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With more than 7,000 islands consisting of rice paddies, volcanos, mega-metropolises, world-class surf spots, and endemic wildlife, the Philippines is one of the most dazzling and diverse countries in all of Asia. Not to mention, it’s home to some of the world’s best beaches, too.
Set your own pace by cycling through Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat or pedaling the banks of the mighty Mekong. Trek off the beaten path on eco-adventures through the Cardamom Mountains, southern tropical islands or crater lakes of the remote northeast. Add urban adventure and hire a "motodop" taxi in Siem Reap.
You could spend months exploring Taiwan’s Buddhist temples, villages, cities, and mountains and still barely scratch the surface of all the island has to offer. Here Confucius meets C-pop in a cultural mash-up of a place where traditional festivals are as important as hip-hop and cell phones. Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung each burst with opportunities to explore, learn, shop, and dine. Don’t miss breathtaking natural features like Sun Moon Lake, the hot springs of Tainan, and Taroko Gorge.
The near otherworldly Himalayan kingdom of Nepal can trace its history back to the 7th century and the arrival of Kirati sheepherders. Today, misty temples perch on rugged ridges, monasteries peer over deep valleys, faded by centuries, and Kathmandu's Old City brims with ancient Buddhist temples and ornate palaces.
While only 60 years ago South Korea was considered a developing country, it’s now one of Asia’s economic and cultural leaders. Super-chic Seoul combines modernism with ancient history; coastal Busan serves up rugged beach spots; and Jeju Island wows with volcanic landscapes and towering mountains.
Maybe your local zoo has lions, leopards, zebras or elephants. Maybe they even have wildebeest. But we bet they don't have 1.3 million wildebeest—never mind 1.3 million wildebeest in migration, with predators in hot pursuit. It's one of the most awesome sights in nature, and you can see it at Masai Mara in southwestern Kenya.
The misty hills, lush teakwood and sandalwood forests, and acres of tea and coffee plantations of Kodagu are, in a word, stunning. Also known as Coorg and dubbed "The Scotland of India," Kodagu is a postcard-perfect region of scattered villages and hamlets, which are the epitome of old-world charm. Kodagu is ideal for outdoor activities such as trekking, angling and white-water rafting, and major festivals like Keil Poldu (worship of weapons), Cauvery Shankaramana (return of the river goddess) and the Huttari (harvest) festival are a huge draw.
Some of Queensland’s most remarkable sights require you to leave terra firma. Off its coast sits the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef. Snorkel and scuba among 1500 resident fish species, or sail through the Whitsundays’ white-sand atolls. Back on dry land, you’ll find tropical escapes in the Daintree Rainforest to the north, rugged outback to the west and alfresco dining on the Gold Coast in the south. South East Queensland boasts mountain views, vineyards and ‘river city’ Brisbane.
Bali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship. On shore, the lush jungle shelters stone temples and mischievous monkeys. The “artistic capital” of Ubud is the perfect place to see a cultural dance performance, take a batik or silver-smithing workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class.