Plan Your 2017 East Asian Adventure with These Top Travel Picks

Asia continues to be a hot destination for Aussies. It's close, cheap and packed full of culture and fun experiences for all types of adventurers.

From world-renowned heritage sites, baby pandas, and some of the most exciting cuisines in the world, we spoke to Topdeck to get their take on the best things to do in Asia next year.

1. Meet baby pandas in Chengdu, China

Chengdu is known for its population of pandas, but don't miss the Panda Conservation Centre where you're sure to get the best view of some adorable cubs.

The research centre specialises in the care and rehabilitation of baby pandas, and has more than 80 pandas spread across its 600 acres of parkland.

2. Travel beyond the ski fields in Hokkaido, Japan

Lonely Planet named Hokkaido the number one, must-see Asian destination for 2017. While the island is best known for its skiing, don't overlook Hokkaido's gorgeous mountain villages and delicious seafood, like its internationally famous crab. So, if you don't want to spend your Australian summer in the snow, don't forget Hokkaido has year-round benefits.

3. Visit the floating markets in Cai Be, Vietnam

Watch or participate in the local trade of fruit and veg at these floating markets. It can be overwhelming, so a hot tip is to look for a long pole on each boat, off which dangles a sample of what it is selling. For example, if you want some pineapple, scan the horizon for a hanging pineapple! If you're daring, you might also want to partake in a cup of snake or scorpion wine.

4. Discover the Bagan Temples in Myanmar

While Cambodia's Angkor Wat is thought to be the archeological gem of south east Asia, the Bagan temples in Myanmar are the next-best sight to see. The setting is sublime – hundreds of glittering pagodas and temples surrounded by palm and tamarind trees with silver-grey distant mountains as their backdrop. You can also explore the grounds via several modes of transport, from hot air ballooning to horseback to mountain biking. 

5. Chase waterfalls in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a favourite among tourists to Laos, and the Kuang Si waterfalls are one of the city's highlights. The three-tiered pools, leading to a 50 metre waterfall are picturesque and practical - serving as a great place to cool off in the heat.

6. Hit the city streets in Seoul, South Korea

The only Asian city to make Lonely Planet's Best Cities of 2017 list, Seoul is one of the continent's finest cosmopolitan offerings. The city has made an effort to become greener and has plans to open a 'sky garden' later next year. Indulge in the popular Korean cuisine, and learn about the nation's fascinating history.

7. Visit Hoi An in Vietnam

This UNESCO World Heritage city cannot be missed on a trip to Vietnam. The historic village combines gorgeous Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese-style homes, converted into galleries, stores and great restaurants and bars. Try some of the local delicacies or go shopping among the hundreds of tailors, dressmakers and shoemakers.

8. Explore the floating villages in Lake Inle, Myanmar

With no roads or sidewalks in sight, locals and visitors navigate around in one-person-wide wooden boats. Watch the fishermen work, and take in the interesting sights of the over-water bungalows, hotels and restaurants. 

9. See the world's biggest gold temple in Yangon, Myanmar

With three mentions on this list, you may have gathered Myanmar is rapidly growing in popularity. While many other destinations in this region of Asia are well-explore by tourists, Myanmar is lesser known than its busy neighbours, Thailand and Laos.

For this reason, you may not have known it was home to the biggest golden temple in the world. The Buddhist Shwedagon Pagoda is 325 feet tall, and dorned with 27 tonnes of gold leaf. Get in early to avoid the heat!

10. Get up close to the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, China

One of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, the Qin Tomb Terracotta Warriors are a must-see on a trip to China. This destination is firmly on the tourist track but for a good reason, we promise!

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