Home to internationally renowned cuisines, ancient temples, and fascinating architecture, Asia attracts travelers from all over the world, year upon year. From the fast-paced, exciting streets of Tokyo and Bangkok to the picture-perfect beaches of Halong Bay or Koh Phi, the continent has something to suit all tastes and budgets. In this article, we explore 10 unforgettable natural wonders in Asia, including Myanmar’s Southern Inle Lake, and Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia.
1. Mount Everest (Tibet and Nepal)
The ultimate ambition for any climber, even reaching Base Camp is a major achievement for most mere mortals. Mount Everest is the Himalaya Mountains’ most prominent peak, forming an almost impenetrable boundary between Tibet and Nepal.
The Tibetan side of the mountain occupies a remote region of Tingri County in the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve. Rich in rare species, this national park is home to 2,000 plant species, 206 bird species, and 53 species of mammals, including the elusive snow leopard.
Meanwhile, the Nepalese side of Mount Everest is located in the remote district of Solukhumbu, near Kathmandu, a region famed for its extensive trails and stunning scenery that incorporates some 120 named mountains in total.
2. Southern Inle Lake (Myanmar)
Southern Inle Lake presents travelers with an unforgettable opportunity to experience untouched traditional villages and visit stunning ancient monasteries, as well as some very old wineries.
Although perhaps not best known for its viticulture historically, Myanmar is home to an up-and-coming winemaking industry, the country producing circa 37,500 cases of wine annually. Nestled in the lowlands near Inle Lake, located in the fertile Shan State region, the Red Mountain Estate is home to 400,000 grapevines imported from Spain and France, producing impressive Shiraz, Pinot Noire, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Southern Inle Lake is a wildlife sanctuary situated in a unique wetland that is known for its “floating gardens,” incorporating swamp forests, natural floating islets, deciduous and evergreen forests, and grasslands. The region is home to numerous rare and interesting bird species, including greater spotted eagle, purple heron, Indian shimmer, and lesser whistling ducks. The Pandaung Hill Tribe resides nearby, a local indigenous people who are famous throughout the world for their long-necked women, who wear brass coils around their necks.
3. Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park (China)
Created through the movement of tectonic plates combined with weathering of sandstone over millions of years, China Danxia was recognized by UNESCO in 2010. With several viewing platforms offering breathtaking vistas across these rainbow-colored rocks, the Zhangye Danxia landform is the largest, covering more than 3,200 square feet in total.
Known locally as the “Rainbow Mountains,” Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park’s landforms are a natural masterpiece, its vibrant mountain ridges resembling an upended color palette, its steep red cliffs, many of which stand several hundred meters high, striped with reds, browns, oranges, greys, and golden tones.
4. Taman Negara National Park (Malaysia)
Established in 1938, Taman Negara spans the three Malaysian states of Terengganu, Kelantan, and Pahang. Dating back some 130 million years, Taman Negara is believed to be one of the oldest rainforests in the world, second only in age to Australia’s Daintree rainforest.
Taman Negara’s canopy walkway provides visitors with a unique perspective, enabling them to interact with the rainforest in a completely different way. Reputedly Malaysia’s longest suspension bridge, the walkway spans some 530 meters, and is a great way of admiring the forest canopy, providing glimpses of hornbills and other rare birds through the branches of the towering trees.
Standing 334 meters tall at its summit, nearby Bukit Teresek affords visitors spectacular views across Taman Negara, standing amidst a sea of rainforest on all sides. Experienced guides are available locally to escort tourists, pointing out local flora, fauna, and wildlife.
Taman Negera National Park is home to the Orang Asli indigenous people, who know the jungle intimately, harvesting sandalwood for export to some of the world’s most renowned perfume houses. They also forage from the jungle, using traditional hunting methods such as darts, and making fire without matches or lighters.
5. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls (China and Vietnam)
Just as Niagara Falls separates the United States and Canada, so Ban Gioc-Detian Falls form a border between China and Vietnam. Surrounded by green forest interspersed with karst rocks, these mighty twin waterfalls tumble in tiers to the powerful Quay Son River below. While the vertical drop is comparatively modest, it is the width of the cascades that makes Ban Geioc-Detian Falls such an impressive sight.
You might expect such a stunning attraction to be overrun with tourists, but this is not the case, the site attracting mainly domestic visitors from China and Vietnam. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls has stayed largely off the radar of international travelers, although some intrepid backpackers are beginning to add the attraction to their Vietnam itinerary, and for good reason. Measuring 30 meters high and 300 meters across, Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in all of Asia.