India and Vietnam have joined the growing list of countries to re-open their borders to international travellers. So, if you’ve been dreaming about travelling to Asia over these past two years, then now is the time to think about adding the region back onto your bucket list. And there’s never going to be a better time to get booking the trip of a lifetime.
As a continent, Asia boasts a huge array of countries and landscapes to explore. From beach holidays to backpacking, everything is on the agenda. Suitable for young and old alike, travelling to Asia offers experiences like no other.
The climate can be changeable, with monsoons competing with hot and humid temperatures. But each area has its own dry season, and that is the time to aim for in order to feel comfortable and get the most out of your trip.
Here are five of the best things to see and do in Asia for 2022.
Sand and safari in Sri Lanka
Idyllic palm-fringed beaches can be combined with a memorable wildlife safari in some of the country’s pristine national parks, making Sri Lanka a popular destination for honeymooning couples. The picture-postcard sandy beaches of the south and west coasts are perfect for rest and relaxation. Bentota is pristine and just 45 minutes from the capital, Colombo. It is a haven for watersports, from speedboats to snorkelling.
If part of your reason for travelling to Asia is to see some of the continent’s amazing wildlife, then Sri Lanka is the destination for you. Because Yala National Park, to the south of the island, offers visitors the chance to see native leopards, elephants, monkeys and crocodiles in their natural habitat. The abundance and diversity of the wildlife make Yala National Park the leading national park in Sri Lanka.
Wellbeing retreats in Thailand
Looking to get away from the stresses of modern life? Recover from the effects of stress at one of the world’s best wellbeing retreats in the serenity of Thailand. Known for its relieving massages and food made from the freshest ingredients, you can really recharge and reset, often in 5-star luxury.
Many of these retreats target executives whose increased stress levels have seen them fall into addictive or destructive behaviours. Let somebody else take charge for once, and just sit back, relax and enjoy a natural and tranquil environment. Get the help you need while being surrounded by healing views of verdant rice fields. If you have a particular area of concern, there are retreats that are specifically geared up to assist, leaving you feeling revitalised and in paradise.
Explore ancient ruins in Cambodia
Angkor Wat in northwest Cambodia is the world’s largest religious temple, and reason enough on its own for many of those travelling to Asia. The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of fierce national pride – it is even featured on the national flag! Unlike the other Angkor monuments, it was never abandoned to the elements and has been in virtually continuous use since it was built. The intricate detail of the sandstone carvings is marvelled at by all who visit, and its overall grandeur is awe-inspiring.
If Tomb Raider is your thing, check out Ta Prohm, which was used as the setting for the jungle-enveloped temple in the film starring Angelina Jolie. Its majesty is breathtaking and its maze-like corridors are well worth exploring for a couple of hours.
Live like a local in Vietnam
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is a great place to visit in Southeast Asia. And you can even start from Cambodia and travel downriver to Vietnam if you would prefer a longer holiday in the region. Trips down the river can be enjoyed aboard a traditional sampan, and there are plenty of opportunities to visit craftspeople in their own homes, or enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with the locals. If you fancy learning to cook some delicacies yourself, then Tra Que Village is the place to go. Work up an appetite by taking a cycling tour through the countryside and see how the Vietnamese people really live.
A typical homestay provides the perfect opportunity to soak up the culture. For around $15 per head, plus $10 for the boat, you’ll be transported to your host’s (usually isolated) abode. You’ll be shown around the gardens, given a tasty dinner – most likely including the delicious elephant-ear fish, a delta speciality – and lodgings for the night. These will be either in a bed or hammock, usually in a spare room.
Vibrant festivals in India
India is busy, frantic and exciting. As a result, there is nowhere better to get into the party spirit than at one of the country’s myriad annual festivals and celebrations, which are full of colour and vitality. Holi is a famous Hindu festival that is celebrated in every part of India with joy and enthusiasm. The ritual starts by lighting up a bonfire the day before Holi, which symbolises the triumph of good over evil. During the festivities, street parties see families and neighbours pelting each other with colourful paint bombs. It’s a joyous explosion of colour. Just remember not to wear your best clothes because they will need more than a good wash to salvage!
Diwali is India’s festival of lights, with feasts and fireworks and general merrymaking. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes. These symbolise the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness.
Both of these festivals, and the many others for which India is known, assault the senses and are experiences not to be missed. Indian exuberance is famed and tourists are welcomed with open arms, to share in the festivities.
Travelling to Asia in 2022: Final Thoughts
The variety of experiences available in Asia means that many people take long trips to the continent. This allows them to pack in as much as possible and avoid too many long haul flights. That’s good for the environment, the wallet, and your jet lag! Whether you’re a student on a gap year or a retired couple who want a memorable holiday, Asia always delivers. The hospitality across the continent is legendary and you will be made to feel like one of the family within moments of arriving. So kick back and relax or kick up your feet and dance the night away.
Kate Sheppard is a mum of two, living in Sussex, UK. Kate enjoys writing about all things parenting, lifestyle and travel. Connect with Kate on Twitter: @KateSheppard90 and Pinterest: @katesheppard90