Exploring Asia's Travel Hot Spots

The year 2010 ushers in more travel opportunities for those looking to explore Asia. And while you’d think you already know some of these destinations by heart, think again because each is bound to have little-known wonders just waiting to be uncovered. Here are some destinations that should be included in your must-see shortlist.

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: There’s much more to Taipei than a food enthusiast’s haven. While Taipei offers an assortment of unique and flavorful dishes, you can also enjoy a feast for the eyes and the soul by going bird-watching at the Yangmingshan National Park.

SHANGHAI AND GUANGZHOU, CHINA: If you’ve already gone through the hustle and bustle of China, maybe you’d want to take a step back and get a wide view of all the activity: a cable car to White Cloud Mountain for a bird’s-eye view of Guangzhou, or a walk on the Bund to marvel at the Shanghai skyline.

KUALA LUMPUR AND KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA: If you’re not keen on long walks along Kota Kinabalu’s world-famous beachfront, there’s always Mt. Kinabalu to climb or cultural dances to learn at the Rungus Longhouse. And while the underwater tunnel at Kuala Lumpur’s Aquaria KLCC Education Center can be a one-of-a-kind experience, trying out their durian cake called Dodol might just be that new taste to refresh your palate.

Other must-try activities are the Kota Kinabalu river cruise (with the chance to drink tea in a local’s home), and the Sunday Market. You can go to Manukan Island for great buffet and water sports too.

OSAKA, JAPAN: Turning Japanese is easy when you get to experience the language and culture of historic Osaka, from exploring the Osaka Castle to reflecting at the Shi-Tennoji Temple. But if meditation doesn’t float your boat, you can get your fill of modern-day entertainment with a tour of the Universal Studios theme park.

HO CHI MINH, VIETNAM: Ho Chi Minh City can bring out the nocturnal creature in you with a host of bars and clubs on Pham Ngu Lao Street and late night shopping at the Night Market. But if you want to experience the finer things in life, head over to the Fine Arts Museum which takes after the Opera Garnier in France.

INCHEON AND BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA: There are lots of things to experience and enjoy in this part of Asia, from towering skyscrapers, museums, and distinctive Korean crafts. The Nanta show in Seoul is a fantastic treat, as is the all-night shopping in Dongdaemun. Another shopping place to visit is the Insadong Antique Alley, since it is filled with the perfect souvenirs, creative finds and antiques.

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