When mentioning Asia, most would probably imagine the beaches, the food and the people and not to forget the city life. Nope, we’re not talking about Bali, Hong Kong or Tokyo. We are talking about these 3 super underrated slash hidden gems that deserve way more attention and, of course, a visit!
Located in a mountain setting, and known for its well-preserved architecture and traditional river town scenery, stepping into Fenghuang might feel more like you’re stepping into a movie set. But everything is indeed real, including the architectural remains of the Ming and Qing styles.
The town is quaint by day, beautiful at night… the whole place becomes illuminated! The pubs, cafes, restaurants by the river have interesting names and quaint decor. A must see destination!
Yet another traditional place located in the mountains, Shirakawa-go is best known for its village of Gasshō-zukuri homes (Traditional Farmhouses), some of which are more than 250 years old. These homes were built with steep thatched roofs to withstand the large amounts of heavy snowfalls during winter. In fact, Shirakawa-go and neighboring Gokayama regions was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995.
• Possible day trip from Nagoya, easier from Takayama and Kanazawa.
• The best way to experience the town, however, is to stay overnight at one of the farmhouses, many of which now serve as minshuku (family run, Japanese style lodgings).
• An overnight stay at one of these farmhouses costs around 8000 to 9000 yen per person and includes dinner and breakfast, featuring local dishes. In the winter there is a small heating surcharge of around 300 yen per person at many of the minshuku.
Lake Nong Harn
Udon Thani, Thailand
Also known as The Red Lotus Sea, Lake Nong Harn is less than 1m deep, actually more of a swamp than a lake, and more of a vibrant pink than ‘red’. It is around 1 and a half hour drive from Udon Thaini town centre. The best time to visit is between December to February, as it is during this cool season when the freshwater lake is at ‘full bloom’. The best time to view the lake is from 6AM to 11AM, but try to catch it at sunrise – the sight will be even more breathtaking! Pontoon boats offer rides onto the lake for 45 minutes or 90 minutes. In addition to the docked boats, there is a restaurant on-site near the water’s edge.