Sri Lanka

11 Least Visited Countries in Asia. Now is the Time to Visit

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As most of us know, Asia is the largest continent in the world. With that much land mass, the travel possibilities are limitless. There are the popular countries to visit that we always hear and talk about, but perhaps it’s time to consider the road less traveled. Few are brave enough to embrace the idea of having a truly authentic travel experience, but for those who are, the rewards certainly outweigh the fear of the unknown.

1. Bhutan

Tiger's Nest Monastery or Taktsang Lhakhang in Bhutan MSN
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To help preserve Bhutan’s natural and cultural integrity, The Bhutanese government has taken significant measures to control tourism by implementing high visa fees and heavy tourist activity restrictions. Despite such hurdles, any knowledgeable traveler would understand that a visit to this area of the world is worth the trouble it takes to get there. People are friendly, the rivers are clean, and Bhutan is the only carbon-negative country on the planet. Hiking the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is as enchanting as one would imagine – peace, quiet, and picturesque landscapes. 

2. East Timor

East Timor
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East Timor’s iconic religious site, Cristo Rei, sits proudly atop a 600-step climb. This beautiful country will take you off the beaten track with fantastic coastal areas like Jaco Island or Akrema Beach – perfect for remote sunbathing and relaxing water activities. If being more inland is your cup of tea, try hiking up to Mount Ramelau’s summit for breathtaking views at sunrise for those willing to drag themselves out of bed in the wee morning hours. 

3. Laos

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Contrary to advisory warnings, travelers having previously been to Laos expressed that it’s a perfectly safe destination to consider visiting, and thankfully, the country has managed to stay out of the tourism limelight for a long time. Nature lovers can swim in the Kuang Si Waterfall, cruise down the Mekong River in a slow boat, or walk the grounds of Wat Xiengthong, one of Laos’ many stunning golden temples. Similarly to Thailand, elephant sanctuaries like MandaLao Elephant Conservation are prevalent and provide an interactive encounter with local wildlife.

4. Brunei

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Sharing the northern coast of Borneo with Malaysia, the tiny country of Brunei is full of good local vibes and a laid-back lifestyle. The true hidden gem of the country lies within the underwater areas along its coasts. The diving scene, including reefs, wrecks, and an overabundance of marine life, is well worth the trip to this unfussy and remote destination. Other notable sights include gorgeous mosques and Ulu Temburong National Park, which people can access with a scenic 2-hour journey by land and boat from the country’s capital.

5. Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka’s culinary, geographical, and historical treasures are notably some of the best in Asia. Move over, India! This country’s national dish is “rice and curry,” easily living up to that reputation with exquisite masterpieces like fish ambul thiyal, a sour fish curry, and parippu, or dhal curry, a staple in most Sri Lankan households. For the more adventurous soul, take a day to explore Sri Lanka’s original capital, Anuradhapura, by bike or tuk-tuk for an immersive cultural experience.

6. Tajikistan

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Although Tajikistan is the smallest country in Central Asia, it also has a high concentration of mountains with some of the tallest peaks on earth, like Ismoil Somoni Peak, the highest mountain in Tajikistan, towering at an incredible 24,590-foot height. Travelers would be remiss if their trip to Tajikistan did not include a scenic drive along the Pamir Highway or a breathtaking hike by Iskanderkul Lake. A great way to get to know Tajikistani daily life is by shopping with the locals and admiring the beautiful archways at Khujand’s Panjshanbe market.

7. Turkmenistan

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Geological marvels like the “Gates of Hell” at Darvaza and the fire fortresses of Yangikala Canyon make Turkmenistan a fantastic option for off-beat traveling. The ancient oasis town of Merv, now a UNESCO Heritage Site, helps keep the country’s smaller number of visitors happy that they chose such a beautifully remote destination. Don’t forget to stop and savor Turkmenistan’s delectable melons, which are available all year round. 

8. Bangladesh

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For one reason or another, Bangladesh has flown under many radars. Lucky tourists who explore this underrated country can mingle with indigenous tribes and visit the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest – The Sundarbans Reserve Forest. For beach lovers, Bangladesh is also home to the longest beach in the world, with 75 miles of coastline, Cox’s Bazar Beach. Nicknamed “The Land of Six Seasons,” this country has the typical four seasons plus Monsoon and Late Autumn, each celebrated with a festival and adding to the country’s overall charm.

9. Mongolia

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Due to inaccessibility, extreme climate, and limited infrastructure, Mongolia is as far from civilization as one can be on this earth. However, that’s not a disagreeable scenario for those wanting to “get away from it all.” It’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of Mongolia’s nomadic splendor, like watching wild horses roam the countryside of Hustai National Park, hopping aboard a camel in the Gobi Desert, or getting cozy in a secluded yurt. The country’s capital city and most modernized location, Ulaanbaatar, is a more colorful glimpse into local art and culture.

10. Nepal

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Known as the “ceiling of the world,” many climbers visit Nepal for the sole purpose of risking their lives to make it to the top of the Himalayas’ famous Mt. Everest. However, Nepal is more than its mountainous terrain or its many gorgeous natural landmarks. As the birthplace of Buddha, the country also entices many spiritual travelers with tours of magnificent temples and monasteries. Potala Palace, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see as long as altitude sickness isn’t an issue.

11. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea
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With over 13,500 species of vascular plants, Papua New Guinea’s spectacular inventory of unique plant life should catch the attention of any nature enthusiast. Heading to Papua New Guinea likely hasn’t crossed many globe trotters’ minds, which makes it the perfect haven for seclusion and crowd avoidance. Travel pioneers can delve deep into tribal culture, trek through the rough terrain up Mount Wilhelm, or hike along the Kokoda Track.

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Streets of Vienna Austria MSN
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‎Perast, Montenegro
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