Asia might be considered one of the world’s most diverse, ancient and beautiful places to visit and live. On a continent that is known in the western world for things like karate, samurais, yoga, and origami, there is much more to Asian culture than the western stereotypes would suggest. If you’re looking for rest and relaxation Asia is a perfect travel destination. From the serenity of the Great Wall of China to the luscious confines of the Forbidden City, here are ten of the best places to relax and meditate in Asia:
1. Summer Palace, China (Yiheyuan)
Although China holds a big percentage of the world’s population and is therefore a bit more crowded than other countries, there are plenty of retreats that are both relaxing and serene. The Summer Palace, or Yiheyuan, is a park, an historical building and an architecturally stunning edifice. It once served as a summer retreat for the Emperors of China, but today it serves more as a retreat for the tourist who is weary of traversing large crowds throughout the ancient cities. Tourists can relax here and stroll through ancient pavilions, bridges and rich gardens. There are also stunning mansions to observe and a beautiful blue lake to look out over. You can enjoy shops and tea houses as well. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon, enjoying the ancient culture and history of the Emperors of China.
2. The Great Wall of China
Not all of China’s charms are found in its city. Although climbing the Great Wall may not sound relaxing, you will find the opposite when met with the beautiful landscape. Tour guides accompany visitors on the top of the walking sections of the wall and highlight interesting facts about the wall. The Great Wall is a place full of history, and is the perfect spot to meditate on the significance of the monumental structure that China is best known for.
3. Swaminarayan Akshardham, India
There is nothing that is quite so perfect for meditation as a temple or the serenity of a beautiful garden. Swaminarayan Akshardham is one of the most stunning structures in India, providing both a relaxing forum to view its ancient history and a beautiful piece of architecture. The grounds are surrounded with lovely gardens. There is a large, visually captivating fountain active during the evenings for guests to enjoy.
4. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, India
A railway station is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of relaxation and meditation, but don’t worry. The railway station of Bombay’s architectural structure is reminiscent of a church, boasting gorgeous stained glass windows, flying buttresses, towering spires and gothic towers. It is a stunning building that tourists would normally expect to find in the heart of France or England. Don’t miss out on this incredible gem of Indian culture.
5. Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore
Although Singapore is famous for its diverse flea markets, there are other places in this fabulous city to visit which don’t include pushing your way through a busy crowd. The Botanic Gardens is a sprawling landscape of gorgeous foliage that ranges from bamboo reeds to vibrant cherry blossoms. There is no admission fee to enter the park, and it is vibrant with wildlife. The Orchid Garden is especially jaw dropping. It is definitely a place to slow down and “smell the roses.”
6. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore
Another serene and amazing place to visit is the nature reserve of Bukit Tumah. This is a preserved rainforest on the outskirts of the city. It offers hiking, biking and walking trails. It also offers a glimpse of the world’s most rare and exotic insects and mammals.
7. Long Shan Temple, Taiwan
Meditation can be guaranteed in this famous Taiwanese religious site. The temple is still active and during visiting hours, worshipers can be seen offering up prayers. An interesting fact about the temple is that it was bombed during World War II, but survived and stands intact to this day. Although they hold many festivals and celebrations here, visiting during prayer hours will guarantee a mellow, peaceful visit.
8. New Bei Tou Hot Springs, Taiwan
Is there anything so peaceful as a dip in the spa? The hot springs of Bai Tou are not going to disappoint your tired muscles. It is a better experience than going to synthetic spas because these springs are natural. There is even a geyser on the premises. It’s the ideal place to relax after days of sightseeing to ease your sore body.
9. Sensoji Temple, Japan
The personal favorite of many tourists, this temple was built on the foundation of a Japanese legend and stands today to commemorate Japanese architecture and religious historicity.
10. Yoyogi Park, Japan
A green oasis in the middle of Tokyo, the landscaping and beauty of the gardens in Yoyogi are stunning. It’s an experience you will never forget.
Whether you visit Asia to visit friends, family or simply to check out a new culture for the first time, there is plenty to see and do, and more than enough places meant for relaxation. You’re sure to head home well-rested and prepared for work once more.
Written by Allison Gamble. As well as being a big fan of Asia, Allison has been a curious student of psychology since high school, and an ardent traveler for as long as she can remember.