For most travellers, Asia often tops the ‘to go to’ list. This is hardly surprising, Asia is intriguing , adventurous, budget friendly and charismatic. You can hardly say you’ve been to one Asian country and say “you’ve seen it all” – each place has its own personality and it’s own uniqueness to experience. That said, there are specific experiences Asian Experiences that you simply must try when visiting these countries. Try one or try them all, but you have to try it at least once , if not you’ll miss out!
The Hair Salon Experience
Getting your hair done is not only cheap in Asia, they are also miles ahead when it comes to trends and technology. Get your hair washed, massaged, cut and styled professionally for a fraction of what you would pay at home. Even better, you could do other stuff deemed ‘too expensive’ to do at home. For instance, hair straightening for long hair would only set you back between $50 to $100. Not just that, their hair care products are also cheap and extremely good, so be sure to get some.
When traveling around Asia, I basically outsource hair maintenance at the salon. For $10 I can get my hair washed and styled – which lasts me for a few days. The best haircut I had – ever, was in Beijing by a Junior Hairdresser, he did such an amazing job with my hair I couldn’t help but wonder how freaking awesome the Senior Stylist would have been! All it cost me was $5.
- Prices tend to be a bit higher in major Asian cities such as Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong
- Be adventurous and get the hairdresser to ‘surprise’ you with a hairstyle/hair colour of their choosing.
- Japan and South Korea tend to have some of the best hair care products out and about in Asia. So be sure to get them.
The Market Experience
You really have not experience Asia if you don’t at least visit the markets. Markets are part of the Asian lifestyle. You don’t have to buy anything, it’s just a matter of being a part of the scene. Wander around and look at products on display, ranging from knock-off bags, toys, t-shirts to souvenirs. The markets are also a great place to people watch and be a part of a crowd. If you do decide to buy something, this is your opportunity to haggle – a practice that can be fun, as long as you don’t offend and be offended.
Tips: Be careful of your belongings, the markets get super crowded and people tend to take advantage of this, especially towards foreigners.
Try This : Chatuchak Weekend Market (Bangkok) , Temple Street Market (Hong Kong) , Shilin Night Market ( Taipei) , Kobe Chinatown ( Kobe) , Bugis Market (Singapore) , Khari Baoli (New Delhi)
The Wedding Experience
Source Indian Wedding Buzz
This might be a little difficult for a tourist to experience. But that said, others tend to have an open wedding where you can witness the ceremony – we witnessed a few in Japan, Bali and in China. If you are lucky, you can watch Japanese Wedding being held in one of the park and Balinese wedding parades while driving along the streets and temples in Bali.
Tips : If you are lucky enough to be invited to an Asian wedding, there are no strict dress code, the only requirement is you wear modest clothing.
The Local Attire Experience
Asian countries have stunning local attire and you should take the advantage of trying and wearing them while you are there. Most of them are made from fine, expensive material and are colourful. Most of the time, it is perfectly acceptable to wear local attire out and about doing your own thing. You will probably get a lot of stares and the friendly ones may come up to you and compliment you for wearing their local stuff
Try This : Kimonos, Cheongsam, Salwar Kameez , Baju Kebaya , áo dài , hanbok
The Religious Experience
The beauty of Asia is, people, practice so many different religions, mostly in peace. They don’t skimp on building the biggest and most beautiful worship houses. Most of the times, these temples, churches, and mosques are built to represent culture and religion, hence you can see intricate cultural architectures incorporated in these worship houses, which are very unique and interesting.
Tips : Always wear modest clothing when entering the house of god.
Try This : Golden Temple in Amritsar , Angkor Wat in Siem Reap , Charminar in Hyderabad , Kinkaku-Ji in Kyoto , Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur, San Sebastian Church Manila
The Hotel Experience
Source Resort World Sentosa
Not only Asia have some of the cheapest 5-start hotel experience, they also have some of the most unique. Villa with a private pool, Capsule hotels, Themed hotels, Over water chalets , name it – they have it. All you need to do is find the one that tickles your fancy and book!
The Festive Celebration Experience
While some Asian countries tend to have a homogeneous population, there are also Asian countries with a multicultural population. Either way, if you do happen to be in Asia while they are celebrating one of many festive celebrations they have through out the year, be sure to be a part of it. Some hotels may organise a celebratory dinner, malls will be decorated to suit the festivities and there will be plenty of festive entertainment that you can watch.
In some Asian culture, they have what’s called a Ópen House’ – where friends and family are invited to the host’s house for a gathering and plenty of food. It is all about togetherness. Not just that, they are also big on fireworks – you can see and hear fireworks everywhere. If you know where to get them, you can also buy yourself some and start cracking!
Tips : Asian’s also celebrates Christmas, if you happen to be in Asia during Christmas time, don’t be surprised to see the lights, the trees, the Christmas songs – the whole nine yards!
Try This : Most commonly celebrated festivities are ; Chinese New Year, Diwali and Eid
The Pampering Experience
While Asia can be exciting and you might find yourself trying to fit in as much as possible, don’t forget to relax and pamper yourself. Nothing is better than going to a spa and the nail salon for a pampering session. The massages technique in different parts of Asia varies and they are all amazing. Not just that, the oil and the herbs they use are simply top notch and widely used by local Asians too. Be sure to set aside some ‘me time’. Spa and massages are very affordable in South East Asia. If you don’t like being ‘man/woman -handled’ but would still like to enjoy spa-like treatment, the Onsen in Japan is surely a relaxing experience one must try at least once.
Tips : It is not customary to tip your masseuse, however, it is a common practice as they don’t get paid much to start off with.
The Beverage Experience
Some of the most exciting, colorful and delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be found in Asia. While bubble teas are exciting and all, it is nowhere close to representing what Asia has to offer. For instance, the Es Campur drink in the above photo – that’s a meal AND a drink right there! They are so good and sweet too. If you aren’t keen on something sweet, even something as simple as their tea collection is enough to excite. Also, when you do plan for a night out at the pub or the bar, do try the local beer or cocktails. The cocktails usually incorporate some local flavours which are tantalising and you probably would not find anywhere.
Try This : Teh Tarik, Singapore Sling, Vietnamese Coffee, Es Campur
The Transport Experience
Asia have some of the most exciting public transportation which you can try to help you get from one place to another. The most developed Asian nation have highly comprehensive and efficient rail system. Most developing Asian countries are currently expanding their rail network (as you can probably observe from the vast construction works in the metro areas). Either way, do take advantage of the varieties on offer. The most exciting public transportation we have taken in Asia has to be the Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan
Tips : If you are taking transportation such as taxi’s or tuk tuk – make sure to negotiate rates to make sure you don’t get ripped off!
Try This : Rickshaw , Shikara Water Taxi , Tuk Tuk , Monorail , Ferries
The 4 Seasons Experience
Source : Global Times
The awesome thing about traveling Asia is, different parts of Asia have different seasons. For instance, in December, it is a very cold winter in cities like Tokyo and Beijing. While it is super wet and humid in Bangkok and Penang. You can go skiing in Sapporo or climb the great wall of China (and come across frozen waterfalls like the above) during winter. But then you have South East Asian cities like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur where it is tropical all year with sporadic rain and dry season.
The Food Experience
Last but not least, the Asian food experience. Most of the Asian food we eat outside of Asia are heavily westernised. Heck, even Asian food in Asia are now heavily fusion-ed and westernised (this is not necessarily a bad thing). Those cooked sushi rolls you have been chomping on in preparation for your trip to Tokyo? yeah, you won’t find them in Japan. Chicken Tikka Masala in India? you will have a hard time finding it. But that said, the real thing in Asia is so much better, try everything! from the traditional food to street food, to fusion food to desserts to the junk food! The Asians love their food so much that its crazy how some of the flavours just work together!
The best thing is, food is cheap in Asia. Even in more expensive cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Whenever we travel to Asia, we make sure to try at least these: Street Food, Baked Goods, and Junk Food
- If you tend to have a weak stomach, it is totally okay to skip food on the street. You can find the same style of food in the food court or restaurants in the malls.
- If you do get the chance, try Asian Fusion food as well, they come up with the craziest combination which just so totally works!
- You don’t necessarily have to go to a Michelin starred eateries in Asia to get the good stuff. But by all means, do eat in one for the experience.
- Yes, you will find MSG in the food – you cannot avoid it, there’s MSG in sauces, condiments – everything!