The Travel Experts come to our rescue and share their "BEST ASIAN TRAVEL MEMORIES pre Covid-19" to help us get through lockdown!

Travel Experts Best Asian Travel Memories

Take a look at 25 very stunning photos and amazing experiences from around Asia from the travel experts.

 

Maybe there will be one or two that will bring back memories for you or inspire you to add a destination to your must-visit list in Asia.

Created May 2020
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Stunning Mount Fuji

                          By Nicole from Nicole LaBarge Travel Blog

 

Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain and it can be seen from Tokyo.  Visiting Mount Fuji was one of my favorite travel memories in 2019.

 

Mount Fuji is one of the most recognized landmarks in Japan.  Getting the perfect shot of Mount Fuji was on my bucket list.  On a clear day, you can easily get the perfect photo of this perfectly shaped volcano.  

 

The mountain holds a lot of cultural significance in Japan and when you visit you will notice the spiritual vibe around the mountain.  Mount Fuji is held in very high esteem in Japan and it finally became a World Heritage Site in 2013.  

 

The view across Lake Kawaguchi is my favorite especially on a still day when the water in the lake is like glass.  I can't wait to return to this spiritual place.

Christmas with the komodo dragons

By Jeff from  "Life Of Y" 

 

Christmas time is normally spent with family and loved ones. Last year though, we got to spend Christmas Day with legendary dragons!

We didn't plan on it, but our SE Asia adventure took us to the Indonesian island of Flores a few days before Christmas. Without even thinking about it, we booked our tour of Komodo Island on the 25th of December!

Like a couple of little kids on Christmas morning, we were up at sunrise and set off to Komodo Island. As we walked through the huge gates, I could hear the theme from Jurassic Park playing in my head. We were about to meet the Komodo dragons!

Around 20 mins into our hike, we came face to face with them - two huge beasts, well over 2 meters long! As we stood behind them for our photo, we were very aware that any sudden movement could set off these cold-blooded killers. I was covered in sweat and not just from the heat!

Seeing these amazing creatures was something I've wanted to do for so long. The fact that we got to share Christmas Day with Komodo dragons just made the experience even more amazing. It was an incredible day we'll never forget.  

the beautiful & surreal sunset in

the desert at wadi rum, jordan

 By Lindsey Puls of "Have Clothes, Will Travel"

 

Wadi Rum is a beautiful desert valley in Southern Jordan. The sand here is known for being the reddest in Jordan (colored by iron oxide), and the only people who live here are several thousand Bedouin nomads and villagers.

My husband and I were venturing to Wadi Rum to spend the night under the stars at Mazayen Rum Camp. However, the journey to get to this camp turned out to be the most memorable part of the trip!

It involved a rather bumpy Jeep ride by a lovely local who we, unfortunately, couldn’t communicate very well with. We did our best to get our points across to one another by using exaggerated hand gestures and facial expressions. This ended up working just fine. Our driver would point us toward ancient petroglyphs throughout the desert, introduce us to local Bedouins (and their camels), and stop the Jeep abruptly to shout famous movie names while gesturing to what I imagine is where they were shot. “Lawrence of Arabia! The Martian! Star Wars!”

 

We grinned from ear to ear, and oohed and aahed at every turn.

Then, just as the sun began to fade from the sky, our driver flung his Jeep into 'park' just outside our desert camp. We settled on top of a mound of stones to watch the show.

 

I had never seen anything as beautiful or surreal-looking as the sunset in Wadi Rum. It was hard to believe I was still on planet Earth as the orange fire of the sky mixed with the red coloring of the Wadi Rum sand. 

reaching everest base camp

By Campbell and Alya from "Stingy Nomads"

 

We were very fortunate to get the opportunity to travel to the spectacular Mount Everest and do the challenging trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC) early in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic started. Mount Everest in Nepal is the highest mountain in the world at 8848m above sea level. The climb to the top is only attempted by the best mountaineers in the world with years of preparation. Trekking to the basecamp where the climb starts is a strenuous, popular trek and is a significant accomplishment. The trail from the mountain village, Lukla, to Everest Base Camp leads through spectacular mountain scenery; mixed with fascinating Sherpa culture and warm Nepalese hospitality.

 

Reaching Everest Base Camp was a highlight in our years of traveling in Asia. It took us eight days to trek the 60 km to Base Camp. Reaching EBC was challenging, the last day was hiking on difficult terrain with snow in very cold weather at an altitude above 5000m. We were excited upon reaching our goal and the views were spectacular, but since we were alone we did not hang around too long in the freezing conditions!

 

We did the trek independently. The trail is relatively easy to follow, but many companies offer organized tours with a guide and porters if you do not feel confident to trek alone. Trekking in the world’s biggest mountains is an exciting adventure I would recommend to anyone looking for an adventure.

hot air ballooooning in bagan , myanmar

By Roshni from "The Wanderlust Within"

 

The mystical and enchanting landscape of Myanmar is one of a kind. Covered in thousands of ancient pagodas as far as the eye can see, it's no wonder the historical city of Bagan has ended up being one of my favourite destinations in Asia. The unique vistas can be explored on the ground by e-bike or from above, in a Bagan hot air balloon, from October to April.

 

As there's nothing quite like getting a bird's eye view of these iconic temples, the hot air balloon experience often books out well in advance, and I only secured the final slot a week before my trip. I had butterflies in my stomach but as soon as we rose I couldn't help but smile and knew how amazing the next hour would be. Whilst the experience was expensive, especially by Asian standards, the memory still stays with me as one of my best travel experiences EVER. 

The craziest, most amazing wedding

By Dave Chant from www.davechant.com

 

“I think you should have got an elephant to ride on,” I cheekily tell the groom.

 

“We tried,” he retorts, “but there wasn’t one available.”

 

I’m in the middle of the baraat, the groom’s procession, and my best friend has just been driven in a vintage Red car before being hauled up and carried on the shoulders of friends. It’s the wedding day, and we are in Mumbai. It’s been a crazy week.

 

Most Indian weddings have three days attached to them, but my friend has gone even bigger and made it seven. We touched down a week earlier and had three days of unofficial wedding meals, parties in apartments with pools on the 22nd floor, and cruising Marine Drive by the sea in the early hours of the night.

 

Then the official fun began. One day of Ganesh pooja where a priest came and performed a ceremony, an “intimate” gathering of 100 people. Yesterday we sneaked a peek in at the lady’s mehndi ceremony where they paint each other with henna. The same night we took over a club in Mumbai for sangeet, a ceremony with dances and performances.

 

Today is the procession, the wedding itself and the reception. There are about fifty tables of food and more than a thousand people here.

 

I’m not a fan of weddings but this has to be the craziest, most amazing wedding I’ve ever been to. A week of food, drink, and revelry later.  I will never forget it.

seoul's hippest neighbourhood

By Chloe from "Chloe’s Travelogue"

 

My last travel before COVID-19 was to Seoul, South Korea. This trip happened last minute only because I found an airfare deal celebrating an airline’s new route. I never imagined it would be the last flight ride for a long time. Looking back, I am so glad that I did not hesitate to hop on a flight.


I often build a travel itinerary to beat the crowd. Ironically, what I miss the most during the pandemic is people. I miss brunch with friends, but also daily human interaction with strangers and feeling safe to be in crowds. 


When it’s safe to travel, I highly recommend visiting Seoul to experience the livelihood of a bustling city again. Particularly, Hongdae is one of my favorite areas to explore on any given day.


Hongdae is the playground for the creative souls and indie culture in Seoul. Besides the weekly art market and monthly music festivals, Hongdae streets are filled with musicians, artists, performers, and spectators every day.

The neighborhood is also home to artsy murals, creative shops with unique collections, themed cafes calling for all Instagrammers, delicious food, as well as edgy bars and hip clubs. 

 

Whether to appreciate indie and pop cultures of contemporary Korea or to party the night away, Hongdae is Seoul’s hippest neighborhood and travelers should not miss out visiting it.

Kayaking at Sunrise in Vietnam

By Jessica Schmit from "Uprooted Traveler"

One of my favorite memories of 2019 (and honestly, probably ever!) was kayaking at sunrise along the Thu Bồn River in Hoi An, Vietnam. While the 4:30 wakeup call is admittedly pretty early, once my husband and I were out on the water in our kayak, I felt nothing but exhilarated as I watched the water and sky turn unexpectedly fiery shades of pink, orange, and purple, with no one else around other than a few old Vietnamese fishermen and some flying fish.

 

Once the world was illuminated by the soft golden glow of the sun, we kayaked through a mangrove forest, watching egrets hunt for their breakfast. Once our arms were tired and our bellies hungry, our tour guide took us on motorbikes to a tiny food cart serving up delicious bún chay and strong Vietnamese coffee. Over our breakfast, we chatted with him about our experience on the river and his perspective on Hoi An- how it had been changed through tourism and what its future held. I can’t think of another day where I had this much fun all before 9 am!

amazing bamboo grove in kyoto

By Lyn & Steve from "A Hole In My Shoe"

My best travel memory in Asia was from our time exploring the bamboo grove and surrounding area in Arashiyama, near Kyoto in Japan. It’s filled with temples, shrines, and the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and you can even enjoy a meal of Wagyu Beef in a French Restaurant there. The Bamboo Grove is one of the top sights to see if spending a few days in Kyoto, and the hidden gems in the area are tiny shrines and temples dotted throughout.

Located a short train ride away from Kyoto, the bamboo grove is filled with rich bamboo stalks swaying gently and the beauty will surely make you feel like you stepped into another world. It is green, peaceful, and extremely mesmerizing watching the tall stalks slowly rocking. As they soar up into the sky, the trunks creak and clunk, bumping gently as they sway. It is best to venture there early and enjoy the gentle sounds of nature and see the morning light penetrating through.

Some of the areas are breathtaking with moss gardens at the foot of the bamboo and there are several trails to venture off the beaten track. Take a stroll away from the crowds and into the forested mountainside. Strolling between the bamboo, the gentle breeze, dappled sunlight, and calming sounds of rustling leaves is the perfect place to find your inner peace.

While wandering around this scenic little area, traditional rickshaws carried tourists along the paths and into the area’s central landmark, the Togetsukyo Bridge. The bridge is iconic and crosses the pretty Hozu River.

This area left a lasting impression and we will forever cherish this beautiful and interesting place.

elephant safari in sri lanka

By Lora Pope from "Explore With Lora"

 

l will never forget the first time I saw an elephant in the wild. It was something that had been on my bucket list for a long time, and it finally happened in Sri Lanka, a beautiful island in South Asia.

Sri Lanka is one of the best places to go on an elephant safari in Asia. The country has done an excellent job of protecting Sri Lankan elephants, while still making them accessible to tourists. There are national parks throughout the country, but Udawalawe National Park is one of the best for seeing elephants.

Despite having to get up at 4 am to drive to the park, I was so excited about my first elephant safari. Within just a few minutes of driving into the park, we encountered our first elephant. And that was only the first of many that day. It was such a memorable experience to see so many of these majestic animals up close. There are wild elephants throughout Sri Lanka, and if you’re lucky, you may just see one while driving through the countryside.

barren mountains & glittering lakes

By Ellis from "Backpack Adventures"

My road trip on the Pamir highway is one of my most memorable travel memories from Asia. Being part of a 3 month central Asia trip it was, without doubt, the highlight for several reasons. The stunning mountain scenery, the Tajik hospitality and the intriguing people I met on my way.

The Pamir Highway is the second-highest highway in the world and runs from Dushanbe in Tajikistan to Osh in Kyrgyzstan. The Pamirs are remote and for a large part uninhabited, but those who do call it home are a diverse group of people with different cultures such as the Ismaili Muslims and Kyrgyz nomads.

They live a harsh life in these high altitude areas but nevertheless offer food and accommodation for a small price in their welcoming homestays. A large part of the highway runs across the border with Afghanistan that is sometimes so close that you can see women doing laundry in the river and men plowing the fields.

The star attractions are the lunar landscapes with its barren mountains and glittering lakes. Every day I kept being amazed by the spectacular views from my car window that were the best in all of central Asia.

munroe island canoe ride at sunrise

By Soujanya Rai from 'The Spicy Journey"

I stopped by at Munroe Island while I was backpacking through Kerala, India. Munroe Island is a tiny island that is surrounded by a river and a lake. Because Munroe is a small island village, everyone knows everyone here. That, along with the lack of mainstream tourism and a sleepy, relaxed vibe was perfect for me to spend my days at the island, reading by the river and riding my rented cycle around.

 

The best part about Munroe Island, though, was a canoe ride through the backwaters. My homestay owners drove me towards the river at dusk and thus began one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Sitting in a compact canoe, gliding smoothly along the river, watching the sun come up behind the island, its rays glistening in the calm water of the river was nothing short of mesmerizing.

 

Our canoe then entered a small stream that passed through the island village. Watching the slow life on the island early in the morning from a canoe was yet another memorable moment. It saddens me that Munroe island will be the first island in Kerala to be submerged entirely underwater by 2050. That makes the memory of this place even more precious to me.

The Yarkhun valley in pakistan

By Samantha Shea from "Intentional Detours"

 

My best Asian travel memory to date by far is my experience of hitchhiking in a remote valley in northern Pakistan. I spent four months backpacking through Pakistan, but Yarkhun Valley was unlike anything else we experienced.

 

After gathering some food and supplies, my boyfriend and I set out from the small town of Mastuj towards Yarkhun Valley, an unexplored region in Pakistan’s Upper Chitral District. The valley is known to be lacking in transport, so all of our rides were found by waiting (sometimes for hours) on the side of the dusty mountain roads.

 

One of the most mind-blowing parts of our journey was when we spent nearly six hours in the back of a pickup truck, coasting along the side of cliffs enjoying some of the most epic views I’d ever seen. Though we had brought camping equipment along with us, we never ended up using it. Each night we were invited to stay with folks who lived in the valley, some being complete strangers and others being friends of the last guesthouse owner we stayed with.

 

The week we spent in Yarkhun consisted of a lot of walking, a lot of beautiful mountains, and a never-ending stream of truly authentic moments that reminded me why I chose this life of long-term travel. In a valley that was completely untouched by any type of tourism, we were constantly met with smiles and invitations for salty chai, the region’s preferred choice of tea. I’ve never felt freer than during that week in Yarkhun, and it is certainly a place I long to return to.

seeing the cherry blossoms in taiwan

By Nick from "Spiritual Travels"

When it comes to cherry blossoms in Asia, people automatically think of Japan. However, there are a few other Asian countries where you can see them. Taiwan is one of them.

Several different types of cherry blossoms can be seen in Taiwan, starting in the north around Taipei in January, then moving south and into the Central Mountains through till early April. While the flowers are usually associated with spring, winter in Taiwan is actually the best time to see them.

 

2019 was my last year of living in Taiwan after calling the country home for over 10 years. Sometimes when you live somewhere, you don’t really appreciate or feel rushed to see everything until it comes time to leave. I had actually seen cherry blossom in Taiwan several times before, but in 2019 I finally visited the most famous cherry blossom spot in Taiwan for the first time: Tianyuan Temple on the edge of Taipei City.

The cherry blossoms display there is so beautiful that I went twice, once with my wife and kids, and again to take my parents when they came for a final visit. The incredible scene there is one that will forever be etched in my mind.    

a month in palawan in the philippines

By Mitch Glass from "Project Untethered

My favorite travel memory from 2019 was spending a month in Palawan, the Philippines with my wife. We had just kicked off our indefinite South East Asia adventure—a trip we have been planning for three years—and it was one of the last destinations we were able to move freely before COVID came to spoil all the fun. 

 

The most memorable parts of our time in Palawan were celebrating my wife’s 30th birthday on the beautiful beach in Sabang (we had it all to ourselves!) and surviving Typhoon Kammuri trapped in our small hotel room on Coron island. The typhoon threw a wrench in our plans, causing us to miss our overnight boat trip to Manila and our flight to Thailand, but it’s definitely a good story for the grandkids someday!

These crazy moments marked a shift in our life—from “normal” life to digital nomads—and they are memories I’ll never forget!

The T rex shaped cliff at kelingking beach

By Martin Wood from  "Just Go Traveling"

Kelingking Beach

 

Many beaches get over-hyped throughout the world but Kelingking Beach is definitely not one of them.

Kelingking Beach is on the beautiful island of Nusa Penida in Indonesia. It is famous due to the T-Rex shaped cliff which neighbours the beach. This can be seen from the top of the cliff edge walk that you need to do before climbing down to the bottom.

You literally descend on the side of a cliff so it is not for the faint-hearted. It is hard but also rewarding as the jaw-dropping views of the lush green cliffs and the inviting water below spoils you. If that wasn’t enough, you can even spot dolphins at certain times of the year.

There is no other beach that can possibly astound you with such amazing views. The eye-catching shape of the cliffs, the struggle of the descent, the soft white sand and the cool blue waters all make this a memory that will last forever.

Watching the Sunrise Over Mount Everest, Nepal

By Meg Atteberry from "Fox in the Forest"

 

Ever since I was a little girl, I had wanted to set foot in the Himalayas. Just to lay eyes on the tallest mountain in the world was something that had captivated my heart since I was 10 years old. In fact, I had wanted to visit the Himalayas so badly, that I wanted to become a doctor that studied altitude and the effects on the body.

Flash forward 20 years and I didn’t become a doctor (I was over-ambitious), but I booked a trip to Nepal for my 30th birthday. One of the best treks in Nepal is the famous Gokyo Ri Trek. The route winds its way up past Namche Bazar, skirting the Everest Base Camp Trail and heads to a viewpoint where you can watch the sunrise on top of the 18,000-plus-foot mountain, Gokyo Ri. From here you have sweeping views of Mount Everest, Cho Oyo, Nuptse, Lhotse, and more.

We encountered an unexpected snowstorm and we weren’t sure we would make it to the top, but luck was on our side as I watched in awe as the sun rose above Mount Everest. I was nearly moved to tears, accomplishing something I had wanted to see since I was just a girl. If you ever get the chance to head to Nepal, be sure to follow a few useful Nepal trekking tips for your adventure. My biggest piece of advice? Get up and see a sunrise (or three), you certainly won’t regret it!

climbing mount fuji

By Stephanie from "Poppin’ Smoke"

We lived in Japan for more than 2 years and have many wonderful memories, but by far one of our favorites is climbing Mt. Fuji.

 

It is said that all Japanese should climb Fuji-san once in their life, and we were honored to participate in that ritual. Along the way, we saw hikers of all ages, including several Japanese who appeared to be well over the age of 60.

 

While it is very popular to stay overnight on Mt. Fuji to see the sunrise, after extensive research, we decided to do the climb during the day. We started at sunrise and were rewarded with stunning views throughout our entire ascent.

 

We ascended the Fujinomiya trail, which is the shortest and steepest trail to the top of Mt. Fuji. Along the way, we stopped at each rest stop (aka “station”) to have the station’s stamp branded into our Fuji walking sticks. At the summit, we viewed the massive crater and relaxed with a bowl of hot ramen, which was sold in the snack bar. We descended the Gotemba trail, a long, relatively flat, and extraordinarily dusty route down the mountain.

 

All told, our Fuji climb took about 10 hours and was one of the top 3 hikes we’ve ever done.​

hiking in iran

By Linn Haglund from "Brainy Backpackers"

 

Late last year, I was traveling solo in Iran and my stay in Tehran made me seek the mountains (I’m not much of a city person). I heard about a small neighborhood in northern Tehran, Darband. Nestled in the foot of the mountains, it should be on any Iran itinerary.

 

I took the chairlift above Darband and started walking past small tea shops, nut stalls, and restaurants. I was invited for a cup of tea on the way and had a chat with a few locals before I kept walking.

 

I was in my jeans and not prepared for hiking at all, but before I knew it, the low sun colored the sky in a magic yellow and orange pastel. I had walked for a couple of hours or more. The mountains were so incredibly beautiful I just couldn’t stop! Realizing I had to turn around, I met a group of Iranian hikers. With hiking poles, boots, and snow proof clothes, they looked concerned for me and suggested I followed them back down so I wouldn’t get lost.

Chitchatting back down with the pastel views of a foggy Tehran at the end of the steep mountains felt like a fairytale and will always stick with me.
 

Siam Reap- more than just a temple run

By Arrianne Guzman from " Travel Habeat"

Siem Reap, Cambodia is commonly treated as a mere stopover point to its neighboring countries. It is usually part of the Indochina itinerary where many travelers spend just a day in the location. Last November 2019, I was finally able to visit it with my friends and it turned out to be one of my best travel memories from Asia.

 

Why? Because Siem Reap, the humble destination that it is, proved to be a hidden gem in the region. With amazing people and fascinating culture, I was surprised at the variety of things I experienced in the place.

 

How could I forget the topnotch performance from Phare, the Cambodian Circus, demonstrating contemporary and hilarious storytelling? Visiting the Kompong Phluk Floating Village where some locals live on stilts was indeed an eye-opening encounter. Riding a small canoe in the flooded mangrove forest at Tonle Sap Lake was an uplifting adventure with the women of the village spearheading each ride. Indeed, Siem Reap is more than just a temple run, It left me with some remarkable travel memories.

 

on safari at kanha tiger reserve

By Camilla Malvestiti from "Tigers In The Wild"

After having witnessed a very late and heavy monsoon, late in October, Kanha Tiger Reserve in India opened up again for safari activities. Thanks to the annual rains, the forest was lush green, giving the impression of an enchanted place waking up and coming back to life. 

Highly anticipated, the first safari of the year is a very emotional moment for any wildlife lover, the opening of a season of expectation, in the hope to find the real star of the Indian jungle, the Royal Bengal Tiger. This year, I’ve been lucky enough to be in one of the most enchanted forests, right in the heart of Central India. The real-life Jungle Book, I always marvel for its beauty and magic.

We had no tiger luck that particular day. But how lovely it was to see all the animals again. The monkeys and the spotted deer, the eyes and the ears of the jungle, alarming to the presence of a predator. The thrilling cacophony of birds, the most enticing of the dissonances. And the proud Barasingha, the most handsome of all deer, endangered species saved from the brink of extinction. 

I can’t wait to meet them all again.

supertrees in singapore

By Paula from " Truly Expat"

 

Singapore will always be one of my favourite destinations in Asia. Not because it is spotless (which it is by the way), not because the people are friendly (which I also find is the case), but because there are some cool attractions in a subtropical climate.

 

One of these is my favourite Supertrees in Gardens By the Bay area. Why? Because during the day, these Supertrees are amongst the most beautiful flora and fauna in the region. You could wander the gardens in and around this area (including Cloud Forest and Flower Dome) all day. There is an outdoor water play area for kids, restaurants to eat at, and large scale art sculptures to view.

 

The Supertrees measure between 25 and 50 Metres each and each have large canopies that you can walk along.  You can marvel from above the fantastic view of the Marina Bay area and the Gardens By the Bay. 

 

Arrive at night (either 7.45 pm or 8.45 pm) and observe the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show. The Supertrees come to life with this free show nightly. 

the taj mahal at sunrise

By Madhurima Chakraborty from "Orange Wayfarer"

 

The Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world, is quintessentially one of the best places to visit in India for a solo woman traveller. Granted the taj has seen a definite surge in tourists all year round. Yet, its ethereal beauty is a matter of legends.

The first day, I reached Agra, I could not lift my eyes and look at the Taj. I was walking around the small neighbourhoods, its dingy old lanes, cows, with traffic honking and meandering my way through a swarm of people. Business goes on as usual. In this regular setting of life, something as serene, as poetic, as surreal as the Taj exists. 


I remember I did not sleep that night. I had to wake up early and visit the Taj! I was travelling alone. Waking up early and reaching the gate of the taj meant I had to get started by 5:30 am. It was still dark outside. Stray dogs ruled the street.

Luckily I found a taxi. He took me to the west gate of the Taj. I got my ticket. I was first in the queue. At 6:30 the door opened. I ran through the security check as if I had to see it before anyone and everyone!

There stood the Taj beyond the blue water that reflected the dome of the sky.  The Sun rose from the east, creating a mirage on the ivory white marbles of Taj. 

As I write this, my heart feels a pang of sadness. I do not know when I can go back and see the Taj again. Next time, I want to plan my visit on a full moon night. So far, I have never seen anything more beautiful in this world. 

Vang Vieng in Laos

By Erin Parker from "Love to Travel, Stay-Eat-Do"

 

After exploring Vientiane with kids, we boarded a local bus for 4 hours north, arriving in the popular town Vang Vieng. As we approached, we were overwhelmed by the beautiful karst hill landscape ahead of us. Vang Vieng lies on the Nam Song River and is simply stunning! The town is known to be a party town, but travelling with young children, we were there for the remarkable sights, to relax and explore the region.

 

We had the most amazing day out on foot, walking from the town centre, we wandered through rice paddies, into jungle areas and even discovered caves to explore. There were marked tracks to follow beneath the remarkable karst hills. We had packed a picnic and enjoyed sitting under trees and rustic huts to take shade from the sun. This was our first real adventurous trip outside of Australia with the kids and this day did not disappoint and will be remembered fondly, forever.

backpacking java

By Cassie from "Cassie the Hag"

Although the entire fortnight I spent solo backpacking Java remains a special memory, the unique and unexpected beauty of the Karimujawa Islands was particularly special. Far less touristy than any other island I’ve visited in Asia (big time!), the soft, sandy beaches and spectacular sunsets were often enjoyed by me alone - and the girl I met in my hostel.

 

My favorite day was when we rented a scooter and looped around the island. Some of the best spots are Bukit Hill Viewpoint, the hillside roads, Northern beaches, and Pantai Ulung Gelam beach for sunset. Karimunjawa is also a great place to go snorkeling and diving, and the water is warm and clear. At Karimunjawa they even brought a vegan option and asked me to serve myself first, so the spoons would be clean, and showed eco-consciousness by having an optional beach clean after lunch. I wish that all island day trips were like this!

 

The island has a population of just 9000. Java is predominantly Muslim, and the local women smiling as they scoot past is sure to put a smile on your face too. In fact, it was the incredibly welcome nature of the local people here that really confirms Karimunjawa as one of my best ever travel memories.

Bali Temple - pura ulun danu

By Mal from "Raw Mal Roams"

 

My best Asian travel memory was exploring Hindu temples in Bali. One of the most spectacular temples I have visited was Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, located in the mountainous region of Northern Bali.

 

The experience was unique because the north of Bali is very different from the touristy Seminyak and Kuta. On the way there we went past villages and were able to see how locals go about their day to day life.

 

Pura Ulun Danu is an icon of Bali often placed on Bali postcards. The stunning scenery makes visiting this temple a truly mesmerizing experience.  

 

It’s built on a small island over the Lake Beratan surrounded by picturesque mountains and lush greenery. The whole temple complex looks like a big, well-groomed garden on the shore of the lake. My favorite part of the experience was hiring a paddle boat and admiring the scenery from the lake. 

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