From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and sunlit beaches of Indonesia to the hustle-bustle of Hong Kong, countries in Asia check all the right boxes for a perfect holiday. With its diverse and rich landforms, the world’s largest continent is the ideal place in any season, especially during the sunny months. Travel to one of these 10 best Asian vacation destinations perfect for a summer getaway.
What makes these places even more exciting are the traditional festivals and events that take place during this season. And don’t let the bright sun bother you because we have selected only those places that are pleasant or mildly warm. So, go ahead and make the most of this summer.
10 best Asian vacation destinations for summer
The Land of the Rising Sun is where natural beauty coexists with modern urban landscapes. Sakura blossom, bullet trains, Mount Fuji and karaoke are just some of the many exciting things that pop into one’s mind when we think of Japan. While there are many reasons why Japan is such an exciting destination for summer, traditional Japanese festivals or matsuri are an extra bonus. During summer, you can witness many colourful parades on the streets filled with Japanese dances, floats and decorations. These local festivals often honour a deity and showcase the best of Japanese culture and food.
Places to explore in Japan:
Tokyo: Explore the bustling capital city through Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Skytree, Meiji Shrine, Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Park and Zoo, Ghibli Museum, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, Ginza district and Harajuku district.
Osaka: Visit the Osaka Castle, Shitenno-ji Temple, Osaka Aquarium, The Kobe Port Tower, Osaka Tennōji Zoo & Park, Universal Studios, and Tenmangu Shrine and indulge in street food at Dotonbori.
Kyoto: Witness the culture of Kyoto through Fushimi Inari Taisha, Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, Sanjusangen-do Temple, Nishi Honganji Temple, The Kyoto National Museum, Ryoanji Temple, Gion District, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Nishiki Market.
Hiroshima: Learn about the city’s history at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Shukkeien Garden, Hiroshima Castle, Atomic Bomb Dome, MAZDA Museum, Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima, The Island Shrine of Itsukushima and Hiroshima Museum of Art.
Nara: Experience the city through Nara Park and Todai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple, Isuien Garden, Toshodai-ji Temple, Yakushi-ji Temple, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Horyu-ji Temple and the Manyo Botanical Garden.
Hakone: Home to the great Mt Fuji, Hakone is a natural wonder with beautiful sites like Hakone Hot Springs, Owakudani, Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Shrine, Lake Ashi, Pola Museum of Art, Odawara Castle, Choanji Temple, Komagatake Ropeway and Enoura Observatory.
Fukuoka: Tour the city and visit Fukuoka Castle, Ohori Park, Nanzoin Temple and the Reclining Buddha, Marine World Uminonakamichi, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka Tower, Shofukuji Temple and Canal City.
What to eat: Sushi, tempura, Teppanyaki, yakitori, unagi, wagashi, ramen, soba, tonkatsu and Okonomiyaki
How to reach:
Tokyo: Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport) is located in the capital and is about 25 km from the city centre.
Hakone: Haneda Airport is the nearest airport, located 92 km away.
Osaka: Kansai International Airport is approximately 40 km from the city.
Nara: Kansai International Airport, about 73 km away, is the closest airport.
Kyoto: There is no airport in Japan’s former capital; Kansai is the closest one, about 97 km away.
Hiroshima: Hiroshima Airport is about 65 km from the city centre.
Fukuoka: Fukuoka Airport is located in the city.
Tucked away in the Himalayas, Bhutan is the world’s first carbon-negative country. The land of the thunder dragon is the last Buddhist Kingdom where ancient customs and beliefs are preserved and cherished. Spend your summer enjoying Bhutan’s pristine forests, undulating mountains and traditional architecture. Travellers will enjoy pleasant weather, rain showers and the valleys of Bhutan coming alive with greenery and colourful festival like the Haa Summer Festival.
Places to explore in Bhutan:
Thimphu: Learn about Bhutan’s history by visiting Semtokha Dzong, Folk Heritage Museum Kawajangsa, Tashichho Dzong, Changangkha Lhakhang, National Memorial Chorten and Simply Bhutan.
Paro: Visit Paro Taktsang, National Museum of Bhutan, Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang, Kyichu Lhakhang, Drakarpo, Zuri Dzong, Chele La Pass and Kyichu Lhakhang.
Punakha Dzong and Punakha Suspension Bridge in Punakha, Trongsa Dzong in Trongsa, Dochula Pass and Phobjikha Valley are some iconic places outside of Paro and Thimphu worth the visit.
What to eat: Ema datshi, shakam paa, jasha maru, phaksha paa, zow shungo, shakam datshi, red rice, jaju soup and puta.
How to reach: Paro International Airport is the only international airport that connects Bhutan to the world.
Hong Kong is where Chinese traditions and culture are interwoven with modernity. From towering skyscrapers to palatial temples, this wonderful destination is sprawled across majestic mountains and small islands. Another year-round destination, you can visit Hong Kong whenever you want, but festivals make vacationing extra special during summer. Cheung Chau Festival, also known as the Bun Festival, takes place in May, and it celebrates the culture of Hong Kong. The iconic Dragon Boat Festival, in which people race in grand dragon boats, takes place in June.
Places to explore in Hong Kong:
Take a ride down the Pearl River on the legendary Star Ferry or historical Chinese Junt Boat; have child-like fun at Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park; appreciate the beauty and culture of the city by visiting the Tian Tian Buddha, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Tramways, Avenue of Stars, Nan Lian Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower, Tsz Shan Monastery and Symphony of Lights. Shop at Causeway Bay and indulge in delicious food at Michelin-starred restaurants.
What to eat: Dim sum, egg tarts, cart noodles, clay pot rice, milk tea, sweat and sour pork, roast goose, chicken feet, fish balls and rice rolls.
How to reach: Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport, about 31 km away from the city centre.
With love for K-pop and K-drama at an all-time high, visiting South Korea is on the bucket list of many travellers worldwide. But “the land of the morning calm” is also known for its serene beauty and unique culture. From hiking beautiful mountains and strolling across the bustling modern city streets to appreciating the Korean traditions and culture at the palaces and temples, summer is an excellent time to explore South Korea. The mercury mostly stays below 30 degrees Celsius, with rain bringing occasional relief from the heat. The Boryeong Mud Festival also happens in June and revolves around people playing around with mud, similar to Holi and La Tomatina festivals.
Places to explore in South Korea:
Seoul: Spend a few days in the capital city and check out the National Museum of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Lotte World, N Seoul Tower, Bukhansan National Park, Jeondeungsa Temple and Bukchon Hanok Village.
Jeju Island: Visit BTS Member Jungkook’s favourite travel destination and see Jeongbang Waterfall, Manjanggul Cave and more.
Busan: Experience the beauty of Busan at Haeundae Beach, Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan Tower, Jagalchi Fish Market, Haedong Yonggung Temple and Gwangbokdong Food Street.
Gyeongju: Walk through history at Bulguksa, Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, Cheomseongdae, Gyeongju National Museum, Seokguram Grotto, Daereungwon Tomb Complex, Gyeongju World, Gyeongju National Park, Yangdong Folk Village and Gyeongju Tower.
Incheon: Explore the coastal city through Incheon Grand Park, Eurwangni Beach, Wolmido Island, Sinpo International Market and Chinatown.
What to eat: Banchan, bibimbap, bingsu, chimaek, Korean BBQ, japchae, kimchi, mandu, tteokbokki, jjigae, bulgogi and Korean fried chicken.
How to reach:
Incheon: Incheon International Airport is about 24 km from the city.
Seoul: Incheon International Airport serves the capital as well and is about 50 km away.
Jeju Island: The self-governing province has its own international airport, Jeju International Airport.
Busan: Gimhae International Airport is the main airport serving Busan.
Gyeongju: The closest airport to Gyeongju is Gimhae International Airport, about 84 km away.
The country is a land of wonder and mystery, a civilisation steeped in rich history and culture that spans millennia. The summers are enjoyable here, with temperatures between 21 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Places to explore in China:
Beijing: Spend some time in the capital at the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, Beijing National Stadium, the Lama Temple, Universal Studios and the National Museum of China.
Shanghai: Explore the vibrant city of Shanghai by visiting the Yu Garden, National Museum of China, Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai Museum, the Bund, Tianzifang, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Tower, Qibao, Shanghai Circus World and shop at Nanjing Road.
Xi’an: Immerse yourself in the country’s history and culture and see the Terracotta Army, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall and Tang Paradise.
Guangzhou: Experience the beauty of the city through Chimelong Paradise, the Canton Tower, Shamian Island, Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Zhujiang New Town, Baiyun Mountain Park, Yuexiu Park and Guangxiao Temple.
Chengdu: Learn about Chengdu at Leshan Giant Buddha, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Jinsha Site, Chengdu Museum, Wenshu Monastery and Mount Emei.
What to eat: Peking duck roast, kung pao chicken, sweet and sour pork, hot pot, char siu, dumplings, chow mein, fried rice and xiaolongbao.
How to reach:
Beijing: The capital city has two international airports: Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport, located 32 km and 65 km from the city centre, respectively.
Shanghai: The financial hub also has two international airports: Shanghai Hongqiao, about 20 km from the city, and Shanghai Pudong, approximately 45 km away.
Xi’an: Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is about 40 km from the city.
Guangzhou: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is about 35 km from downtown.
Chengdu: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is 21 km from the city centre.
This island nation is a tropical paradise nestled in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Home to ancient cities, magnificent temples, lush tea plantations and a culture enriched with mythologies, Sri Lanka is a beautiful little country in the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka’s summer is moderately hot; however, the island country makes it up with coastal winds and gentle rain showers. You can experience the country’s oldest and grandest festival in July, the Esala Perahera in Kandy. This annual festival is held to pay respect to the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha resting in Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple.
Places to explore in Sri Lanka:
Colombo: Tour the capital of Sri Lanka and see landmarks like Galle Face Green, Independence Square, Gangaramaya Temple, Lotus Tower, Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo Dutch Museum, National Museum, Sri Manika Vinayagar Kovil and Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque.
Jaffna: Explore Fort Jaffna, Jaffna Kingdom Ruins, Jaffna Archaeological Museum, Point Pedro. See the city’s spiritual side at Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, Nagadeepa Temple, Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil and Nagapooshani Amman Temple. Unwind at Casuarina Beach and Neduntheevu Island.
Kandy: Visit Sri Dalada Maligawa (it houses the tooth of Gautam Buddha) and Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya. Check out Royal Botanical Gardens, Kandy National Museum and Kandy Royal Palace. Walk through Udawattakelle Sanctuary with a guide. Visit Ceylon Tea Museum and buy tea as a souvenir. Trek through Horton Plains National Park.
What to eat: Fish ambul thiyal, kottu, kukul mas curry, parrippu, lamprais, appam, idiyappam, polos and wambatu moju.
How to reach:
Colombo: Colombo International Airport Ratmalana is about 17 km from the city centre and Bandaranaike International Airport is roughly 32 km away.
Kandy: The spiritual city doesn’t have an airport; Bandaranaike International Airport is the nearest one, about 113 km away.
Jaffna: Sri Lanka’s northernmost city has its own airport, Jaffna International Airport, about 20 km from the city centre.
Famous for being the home of ruler Genghis Khan, Mongolia is an underrated destination between Russia and China. The culture, landscapes and lifestyle have been shaped by its rich nomadic heritage, making the country a great escape for people seeking raw, rugged and untamed natural beauty.
The weather in Mongolia remains cool and pleasant during the summers, with the highs staying about 20 degrees Celsius. It is the best time to pick up adventures like horseback riding, trekking and camping around the pristine lakes, towering dunes and awe-inspiring mountains. Naadam Festival also happens in summer, where locals compete in games like horse racing, archery and Mongolian wrestling.
Places to explore in Mongolia:
Explore the dramatic landscapes of the Gobi desert, Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Altai Tavan Bogd National Park and Orkhon Valley. Familiarise yourself with the country’s culture and history through monuments like Erdene Zuu Monastery in Kharkhorin Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex, Zaisan Monument and Choijin Lama Museum in Ulaanbaatar.
What to eat: Buuz, khuushuur, khorkhog, sharsan uhriin mah, tsuvian and gampir.
How to reach: Chinggis Khaan International Airport is the main airport, about 50 km from Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.
The world’s largest landlocked country, Kazakhstan is a hidden gem nestled between the Eurasian steppes and Tien Shan Mountains. Rich with ancient traditions, you will encounter a unique blend of culture and modernity here. Summer is considered one of the best times to see Kazakhstan, with the weather staying pleasant until September.
Places to explore in Kazakhstan:
Astana: Visit the capital of Kazakhstan and see monuments like Baiterek, Palace of Peach and Reconciliation, Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Astana Opera, Nur Astana Mosque, Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre and National Museum Of Kazakhstan.
Almaty: Explore the beauty of Almaty through Ile-Alatau National Park, Zenkov’s Cathedral, Medeu, First President Park, Museum of Musical Instruments, Almaty Central Mosque and Almaty Zoo.
Explore Kazakh countryside at Kolsay Lakes National Park, Altyn Emel National Park and Sharyn Canyon. Witness how history was made at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the largest operational space launch facility, and the ancient city of Turkistan.
What to eat: Kurt, shubat, kumis, tandyr nan, baursak, manti, lagman, plov, kuurdak and beshbarmak.
How to reach:
Astana: Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport is within the capital, just 20 km from the city centre.
Almaty: Almaty International Airport is 24 km from the city.
Sprawled across thousands of beautiful islands, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic nation (a country made of many small islands) and makes for an ideal tropical escape for travellers worldwide. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, buzzing nightlife, incredible nature and exotic wildlife.
The tropical paradise has only two seasons, dry and rainy, instead of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The months of July to August are dry and cool, making it the best time to enjoy and explore the several islands of Indonesia.
Places to explore in Indonesia:
Bali: Vacation in one of the most popular tourist destinations of Indonesia and see the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ceking Rice Terrace, Uluwatu Temple, Mount Batur, Ubud Monkey Forest, Seminyak Beach, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Tirta Gangga and Tanah Lot Temple.
Jakarta: Explore the capital city through Jakarta Cathedral, Istiqlal Mosque, the National Monument, Ragunan Zoo, Menteng Flea Market and Ancol Beach.
Sumatra: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Toba Lake, Gunung Leuser National Park, Mentawi Islands, Padang, Mount Merapi and Medan.
Lombok: Get lost in the natural beauty of Gilli Islands, Kuta Beach, Mount Rinjani, Senggigi Beach and Mataram.
Yogyakarta: Learn about the culture and history through Prambhana Temple, Taman Sari, The Palace of Yogyakarta, Sewu Temple, Malioboro Street and Ullen Sentalu Museum.
What to eat: Nasi goreng, rawon, gado-gado, pempek, sayur asem, satay, rendang, siomay, bakso and gudeg.
How to reach:
Jakarta: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is roughly 39 km from Jakarta.
Bali: I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport is in Bali, just 11 km from its capital Denpasar.
Lombok: Lombok International Airport is the main airport on the island, about 40 km from the city centre, Mataram.
Sumatra: Kualanamu International Airport is about 42 km from Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.
Yogyakarta: Yogyakarta International Airport is the main airport, about 43 km from Yogyakarta city.
With a 5,000-year-old civilisation, India is a treasure trove of mystery and wonder that attracts travellers from all around the world. While summers can be scorching in most parts of India, the North (the region closer to the Himalayas) and the Northeast offer relief with cooler weather, breathing life into the verdant green landscapes and undulating mountains.
Places to explore in India:
Jammu and Kashmir: Visit the ‘Paradise on Earth’, Kashmir Valley. See Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Dachigam National Park, Aru Valley and Patnitop and get lost in their beauty.
Himachal Pradesh: Enjoy the ‘land of mountains’ and visit Manali, Dharamshala, Bir, Kullu, Shimla, Lahaul and Spiti, Kasol, Solang Valley and Dalhousie.
Uttarakhand: Lose yourself in the beauty of Lansdowne, Mussoorie, Nainital, Auli, Rishikesh, Ranikhet and Valley of Flowers National Park.
Meghalaya: Travel to the ‘abode of clouds’ and visit Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, the world’s wettest and second-wettest places, respectively; soak in breathtaking views of Shillong, Elephant Waterfall and Mawphlang Waterfall.
Arunachal Pradesh: Embrace the ‘land of the dawn-lit mountains’ by checking out Tawang, Bombdila, Bum La Pass, Sela Pass and Pakke Tiger Reserve.
Other noteworthy places ideal to see in summer are Nagaland, Sikkim, Ladakh, Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram.
What to eat: Kashmiri delicacies like wazwan, rogan josh and yakhni. Pahadi dishes like siddu, chainsoo and chana madra. Northeastern specialities like thukpa, jadoh, galho and kelli chana.
How to reach:
Delhi: Indira Gandhi International Airport is the biggest airport in India, where most international flights land and has connecting flights to many regional airports.
Jammu and Kashmir: Srinagar International Airport is located in J&K’s capital, Srinagar.
Himachal Pradesh: Shimla Airport is located in the Jabarhatti region and is 17 km from Shimla.
Uttarakhand: Jolly Grant Airport is about 27 km from the state’s capital, Dehradun.
Arunachal Pradesh: Capital Itanagar has Donyi Polo Airport and is about 32 km from the city centre.
Meghalaya: Shillong Airport is about 24 km from the capital, Shillong.
Hero and Featured Image credit: Li Yang/Unsplash
This article first appeared here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Bhutan, Mongolia and Sri Lanka are some of the most beautiful destinations to visit in Asia in summer.
Answer: Parts of China, Japan, Mongolia, Bhutan and Kazakhstan are some od the coldest destinations in Asia during summer.
Answer: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Japan are some of the best island destinations in Asia.