17 Wednesday June, 2015
When you picture an Asian city, what evocative scenes waft through your mind? Camels nonchalantly striding alongside honking traffic… Hawkers competing with one another's shouts in smoky bazaars… Grand, crumbling fortresses from another age and many-tiered pagodas stacking up towards the sky…? Asia has so much to offer and its popular cities are as varied as its peoples and cultures. Many cities are today melting pots after centuries of tribal, imperial and colonial conquest. The layers of time are evident throughout most cities and are interwoven with the ever-shifting incoming cultural influences. The world is a smaller place since commercial aviation brought these distant melting pots of exoticism within a day's travel. Today we can all visit most of these places with relative ease.
Here we present a league table of the best cities in Asia. The top 3 titleholders are as follows:
Hong Kong: With over 25 million visitors annually, this tiny harbour city is a world financial capital with a unique history. It is hands down one of the most exciting and alive cities in Asia. The friendliness of the Cantonese, the harbour so familiar from countless films, the glitzy modern skyscrapers and the frantic but enchanting Hong Kong island all contribute to the overpowering atmosphere. Whether you go to eat at one of the thousands of top restaurants, lose yourself in the markets, party early into the morning, take in the view from the top of Victoria Peak, learn the fascinating history or go shopping in the giant malls, you will leave Hong Kong invigorated and wanting more and more.
Singapore: The gateway to Asia where east meets west – an exciting fusion of cultures and accessible sights. Indulge yourself in some of the finest hotels in South East Asia whilst admiring the outlandish modern architecture and cavernous shopping malls. The last few years has seen an increase in the already heady rate of development and its eating, drinking and arts & culture scenes are thriving. This busy port city has really got some serious wind in her sails!
Bangkok: Founded in 1782, Bangkok's recent explosion of modernisation has captured the mood and spirit of 21st Century Asia. Towering skyscrapers press up against traditional Chinese shop fronts while brand-new Mercedes squeeze past vendors with pushcarts - this is a city of sharp contrasts. Culture fiends will delight in the dazzling Royal Palace and the city's countless pagodas, while shoppers could spend weeks sifting through Bangkok's malls and open-air markets. Entertainment ranges from highbrow to the notorious with everything in between. A food lover's paradise, the city caters for all tastes from French fine dining with tranquil river views to sampling fried crickets on the roadside. Prepare to have all your senses engaged.