There are a number of destinations that any traveler in Asia must see. These are usually big, beautiful, picturesque and filled with tourists. Living in Thailand while studying at Thammasat University for the past few months, I have sought out the more obscure, less visited attractions that Asia has to offer. Studying abroad is a great way to see the world, and simply being in a new place is a blessing. Travel is a part of life as well, and taking time off from studying to see the world is a type of learning in itself. If you ever find yourself living in Asia, here are some recommendations to get off the beaten path.
1. Mt. Fuji, Japan
This giant mountain towers above the Fujiyama highland plains, alone in the landscape. It is an unrivaled beauty, pure nature, and part of no mountain range. This is about 2 hours outside of Tokyo, and mostly attracts hikers and backpackers, not your average point and shoot tour group. If you go, make sure to refer to the mountain like the locals do “Fuji-san”.
2. Batu Caves, Malaysia
The Batu Caves are known throughout Malaysia for their stunning colors and breathtaking beauty. Monkeys clamber up the multicolored steps to the caves at the top of the mountain. Hindu temples and holy places surround this sacred walk, and locals worship. This destination is not only aesthetically pleasing but sacred as well. Just on the edge of Kuala Lumpur, this destination is a must see.
3. Doi Suthep and the Naga Stair, Thailand
Hidden in the jungles and mountains of northern Thailand, the journey up the mountain is well worth the drive. The road winds up thousands of feet before the climb up to the splendor of the golden temple. The Naga, mythic snakes, flank hundreds of stairs leading up the side of the mountain, welcoming you to this ancient place. On the outskirts of Chiang Mai, take your time to drink in the beauty.
4. Wat Umong, Thailand
If you haven’t had enough temples yet, this unique experience will call your name. Dating back to the 13th century, this temple is a network of tunnels dedicated to a monk who found it easier to meditate underground. Worship still takes place here, and visitors are welcome to wander through the forest and tunnel complex. Ancient Thai wisdom grows from the trees, in the form of mantras hung from branches, almost like fortune cookies.
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