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Top 10 Road Trips in Asia

By on Apr 27, 2014

We have asked our customers to vote for their favourite road trips in various parts of the world, and we are pretty pleased with the response we got. We have compiled the top road trip destinations across the largest continent in the world, Asia, in this concise list. We hope that one of the items in this list will be your road trip of choice the next time you want to see more of our beautiful world.

1. The Karakoram Highway, Pakistan

Karakoram Highway

Carved right into the Khunjerab Pass, the Karakoram Highway—also the highest paved international road in the whole world—is one of the best drives in the largest continent in the world. The highway, elevated at more than 15,000 feet, connects the Xinjiang region of China with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgil-Baltistan regions in Pakistan. Many believe that the highway is one of the Wonders of the World (the eighth one, to be exact), thanks to its impressive elevation and the laborious conditions it was constructed.

Aside from being a great road trip destination, the Karakoram “Friendship” Highway is also ideal for cyclists and mountain-climbing enthusiasts, who can enjoy easy access to the numerous slopes, glaciers, and lakes in the China-Pakistan border.

2. Leh-Manali Highway, India

Leh-Manali Highway

The Himalayas have always been a dream destination for adventurers, and a road trip through the Himalayan districts of Manali and Leh will allow you to reap all the wonderful fruits of such an adventure. Many road adventure aficionados call this drive a Buddhist pilgrimage, where one could start in the Solang Valley and up to the Rohtang Pass. Along the way, you will find the Chandra River with its gorgeous mountain scenery and glaciers.

Plenty of Buddha statues and other sacred sites to see while driving along the highway, which leads up to the Baralacha-La, one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Himalayas with endless stretches of lush meadows highlighted by snow-capped mountain peaks and clear blue skies. However, make sure to plan your trip accordingly as the Leh-Manali Highway is only open for less than five months in the summer.

3. Ilju Road, South Korea

 Ilju Road, South Korea

Located in the gorgeous volcanic island of Jeju, South Korea, Ilju Road ranks high among the popular drives in the continent. Jeju Island has been known as a fine resort destination in South Korea, and the Ilju Road along the coast will show you why. On one side of the road are the beautiful waters that rhythmically crash on the beach; on the other, the unique landscape formed by the island’s volcanic features awaits every motorist.

Driving along Ilju Road is perfect during the spring, or whenever droves of local tourists are noticeably absent in Jeju Island.

4. The Patapat Viaduct, the Philippines

The

The Philippines is fast becoming one of the most exciting destinations in the Asian continent, thanks to its pristine white-sand beaches and friendly, English-speaking locals. This archipelago is also home to over 7,000 islands, with the largest being Luzon in the northern part of the country. You can begin your road trip from Manila or Clark (where the major international airports are) and head on northeast to Pagudpud via the Patapat Viaduct. This scenic mountain road will lead you to the surfer’s paradise of Pagudpud, and your trip will be marked by extremely pretty sights.

The mountains are lush with tropical vegetation, and there is the unparalleled panorama of the Pasaleng Bay. However, you might want to hire a driver or a local tour guide to help you navigate through the challenging roads.

5. Rueigang Road, Taiwan

Stretching out some 14 miles along the east coast of Taiwan, Rueigang Road is a pleasure to drive through—thanks to the wonderful views of the region’s emerald hills and the Siouguluan River.

You can start your road trip at Rueisuei, which is a very popular white-water rafting destination. At the end of the road, motorists can find a sundial-like structure that marks the Tropic of Cancer. It is best to drive through Rueigang Road during the summer solstice.

6.The Bintulu-Miri Coastal Highway, Malaysia

Bintulu-Miri Coastal Highway

Driving through the Bintulu-Miri Coastal Highway will reward you with scenic views of a dense tropical rainforest, where locals have built settlements on stilts. Once you have reached Miri, make sure to stoop by the Tamu Muhibbah market to partake on the bounty of the island’s freshest crops, including the stinky yet delicious durian and local limes.

The old road, which stretches to a length of 143 miles, has relatively light traffic but not exactly maintained to stellar conditions. If time is of great importance, you can take the new road (of 113 miles), but there would be less scenery to take in.

7. The Nha Trang-Quy Nhon, Vietnam

Nha Trang-Quy Nhon

Surrounded by glorious mountains on three sides and a breathtaking bay on the fourth, the Nha Trang-Quy Nhon in Vietnam is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in the country.

Stretching out to a delightful 134 miles, this coastal road will defitinely be an unforgettable highlight of any Vietnam holiday. You can opt to drive through the highway during the weeklong Nha Trang Sea Festival, which is held on June during odd-numbered years.

8. The Hokkaido Scenic Byway, Japan

Hokkaido Scenic Byway

Intoxicating fields of lavender is not only found in Europe, but also in Asia, right along the Hokkaido Scenic Byway.

Hokkaido offers six scenic byways for those who want to enjoy the views of the French countryside or the Swiss Alps. The comparison ends with the views, though—as Provence is not home to glorious hot springs like Hokkaido is. There are plenty of onsen (hot spring) resorts dotting the scenic byway.

9. The Phuket Northeast Loop, Thailand

 Phuket Northeast Loop

Phuket is mainly known for its divine villas and breathtaking beaches, but if you are done with sunning yourself in this Thai destination, hop into a car and go for a rive along the Northeast Loop. You can start from the Heroines Monument and drive east to be charmed by shrimp farms, quaint fishing villages, and dramatic views of the Phang Nga Bay limestone cliffs.

10. The Tibetan Highlands, China

Tibetan Highlands

If you are up for some otherwordly landscapes in one of the most landscape-diverse countries in the world, then make sure to hit the Tibetan Highlands in China. The drive will take you more than two weeks, and you will start from Kunming (or Chengdu or Yunnan) and head to Lhasa.

Make sure to try the yak butter tea, interact with the local Tibetan pilgrims, and enjoy local delicacies on a picnic by the glacial lakeside. However, make sure to secure your Chinese driver’s license before embarking on your 16-day journey in the Tibetan Highlands.

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