Bali is a world away from the rest of Indonesia, and it's a longstanding favorite with independent travelers. Itinerant surfers started coming as early as the 1930s, but it wasn't until the 1960s that surfing holidays in Bali became fashionable. Today, the island legacy continues, and Bali sees as many bohemian surfers as it does affluent resort tourists. With miles of luxurious coastline and a range of accommodation in Bali, this small island has room enough for everyone.
Indonesia may have the world's largest Muslim population, but Bali fosters its own distinct culture. Hinduism has flourished here for nearly 2,000 years. Away from the beaches are fascinating Hindu temples, cultural exhibitions, terraced rice fields and colorful festivals all worthy of a visit ? any many photos.
Thailand's bustling capital serves as the premier gateway not only for Thailand, but for all of Southeast Asia. A sprawling city, Bangkok doesn't have a dedicated central district. Instead, the major activity follows Sukhumvit Road through the length of the metropolis. This avenue provides access to most of the accommodation in Bangkok and boasts world-class shopping complexes like Siam Square and Siam Paragon. It also cuts directly through prominent restaurant districts and a few sizzling after-hours neighborhoods.
Bangkok's financial district is bound to Silom and Sathorn roads and many five-star business hotels are located here. By day, Thailand's most successful businesspeople converge on these gleaming skyscrapers, but this part of the city assumes a new identity at dusk. Financial institutions close up and are replaced by neon rows of bars, restaurants and market stalls, culminating in the famous bar and club strip of Patpong.
It's hard to imagine how this once humble fishing village at the mouth of the Yangzte River grew into China's biggest city and the eighth largest in the world. And yet it has become the pride of China in more ways than one ? a sprawling, progressive city with a proud, resplendent past. An epicenter for art and culture as much as it is for commerce. Yes, this cosmopolitan city has plenty to offer the curious tourist and has become a popular option for those traversing Eastern lands.
There are numerous accommodation options in Shanghai the only thing to take note of is that hotels in Pudong cater more to business travelers. Similarly, an endless range of dining choices is available throughout Shanghai, from delicious street foods in Wujiang Road to upscale, expensive eateries in Xintiandi.
In many ways, this is a perfect cross-section of the entire country.
In colonial days, the British typically built their Indian strongholds from the ground up. New Delhi was unique because it was already the seat of a dynamic empire. While the British architecture in Delhi is impressive, it struggles to compete with massive Mughal feats like the Red Fort or Jama Masjid, sister structure to the Taj Mahal.
Stylish and successful, with a smattering of historic relics, Mumbai fits the profile of an ideal travel destination. Add beaches, a raucous nightlife and a long succession of Bollywood films, and it's easy to see why the world can't stop talking about India's budding starlet.
Sitting on Tokyo Bay on the island of Honshu, Tokyo prefecture has a population of 12 million. Divided into 23 special wards - each with its own distinct characteristics - Tokyo is linked by a hyper-efficient rail network. Most Tokyo hotels are within a few minutes' walk of a train station, if not two or three, so exploring the city via rail is easy to master, even for first-timers.
Tokyo's most popular areas for travelers lie along the JR Yamanote train line. These include Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa, the latter of which is a major interchange and connects directly via rail to Narita Airport. Shinjuku is where much of Tokyo's business and administration takes place and as such offers a high concentration of executive class hotels, shops and noodle bars. By contrast, Shibuya is a vibrant shopping and nightlife area popular with the younger set. The main street buzzes with udon restaurants, fashion stores and cool bars, and the iconic Shibuya scramble crossing lies just outside the train station.