From ancient moss-covered temples to futuristic neon-splattered cities, East Asia is one of the planet’s most fascinating corners.
A quick glance at a map reveals a region dominated by China, East Asia’s tourism powerhouse. Over 50 million visitors visit China per year, to explore its ancient cities and mysterious hinterlands. But that’s only a small part of the picture.
The completely unique cultures of Japan and Korea are hardly slouches for drumming up traveller interest. The former Japanese imperial capital of Kyoto, with its spiritual soul on display at every corner, might be not only one of the region’s most compelling cities, but one of the world’s. The dynamic Korean capital of Seoul is similarly beguiling, combining ancient corners with a inescapable modern buzz.
Lest we forget the small diverse island nation of Taiwan. The countries tummy-pleasing capital of Taipei is one of the best food cities in the world, famous for its bustling night markets. Taking a trip around Taiwan is perhaps the easiest and cheapest introduction to East Asia—maybe even one of the most fulfilling.
Two former European colonies, long since returned to China, round out the region. Macau, the Chinese answer to Las Vegas, is a tiny taste of Portugal in Asia with its colonial architecture. Hong Kong, a former British stronghold and world financial centre, is one of Asia’s best cities to visit especially for food-obsessed travellers who can’t get enough of the city’s Cantonese culinary delights.