As the largest and most populous continent, it is no wonder Asia packs in the cities. When plotting a trip to Asia, it can be difficult for travelers to know which points on the map they should include as part of their itineraries. Most nomads begin with those cities in Asia with stand out highlights and attractions. Here are six cities in Asia that pack in the grand allures.
Kochi: Set on the tropical Malabar Coast of India, the port city of Kochi has been attracting visitors for over 600 years, many of who arrived by boat. The city acted as a major trading center for Arabs, Chinese and European merchants for centuries. With its eclectic mix of cultures, Kochi lends attractions where you can see a little bit of this culture and a little bit of another. Mattancherry Palace is one of those examples. The Portuguese built the two-story 16th century palace. However, when the Dutch took over the palace, it would be redone. Mattancherry Palace offers visitors information on the history of Kochi royal dynasty and preserved Hindu murals.
Kochi is also worth a gander for its famous Chinese Fishing Nets. Each day, visitors can watch fishermen working the nets, remnants of Fort Kochi’s ancient trade with the Far East. Many believe Chinese explorer Zheng He introduced the beach installation.
Manila: The capital of the Philippines doesn’t always receive much attention, but the teeming city warrants a closer look. Manila is not only home to the world’s oldest Chinatown but it also houses the Spanish Intramuros. For visitors in Manila, Intramuros is a good place to begin a trip though the city. The historic walled portion of Manila was once the center of Spanish Manila. Its wide streets, green plazas and colonial homes make it worth seeing, especially for a peek at Fort Santiago and the opulent Church of San Agustin.
For museum lovers, Manila answers with its National Museum of the Filipino People. The museum houses an extensive collection including the skullcap of the Philippine’s earliest known resident from 24,000 B.C. and a rich selection of paintings and sculpture.
Ho Chi Minh City: Formally known but still referred to as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a city of whizzing motorbikes, markets that perfume the air with tasty meals and even sandy beaches. If you only have a few days with Ho Chi Minh City, a visit to Emperor Jade Pagoda is often a must-stop experience. The sacred building is one of the most fascinating temples in the country. Built in 1909 in honor of the Taoist god, the site is chalk full of statues, divinities and plenty of incense.
When your stomach grumbles in Ho Chi Minh City, you can head to the very centrally located Ben Thanh Market. The market holds the city’s life in a market stall. You can buy virtually everything here from tasty eats, clothes to scorpions. You name it, the Ben Thanh Market probably has it for sale.
Abu Dhabi: The capital of the United Arab Emirates doesn’t shy away from its oil wealth. At the same time, Abu Dhabi hasn’t lost its traditional heritage. To experience some of Abu Dhabi’s extravagance, you can take a gander at the Emirates Palace, the city’s most over-the-top hotel. The marble, gold and crystal confection even offers a gold bar dispensing ATM. For Abu Dhabi’s more extravagant yet traditional side, travelers should head to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque stuns the eyes with its architectural details, including more than 80 marble domes. On a visit to the mosque, you can even walk on the world’s largest Persian carpet.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong, put most simply, isn’t for those looking for a little peace and quiet. The city of buzzing neon signs, historic trams, packed sidewalks and sprawling skyscrapers lives and breathes energy that is contagious. It is no wonder that Hong Kong hosts a slew of events throughout the year including the National Day Fireworks Display, a birthday celebration for the People’s Republic of China. Visitors might also want to plan their visit to Hong Kong around the Hong Kong Harbin Ice Festival. The city becomes a -10 degrees Celsius winter wonderland with some impressive and large ice exhibitions.
Kathmandu: The sensory overload that is Kathmandu is a collision of ancient traditions and modern advances. The largest city in Nepal is also the country’s cultural capital. Travelers to this multifaceted city should begin a journey through town at the heart, Kathmandu Durbar Square. The space acts as the social, religious and political focal point of Kathmandu and boasts a number of palaces, courtyards and temples to admire. Visitors should also seek out Bodhnath Stupa when in Kathmandu. The UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley. And for serene Kathmandu, adventurers can roam the Garden of Dreams, a 24-acre garden in city’s Thamel district.
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