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50 Most Stunning Lesser-Known Places in Asia You’d Love To Go

50 Most Stunning Lesser-Known Places in Asia You’d Love To Go

With thousands of stunning places to visit in Asia, it’s easy for many of them to get overlooked or simply be unheard of. If you’re planning on traveling to Asia any time soon, here are fifty absolutely amazing places that will make your trip feel complete.

1. Shodoshima, Japan

    The second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea is known for it’s Mediterranean feel. There are amazing resorts, mountainous regions, and beaches.

    2. Haputale, Sri Lanka

    Tea plantations

      The dense region is rich in agriculture and life with an elevation of over 1,400 meters. You can check out the Adisham Monastery, Diyaluma Falls, and Dambatenne Tea Factory if you’re looking for some fun activities.

      3. Hsipaw, Myanmar

      Hsipaw, Myanmar

        Located on the Duthawadi River the town of Hsipaw doesn’t have much for nightlife, but it does have many interesting restaurants that you can grab a cold one at after a long day of traveling.

        4. Koh Kood, Thailand

        On the Rocks

          In the district of Trat Province in eastern Thailand, the small island only has a population of around 2000 people. If you’re looking for a relaxing night away from the world, this is the place to go.

          5. Ko Lipe, Thailand

          Anyone for paradise?

            The southern most island in Thailand has been getting some attention lately for it’s beauty. Ko Lipe offers serene sand beaches and many hotels to choose from.

            6. Mekong Delta, Vietnam

            Mekong Delta, Vietnam

              The Mekong Delta is filled with paddy fields and orchards, rice being the main crop of the delta. If you’re looking for an amazing cultural experience, this is it.

              7. Ko Rong, Cambodia

              Introspection

                The second largest island of Cambodia has a surprisingly few people who live there. There are four small villages on the island along with guesthouses and bungalows.

                8. Kayan, Burma

                  If you’re wondering in what part of the world National Geographic is getting images of people wearing neck rings, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s coming from the people of Kayan, where it’s a long going tradition.

                  9. Tuvas Village, China

                  Horm River and Horm Village

                    The people of Tuvas are part of an old minority ethnic group. They also speak their own native language and survive by hunting and farming the land.

                    10.  Wuyuan, China

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                    Wuyuan, China

                      The weather in the county of Wuyan is moderate and moist, with late-March and mid-May being the peak season for tourists. While you’re there you can visit the Jinshan Ecological Tea Garden and the Likeng tourist area, which is famous for it’s little bridge and cottages.

                      11. Dili, East Timor

                      Jesus Backside Beach, Dili, East Timor

                        The capital of Timor-Leste, Dili is the largest city of East Timor. It’s full of rich views like the one above.

                        12. Tashkurgan, China

                        Old Stone House in Tashkurgan Meadow

                          Tashkurgan, in the Xinjian province, is home to around 30,000 Tajik people. The town is high up in the Pamir mountains between China and Pakistan.

                          13. The Hexi Corridor, China

                          jiayu pass

                            The Hexi Corridor is actually a part of the silk road. It was developed in the Han Dynasty as early as 206 BCE!

                            14. Garden of Dreams, Nepal

                            garden of dreams

                              The neo classical historical garden, is located in Kathmandu city. It was developed by Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana in 1920 and it was recently restored.

                              15. Hokkaido, Japan

                              Hokkaido, Japan

                                Japan’s second largest island, has tons of fun places to visit like Sapporo, which was where the 1972 Olympic Winter Games happened.

                                16. Ji Chang Yuan, China

                                Ji Chang Yuan, China

                                  A part of the Xihui Park, the small garden is packed with beauty and is an excellent way to spend part of your day. This garden also had to be reconstructed due to an incident in 1860.

                                  17. Kongosanmaiin Garden, Japan

                                  Kongosanmaiin Garden

                                    The garden is home to beautiful scenery and is next to the Kongosanmai-in temple that dates back to the 13th century.

                                    18. Mabul Island, Malaysia

                                    Mabul island, Malaysia

                                      This small island is off the south-eastern coast of Sabah, which is in Malaysia. It’s known for being a fishing village, it’s also a popular destination for diving.

                                      19. Pulau Ubin, Singapore

                                        Also known as the Ubin island, it’s shaped like a boomerang and covers 1,020 hectares. It’s home to Singapore’s last villages, with around 100 villagers still living there.

                                        20. Surin Islands, Thailand

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                                        Surin Islands

                                          The Surin Islands are an archipelago that consists of five islands. There are beautiful coral reefs, mangrove forests, and sea grass on the island.

                                          21. Phnom Kulen, Cambodia

                                          Phnom Kulen, Cambodia

                                            Home to the Kulen Mountain, it’s a National Park. It’s regarded as the beginning of the ancient Khmer Empire from the 9th century. There are many carvings of fertility in the park that represent a rich history.

                                            22. Ping Yao, China

                                              Ping Yao serves as an example of a tradition Han Chinese city. This ancienct city was founded as far back as the 14th century and was once a major centre for China in the 19th and 20th centuries.

                                              23. Classical Gardens of Suzhou, China

                                              Classical Gardens of Suzhou, China

                                                The classical gardens recreate natural landscapes in miniature forms. The gardens are known to be masterpieces dating between the 11th and 19th centuries.

                                                24. Malapascua, Philippines

                                                Malapascua, Philippines

                                                  The islands are home to diving, sea explorations, amazing beaches, as well as a bunch of really cool restaurants.

                                                  25. El Nido, Philippines

                                                  9345245663_c24e364a99_b

                                                    One of the most amazing places in Asia, you can experience a gorgeous lagoon, tropical weather, and stunning views of large rock formations.

                                                    26. Hoh Xil, Tibet

                                                    QINGHAI-TIBET-016

                                                      Ho Xil is known for being one of the most primitive and natural environments in the world. The weather in this area is quite fierce due to its high altitude, so pack well!

                                                      27. Redang, Malaysia

                                                      Redang

                                                        Redang Island is one of nine islands off the east coast of Malaysia. It’s perfect for going snorkling, diving, or just hanging out on the sandy white beaches and sucking in the tropical weather.

                                                        28. Don Kong Island, Laos

                                                        Don Kong Island, Laos

                                                          The largest island in the Si Phan Don riverine archipelago on the Mekong River, has plenty of fun activities. You can take a bike ride around the island, visit the Buddhist temple, or even check out the Somphamit Waterfalls.

                                                          29. Halong Bay, Vietnam

                                                          Halong Bay, Vietnam

                                                            In the gulf of Tonkin, the bay includes around 1,600 islands and islets. Many of the islands are completely unaffected by humans and are uninhabited.

                                                            30. Miho Museum, Japan

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                                                            日本的世外桃源 – MIHO MUSEUM

                                                              Located in Kyoto Japan, the museum was built by one of the wealthiest women in Japan. It has an impressive collection of statues and artwork that will give you a greater appreciation for the local area.

                                                              31. Gyeongju Historic Areas, South Korea

                                                              Gyeongju Historic Areas, South Korea

                                                                Filled with Korean Buddhist art, which included sculptures, pagodas, and reliefs.What’s more is the remains of temples and palaces that date back between the 7th and 10th centuries.

                                                                32.  Boat Quay, Singapore

                                                                 Boat Quay, Singapore

                                                                  If you’re looking to find a place with a killer nightlife this is your new favorite place. It’s huge on the electric music scene and high end restaurants. This is a great place to rave.

                                                                  33. Hwaseong Fortress, South Korea

                                                                  Hwaseong Fortress, South Korea

                                                                    The fortress was built in the 18th century when a son buried his father’s tomb and wanted to protect it with high walls and other defensive works like bastions and artillery towers.

                                                                    34. Gaya Island, Malaysia

                                                                    Bird's Eye View Of Sepangar Bay

                                                                      Most well-known for the Gaya Island resort, there are beautiful boat ports and palm trees. Depending on where you are on the island there is both a small city and a well-preserved nature feel to the small island.

                                                                      35. Kamakura, Japan

                                                                      Kamakura, Japan

                                                                        The coastal town is less than an hour south of Tokyo and used to be the political capital of Japan in 1192. The small city is filled with great history to explore and hiking trails.

                                                                        36. Lake Toba, Indonesia

                                                                        Sumatra - Lake Toba - Indonesia

                                                                          Lake Toba is not only a lake, but it’s also a supervolcano. In the center of this giant lake is an island that is nearly the size of Singapore and the lake gets as deep as 550 meters.

                                                                          37. Rua da Tercena, Macau

                                                                          Rua da Tercena, Macau

                                                                            The century-old street is home to a flea market and the culture of the small country. The small area is right next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can visit while you’re passing through.

                                                                            38. Mehrangarh Fort, India

                                                                            Mehrangarh Fort

                                                                              The ancient fort and museum sites four hundred feet above the city below it. Inside the massive fort are gardens, palaces, courthouses, and beautiful works of art.

                                                                              39. Rainbow Family Village, Taiwan

                                                                              Rainbow Family Village, Taiwan

                                                                                Believe it or not, the colorful village was only painted in the last few years and it was painted by an 87 year-old military veteran known as “Grandpa Rainbow.” He adds a little more pain to the village every day.

                                                                                40. Cham Showcase, Vietnam

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                                                                                Cham Showcase

                                                                                  The private museum was established in 173 on Le Hong Phong Street in Quy Nhon. The museum is known for its columns and other pieces of architecture.

                                                                                  41. Mount Wuyi, China

                                                                                  Mount Wuyi, China

                                                                                    The UNESCO World Heritage Site is an amazing area for bio-diversity and south-east China. It’s home to a beautiful mountain range, river, and many ruins.

                                                                                    42. Tarim Poplar Forest National Reserve, China

                                                                                    Tarim Poplar Forest National Reserve, Xinjiang

                                                                                      The Tarim River is one of the largest rivers in China and is home to Populus forests along its banks. The area spans nearly 390,000 hectares.

                                                                                      43. Luang Praband, Laos

                                                                                      Luang Praband, Laos

                                                                                        Located in Laos, this city is surrounded by mountains and is next to both the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. The town is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

                                                                                        44. Bagan, Myanmar

                                                                                        Bagan, Myanmar

                                                                                          An ancient city that existed between the 9th and 13th centuries, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan. There are dozens of amazing ruins to visit while you’re there.

                                                                                          45. Siem Reap Museum, Cambodia

                                                                                          Churning the ocean

                                                                                            The giant museum that covers 20,000 square meters is full of religious, ancient civilization, and war artifacts. There’s a solid chance you’ll get lost, so you may want to pick up a map!

                                                                                            46. Pai, Thailand

                                                                                            Pai, Thailand

                                                                                              A small town in the north of Thailand, it’s the perfect getaway to get out of the big city and enjoy an eye-opening cultural experience. The town is full of beautiful architecture and art.

                                                                                              47. Peshawar Museum, Pakistan

                                                                                              Peshawar Museum

                                                                                                The Peshawar archaeological Museum, founded in 1907, is home to many sculptures of the Gandhara period. The Gandhara period dates between 1500 BCE to 500 BC.

                                                                                                48. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

                                                                                                Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

                                                                                                  This is actually the largest island in Vietnam and has many nearby islands that you can travel to. You can get to this island with a short 50 minute flight from Saigon.

                                                                                                  49. Ambon, Indonesia

                                                                                                  Ambon, Indonesia

                                                                                                    Ambon is a very small island that is one of thousands of islands in the Moluccas seas. It was founded as far back as the 15th century and played a part in triggering the European Age of Exploration.

                                                                                                    50. Kep, Cambodia

                                                                                                     Kep, Cambodia

                                                                                                      Kep is the smallest province in Cambodia and is home to many great restaurants along with a national park, Rabbit Island, and a Butterfly farm.

                                                                                                      Featured photo credit: Hillcountry west of Inle Lake (Myanmar 2013)/Paul Arps via flickr.com

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                                                                                                      Last Updated on August 13, 2020

                                                                                                      12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                                                                                                      12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                                                                                                      As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                                                                                                      1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                                                                                                      I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                                                                                                      Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                                                                                                      Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                                                                                                      2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                                                                                                      The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                                                                                                      It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                                                                                                      Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                                                                                                      In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                                                                                                      You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                                                                                                      This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                                                                                                      The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                                                                                                      Less Physical, More Psychological

                                                                                                      Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                                                                                                      This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                                                                                                      The First Benefit of Meditation

                                                                                                      The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                                                                                                      1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                                                                                                      2. Relaxation of the body

                                                                                                      Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                                                                                                      Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                                                                                                      That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                                                                                                      When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                                                                                                      When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                                                                                                      Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                                                                                                      Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                                                                                                      This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                                                                                                      Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                                                                                                      Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                                                                                                      This benefit takes you to the second one.

                                                                                                      The Second Benefit of Meditation

                                                                                                      While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                                                                                                      1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                                                                                                      2. Observance
                                                                                                      3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                                                                                                      4. Patience

                                                                                                      Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                                                                                                      You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                                                                                                      This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                                                                                                      1. Energy

                                                                                                      Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                                                                                                      2. Observance

                                                                                                      The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                                                                                                      3. Peacefulness

                                                                                                      Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                                                                                                      4. Patience

                                                                                                      The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                                                                                                      The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                                                                                                      Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                                                                                                      Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                                                                                                      The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                                                                                                      • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                                                                                                      • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                                                                                                      • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                                                                                                      • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                                                                                                      • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                                                                                                      • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                                                                                                      These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                                                                                                      Final Thoughts

                                                                                                      Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                                                                                                      Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                                                                                                      Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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                                                                                                      Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                                                                                                      Reference

                                                                                                      [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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