Asia’s hidden gems, as chosen by the Travel Counsellors community

We love getting out and exploring Asia. Its diverse flavours, fast-paced cities, and lush tropical landscapes are brimming with stories of ancient dynasties that have shaped the continent. At Travel Counsellors, we're big fans of getting the authentic experience when we travel, so we’ve gathered some recommendations for experiencing hidden gems on your next trip to Asia.

“A must during your time in Bangkok is a day trip to Ayutthaya which is a city about 80 kms north of Bangkok. It was capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and a prosperous international trading port, from 1350 until razed by the Burmese in 1767. The ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues.”

Trish, Travel Counsellor

“I had never heard of okonomiyaki before I visited Japan, but it was one of the most delicious things I ate there, and I would highly recommend it. I had my first taste in Hiroshima where it is so popular that you can find entire food halls full of Okonomiyaki restaurants that are devoted to it. At many of them, you sit at a counter in front of a huge teppan (iron griddle) where the chefs make them right in front of you.

Osaka and Hiroshima are each synonymous with okonomiyaki, and you can buy okonomiyaki memorabilia in both cities!

Osaka-style okonomiyaki is a thick pancake, stuffed with cabbage and spring onions and any number of other fillings that take your fancy such as cheese or kimchi. The Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is completely different in composition, with two thin crepes enveloping a mountain of soft yakisoba noodles in addition to cabbage and various optional fillings such as fried eggs, bean sprouts and meat. Give it a try if you are visiting Japan!”

Lisa, Travel Counsellor

“Last time I went to Thailand I attended a family wedding in Nan, a province in the far North near the Laos border. There are some stunning temples there and wonderful cultural centres with Hill Tribe influences. Nan is a not yet touched by mass tourism so now is a great time to go.

In the centre of Nan there are two Temples that are both absolutely stunning and no more than a couple of hundred yards from each other, but one is completely white and the other is completely gold.

The White Temple is Wat Ming Mueang and it distinguishes itself with the filigree ornaments and sculptures depicting local festivities and prayers to Buddha. When the sun shines down on this stunning Temple it shimmers with a silver phosphorescence.

Just around the corner is the Gold Temple Wat Sri Panton (Wat Si Phan Don). This Temple may not appeal to the more traditional visitor who like temples to be peaceful and subdued and like Wat Ming Mueang, it might not always appear in visitor itineraries, but there is no doubt that both are stunning.

Grant, Travel Counsellor

“Avoid the more built up and busy beaches of Sihanoukville in Cambodia and instead take a boat across to Koh Rong Samloem where the sand is white, the sea is turquoise, and there’s a real laid back island vibe. It’s a chance to kick back, relax and enjoy the peaceful island lif. The island is quite remote though so make sure you bring everything you need to last the duration of your stay especially cash as ATM’s aren’t available on the island.”

Jodie, Travel Counsellor

“Often overlooked as it’s only accessible by ferry, Thailand’s Koh Chang is lovely and quiet, but still has a few bars and restaurants.

White Sand Beach on the island’s northwest coast is the perfect spot for sunsets! Oh take me back.”

Jessica, Travel Counsellor

To start planning your next visit to Asia, get in touch today. You’ll benefit from full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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