore.

There are also plenty of fantastic pieces of architecture to admire. For starters, the Marina Bay skyscrapers are absolutely insane. Three skyscrapers with a ship perched on top forms a casino. Where else in the world would you see something like that? You also need to see the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. You’ve probably seen pictures of this iconic elevated garden walk before, but experiencing it in person is something else. In fact, there’s plenty of natural beauty in Singapore.

The entire island might be one big “megacity”, but you’re never far from nature. They call it the “city in a garden” for a reason. The Gardens by the Bay are just the beginning of the natural beauty this fantastic city has to offer.

Helpful resources to visiting cities in Southeast Asia


For the cheapest flights to different cities in the region, Qatar Airways is always a good choice. To save even more, this Qatar Airways offer can get you 25% off on your flights to Southeast Asia. I use it too.

When it comes to travel insurance in Southeast Asia, I always choose and recommend World Nomads.

If you want travel around the region with bus, train or ferry, book with 12GoAsia and save big on all transportation bookings in Southeast Asia.

If you want to rent a car in any of the above-mentioned cities, this AutoEurope special offer can get you up to 20% off .

Finally, to save on accommodation, use this discount to save up to 15% on all bookings. If you’re looking for some luxury, this offer gets you 10% off on all Radisson Hotels in Southeast Asia.

What are some other exciting cities in Southeast Asia that you visited? Let me know in the comments.


exciting southeast asian cities

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Saturday 5th of January 2019

These are the basic staples when traveling in Asia. I love how you described each city and all that it has to offer. I'm visiting Vietnam this year and you've inspired me greatly!

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 8th of January 2019

Thank you, Martha and I hope you have a great time in Vietnam :)

Bhushavali N

Saturday 5th of January 2019

Daniel! As soon as I saw the title, I browsed down to see which Indian cities are listed and I was a bit disappointed.... But then, in your first para you've mentioned its only SouthEast Asian! Looking forward for another listing post of South Asian/Asian cities....

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 8th of January 2019

Ah, I see what you mean, perhaps the title was a bit misleading. I'll make a quick edit :)


Friday 4th of January 2019

I'm gearing up to take a trip to SE Asia this year for my birthday, but have been so overwhelmed with where to start! KL is the city on your list that I know the least about, so I might start there! I'd also love to discover for myself why they call Singapore the “city in a garden.” It sounds so magical!

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 8th of January 2019

Thank you, Rachelle- I'm glad you liked this post and you found it as a great starting point for your trip. I hope you have a great time in SE Asia.

Soumya Gayatri

Friday 4th of January 2019

I loved Hanoi when I went there like 10 years ago and I would definitely like to go back. And Bangkok is another favorite too. So many aspects to that single city. I was there recently and this time the variety of food available in Bangkok simply amazed me. You can taste so many different cuisines. And yes, so much to see and do.

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 8th of January 2019

Thank you, Soumya- I'm glad you liked this post :)


Friday 4th of January 2019

How timely that I came across your post! I just finished watching Crazy Rich Asians and now I have a hankering to explore Asia, haha! This is a wonderful post, thanks for highlighting some of the must-see cities. I have never been to that part of the world so it is nice to read your thoughts.

Passport Symphony

Friday 4th of January 2019

Hahaha, that's a great timing I guess. Thank you for your comment and I hope you visit this part of the world soon.