Pin on PinterestHomeAsiaAsia – 11 Top Countries to Visit For First-timers By Marcos Detourist. Updated on March 10, 2017.Where to go in Asia? See the best countries to visit and things to do for first-time travelers.From the bustling streets of Hong Kong to laid-back ancient temples in Myanmar, Asia is a place where adventure is ripe for the picking at every corner.First-time travelers can get easily overwhelmed by the thought of exploring this massively diverse region.Fortunately, there are a lot of destinations that are perfect for the uninitiated while others just need more preparation & planning.Get inspired to start your adventure in Asia with this list of the best countries to visit.1. Hong Kong A dizzying view of Hong Kong’s soaring skyline from Victoria Peak. Fireworks show at Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Hong Kong DisneylandHong Kong Disneyland Why go — A gawk-worthy modern skyline and exciting urban attractions are the top reasons that got me on a plane to Hong Kong on my first trip abroad. It is so easy to plan an itinerary and travel here with so much travel information available online and popularity among other first-time international travelers.Plan a tripHow to go — Most travelers arrive at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), which is well-connected by plane from all major cities across the globe. Frequent ferry services link Hong Kong to Macau (1 hour) and cities along the Pearl River Delta. By land, roadways, and trains connect Hong Kong to Mainland China via Guangdong & Guangzhou. Show moreFrom the Philippines, frequent daily flights connect Manila to Hong Kong (2 hours). You may also fly from Cebu, Iloilo, Clark & Kalibo. Direct flights are operated by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, Cathay Pacific & TigerAirHong Kong tours & discounts.Hong Kong hotels & hostels.See more — Hong Kong blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Hong Kong, Hong Kong & Macau Itinerary.2. Thailand Wat Arun along Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand The Beach in Ko Phi Phi Leh, ThailandKo Phi Phi LehWat Chedi Luang (temple) in Chiang Mai, ThailandWat Chedi Luang Why go — Growing up in a place heavily influenced by Western culture, the exotic appeal of Thailand was irresistible on my first solo trip abroad. With so many places catered to budget travelers, it’s easy to travel cheaply around fascinating destinations in the country while enjoying the bliss that is Thai food.Plan a tripHow to go — Bangkok is the primary international and domestic gateway to Thailand. Travelers either arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport located on the eastern outskirts of Bangkok and Don Mueang International Airport in the north. Show moreDirect international flights also available in provincial tourist hotspots including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Samui, Krabi & Pattaya. Alternatively, cross-border services are popular among travelers headed from Cambodia, Vietnam (via Cambodia), Laos & Malaysia.From the Philippines, fly from Manila to Bangkok (3 hours and 30 minutes) or Phuket (4 hours) on Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific or Thai Airways. You may also go on a connecting flight via Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Another option is to arrive in Ho Chi Minh, Siem Reap, or Kuala Lumpur and continue your journey to Thailand by land or air.Thailand tours & discounts.Thailand hotels & hostels.Where to go — Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Krabi, Sukhothai, Umphang.See more — Thailand blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Thailand.3. Cambodia Angkor Wat (temple) in Siem Reap, Cambodia Ta Prohm (temple) in Angkor, Siem Reap, CambodiaTa Prohm (temple) Why go — If you’re in-love with the idea of exploring ancient temple ruins, then Siem Reap, Cambodia has Southeast Asia’s grandest archaeological site (in my opinion, at least). Plus, locals are very friendly and most of them speak good English, which make traveling around the country easy.Plan a tripHow to go — Majority of temple-bound travelers arrive in Siem Reap, the main gateway to the ancient temples of Angkor, and less popularly in capital Phnom Penh. The country sits right in the middle of the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam Indochina banana pancake trail making cross-border land travel very easy. Show moreFrom the Philippines, Cebu Pacific operates weekly direct flights from Manila to Siem Reap (3 hours travel time). Alternatively, you can book a connecting flight via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Or, travel by land/air from Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh to Cambodia.Cambodia tours & discounts.Cambodia hotels & hostels.Where to go — Kratie, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap.See more — Cambodia blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Cambodia, Siem Reap Itinerary.4. India Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India Gaumukh Reservoir in Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh, IndiaOverlooking view of the blue city from Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, IndiaCarvings on a temple in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, IndiaVictoria Memorial Hall along Cathedral Road in Kolkata, India Why go — There’s no place on earth like India. This country is home to the world’s most spectacular architecture and colorful mix of cultures. It is like a continent of its own. Each place offers unique experiences catered to different types of travelers. Once you’ve arrived and fallen in love with India, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.Plan a tripHow to go — Arriving by air is the best way to get to India. Delhi and Kolkata airports are the primary flight hubs in north India. You can fly to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore or Chennai if you’re bound for south India. Major airlines in the country include Air India, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, IndiGo, GoAir, AirAsia & Vistara. Show moreFrom the Philippines, catch a connecting flight in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Hong Kong since there are no direct flights between Manila and Indian airports. Excluding time spent on transits, travel time from the Philippines to India should take 6–8 hours via Bangkok or 8–10 hours via Singapore/Kuala Lumpur.India hotels & hostels.Where to go — Agra, Bodhgaya, Delhi, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ranakpur, Udaipur, Varanasi, Kolkata.See more — India blogs & guides, Best places to visit in India.5. Vietnam Mua Caves Viewpoint in Ninh Binh, Vietnam Hoan Kiem Lake at Night in Hanoi, VietnamHoan Kiem LakeParadise Cave in Phong Nha, Quang Binh, VietnamParadise Cave Why go — 1 US Dollar = 21,475 Vietnamese Dong (as of the time of writing). To be a millionaire in Vietnam, you only need to have USD47 or PHP2082! Try checking your ATM balance to get a good shock from all the digits. Purchasing power considered, your money still goes a long way in Vietnam. The country is also a great starting point to traverse the (Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand) Indochina trail.Plan a tripHow to go — Travelers either arrive at Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in South Vietnam or Hanoi in North Vietnam. Da Nang in Central Vietnam is also a good option as it caters to a growing number of direct international flights. Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are well-connected by flight (2 hours) as well as by train (33 hours with no stops), and overnight buses. Show moreFrom the Philippines, fly directly to Ho Chi Minh from Manila on Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. Cebu Pacific also operates a direct route from Manila to Hanoi. You can also consider taking a connecting flight via Singapore, Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur.Vietnam tours & discounts.Vietnam hotels & hostels.Where to go — Cao Bang, Da Nang, Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Phong Nha.See more — Vietnam blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh itinerary.6. Singapore Marina Bay and the Singapore Skyline view from Singapore Flyer Overlooking view of Sentosa Island, SingaporeSentosa IslandSupertrees and the Biodome at Gardens by the Bay, SingaporeGardens by the Bay Why go — Arguably the easiest destination to travel in Southeast Asia, Singapore is perfect for beginners, especially those traveling with family.Plan a tripHow to go — Singapore’s primary gateway is Changi International Airport, which is well-connected by air from nearly all corners of the globe especially major cities in Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Australia. Land border crossings are also popular to/from Malaysia via Johor Bahru. Show moreFrom the Philippines, travel time from Manila by flight takes around takes around 3 hours and 40 minutes. This route is served by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar Airways and Tigerair. Direct flights are also available from several provincial cities including Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Kalibo & Clark.Singapore tours & discounts.Singapore hotels & hostels.See more — Singapore blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Singapore.7. Malaysia Petronas and KL Tower view from Titiwangsa Lake Putra “pink” Mosque in Putrajaya, MalaysiaPutra “MosqueChrist Church in Melaka, MalaysiaChrist ChurchKek Lok Si in Penang Hill, MalaysiaKek Lok Si (temple)Mamutik Island in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, MalaysiaMamutik Island Why go — Lying between Singapore and Thailand, literally and on the scale of how easy it is to travel, Malaysia is a great choice if you plan on visiting adventure-filled places but still want to take travel with a relative ease. It’s also hard not to miss it if you’re flying with AirAsia.Plan a tripHow to go — Kuala Lumpur is the main gateway to Peninsular Malaysia while Kota Kinabalu serves East Malaysia. It’s also possible to fly directly to several international airports across the country including Penang, Melaka, Johor Bahru-Senai, Subang & Kuching. Show moreDirect land and and ferry connections are available from Singapore (via Johor Bahru), Indonesia (Kalimantan-East Malaysia) & Brunei (Bandar Seri Begawan-Sabah).From the Philippines, from Manila fly to Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Malaysia Airlines. Travel time takes nearly 4 hours. Direct flights to KL are also available from Clark, Cebu & Kalibo. East Malaysia bound travelers can take a direct flight from Manila to Kota Kinabalu (2 hours).Malaysia tours & discounts.Malaysia hotels & hostels.Where to go — Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Melaka, Pahang, Penang, Putrajaya, Sabah, Kota Kinabalu.See more — Malaysia blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Malaysia[.8. Indonesia Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaPrambanan TempleMount Bromo summit crater in East Java, IndonesiaMount Bromo Why go — Even thinking about adventures to be had in over 18,307 islands already makes me want to go aboard the next flight to Indonesia. You can skip “eat” and “pray,” and go straight to “love” in Bali. If you’re tired of beaches, there are ancient temples, volcanoes, waterfalls, and nature parks waiting for you in 18,306 more islands.Plan a tripHow to go — Bali and Jakarta are the best entry points to Indonesia for most travelers as flights are aplenty. It’s also possible to fly direct to Medan, Surabaya or Yogyakarta from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Show moreFrom the Philippines, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines operate direct flights to Jakarta and Bali. Travel time to both destinations should take around 4 hours. You might also be able to chance upon good deals by transiting through Singapore and Kuala Lumpur instead.Indonesia tours & discounts.Indonesia hotels & hostels.Where to go — Bali, Nusa Penida, Batam, Java, Baluran, Bandung, Jakarta, Mount Bromo, Mount Ijen, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Komodo Islands, Lombok, Mount Rinjani.See more — Indonesia blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Indonesia.9. Nepal Snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna Himalayas from Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal Phewa Lake in Pokhara, NepalMount Everest & Himalayan mountains in NepalSwayambhunath Temple in Kathmandu, NepalMain street in Bandipur, Nepal Why go — Nepal is the ultimate destination for mountain lovers. The Nepali Himalayas is the roof of the World, home to Mount Everest — the highest peak on earth. Travelers who venture to this country soon discover a lot more sights and experiences that are worth the long journey from home.Plan a tripHow to go — Kathmandu International Airport is the primary gateway to Nepal. You can fly directly from major airports in South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia or the Middle East. Direct flights from other regions are very limited. The airport’s busiest destinations include Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi & Dubai. Show moreFrom the Philippines, transit at Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong since there are no direct flights from Manila to Kathmandu. Excluding time spent on transits, travel time from the Philippines to Nepal should take around 7 hours via Bangkok.Nepal tours & discounts.Nepal hotels & hostels.Where to go — Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhaktapur, Annapurna, Bandipur.See more — Nepal blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Nepal.10. Myanmar Shwedagon Paya (pagoda) in Central Yangon, Myanmar Buddhist temples in Bagan, MyanmarBagan templesKyaiktiyo Golden Rock Pagoda in MyanmarKyaiktiyo Golden Rock Why go — If you’re already flirting with the idea of going on off-the-beaten-track adventures in Myanmar, go there now before tourism in the country grows too mainstream. Traveling in Myanmar is not the easiest in this list but there are already a lot of helpful information and itineraries available online.Plan a tripHow to go — Yangon is the primary flight hub in Myanmar though Mandalay is also a viable option, especially if you’re planning to visit the ancient temples in North Central Myanmar. Consider a trip long enough to fly in Yangon, enjoy a stop over at Bagan, and fly out from Mandalay (or vice-versa). Show moreFrom the Philippines, the best way to get to Myanmar is taking a transit flight via Bangkok, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur since flights to the country are quite limited. You can fly on AirAsia the whole way or separate airlines on each leg.Myanmar tours & discounts.Myanmar hotels & hostels.Where to go — Bagan, Hsipaw, Kyaiktiyo, Mandalay, Yangon.See more — Myanmar blogs & guides, Best places to visit in Myanmar[11. Philippines Secret Lagoon Beach in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines Banaue Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao, PhilippinesBanaue Rice TerracesMiagao Church in Iloilo, PhilippinesMiagao Church, IloiloHikong Bente Waterfall in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, PhilippinesLake Sebu WaterfallCalle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, PhilippinesCalle Crisologo, Vigan Why go — If you’re planning to skip the Philippines entirely, then you’re missing out on a lot! The country has some of the best beaches in Asia and a lot of cultural encounters to offer. Bias aside, one of the best things I love about traveling in the Philippines is how easy it is to have interactions with locals. Getting around isn’t much of a problem since most Filipinos can understand English and are generally friendly. Breaking down the language barrier makes travel more fun in the Philippines.Plan a tripHow to go — Manila is the main flight hub in the Philippines. Manila-NAIA International Airport serves direct flights from major cities in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Australia & North America West Coast as well as limited connections from Europe. An excellent alternative is to fly directly from Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan or Malaysia to international airports in Cebu, Clark, Iloilo, Kalibo & Davao.Philippines tours & discounts.Philippines hotels & hostels.Where to go — Bacolod, Baguio, Banaue, Bicol, Bohol, Boracay, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Manila, Palawan, Sagada, Siargao, Siquijor.See more — Philippines blogs & guides, Best places to visit in the Philippines.Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.Don’t leave yet. There’s more!1 Month Solo Travel in Northern India: A Survivor’s…Indonesia – 13 Best Places & Islands to Visit forHong Kong Itinerary – 3 Days HK-Macau Budget Trip…DIY Annapurna Base Camp Trek in NepalDiscover more blogs and travel tips in:SingaporePhilippinesHong KongMacauThailandCambodiaIndonesiaVietnamMalaysiaLaosMyanmar See all placesFind more posts about:Best PlacesBest TravelBest Things To DoLeave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website Comments MALMAM saysAugust 24, 2015 at 6:00 pmTHANKS FOR sharing your trAvel experiences…. !Reply Marcos Detourist saysOctober 18, 2015 at 12:27 amThe pleasure is mine, MALMAM :) My travels around Asia had brought me so many beautiful experiences, this is my way of giving back by sharing.Reply Frances saysMarch 10, 2016 at 4:19 pmWow. This made me feel more excited to travel asia in the future! Anw, One of the countries I have listed on my bucket list is Thailand. How was the food and service? :)Reply Apple saysApril 30, 2016 at 10:51 amVery detailed article. Got many ideas to which country I must first go. Super loved it. Thanks for sharing this ?Reply Viet Nam saysOctober 29, 2016 at 2:21 amSome amendments: in Vietnam, 1 USD is around 22,250 VND. you have to exchange at least 50$, or the exchange rate will be higher. Many scandals of toxic food, even in big restaurants.Reply Marcos Detourist saysOctober 30, 2016 at 11:35 amThat’s true. You can get best rates if you exchange using $100 bills. A lot of exchange stalls offer lower exchange rates if you use bills with smaller denomination.Reply sue saysNovember 18, 2016 at 10:50 amVery impressive especially with the details of the itinerary! nice job Marcos~~Reply Marcos Detourist saysNovember 29, 2016 at 2:29 pmThanks Sue!ReplyStart A TripSee travel guides and blogs about the Philippines and beyond.