Many of us have been to various capital cities in Asia such as Bangkok, Beijing, Tokyo etc. Whilst these are incredible places to visit, and host a large number of tourists per year (for a reason!), there other great cities of Asia out there on the rise and hungry for tourists. Make sure you don’t miss them out on your Asian adventure travels!
Here are some lesser-known cities that absolutely should be on your “travel to do” list.
5. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh is certainly not a “road less travelled” kind of place. Many people pass through on their way to other parts of Cambodia. However, tourists never seem to actually sit back and take in the city. It has a reputation amongst backpackers as “boring” and that could definitely be the case if you comparing it to neighbouring Bangkok. Phnom Penh has a few interesting sites worth checking out that will make you think long and hard, such as the genocide museum and the killing fields. Where this place shines, however, is its bar a restaurant scene. Because many people quickly pass through, they fail to find the amazing and often super hip places that are not located in the backpacker district. Due to its thriving expat community, you can find all kinds of amazing home comforts for a ridiculously low price. This city is the perfect place if you want to experience culture, food , a good night out and all at a slow pace and low cost. We recommend next time you’re in Southeast Asia, don’t just pass through, spend time and explore the city and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Join YPT on our tour to the Killing Fields including both Phnom Penh and Siem Riep.
Click here for more info.
4. Almaty, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital is a great starting point for anyone planning to travel through Central Asia. Over the past few years, like anywhere nowadays, gentrification has truly set in. Hipster coffee shops are popping up like daisies, cool bars are becoming more common and the restaurants will have you eating like a King! Almaty is now easily accessible with Kazakhstan’s new visa regime allowing 15 days visa free for about 40 countries. Even better is their recent currency devaluation, which for the average Kazakh is not so good, but for a tourist looking for a cheap destination, it gets top marks.
Want to see a live rocket launch? Join YPT on our epic Baikonur Cosmodrome Tour.
3. Irkutsk, Russia
Located in Eastern Siberia, Irkutsk is the gateway to visiting Lake Baikal, one of the most spectacular natural wonders out there. Irkutsk itself has blossomed since the fall of the Soviet Union, maintaining many of its scientific institutions turning it into a sort of Siberian student town. That means Irkutsk has a shockingly modern face for a city in the absolute middle of nowhere. Beautiful architecture along streets like Karla Marksa host a range of new super cool restaurants and bars that resemble back alleys of Melbourne or San Francisco. All this with some great low price tags. If you’re travelling through Russia on the trans-Siberian or are looking for your next stop on tour of Asia, go to Irkutsk! You won’t regret it.
YPT explores Irkutsk as an individual tour or part of the Eurasian Adventure Tour.
Another one of Central Asia’s more tourist-friendly locations, Bishkek is no longer the dodgy backwater that is used to be. With amazing national parks just near the capital, Bishkek should absolutely be on your list. Just as with the abovementioned cities, gentrification has also made its way to Kyrgyzstan, slower than others for sure, but nonetheless, the sprouting of new bars and cafes is happening. With 60 day visa-free entry for most, Kyrgyzstan is a must and is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia. So if you’re keen for some yurt camping, lake swimming and mountain-packed action, get yourself to Bishkek!
Click here for more information on YPT’s various tours to Kyrgyzstan.
1. Yangon, Myanmar
Change is coming quickly to Yangon, and when I say quick, I mean lighting speed. Old is fast becoming mixed with the new since it has opened to the world. Historic colonial style buildings of its British past are being renovated to host department stores, cafes, bars and everything in between. If you need a few days to relax and sort out your travel plans, Yangon is a great breather. The contrast of this city is also reason enough to visit. Go to vista bar and listen to the latest top forty tunes with a beer while over-looking the golden façade of the Shwedagon and you’ll see what I mean. Yangon in easily accessible from many parts of Southeast Asia, and is a necessary stop off point on your journey to the countries best-known places like Inle Lake and Bagan.
Visit Myanmar with YPT for a Christmas Adventure. Click here for more information.
YPT travels to all these destinations with expert foreign and local guides to show you how to make the most out of these less discovered cities.
Contact YPT today to find out more information and which tours will take you through these places.