Asia is such a vast continent. No wonder it is the largest of all seven! The culture drastically changes from one direction to another giving travellers so much to consider and many many options. Our Traveller Oscars have brought you incredible choices in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Africa, and South America already. And now, we will give you even more. Here are the nominees for best destinations  and why you should Travel to Central & East Asia this year.

The Majestic Great Wall of China
travel to in Central & East Asia this year.

Miyajima/Itsukushima Island, Japan

Nominated by Kallsy of Pages of Travel, Instagram

Roughly an hour south of Hiroshima, Japan by railway and ferry lies Itsukushima Island, also known as Miyajima Island. Immediately after exiting the JR ferry you must take to get to the island, you will be entranced by the beauty and intimacy of Miyajima. There are a few things that you’ll notice right away other than the distant and bewitching fog that often looms over the waters. The first being the bountiful numbers of small deer that have inhabited the island. These deer will instantly come up to you in attempts to charm you for snacks (or at times steal some!).
Miyajima/Itsukushima Island
Miyajima/Itsukushima Island – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: Pages of Travel
Another unique item you’ll notice is the number of Momiji cake stands. Momji cakes are a small cake that has the consistency of a pound cake. It is shaped like a maple leaf and filled with a variety of different pastes such as red bean, chocolate, lemon, and custard. Each Momiji shop owner has their own twist on these cakes and for roughly 150 yen a piece you’ll have to be sure to try a variety of different ones!
Miyajima/Itsukushima Island
Miyajima/Itsukushima Island – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: Pages of Travel
The most popular spot on Miyajima Island is hands-down visiting Itsukushima Shrine. This shrine is unlike any other as it appears to float in the water during high-tide and at low-tide, you can walk out to the shrine where water once stood. At sunrise and sunset, it is absolutely mesmerizing to view and there are many places on the island that you can take stunning photos of the shrine.
Visiting Miyajima Island is like taking a step back in time. The island moves slower than the bustling cities in Japan and the locals are proud of their shops and restaurants often offering guidance and at times, walking with you to find a new place to discover. Miyajima is a spot that travelers can relax and enjoy the timeless beauty of a new destination.

Book a Tour: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Miyajima Day Tour

 

Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Nominated by Margherita of The Crowded Planet, Instagram

I’m sure some of you may be thinking Kyrgyz-what? I think Kyrgyzstan, one of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, is one of the most spectacular countries in the world in terms of landscapes – and it’s literally heaven on earth if you’re into hiking!
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan Travel – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: The Crowded Planet
One of my favourite places to visit in Kyrgyzstan are definitely the Tien Shan mountains, a mountain chain with peaks exceeding 7000 meters ideal for adventurers and trailblazers that are no afraid to go into uncharted territory.
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan Travel – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: The Crowded Planet
Yes, Kyrgyzstan is wild. Some of the mountain peaks and passes you’ll encounter are not even named yet – we passed a gigantic glacier that didn’t have a name, one of the most spectacular we’ve ever seen.
If you go trekking in the Tien Shan mountains you may not encounter a single other soul for the duration of your hike, save for a few shepherds and their animals in the jailoo (high pastures). We recommend hiking with a local guide who will be able to find their way through the mountains – the terrain is very tricky and there’s no signage or even paths to follow. Don’t forget to take a filter water bottle and some warm clothes, as it can be freezing even in the middle of summer at night time!

 

Tokyo, Japan

Nominated by Taiss of Together to Wherever, Instagram

Our nomination for the best destination would be Tokyo, Japan. We’ve traveled to over fifteen countries together in the past three years and Tokyo has stood out for us in a major way. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of epic places around the world and it’s hard to really compare them all because they all offer something different.

Tokyo Japan
Tokyo Japan – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: Together To Wherever

Tokyo, however, outshines other places in a lot of ways for us. For one, we are not at all the type of travelers that enjoy big cities. In fact, we typically try to avoid them. We had heard good things about Tokyo, so we wanted to give it a fair chance. It blew us away!

We were amazed by the orderliness of this big city. There is such a calm and collected vibe in Tokyo that was surprising to us, considering the population. It goes against most of the typical “big city” qualities that always let us down; Tokyo is clean, the people are polite, everything is super organized and efficient which also helps make it easy to get around.

Tokyo Japan Credit: Together To Wherever
Tokyo Japan – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: Together To Wherever

Additionally, we loved the different types of neighborhoods and plethora of things to keep you entertained for days on end. There’s never a shortness of something fun to see or something unique to experience.

The food is absolutely orgasmic in our opinion. I often reminisce about the different dishes we tried and their effects on my taste buds.

Tokyo is a place I could keep going back to and never get tired of.

Book a Tour: Tokyo: Sushi Making Class

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark, Zhangye, China

Nominated by Cara of Crawford Creations, Instagram

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark, located in Gansu Province is home to two of China’s most unique landscapes, Rainbow Mountains, and Ice Valley. Both are danxia land forms, a geographical formation completely unique to China. Danxia formations are characterized by mineral-rich red sandstone rock that has been weathered and eroded over millions of years to form incredible natural sculptures and colored hills.

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark Credit: Cara's Creations
Zhangye Danxia National Geopark – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: Crawford Creations

The Rainbow Mountains and Ice Valley parks are without a doubt the most unique of China’s one-of-a-kind danxia formations. The Rainbow Mountains and Ice Valley, while two separate and very different parks in their own right, combine to form Zhangye Danxia National Geopark. Their entrances are right down the road from each other, both just an hour’s drive outside of Zhangye City.

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. It’s one of those spots where you look around in awe and feel almost like you’ve been transported to another planet.

Book a Tour: Tiananmen, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven & Summer Palace

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark
Zhangye Danxia National Geopark – Travel to Central & East Asia
Credit: Crawford Creations

The Rainbow Mountains are as their name implies, hills tinted with stripes of various colors of the rainbow. Most of the hills are shades of red, yellow, and white, except for one especially striking section where you can see almost all the colors of the rainbow. The mountains look like they’ve been painted with giant cans of spray paint, and the fact that this is natural is just truly mind-blowing.

Ice Valley is known, not for its colors, but for its nature-made sculptures, the most famous two include a camel and one that looks remarkably like the Louvre in France. The rest of the rock formations are mostly phallic in shape and made of red and white striped rock. Ice Valley is literally nestled in between towering snow-capped mountains which give incredible contrast to the park’s red sandstone sculptures.

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So there you have our top destinations to Travel to Central & East Asia this year. Which destination would you consider and nominate?

Places to Travel to in Central & East Asia
Places to Travel to in Central & East Asia

 

Places to Travel to in Central & East Asia
Places to Travel to in Central & East Asia

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