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10 Best Countries To Visit In Asia (For US Travelers)

10 Best Countries To Visit In Asia (For US Travelers)
Laarni
Laarni
Updated

Exploring the world means a visit to every continent, and each one is sure to have its top bets. Asia boasts numerous must-see destinations, and it is understandable to wonder what these exciting countries prescribe in terms of visa requirements. When holidaying in new places, it doesn’t hurt to read a little about global visa information, and this compilation can be your starting guide as to which wondrous attractions in the Orient should make it to your bucket list. A little planning can go a long way, and using the tips found here regarding the best seasons to tour each region can help you make the best of limited time and resources. Scroll down to read more about the best countries to visit in Asia for U.S. travelers.

1. India

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Best time to visit

It is not advisable to tour India during the monsoon rain season, starting around June and petering out before October—which incidentally is a peak month because of the Diwali festival. Take note, however, that temperatures in different regions vary considerably. A safe bet is visiting in winter (November to February), which is the best time to enjoy the beaches of the far south, as India in the summer is relentlessly hot. The far north, which lies close to the Himalayan region, still offers freezing temperatures that will not disappoint skiers.

Best places to visit & things to do

The state of Rajasthan is a good spot to spend time in winter. While here, you can experience life in Jaipur, where the stunning Amer Fort is located. You can then head over to neighboring Delhi and take pictures of the majestic Red Fort. Your next stop can be the adjacent state of Uttar Pradesh to ensure you don’t miss seeing the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra and exploring the holy riverbank city of Varanasi. For beach destinations, Goa is the place to be. You can also drop by Mumbai, where the awe-inspiring Gateway of India stands.

Visa Requirements: U.S. citizens can apply for India’s electronic travel visa authorization. The application is simple and can be done online, and it takes only a few minutes.

2. Japan

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Best time to visit

It is true, visiting Japan in late spring (March to May) and late autumn (September to November) results in the most vibrant photos, thanks to the pretty cherry blossom and the magical autumn leaves. However, winter brings in smaller crowds and cheaper flights, not to mention the unique charm of certain locations taking on pristine snowy colors.

Best places to visit & things to do

American travelers should prioritize Osaka and Kyoto in their itineraries because the two are only 12 minutes from each other, thanks to the shinkansen (a.k.a. bullet train) service. Of course, the historical Osaka Castle is an easy pick. You can also join a group tour that visits ancient temples in Kyoto, such as Kiyomizu-dera and Sanjusangendo. If you find yourself in Tokyo, the country’s capital, don’t pass up the chance to explore the magnificent Tokyo Imperial Palace. From there, the mysterious Mount Fuji is just a little more than two hours away, so you can make a day trip out of it.

Visa Requirements: What luck! U.S. tourists planning to visit Japan can do so anytime they want, without a visa.

3. Philippines

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Best time to visit

The Philippines, a tropical paradise, has only two seasons—wet and dry. For obvious reasons, it is better to visit during the latter, which falls from November to April. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule as the various regions can have different climates.

Best places to visit & things to do

Manila is the Philippine capital, where you can find the usual urban sights and sounds. While here you can check out Rizal Park, one of the Filipinos’ favorite afternoon hangouts with family and friends. This spot is not far from Intramuros, which is filled with landmarks dating back to this country’s Spanish era. If you wish to commune with nature, then you can head north and witness the breathtaking Banaue Rice Terraces. Cebu is also a metropolis, but its natural location being surrounded by beaches gives it an endearing quality. A significant site here is the Magellan’s Cross, a symbol of how the Spanish colonizers brought Christianity with them. A neighboring island, Bohol, boasts the incredible Chocolate Hills, not to mention its fair share of gorgeous sandy shores. If that’s not enough for you, there’s still the fabled beauty of Palawan and the famous seaside parties of Boracay.

Visa Requirements: If you’re a U.S. citizen exploring Asia, the Philippines should definitely be on your list, especially that you don’t need a visa to be welcomed in the country.

4. Thailand

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Best time to visit

Despite the changing weather in Thailand, you can still visit any time of the year. You only need to do a bit of research as to which region has the best climate in a given month. As a rule of thumb though, scheduling your trip to fall between November and early April will give you more options owing to the cool and dry season.

Best places to visit & things to do

Thailand is also known as the Land of Smiles—and for good reason. Not only are the locals warm and friendly, but the variety of things to see and do here is sure to give you a reason to smile yourself. You can begin your trip right at the heart, in Bangkok, where the stately Grand Palace is found. The next day you can travel one and a half hours to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which is famous to locals and foreigners alike. Another two hours of land travel will take you to the infamous Bridge Over the River Kwai, immortalized by the novel and movie of the same name. More places to consider visiting are Khao Phing Kan in Phuket and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai Province.

Visa Requirements: One of the perks of being a U.S. traveler is being able to freely enter a lot of countries, one of them being Amazing Thailand.

5. Singapore

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Best time to visit

Singapore receives visitors all year round, but like in any other Southeast Asian nation, the weather here can be unpredictable. To save you the trouble of guessing, schedule your trip in February to April, which is the country’s dry season. Although you might still experience a bit of rainfall, at least it would be only in short spurts.

Best places to visit & things to do

Singapore is a small nation compared to its neighbors, but this little giant is a force to be reckoned with. While here, make sure you head over to Marina Bay and view the marvels of the luxurious Marina Bay Sands. If you’re not really into casinos but are more of a nature person, Gardens by the Bay will surely welcome you. If you explore a little farther, about a 20-minute drive, you will find Sentosa, an island that used to be a military base and camp that has been transformed into a fun-filled resort. One of the must-visit attractions there is Universal Studios Singapore.

Visa Requirements: Singapore requires each U.S. tourist to show an arrival card. Securing one can be done online, and your application should take only a few minutes.

6. Indonesia

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Best time to visit

Unless you’re planning on a staycation, chances are you’ll be spending most of the time outdoors during your trip. This is the main reason why it’s best to schedule your visit between May and September, when Indonesia is dry and sunny.

Best places to visit & things to do

You can begin your trip in the southern Lesser Sunda Islands to drop by the Komodo National Park, a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your next stop can be Lombok, where you can find Gunung Rinjani National Park and join a guided climb of Mount Rinjani. Another popular active volcano is Mount Bromo. It is a bit far, in East Java, but should be on your list if you have the time. After you get your fill of the mountains, head over to Bali for some water action. However, on this island, you can also visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, which is the home of the Balinese long-tailed monkey, and the Jatiluwih Rice Fields, thus still giving you a good mix of activities. After all that exploration, make your way to the cities of Bandung and Jakarta for some modern-day pampering.

Visa Requirements: With the many sights to see and things to do here, it’s nothing short of awesome that Indonesia allows U.S. citizens to explore without needing a visa.

7. China

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Best time to visit

It is wise to visit China during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. This is mainly to avoid major Chinese holidays, which tend to be busy and crowded, such as the Chinese New Year.

Best places to visit & things to do

Another reason to visit China in spring and autumn is that these months bring the most comfortable weather, perfect for exploring the interesting art scene of Beijing, not to mention the legendary Great Wall of China and the palatial Forbidden City. You can do a little shopping in Guangzhou or enjoy the nightlife in Shanghai. Other attractions you shouldn’t dare miss include the impressive Terracotta Army in Xi'an and the highly educational Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Also, if you do choose to participate in one of the local celebrations, such as the Golden Week in October, remember to book your accommodations at least a month in advance to avoid the rush.

Visa Requirements: U.S. tourists need to apply for a visa when visiting China. You can contact the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate for more information.

8. Vietnam

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Best time to visit

To make the most of your time in Vietnam, schedule your trip to coincide with the spring (February to April) and autumn (August to October) seasons. This way, you’ll have a pleasant time strolling along city streets or traversing nature trails and not worry about canceling activities due to a sudden downpour.

Best places to visit & things to do

With the exception of a handful of islands, Vietnam is mostly part of a big landmass, sharing its borders with China, Laos, and Cambodia. Beginning in the north, there you can find Ha Long Bay. That it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site should be enough motivation for you to check it out. From here you can then travel three and a half hours to Hanoi, which is a good jumping-off point to the Sapa Countryside, a top destination for nature lovers. If you are planning to go all the way to Ho Chi Minh City next to explore the Củ Chi Tunnels, bear in mind that it will take more than a day’s travel by land. A good idea is to make a midway stop at Quảng Nam for a little sightseeing at My Son. This way, you can also drop by Quảng Bình’s Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, which is another World Heritage Site.

Visa Requirements: Americans need only to apply online and wait a few minutes for an electronic travel visa authorization to visit Vietnam.

9. Cambodia

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Best time to visit

Naturally, most tourists flock to Cambodia during the dry season (November to March). However, the wet season (May to October) in this country is pretty bearable—a quick downpour perhaps, but nothing that can ruin your afternoon plans. The advantage? No pushy crowds and cheaper off-peak rates!

Best places to visit & things to do

If you’re traveling to Cambodia, chances are your trip includes other countries too. Coming from Vietnam, your point of entry can be Phnom Penh. The city nestles Wat Langka, where you can practice meditation for free. From this location, you can choose to go south, where the rejuvenating Kep National Park awaits you. If you decide to head north to Siem Reap, be prepared to witness the enigma that is Angkor Wat, one of the major religious sites in the world. Around the same area is Ta Prohm, the temple made famous by the Hollywood movie “Tomb Raider.” From this city, you can then ride a bus to Cardamom Mountains to add a little trekking to your itinerary. Since Krong Battambang is also just three hours away, do try to squeeze in a visit to this charming, quiet hideaway for a bit of downtime.

Visa Requirements: You can apply online for an electronic travel visa authorization to visit Cambodia, which only takes a few minutes.

10. Nepal

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Best time to visit

If you are going to visit Nepal, you want the blue skies and pleasant weather from October to December. January and February bring in chilling temperature, but this can lead to thinner crowds and more open spaces. The region is dry all through April, and then starting May, the climate becomes hot and humid—maybe too much for your liking. June comes with the monsoon rains, so gorgeous panoramas are absent because of thick dark clouds.

Best places to visit & things to do

Explore Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, where you can find Kathmandu Durbar Square that showcases centuries-old architecture and Pashupatinath Temple that dates back to the fifth century. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In fact, the whole of Kathmandu Valley is a significant historical location. Less than an hour’s drive away is Bhaktapur, an ancient kingdom now considered a site of cultural importance. While here, make sure to try their famous juju dhau, which literally translates to “king of yogurt.” Chitwan National Park is Nepal’s first-ever national park and is another UNESCO-protected area. You can reach this natural wonder within four to five hours of land travel from Kathmandu. The Annapurna region is admittedly quite a distance away, but it is the go-to destination for trekkers. It lies in the Himalayan region, along with Mount Everest Base Camp.

Visa Requirements: If you’re an American wanting to travel to Nepal, you can simply apply for a visa upon arrival.

Discover the mystery that is Asia

From bustling metropolises to the most peaceful seaside or mountain retreats, Asia has it all. And the sweet frosting on the cake? The people. Traveling all over the continent gives you a glimpse of diversity so rich that when you come home to the United States, you realize your adventure somehow changed you, widening your view of the world. So take that leap from plans to reality and pick your favorites from these top countries to visit in Asia.

This article is sponsored by Online Visa

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