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How to Choose the Best Asian City to Visit: A Personal Guide

Asia is a vast and diverse continent, with many amazing cities to explore. Whether you are looking for culture, history, food, entertainment, or business opportunities, there is an Asian city that will suit your preferences. However, with so many options, it can be hard to decide which one to visit. That’s why I have created this personal guide, based on my own experiences and opinions, to help you choose the best Asian city to visit.
In this guide, I will compare nine Asian cities that I have either lived in or visited multiple times: Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Shanghai. I will share with you the pros and cons of each city, and what makes them unique and attractive. I will also give you some tips and recommendations on what to do, see, and eat in each city. By the end of this guide, you will have a better idea of which Asian city is the best for you.

Bangkok: The City of Angels

Bangkok is the capital and largest city of Thailand, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. It is known for its vibrant nightlife, rich culture, and delicious street food. Bangkok is also the only city on this list that is not in East Asia, which makes it more distinct and diverse than the others.
Some of the advantages of visiting Bangkok are:
– Its temples are beautiful and impressive, such as the Grand Palace, the Wat Pho, and the Wat Arun. They showcase the exquisite architecture and art of Thai Buddhism, and offer a serene and spiritual experience.
– Its street food is cheap and tasty, with a variety of dishes to choose from, such as pad thai, tom yum soup, and mango sticky rice. You can find street food stalls everywhere, especially in the Chinatown and the Khao San Road areas.
– Its nightlife is lively and fun, with many bars, clubs, and shows to enjoy. You can party with the locals and the backpackers, or watch a traditional Thai dance or a Muay Thai fight. You can also visit the famous red-light districts, such as Patpong and Nana Plaza, if you are curious or adventurous.
Some of the disadvantages of visiting Bangkok are:
– Its traffic is notorious and chaotic, with frequent jams and accidents. It can be hard to get around the city by car or bus, and the tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis) can be expensive and unsafe. The best way to travel in Bangkok is by the BTS Skytrain or the MRT Subway, which are fast and convenient, but can be crowded during peak hours.
– Its pollution is severe and unhealthy, especially in the dry season. The air quality can be very poor, and the smog can obscure the views and irritate the eyes and lungs. It is advisable to wear a mask and avoid outdoor activities when the pollution is high.
– Its scams are common and annoying, especially for tourists. You may encounter dishonest taxi drivers, fake monks, gem dealers, or touts who will try to rip you off or take you to unwanted places. It is important to be alert and aware, and to bargain and refuse politely when necessary.

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Beijing: The Ancient Capital

Beijing is the capital and second-largest city of China, and one of the oldest and most influential cities in the world. It is the center of Chinese politics, culture, and history, and home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall of China.
Some of the advantages of visiting Beijing are:
– Its historical attractions are magnificent and awe-inspiring, such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace. They showcase the glory and grandeur of the imperial dynasties, and the exquisite craftsmanship and artistry of the ancient Chinese. They are also surrounded by beautiful gardens and parks, where you can enjoy the nature and the scenery.
– Its cultural activities are rich and diverse, such as the Peking Opera, the Acrobatic Show, and the Kung Fu Show. They display the talent and skill of the performers, and the elegance and charm of the traditional Chinese arts. You can also learn more about the Chinese culture by visiting the National Museum of China, the Capital Museum, or the Hutongs (old alleys).
– Its food is delicious and varied, with a range of dishes to suit different tastes, such as Peking duck, dumplings, and hot pot. You can find food from all over China, as well as from other countries, in Beijing. You can also try some of the local specialties, such as jianbing (crepe), lamb skewers, and donkey burgers.
Some of the disadvantages of visiting Beijing are:
– Its traffic is congested and stressful, with frequent jams and honking. It can be hard to get around the city by car or bus, and the bicycles and electric scooters can be dangerous and unpredictable. The best way to travel in Beijing is by the subway, which is fast and cheap, but can be crowded and confusing.
– Its pollution is serious and harmful, especially in the winter. The air quality can be very poor, and the smog can obscure the views and harm the health. It is advisable to wear a mask and avoid outdoor activities when the pollution is high.
– Its language barrier is challenging and frustrating, especially for English speakers. Many people in Beijing do not speak English, or speak very little, and the signs and menus are often not translated or poorly translated. It is important to learn some basic Chinese words and phrases, and to have a translation app or a guidebook handy.

Hong Kong: The Pearl of the Orient

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and one of the most prosperous and dynamic cities in Asia. It is known for its skyline, shopping, and cuisine. Hong Kong is also a melting pot of cultures, with influences from Britain, China, and other parts of the world.
Some of the advantages of visiting Hong Kong are:
– Its skyline is stunning and iconic, especially at night. You can admire the view from the Victoria Peak, the Star Ferry, or the Avenue of Stars. You can also watch the Symphony of Lights, a nightly laser and music show that illuminates the buildings along the harbor.
– Its shopping is diverse and exciting, with a range of options to suit different budgets and tastes. You can find luxury brands, local designers, and bargain deals in Hong Kong. You can also visit the Temple Street Night Market, the Ladies’ Market, or the Stanley Market for some street shopping and souvenirs.
– Its cuisine is delicious and varied, with a fusion of flavors from East and West. You can enjoy the dim sum, the roast goose, and the egg tarts in Hong Kong. You can also try some of the international dishes, such as curry fish balls, pineapple buns, and milk tea.
Some of the disadvantages of visiting Hong Kong are:
– Its crowds are dense and hectic, with millions of people living and working in a small area. It can be hard to find a quiet and peaceful place in Hong Kong, and the noise and stress can be overwhelming. The best way to escape the crowds is to visit the outlying islands, such as Lantau Island, Cheung Chau, or Lamma Island, where you can enjoy the nature and the culture.
– Its weather is humid and unpredictable, especially in the summer. The temperature can be very high, and the humidity can make it feel even hotter. It can also rain frequently and heavily, and sometimes cause typhoons and thunderstorms. It is advisable to check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly when visiting Hong Kong.
– Its language barrier is tricky and confusing, especially for English speakers. Many people in Hong Kong speak Cantonese, which is a dialect of Chinese that is different from Mandarin. Some people also speak English, but with a strong accent and limited vocabulary. It is important to learn some basic Cantonese words and phrases, and to have a translation app or a guidebook handy.

Seoul: The Soul of Asia

Seoul is the capital and largest city of South Korea, and one of the most modern and innovative cities in Asia. It is known for its technology, pop culture, and beauty. Seoul is also a city of contrasts, with a mix of ancient and contemporary, traditional and trendy, and calm and chaotic.
Some of the advantages of visiting Seoul are:
– Its technology is advanced and impressive, such as the subway, the internet, and the smartphones. You can experience the convenience and speed of the digital world in Seoul, and also visit some of the tech museums and exhibitions that showcase the latest inventions and innovations.
– Its pop culture is popular and catchy, such as the K-pop, the K-drama, and the K-beauty. You can enjoy the music, the shows, and the products that have taken the world by storm, and also meet some of the fans and celebrities that make them happen.
– Its beauty is diverse and attractive, such as the palaces, the mountains, and the rivers. You can admire the architecture and art of the royal dynasties, and the nature and scenery of the urban landscape. You can also visit some of the parks and gardens that offer a serene and relaxing escape.
Some of the disadvantages of visiting Seoul are:
– Its traffic is busy and stressful, with many cars and buses on the roads. It can be hard to get around the city by car or bus, and the taxis can be expensive and scarce. The best way to travel in Seoul is by the subway, which is fast and cheap, but can be crowded and complex.
– Its pollution is serious and harmful, especially in the spring. The air quality can be very poor, and the dust can obscure the views and harm the health. It is advisable to wear a mask and avoid outdoor activities when the pollution is high.
– Its language barrier is challenging and frustrating, especially for English speakers. Many people in Seoul do not speak English, or speak very little, and the signs and menus are often not translated or poorly translated. It is important to learn some basic Korean words and phrases, and to have a translation app or a guidebook handy.
How to Choose the Best Asian City to Visit: A Personal Guide


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