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50 things to do for free in Asia

    Are you planning a visit to Asia? Want to know where to see the best sunsets? Or where to find some great markets? Then check out our 50 free things to do in Asia.


    Don’t forget, if you are planning to visit Asia, we’ve got a great selection of Japan hostels, hostels in Singapore and China hostels for you to book.

  • 1. Tokyo: Visit Yoyogi Park on a Sunday

    Yoyogi Park in Tokyo is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon for free. Once the site for the main Olympic athletes village of the 1964 Summer Olympics, today this open space is one of the city’s most popular hangouts, particularly on a Sunday when you will find people gathered all over the park. Some come to play music, practice martial arts, cycle bikes or use the public basketball courts. It’s also home to one of few fenced off dog runs in the city where dogs are allowed off their leash.

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  • 2. Hong Kong: Take in the free view from the Bank of China Tower

    The Bank of China in Hong Kong is in the top five of the tallest buildings in the city. On the 43rd floor of the building you will find a free observation deck with some great views of Hong Kong. Unlike other observation decks, you cannot go ‘outside’ the building; the views are through windows only. However, there are some spectacular views of the city and harbour to take in from here.

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  • 3. Singapore: Have your photo taken at the Merlion

    The Merlion is one of Singapore’s most popular attractions. The statue is of the head of a lion and the body of a fish and is regarded as a mascot of the city. The original Merlion statue can be found standing 8.6-metres tall at Merlion Park. Make sure to get your photo taken with one of Singapore’s most iconic symbols.

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  • 4. Shanghai: Get artistic at the M50 Moganshan Road Art District

    To sample some of Shanghai's modern art, check out the complex known as M50 in the Moganshan Road Art District. What was once a run-down collection of warehouses and buildings is now home to the cities modern art movement. There’s a whole host of free galleries along this lane of all shapes and sizes that are free to enter.

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  • 5. Kuala Lumpur: Visit Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana)

    If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city of Kuala Lumpur then check out the Lake Gardens. Covering over 200 acres, this park is a popular spot for joggers and it is centred around an artificial lake which is also where you will see many rowers. The park is free to enter and a great spot to be on a nice day to relax by the water or play some sports. Also in the Lake Gardens you will find the KL Orchid Garden (admission RM1), the KL Bird Park (admission RM1) and the KL Butterfly Park (admission RM5).


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  • 6. Jakarta: Jalan Surabaya Market

    Regarded as an ‘antique market’ but more so a ‘flea market’, the Jalan Surabaya Market is a free thing to do in Jakarta. You will find all walks of life here both selling and buying items at the street stalls. There are items of all varieties on offer here from vintage records to cameras to travel accessories. Also, make sure to practice your haggling skills before buy anything here otherwise you will be charged obscene prices.

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  • 7. Beijing: Stand in Tian’anmen Square

    Tian’anmen Square is Beijing’s large city square that was named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) which you will find to the north of the square. This square is steeped in history with some of China’s most historic events having taken place here. It is surrounded by some breathtaking buildings and is one of Beijing’s most popular tourist attractions.

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  • 8. Bangkok: Meet fellow backpackers along the Khao San Road

    Possibly the world’s most popular backpacker strip can be found in Bangkok - The Khao San Road. You will find this backpacker haven in the Banglamphu neighbourhood which is a part of the ‘old city’. The Khao San Road is heaving with backpackers both day and night as it is where you will find some of cities cheapest accommodation, some great shopping and lots of great restaurants to suit backpacker budgets.

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  • 9. Kyoto: Enjoy Philosophers Walk

    You will find the pleasant Philosopher’s Path in the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. The path runs along a canal that is lined with cherry trees that explode with colour around April. The path covers roughly 2km and is a popular walk for many during pleasant weather. You can also stop along the walk at one of the many cafes, boutiques and temples that are a short distance from the canal side walk.


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  • 10. Seoul: Climb to the top of Namsan for some great views

    Namsan, or South Mountain, is the place to go to take in some amazing views of the city of Seoul. If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare and want enjoy the outdoors then take a hike up to the top of Namsan. For the less adventurous, you’ll be happy to know that there is also the option of taking a cable car to the summit. At the top of Namsan you will find the N Seoul Tower which you can also climb to the top of for some even better views. But the view from the top of the mountain alone is breathtaking.

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  • 11. Ho Chi Minh: Soak up the atmosphere at the Ben Thanh Market

    Check out the popular Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh to sample a busy local marketplace. This market is jam packed full of vendors offering everything from t-shirts to silk to postcards. There’s also sections for fish and meat as well as flowers and even a section with some local cafes. There’s also some great stalls around the marketplace offering some great authentic local cuisine.

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  • 12. Osaka: Escape the city in Osaka Castle Park

    If you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of Osaka then head for Osaka Castle Park. This is described as a majestic urban oasis that dates back to 1931. This beautiful park has some colourful gardens and scenery that changes with every season. It’s also where you will find the ‘Great stone wall in Japan’. These stine walls cover up to 12km make up the walls and moats of the castle.

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  • 13. Hanoi: Explore the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake

    You cannot miss the breathtaking Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi as it dominates the centre of the city, both physically and symbolically. Hoan Kiem Lake is steeped in myths and history, and it’s also home to lots of tortoise which you would not normally find in Vietnamese lakes. If you get up just before dawn and go towards the lake you will find people of all ages practising yoga by its shores or just out for a run along its banks. There are also some markets and stall at the north end of the lake, and in the evening it’s the perfect spot for a romantic stroll.

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  • 14. Taipei: Get outdoors in the Taipei Botanical Garden

    Taipei’s Botanical Gardens date back to the 1920s and it is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists in the city. The gardens are busy with people coming to take in the colours and sun during summer months, and in winter they come to walk amongst the fallen leaves. There are lakes and walkways all through the gardens and it makes for a great escape from the city.

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  • 15. Xi'an: Take in some ancient culture at the Shaanxi Provincial History Musuem

    The Shaanxi Province is the birthplace of the ancient Chinese civilization and Xi'an City was once the capital city in thirteen dynasties. So, as you can imagine there is a lot of history surrounding this area. The Shaanxi History Museum can be found in the southern suburb of Xian City and it is one of the top museums in China today. Every day the museum issues 4,000 free tickets (2,500 tickets before 14:00 and 1500 tickets in the afternoon) as long as you show up with an ID card or passport. The museum itself it beautifully laid out and the artefacts on display can be traced to dynasties as far back 221BC.

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  • 16. Siem Reap: Spend an evening at the Night Market

    Even if you don’t have the budget to buy souvenirs, local crafts or various items of clothes, a trip to Siem Reap’s Angkor Night Market is a must during your stay here. You will find this bustling Night Market just off Sivatha Blvd. and it is normally open from roughly 4pm until midnight. When you explore this market you can take in the sounds of tourists bargaining with local vendors, see some wonderful locally made crafts and smell some authentic local cuisine from the food court.

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  • 17. New Delhi: Familiarise yourself with some Indian flora at the Lodi Gardens

    Take some time to explore New Delhi’s nicest of green spaces, the Lodi Gardens. Covering roughly 90 acres, this public park is also home to tombs of rulers from the Pashtun dynasty which ruled much of Northern India during the 16th century. These gardens are busiest in the mornings for walks and they are a beautiful and serene escape from the very busy city of New Delhi.

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  • 18. Phnom Penh: Walk across the Chroy Changvar Bridge

    Often referred to as the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge, the Chroy Changvar Bridge was originally started in 1966, but when the locals were expelled from the city by the Khmer Rouge forces the bridge was deserted and damaged in the war. Reconstruction began in years to follow and today it is one of the most popular attractions in Phnom Penh. Take a walk across this spectacular bridge for some amazing views and a pleasant walk.

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  • 19. Manila: Enjoy the Manila Bay sunset

    Regarded as one of the best sunsets in the world, viewing the end of daylight in Manila is regarded as one of the top free sights in the city. Head for Manila Bay around 5pm and take up a good viewing spot in restaurant or cafe on the Manila Baywalk or simply by the harbour itself. The sun goes down at roughly 6pm but do some research on the exact timings depending on the time of year you are there so you don’t miss a moment of this magical sunset.

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  • 20. Mumbai: Visit the Gateway of India

    One of Mumbai’s most prominent and popular attractions is the Gateway of India. It dates back to 1911 and it was originally constructed to commemorate the first-ever visit of a British Monarch to India - King George V and Queen Mary. This landmark can be found right by the water where you walk around this intricate work of art and marvel at its turrets and intricate design. It also makes for the ideal starting point for starting your sightseeing of Mumbai.

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  • 21. Ko Phi Phi: Walk to the Viewpoint

    One of the best free things to do in Koh Phi Phi is to get outdoors and take it some breathtaking views. You can do this by taking the popular walk up to the Viewpoint. This is over 186 metres above sea level and is a steep walk uphill. The walk up here can take from 15 – 25 minutes depending on how eager you are to get up there. But it is worth the trip as the views from here are beautiful, particularly if you make it up there for sunrise or sunset.

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  • 22. Bali: Chill out on Kuta Beach

    It’s no surprise to learn that one of the best free things to do in Bali is to check out its many beautiful beaches. One of the most popular and entertaining of these is Kuta Beach in southern Bali. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a favourite with surfers and backpackers. By the beach you will also find some great bars and restaurants as well as shopping and entertainment.

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  • 23. Macau: Watch the Nam Van Lake Cybernetic Fountain Show

    If you like a good water and lights show then make sure to schedule in a show at the Nam Van Lake Cybernetic Fountain Show during your stay in Macau. This spectacular show is made up of 86 water spouts across the lake that are lit up by almost 300 coloured spotlights. The water can jet up to 80 metres in height. The shows run throughout the day, but perhaps the best time to see it is at night to fully appreciate the magnificent lights.

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  • 24. Amman: Take a stroll down Rainbow Street

    Named after the old cinema on the street, Rainbow Street has become Amman’s popular heritage point. The street itself is home to some popular landmarks including the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the British Council building. Also along the street many old, historic houses have been renovated and are now in use along with many shops and cafes.

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  • 25. Vientiane: Check out the historic Patuxai

    Patuxai is one of many historic monuments in the city of Vientiane. Also known as the ‘Victory Monument’ or ‘Gate of Triumph’, its construction began in 1957 and today it is one of the city’s top sights. It’s sometimes regarded as being the Asian version of the Arc de Triomphe and you will find yourself circling this monument taking in its interesting ceiling and sculpted design. It is dedicated to the Laotian soldiers who died in various wars.

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  • 26. Ulaanbaatar: Walk up to the Zaisan Memorial

    To the south of Ulaanbaatar you will find the Zaisan Memorial. Built by the Russians as a tribute to the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in World War II, the Zaisan Memorial is a beautiful tiled mural that is housed in a concrete circle 5 metres above the ground. The walk up to the memorial takes roughly 20 minutes and once you reach the top you can also marvel at the great views from up here so make sure to bring your camera.

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  • 27. Kathmandu: Enjoy the Balaju Water Garden

    Just a few kilometres outside of the city centre of Kathmandu you will find the Balaju Water Garden. This is a much loved tourist attraction situated just below Nagarjun Hill. It’s an exotic garden with many religious shrines, ponds and beautiful sculptures. It is also home to one of the only two swimming pools in Kathmandu Valley which means it’s a big draw to many visitors to the city looking for a swim.

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  • 28. Chiang Mai: Explore the markets

    One thing you will notice across Thailand is that they love their markets. From dawn to midnight you will find markets in towns and villages across the country. Chiang Mai is no different and a great way of exploring the Thai culture is to spend a day in around the many markets in the city. These markets are free to visit and if your bargaining skills are any good you will pick up bargains for next to nothing. Some of the more popular markets are the Warorot Market that retains a real traditional feel, Ton Lamyai which is a colourful flower market, and Somplet Market which is a great food markets to visit when you fancy some authentic Thai food. Don’t forget about the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar too for some great bargains and the experience of market shopping at night.

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  • 29. Colombo: Relax in the beautiful Viharamahadevi Park

    Beside the National Museum in Colombo you will find the The Viharamahadevi Park. Once called Victoria Park during British rule, it was renamed The Viharamahadevi Park in the 1950s after the mother of King Dutugemunu. It’s the largest park in Colombo and it is particularly worth visiting from March to May as this is when its many trees come into full bloom. It’s also home to a mini zoo, many water fountains and a huge Buddha statue.

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  • 30. Dubai: See lots of bling in the Gold Souk

    A trip to Dubai’s Gold Souks should be on your list of things to do. Here you will see endless displays of gold jewellery in all different styles and colours too ranging from white gold to yellow gold to even pink gold. In the Gold Souk you will be met with up to 300 jewellers and people from all over the world admiring the craftsmanship. Gold is big business on this side of the world but it is also slightly cheaper to buy here too, but don’t forget to haggle on the prices.

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  • 31. Beijing: Visit one of the free art galleries

    The art world in China has grown significantly in recent years. Chinese artists are selling their work around the world for rising prices and this has spurred the opening of many art galleries, particularly in Beijing. Certain Beijing neighbourhoods have become ‘art districts’ such as the 798 and Caochangdi. There are many free galleries in these and other artistic areas. Check out the 798 Space in the heart of the Dashanzi Art District and try the New Long March Space for some interactive shows.

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  • 32. Koh Phangan: Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach

    If you find yourself in Koh Phangan during a full moon, make sure you check out a Full Moon Party. This enormous party takes place on Haad Rin Beach on the east end of the island. With over 20,000 revellers partying at these during peak season, it’s no surprise to learn that these parties are the most popular in Asia. Across the beach you will find stalls selling food and drink, music and an all round party atmosphere.

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  • 33. Goa: Take in the views from Fort Aguada Lighthouse

    One of Goa’s most popular attractions is the Fort Aguada Lighthouse. The Lighthouse sits on a Portuguese fort that dates from the 17th century and can be found overlooking the Arabian Sea on Sinquerim Beach. It originally served as a reference point for vessels sailing from Europe and a freshwater spring within the fort provided a water supply to ships that stopped here, hence the name Aguada which means water. There are some amazing views out to sea and the surrounding areas from here so make sure you pay it a visit.

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  • 34. Railay: Enjoy one of the world’s best sunsets

    For one of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world make sure to check out Railay in the Krabi region. Along the beach just before sunset, you will find people flocking to the shores to take in this beautiful and romantic daily event. It’s one of the top locations to view a sunset in the world so do not miss out on it.

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  • 35. Tokyo: Walk across the busiest street crossing in the world

    Shibuya crossing in Tokyo is regarded as the world’s busiest street crossing. It is what’s known as a ‘scramble crossing’ as it stops vehicles coming from all directions which results in pedestrians taking over the entire intersection. It’s one of Tokyo’s busiest areas for both traffic and people so you can imagine the buzz that surrounds Shibuya crossing. It has been compared to New York’s Times Square as there are also large TV screens around the square.

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  • 36. Siem Reap: Visit one of the oldest temples in Siem Reap

    One of the oldest temples in the Siem Reap area is Wat Bo. Check out this historic temple particularly if you have an interest in photography as the old architecture makes for some spectacular pictures. But even if you don’t own a camera, make the trip to see Wat Bo as if differs greatly to the more modern temples that occupy the region.

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  • 37. Hong Kong: Take in the Symphony of Stars

    If you want to see the skyline of Hong Kong lit up in an array of coloured lights and laser beams, check out ‘A Symphony of Lights’ along Victoria Harbour. This is one of the most popular free things to do in Hong Kong and draws crowds to the promenades on either side of Victoria Harbour. It takes place nightly at 8pm and is accompanied by music and some narration. A definite event to add to your Hong Kong itinerary.

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  • 38. Singapore: Enjoy a walk on Sentosa Island

    Sentosa Island is Singapore’s popular island resort that is a popular draw for many to the city. The island is home to a beautiful long beach, golf courses, hotels, a theme park and lots more. There are also some great walks on offer on Sentosa Island that make for a great way of exploring the area without spending a fortune. Take a walk along the breathtaking beach or take a nature walk through a secondary rainforest.

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  • 39. Shanghai: Stroll around the French Concession

    Shanghai’s French Concession is an area of the city that was once for French residents only. Today it is one of Shanghai’s most popular neighbourhoods and draws crowds of visitors from all over the world. This is largely due to its popular shopping streets and incredible dining on offer. It’s also a great area to walk around as there are tree-lined avenues and some beautiful architecture on display with its many restored Tudor mansions. There’s also a beautiful European style park called Fuxing Park so if you want to pack a picnic this is the perfect spot to enjoy it.

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  • 40. Kuala Lumpur: Check out some works of art at the National Art Gallery

    Kuala Lumpur’s National Art Gallery is home to over 2,500 pieces of art that make up its permanent collection which stemmed from just 4 pieces when it first opened in 1958. Today these works of art are viewed by visitors from all over the world who visit this popular free art gallery.

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  • 41. Bangkok: Check out the many temples

    All over Bangkok you will find stunning temples that have been wonderfully built using the finest architecture and decoration. These temple or ‘wats’ are an integral part of Buddhist life in Beijing as well as being some of the city’s most popular attractions. The best time of the day to see these temples is early in the morning to avoid the crowds and get a glimpse into the life of the monks and worshippers that frequent these temples daily. Some of the more popular temples are Wat Arun which is home to a pagoda close to 80 metres in height. Also, check out the temple of Wat Chana Songkram with its impressive alter.

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  • 42. Kyoto: Explore Kyoto Train Station

    When you arrive at any destination by train the station is not normally something you want to explore as an attraction, however, in Kyoto it is. The Kyoto Station is built in a futuristic and contemporary design that is a great contrast to much of the architecture in the city. As well as being the cities hub for transportation, you will also find attractions such as an Observation Deck which you will reach after a lot of escalators and the Skyway Tunnel which allows you to walk the length of the station but 45 metres above the ground. There’s also some great shopping available here too.

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  • 43. Seoul: Check out the banks of the Han River

    Running through the centre of Seoul you will find the Han River. This river has always played a key role the lives of the local people and today it is still a prominent attraction. Along the banks of the Han River you will find walkways and cycle paths on both sides of the river so make sure to get out onto these and take in the surroundings. There are also a whole host of cafes and restaurants along the waterfront and some pedestrianised bridges too.

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  • 44. Ho Chi Minh: Visit the Emperor Jade Pagoda

    Often regarded as one of Ho Chi Minh’s most interesting pagodas or temple, the Emperor Jade Pagoda is definitely worth a visit to check out this amazing building. Inside you will find it filled with a smoky incense that make the many carved religious figures even more captivating. Also, the roof is worth a good long look along with the figures of more kings and goddesses.

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  • 45. Osaka: Be entertained in the Dotonbori District

    The area of Dotonbori in Osaka is renowned as being the atmospheric leisure district. In Dotonbori you will find many restaurants, theatres and amusement facilities under the neon lights and signs that surround this area. It is one of the busiest areas in Osaka and a walk around here, particularly when night starts to fall, will have you soaking up a great buzz and atmosphere.

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  • 46. Hanoi: Pay a visit to Saint Joseph’s Cathedral

    Dating from the late 19th century, St Joseph’s Cathedral stands out amongst the busy streets of Hanoi largely due to the neo-gothic style that dominates its two large square towers. Go inside for a look through the spectacular stained glass windows in St. Joesph’s or you can even participate in one of two church services that takes place here daily. It’s possibly one of the most peaceful places in the city.

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  • 47. Chiang Mai: Check out the city’s many temples

    Chiang Mai is home to some amazing temples where each one portrays a different architectural style all of which display the varied heritage of the country. There are roughly 300 temples in the area of Chiang Mai, and while you may not have the time to visit them all, you should attempt to take in a few of them. Wat Chiang Mun is the oldest temple in Chiangmai and it is located within the walled city on Rajpakinai Road. Wat Pra Singh is another temple worth a visit and you will find it in the centre of the city.

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  • 48. Phnom Penh: Climb up Wat Phnom Hill

    Take a trip up the only hill in town with a visit to Wat Phnom Hill in Phnom Penh. This is apparently where the first pagoda was erected in the 14th century. Many locals and tourists come here to pray for good luck and success, returning with offerings if their prayers have been answered. The original pagoda here has been renovated over the years and this is still one of the area’s top attractions.

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  • 49. Mumbai: Relax on Chowpatty Beach on Marine Drive

    In central Mumbai you will find the famous thoroughfare known as Marine Drive. At the top of end of Marine Drive lies Chowpatty Beach which is the only beach in the central area of Mumbai. This beach is a popular spot for many religious ceremonies as well as a tourist hub with stalls and entertainers along the waterfront. Definitely worth checking out, especially to escape the city for a while.

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  • 50. Amman: Visit the City Mall

    The City Mall in Amman is currently Jordan’s biggest shopping mall and packed full of shops, restaurants and entertainment. This world class shopping mall is worth visiting even if you don’t spend a penny as there’s so much on display around the mall.

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  • If you’re planning a trip to Asia, hopefully these tips will help you save some money along the way. So whether you’re visiting Japan hostels, hostels in Singaporeand China hostels, make sure to check out our 50 things to do for free in Asia.

    Thanks to Frank Gruber, Sami', DMahendra, Hi Pandian , bingbing , John T Pilot, jhecking, Tom BKK, egorick, Roobee, Pigalle, mana_wu, urbangarden, phalinn and .Bala for images.

    Vist our backpackers page.

    Are you planning a visit to Asia? Want to know where to see the best sunsets? Or where to find some great markets? Then check out our 50 free things to do in Asia.


    Don’t forget, if you are planning to visit Asia, we’ve got a great selection of Japan hostels, hostels in Singapore and China hostels for you to book.

  • 1. Tokyo: Visit Yoyogi Park on a Sunday

    Yoyogi Park in Tokyo is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon for free. Once the site for the main Olympic athletes village of the 1964 Summer Olympics, today this open space is one of the city’s most popular hangouts, particularly on a Sunday when you will find people gathered all over the park. Some come to play music, practice martial arts, cycle bikes or use the public basketball courts. It’s also home to one of few fenced off dog runs in the city where dogs are allowed off their leash.

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  • 2. Hong Kong: Take in the free view from the Bank of China Tower

    The Bank of China in Hong Kong is in the top five of the tallest buildings in the city. On the 43rd floor of the building you will find a free observation deck with some great views of Hong Kong. Unlike other observation decks, you cannot go ‘outside’ the building; the views are through windows only. However, there are some spectacular views of the city and harbour to take in from here.

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  • 3. Singapore: Have your photo taken at the Merlion

    The Merlion is one of Singapore’s most popular attractions. The statue is of the head of a lion and the body of a fish and is regarded as a mascot of the city. The original Merlion statue can be found standing 8.6-metres tall at Merlion Park. Make sure to get your photo taken with one of Singapore’s most iconic symbols.

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  • 4. Shanghai: Get artistic at the M50 Moganshan Road Art District

    To sample some of Shanghai's modern art, check out the complex known as M50 in the Moganshan Road Art District. What was once a run-down collection of warehouses and buildings is now home to the cities modern art movement. There’s a whole host of free galleries along this lane of all shapes and sizes that are free to enter.

    Book hostels in Shanghai | Shanghai podcast, free pocket guide and more

  • 5. Kuala Lumpur: Visit Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana)

    If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city of Kuala Lumpur then check out the Lake Gardens. Covering over 200 acres, this park is a popular spot for joggers and it is centred around an artificial lake which is also where you will see many rowers. The park is free to enter and a great spot to be on a nice day to relax by the water or play some sports. Also in the Lake Gardens you will find the KL Orchid Garden (admission RM1), the KL Bird Park (admission RM1) and the KL Butterfly Park (admission RM5).


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  • 6. Jakarta: Jalan Surabaya Market

    Regarded as an ‘antique market’ but more so a ‘flea market’, the Jalan Surabaya Market is a free thing to do in Jakarta. You will find all walks of life here both selling and buying items at the street stalls. There are items of all varieties on offer here from vintage records to cameras to travel accessories. Also, make sure to practice your haggling skills before buy anything here otherwise you will be charged obscene prices.

    Book hostels in Jakarta

  • 7. Beijing: Stand in Tian’anmen Square

    Tian’anmen Square is Beijing’s large city square that was named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) which you will find to the north of the square. This square is steeped in history with some of China’s most historic events having taken place here. It is surrounded by some breathtaking buildings and is one of Beijing’s most popular tourist attractions.

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  • 8. Bangkok: Meet fellow backpackers along the Khao San Road

    Possibly the world’s most popular backpacker strip can be found in Bangkok - The Khao San Road. You will find this backpacker haven in the Banglamphu neighbourhood which is a part of the ‘old city’. The Khao San Road is heaving with backpackers both day and night as it is where you will find some of cities cheapest accommodation, some great shopping and lots of great restaurants to suit backpacker budgets.

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  • 9. Kyoto: Enjoy Philosophers Walk

    You will find the pleasant Philosopher’s Path in the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. The path runs along a canal that is lined with cherry trees that explode with colour around April. The path covers roughly 2km and is a popular walk for many during pleasant weather. You can also stop along the walk at one of the many cafes, boutiques and temples that are a short distance from the canal side walk.


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  • 10. Seoul: Climb to the top of Namsan for some great views

    Namsan, or South Mountain, is the place to go to take in some amazing views of the city of Seoul. If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare and want enjoy the outdoors then take a hike up to the top of Namsan. For the less adventurous, you’ll be happy to know that there is also the option of taking a cable car to the summit. At the top of Namsan you will find the N Seoul Tower which you can also climb to the top of for some even better views. But the view from the top of the mountain alone is breathtaking.

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  • 11. Ho Chi Minh: Soak up the atmosphere at the Ben Thanh Market

    Check out the popular Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh to sample a busy local marketplace. This market is jam packed full of vendors offering everything from t-shirts to silk to postcards. There’s also sections for fish and meat as well as flowers and even a section with some local cafes. There’s also some great stalls around the marketplace offering some great authentic local cuisine.

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  • 12. Osaka: Escape the city in Osaka Castle Park

    If you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of Osaka then head for Osaka Castle Park. This is described as a majestic urban oasis that dates back to 1931. This beautiful park has some colourful gardens and scenery that changes with every season. It’s also where you will find the ‘Great stone wall in Japan’. These stine walls cover up to 12km make up the walls and moats of the castle.

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  • 13. Hanoi: Explore the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake

    You cannot miss the breathtaking Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi as it dominates the centre of the city, both physically and symbolically. Hoan Kiem Lake is steeped in myths and history, and it’s also home to lots of tortoise which you would not normally find in Vietnamese lakes. If you get up just before dawn and go towards the lake you will find people of all ages practising yoga by its shores or just out for a run along its banks. There are also some markets and stall at the north end of the lake, and in the evening it’s the perfect spot for a romantic stroll.

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  • 14. Taipei: Get outdoors in the Taipei Botanical Garden

    Taipei’s Botanical Gardens date back to the 1920s and it is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists in the city. The gardens are busy with people coming to take in the colours and sun during summer months, and in winter they come to walk amongst the fallen leaves. There are lakes and walkways all through the gardens and it makes for a great escape from the city.

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  • 15. Xi'an: Take in some ancient culture at the Shaanxi Provincial History Musuem

    The Shaanxi Province is the birthplace of the ancient Chinese civilization and Xi'an City was once the capital city in thirteen dynasties. So, as you can imagine there is a lot of history surrounding this area. The Shaanxi History Museum can be found in the southern suburb of Xian City and it is one of the top museums in China today. Every day the museum issues 4,000 free tickets (2,500 tickets before 14:00 and 1500 tickets in the afternoon) as long as you show up with an ID card or passport. The museum itself it beautifully laid out and the artefacts on display can be traced to dynasties as far back 221BC.

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  • 16. Siem Reap: Spend an evening at the Night Market

    Even if you don’t have the budget to buy souvenirs, local crafts or various items of clothes, a trip to Siem Reap’s Angkor Night Market is a must during your stay here. You will find this bustling Night Market just off Sivatha Blvd. and it is normally open from roughly 4pm until midnight. When you explore this market you can take in the sounds of tourists bargaining with local vendors, see some wonderful locally made crafts and smell some authentic local cuisine from the food court.

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  • 17. New Delhi: Familiarise yourself with some Indian flora at the Lodi Gardens

    Take some time to explore New Delhi’s nicest of green spaces, the Lodi Gardens. Covering roughly 90 acres, this public park is also home to tombs of rulers from the Pashtun dynasty which ruled much of Northern India during the 16th century. These gardens are busiest in the mornings for walks and they are a beautiful and serene escape from the very busy city of New Delhi.

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  • 18. Phnom Penh: Walk across the Chroy Changvar Bridge

    Often referred to as the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge, the Chroy Changvar Bridge was originally started in 1966, but when the locals were expelled from the city by the Khmer Rouge forces the bridge was deserted and damaged in the war. Reconstruction began in years to follow and today it is one of the most popular attractions in Phnom Penh. Take a walk across this spectacular bridge for some amazing views and a pleasant walk.

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  • 19. Manila: Enjoy the Manila Bay sunset

    Regarded as one of the best sunsets in the world, viewing the end of daylight in Manila is regarded as one of the top free sights in the city. Head for Manila Bay around 5pm and take up a good viewing spot in restaurant or cafe on the Manila Baywalk or simply by the harbour itself. The sun goes down at roughly 6pm but do some research on the exact timings depending on the time of year you are there so you don’t miss a moment of this magical sunset.

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  • 20. Mumbai: Visit the Gateway of India

    One of Mumbai’s most prominent and popular attractions is the Gateway of India. It dates back to 1911 and it was originally constructed to commemorate the first-ever visit of a British Monarch to India - King George V and Queen Mary. This landmark can be found right by the water where you walk around this intricate work of art and marvel at its turrets and intricate design. It also makes for the ideal starting point for starting your sightseeing of Mumbai.

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  • 21. Ko Phi Phi: Walk to the Viewpoint

    One of the best free things to do in Koh Phi Phi is to get outdoors and take it some breathtaking views. You can do this by taking the popular walk up to the Viewpoint. This is over 186 metres above sea level and is a steep walk uphill. The walk up here can take from 15 – 25 minutes depending on how eager you are to get up there. But it is worth the trip as the views from here are beautiful, particularly if you make it up there for sunrise or sunset.

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  • 22. Bali: Chill out on Kuta Beach

    It’s no surprise to learn that one of the best free things to do in Bali is to check out its many beautiful beaches. One of the most popular and entertaining of these is Kuta Beach in southern Bali. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a favourite with surfers and backpackers. By the beach you will also find some great bars and restaurants as well as shopping and entertainment.

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  • 23. Macau: Watch the Nam Van Lake Cybernetic Fountain Show

    If you like a good water and lights show then make sure to schedule in a show at the Nam Van Lake Cybernetic Fountain Show during your stay in Macau. This spectacular show is made up of 86 water spouts across the lake that are lit up by almost 300 coloured spotlights. The water can jet up to 80 metres in height. The shows run throughout the day, but perhaps the best time to see it is at night to fully appreciate the magnificent lights.

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  • 24. Amman: Take a stroll down Rainbow Street

    Named after the old cinema on the street, Rainbow Street has become Amman’s popular heritage point. The street itself is home to some popular landmarks including the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the British Council building. Also along the street many old, historic houses have been renovated and are now in use along with many shops and cafes.

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  • 25. Vientiane: Check out the historic Patuxai

    Patuxai is one of many historic monuments in the city of Vientiane. Also known as the ‘Victory Monument’ or ‘Gate of Triumph’, its construction began in 1957 and today it is one of the city’s top sights. It’s sometimes regarded as being the Asian version of the Arc de Triomphe and you will find yourself circling this monument taking in its interesting ceiling and sculpted design. It is dedicated to the Laotian soldiers who died in various wars.

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  • 26. Ulaanbaatar: Walk up to the Zaisan Memorial

    To the south of Ulaanbaatar you will find the Zaisan Memorial. Built by the Russians as a tribute to the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in World War II, the Zaisan Memorial is a beautiful tiled mural that is housed in a concrete circle 5 metres above the ground. The walk up to the memorial takes roughly 20 minutes and once you reach the top you can also marvel at the great views from up here so make sure to bring your camera.

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  • 27. Kathmandu: Enjoy the Balaju Water Garden

    Just a few kilometres outside of the city centre of Kathmandu you will find the Balaju Water Garden. This is a much loved tourist attraction situated just below Nagarjun Hill. It’s an exotic garden with many religious shrines, ponds and beautiful sculptures. It is also home to one of the only two swimming pools in Kathmandu Valley which means it’s a big draw to many visitors to the city looking for a swim.

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  • 28. Chiang Mai: Explore the markets

    One thing you will notice across Thailand is that they love their markets. From dawn to midnight you will find markets in towns and villages across the country. Chiang Mai is no different and a great way of exploring the Thai culture is to spend a day in around the many markets in the city. These markets are free to visit and if your bargaining skills are any good you will pick up bargains for next to nothing. Some of the more popular markets are the Warorot Market that retains a real traditional feel, Ton Lamyai which is a colourful flower market, and Somplet Market which is a great food markets to visit when you fancy some authentic Thai food. Don’t forget about the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar too for some great bargains and the experience of market shopping at night.

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  • 29. Colombo: Relax in the beautiful Viharamahadevi Park

    Beside the National Museum in Colombo you will find the The Viharamahadevi Park. Once called Victoria Park during British rule, it was renamed The Viharamahadevi Park in the 1950s after the mother of King Dutugemunu. It’s the largest park in Colombo and it is particularly worth visiting from March to May as this is when its many trees come into full bloom. It’s also home to a mini zoo, many water fountains and a huge Buddha statue.

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  • 30. Dubai: See lots of bling in the Gold Souk

    A trip to Dubai’s Gold Souks should be on your list of things to do. Here you will see endless displays of gold jewellery in all different styles and colours too ranging from white gold to yellow gold to even pink gold. In the Gold Souk you will be met with up to 300 jewellers and people from all over the world admiring the craftsmanship. Gold is big business on this side of the world but it is also slightly cheaper to buy here too, but don’t forget to haggle on the prices.

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  • 31. Beijing: Visit one of the free art galleries

    The art world in China has grown significantly in recent years. Chinese artists are selling their work around the world for rising prices and this has spurred the opening of many art galleries, particularly in Beijing. Certain Beijing neighbourhoods have become ‘art districts’ such as the 798 and Caochangdi. There are many free galleries in these and other artistic areas. Check out the 798 Space in the heart of the Dashanzi Art District and try the New Long March Space for some interactive shows.

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  • 32. Koh Phangan: Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach

    If you find yourself in Koh Phangan during a full moon, make sure you check out a Full Moon Party. This enormous party takes place on Haad Rin Beach on the east end of the island. With over 20,000 revellers partying at these during peak season, it’s no surprise to learn that these parties are the most popular in Asia. Across the beach you will find stalls selling food and drink, music and an all round party atmosphere.

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  • 33. Goa: Take in the views from Fort Aguada Lighthouse

    One of Goa’s most popular attractions is the Fort Aguada Lighthouse. The Lighthouse sits on a Portuguese fort that dates from the 17th century and can be found overlooking the Arabian Sea on Sinquerim Beach. It originally served as a reference point for vessels sailing from Europe and a freshwater spring within the fort provided a water supply to ships that stopped here, hence the name Aguada which means water. There are some amazing views out to sea and the surrounding areas from here so make sure you pay it a visit.

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  • 34. Railay: Enjoy one of the world’s best sunsets

    For one of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world make sure to check out Railay in the Krabi region. Along the beach just before sunset, you will find people flocking to the shores to take in this beautiful and romantic daily event. It’s one of the top locations to view a sunset in the world so do not miss out on it.

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  • 35. Tokyo: Walk across the busiest street crossing in the world

    Shibuya crossing in Tokyo is regarded as the world’s busiest street crossing. It is what’s known as a ‘scramble crossing’ as it stops vehicles coming from all directions which results in pedestrians taking over the entire intersection. It’s one of Tokyo’s busiest areas for both traffic and people so you can imagine the buzz that surrounds Shibuya crossing. It has been compared to New York’s Times Square as there are also large TV screens around the square.

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  • 36. Siem Reap: Visit one of the oldest temples in Siem Reap

    One of the oldest temples in the Siem Reap area is Wat Bo. Check out this historic temple particularly if you have an interest in photography as the old architecture makes for some spectacular pictures. But even if you don’t own a camera, make the trip to see Wat Bo as if differs greatly to the more modern temples that occupy the region.

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  • 37. Hong Kong: Take in the Symphony of Stars

    If you want to see the skyline of Hong Kong lit up in an array of coloured lights and laser beams, check out ‘A Symphony of Lights’ along Victoria Harbour. This is one of the most popular free things to do in Hong Kong and draws crowds to the promenades on either side of Victoria Harbour. It takes place nightly at 8pm and is accompanied by music and some narration. A definite event to add to your Hong Kong itinerary.

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  • 38. Singapore: Enjoy a walk on Sentosa Island

    Sentosa Island is Singapore’s popular island resort that is a popular draw for many to the city. The island is home to a beautiful long beach, golf courses, hotels, a theme park and lots more. There are also some great walks on offer on Sentosa Island that make for a great way of exploring the area without spending a fortune. Take a walk along the breathtaking beach or take a nature walk through a secondary rainforest.

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  • 39. Shanghai: Stroll around the French Concession

    Shanghai’s French Concession is an area of the city that was once for French residents only. Today it is one of Shanghai’s most popular neighbourhoods and draws crowds of visitors from all over the world. This is largely due to its popular shopping streets and incredible dining on offer. It’s also a great area to walk around as there are tree-lined avenues and some beautiful architecture on display with its many restored Tudor mansions. There’s also a beautiful European style park called Fuxing Park so if you want to pack a picnic this is the perfect spot to enjoy it.

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  • 40. Kuala Lumpur: Check out some works of art at the National Art Gallery

    Kuala Lumpur’s National Art Gallery is home to over 2,500 pieces of art that make up its permanent collection which stemmed from just 4 pieces when it first opened in 1958. Today these works of art are viewed by visitors from all over the world who visit this popular free art gallery.

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  • 41. Bangkok: Check out the many temples

    All over Bangkok you will find stunning temples that have been wonderfully built using the finest architecture and decoration. These temple or ‘wats’ are an integral part of Buddhist life in Beijing as well as being some of the city’s most popular attractions. The best time of the day to see these temples is early in the morning to avoid the crowds and get a glimpse into the life of the monks and worshippers that frequent these temples daily. Some of the more popular temples are Wat Arun which is home to a pagoda close to 80 metres in height. Also, check out the temple of Wat Chana Songkram with its impressive alter.

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  • 42. Kyoto: Explore Kyoto Train Station

    When you arrive at any destination by train the station is not normally something you want to explore as an attraction, however, in Kyoto it is. The Kyoto Station is built in a futuristic and contemporary design that is a great contrast to much of the architecture in the city. As well as being the cities hub for transportation, you will also find attractions such as an Observation Deck which you will reach after a lot of escalators and the Skyway Tunnel which allows you to walk the length of the station but 45 metres above the ground. There’s also some great shopping available here too.

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  • 43. Seoul: Check out the banks of the Han River

    Running through the centre of Seoul you will find the Han River. This river has always played a key role the lives of the local people and today it is still a prominent attraction. Along the banks of the Han River you will find walkways and cycle paths on both sides of the river so make sure to get out onto these and take in the surroundings. There are also a whole host of cafes and restaurants along the waterfront and some pedestrianised bridges too.

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  • 44. Ho Chi Minh: Visit the Emperor Jade Pagoda

    Often regarded as one of Ho Chi Minh’s most interesting pagodas or temple, the Emperor Jade Pagoda is definitely worth a visit to check out this amazing building. Inside you will find it filled with a smoky incense that make the many carved religious figures even more captivating. Also, the roof is worth a good long look along with the figures of more kings and goddesses.

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  • 45. Osaka: Be entertained in the Dotonbori District

    The area of Dotonbori in Osaka is renowned as being the atmospheric leisure district. In Dotonbori you will find many restaurants, theatres and amusement facilities under the neon lights and signs that surround this area. It is one of the busiest areas in Osaka and a walk around here, particularly when night starts to fall, will have you soaking up a great buzz and atmosphere.

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  • 46. Hanoi: Pay a visit to Saint Joseph’s Cathedral

    Dating from the late 19th century, St Joseph’s Cathedral stands out amongst the busy streets of Hanoi largely due to the neo-gothic style that dominates its two large square towers. Go inside for a look through the spectacular stained glass windows in St. Joesph’s or you can even participate in one of two church services that takes place here daily. It’s possibly one of the most peaceful places in the city.

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  • 47. Chiang Mai: Check out the city’s many temples

    Chiang Mai is home to some amazing temples where each one portrays a different architectural style all of which display the varied heritage of the country. There are roughly 300 temples in the area of Chiang Mai, and while you may not have the time to visit them all, you should attempt to take in a few of them. Wat Chiang Mun is the oldest temple in Chiangmai and it is located within the walled city on Rajpakinai Road. Wat Pra Singh is another temple worth a visit and you will find it in the centre of the city.

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  • 48. Phnom Penh: Climb up Wat Phnom Hill

    Take a trip up the only hill in town with a visit to Wat Phnom Hill in Phnom Penh. This is apparently where the first pagoda was erected in the 14th century. Many locals and tourists come here to pray for good luck and success, returning with offerings if their prayers have been answered. The original pagoda here has been renovated over the years and this is still one of the area’s top attractions.

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  • 49. Mumbai: Relax on Chowpatty Beach on Marine Drive

    In central Mumbai you will find the famous thoroughfare known as Marine Drive. At the top of end of Marine Drive lies Chowpatty Beach which is the only beach in the central area of Mumbai. This beach is a popular spot for many religious ceremonies as well as a tourist hub with stalls and entertainers along the waterfront. Definitely worth checking out, especially to escape the city for a while.

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  • 50. Amman: Visit the City Mall

    The City Mall in Amman is currently Jordan’s biggest shopping mall and packed full of shops, restaurants and entertainment. This world class shopping mall is worth visiting even if you don’t spend a penny as there’s so much on display around the mall.

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  • If you’re planning a trip to Asia, hopefully these tips will help you save some money along the way. So whether you’re visiting Japan hostels, hostels in Singaporeand China hostels, make sure to check out our 50 things to do for free in Asia.

    Thanks to Frank Gruber, Sami', DMahendra, Hi Pandian , bingbing , John T Pilot, jhecking, Tom BKK, egorick, Roobee, Pigalle, mana_wu, urbangarden, phalinn and .Bala for images.

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