When thinking about traveling to Asia, there are a number of places that would instantly pop up in the mind. Take a hike on the Great Wall of China, rest up in the beautiful Bali island in Indonesia, or you could feel the rush of Tokyo and Hong Kong's megacities.
While these places are worth seeing at least once, there are other Asian destinations that are possibly more worth spending your money on. The region is full of unseen wonders, and some of which may just spark the inner adventurer in you. Here are eight of Asia's hidden gems that you can plan a trip to:
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1. Mondulkiri, Cambodia
Found in the eastern part of the country, Mondulkiri is the largest yet most scantily populated area of Cambodia. Its land is sprawling with forest, hidden waterfalls, and rolling, tree-topped hills. According to Culture Trip, it is home to 10 tribes that uphold a strong Pnong influence across the region.
Tourists can go exploring in Sen Monorom, the central hub consisting of elephant reserves, the iconic "oceans of trees," and farms of strawberry, rubber, coffee, and cashew operated by the local community.
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2. Mount Wudang Shan, China
Mount Wudang Shan is located in Hubei province in Central China and is among the Five Sacred Mountains of the country. Its postcard-perfect scenery beats that of the Great Wall, with sunlight breaking through the clouds and mountain mist flowing through the hills. The mountain's serenity makes it the perfect place for contemplation—especially after the four-hour climb that it will take to reach the top.
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3. Bai Xep, Vietnam
This once isolated inlet is now a tiny fishing village south of Quy Nhon. Bai Xep boasts of two coves: Bai Turoc, a busy beachfront that Vietnamese use to harbor their traditional circular fishing boats; and Bai Sau, which sports a larger bay and white sandy beach where tourists can swim and relax. It is devoid of cars and offers plenty of opportunities for cooking classes, hiking trails, and trekking to waterfalls.
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4. Yakushima Island, Japan
Forget about Tokyo's concrete jungle and instead go on an adventure in the mysterious Yakushima Island. It is covered with large cedar forests, where the average age of trees are 1,000 years with the oldest being over 7,000 years old.
According to The Travel, the forest was made into a national park and put into the list of UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in 1993. Tourists mostly visit Yakushima Island to see the ancient cedar trees more than the island's 2,000-meter high mountains.
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5. Mae Hong Song, Thailand
Sitting at the border with Myanmar, Mae Hong Song is a beautiful misty mountain landscape hiding caves, hot springs, nature parks, and waterfalls scattered around its lush expanse. Mae Hong Song offers a world-class trekking opportunity, offering trekkers with incredible viewpoints and access to indigenous hill tribe villages.
It is also where the iconic Su Thong Pae Bamboo Bridge, which spans nearly a kilometer through rice paddies, and the Phu Klon Mud Spa are found.
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6. Jomblang Cave, Indonesia
If you're looking for some thrilling experience, tourists can go rappeling into the Jomblang Cave. The 30-meter rappel down into the cave will definitely be something unforgettable, especially if the end view is the ray of divine light coming from above.
Aside from the thrill of rappelling experience, and the "heavenly light," tourists will get an incredible view of an actual ancient forest growing inside the cave—a surreal yet worthy scenery.
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7. Jaco Island, East Timor
Found in the Nino Konis Antana National Park, the almost deserted Jaco Island is considered sacred for its location between the Banda and Timor seas. Culture Trip says this reverence of the island's local community led to a firm policy that strongly opposes any development or construction.
This means that the only way to visit Jacob Island is through day trips to maintain the integrity of its natural beauty, which has remained untouched for many years. Boats from the nearby village of Tutuala in the mainland can be hired to take tourists to the island.
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8. Iskanderkul Lake, Tajikistan
Iskanderkul Lake is among the must-visit places in Tajikistan, which many western tourists don't really see as a popular travel destination. This makes the country a desirable place for those who are looking for less crowded places and prefer authenticity over popularity.
The lake is among Tajikistan's signature sights found in the Fan Mountains. Tourists can stay overnight at one of the chalets near the lakeside and, just 30 minutes away, can take a dip in the waterfalls that locals can help them locate.