What makes a certain city stand out to me? Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s all the shopping that could be done (the knick knacks they sell in East Asia are soo cute!). The historical significance of a city can certainly make me further enjoy the stay at a city, while the pop culture can be pretty cool too. Or maybe that city has some really interesting attractions. Here I have compiled a list of the top 5 cities in the East that you have to visit, extremely popular or not (mostly popular though).
Hong Kong is especially popular for its shopping, probably due to the sheer amount of items both expensive or cheap available (or maybe because there’s no sales tax). From specialty knives to vintage shops to crowded markets, there’s always something eye catching out there. One of the most popular attractions is Victoria Peak to take great panoramic pictures of Hong Kong. Take the peak tram to have the illusion of seeing the buildings fall. Visit during the night for a more dramatic tilt. Hop on the Star Ferry to see Hong Kong’s iconic skyscrapers from Victoria Bay. Hong Kong is a great place for Cantonese opera. Some museums to visit are the Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and the Comix Home Base. The Liangyi Museum has some of the best antique furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. A bonus is that you can sit or touch anything in the museum, there isn’t anything that is roped off. Hong Kong is famed for all it’s outdoor space. And make sure to taste some of the Cantonese cuisine or street foods. If you are really into Disney you could visit Disney Land Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also an amazing city to visit to take pictures.
A mecca of glittering skyscrapers, Seoul is a city not to miss. Myeongdong and Dongdaemun are popular tourist attractions, particularly for their shopping (especially for Korean beauty products). Shops at Myeongdong are well known for being extremely generous with freebies. Since Seoul is the South Korean capitol, tourists can visit Cheong Wa Dae, nicknamed the Blue House, the executive office and the official residence of their president. The Olympic Park, located in Gangnam, south of the Han River is a very popular park. Two relatively popular museums are the National Museum and the War Memorial of Korea. The world’s fifth tallest skyscraper, the Lotte World Tower, resides in Lotte World (the world’s largest indoor theme park in the world), which is basically a Korean Disney. Changdeokgung is a popular palace to visit while Jogye-sa is a popular temple to visit. Kpop fans, especially those who love SM groups may enjoy visiting SMTown Coex Artium while Kdrama lovers may visit filming locations. Make sure to visit the Namdaemun Market for South Korea’s famous street food.
What is in my opinion one of the most underrated cities in Asia, you should never miss out on Xian in any trip to China. While Xian doesn’t have amazing shopping, it makes it up with their culture and food. China’s capital city for some of its most prominent dynasties, including the Tang dynasty, giving countless aifacts to display in museums like the Shaanxi History Museum where you can see an entire wall showing various gold hair pieces from the Tang dynasty or pots with holes on the bottom that don’t leak thanks to gravity. In the Muslim quarter you can find Huimin road, where Xian street foods are sold everywhere. Make sure to try the biang biang noodles. The Terre Cotta Army(located in Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum) is a symbol of ancient China. For literature loving people there’s the Stelae Museum, showcasing over 1000 stone stelae, or inscribed tablets from different eras. There are nine Confucian classics and rubbings(copies) are made in the fourth gallery. Nearby is the City Wall from the Ming dynasty. The ruins of the oldest example of the Neolithic culture can be seen at the Xian Banpo Museum. The Big Goose Pagoda houses sutras brought by Xuan Zang, whose pilgrimage inspired the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Other attractions include the Small Goose Pagoda and the Huaqing Hot Springs.
The street foods are pretty well known but a must-try is bubble tea after all, Taipei is the birthplace of bubble tea! The most iconic building is definitely Taipei 101(shown above). The National Palace Museum houses many of the imperial family’s treasures from the Qing dynasty, taken from the Forbidden City. The gallery has about 7,000 permanent artifacts and artworks put into rotations. It is arguably one of the best museums of its kind. There is also the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, which collects miniatures. Other popular tourist attractions include the Elephant Mountain, the Longshan Temple, and the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.
Tokyo is basically a series of small cities with their own unique charm merged together. For example the Ginza district is shopping heaven and is also well known for its food and entertainment while the Akihabara district(nicknamed the Akihabara Electric Town) is the electronics capitol. The people there are also famous for their love of anime.Tokyo is also home to Asia’s most visited tourist attraction, Disneyland Tokyo! No, I’m not kidding. There are also many museums there, like the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which shows how Tokyo went from small fishing town Edo to the super modern, Asian fashion capitol that it is today. For food lovers there are so many restaurants to go to. Did you know that Tokyo has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world(beating out Paris)? Some popular tourist attractions include the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo Tower as well as the Tokyo Skytree.