Often times looking for the best scenic road trips in Asia is not the first thing to come to mind when you think of Asia. However, Asia actually has some of the most interesting and scenic drives anywhere in the world. One way to immerse yourself in the Asian culture is by exploring Asia by car. If you travel to any of these areas, bring your camera and try out one of these scenic drives. The roads listed below are considered some of the best drives in Asia.
1. The Karakoram Highway, Pakistan, and China
The Karakoram Highway is often referred to as the highest road in the world and sits a commanding 15,000ft above sea level. The road connects China and Pakistan and many people from all over the world travel this road for the chance to say they drove or rode on this highway.
The road has views of beautiful lakes and mountains that are stunning to view as well as experience in person. Because of the height that the road reaches, it’s important to be mindful of altitude sickness and how to deal with it if you become ill. Whether you travel in a car or on a motorbike, driving this road is truly spectacular.
2. The Hokkaido Scenic Byway, Japan
Hokkaido is considered by many to be the more beautiful of the four main islands that make up Japan. The Hokkaido Scenic Byway takes you past multiple routes that offer some amazing views. Often times the area has been compared to the French countryside or the Swiss Alps.
One key difference is the numerous natural hot springs that are abundant in the region. There are many hot spring spas that dot the routes. With stunning mountains and coastlines and an abundance of lavender fields, the Hokkaido Scenic Byway is a feast for the eyes and a picturesque wonderland.
3. The Mountain Tunnels of Guoliang and Xia Gou, China
From the city of Xinxiang, it’s fairly easy to reach the Mountain Tunnels of Guoliang and Xia Gou. Most roads in China are publicly funded, however, the country deemed it uneconomical to build roads in this region.
For this reason, the locals took road construction into their own hands by blasting roads and tunnels through the mountain. The tunnel roads offer an exceptional view of the surrounding mountain scenery. Taking a drive on this road is truly a remarkable experience.
4. Nha Trang to Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Getting from beach towns Nha Trang to Quy Nhon, Vietnam is certainly one of the most beautiful drives in the in all of Asia. A drive on this road will leave you sandwiched between golden beaches on one side and gorgeous mountain scenery on the other side.
The drive has numerous villages and town for you to stop by and explore during your 134-miles long drive. There is even a bi-annual event that takes place in the spring on odd-numbered years where visitors drive the route and celebrate. Driving this route which has plenty of scenic locations will be sure to leave you with a lot of great memories.
5. Leh-Manali Highway, India
There is nothing quite like taking a drive through the beautiful Himalayas. The Indian highway that connects the districts of Leh to Manali offers many amazing scenic views along the way. Often times people have referred to the route as a Buddhist pilgrimage of a sort.
Along the journey, you will pass the Chandra River, glaciers and beautiful mountains. You’ll also get to see a number of old statues of Buddha and other sacred sites along the highway. Your drive will bring you to Baralacha-La which is one of the Himalayas most beautiful landscapes. The area features lush meadows alongside snow-capped mountain peaks to create a beautifully picturesque drive.
6. Ilju Road, South Korea
If you plan on staying on the resort island of Jeju make sure to take a drive on the coastal road of Ilju. The South Korean island of Jeju is one of the many volcanic islands in the region. It features one of the best drives you can take while visiting in South Korea.
Along your drive on Ilju road, otherwise known as Road 12, you will have views of the coastline and beautiful beaches and hardened lava. The contrasting sides create a very unique looking landscape created by the volcano and its lava runoff. The difference in the landscapes helps to create really breath-taking pictures.
7. The Patapat Viaduct, Philippines
The Patapat Viaduct in the Philippines is a spectacular drive that you can take while in the area. Coming from the international airports in Manila or Clark, you can head to the northeast to Pagudpud on the Viaduct. Pagudpud is a popular destination and a hot spot for locals and traveling surfers.
Along this beautiful coastline, you will find beautiful lush green mountains and dense tropical forests that make up the landscape. You can also enjoy some amazing views of Pasaleng Bay. The best way to get around some of the tricky roads in this area is by hiring a guide if you aren’t familiar with the route.
8. The Bintulu-Miri Coastal Highway, Malaysia
In Malaysia taking the highway connecting Bintulu and Miri will offer you lots of amazing views of tropical rain forests. You will be able to catch a glimpse of the numerous homes on stilts that located in the area.
The road has a lot of photographic moments along its 143 miles. The road itself at certain places is not the best maintained. There is a newer road you can take however, it won’t offer the same level of beautiful scenery that this old road will. It may get rough in some parts but the drive is absolutely beautiful and well worth it.
Asia has lots of attractions including some truly amazingly scenic roads that you can drive. It’s not all the time that you think if taking a road trip through Asia, however, doing so will produce some really beautiful and breath-taking views. By taking any one of these roads mentioned, you are sure to to be rewarded to stunning views and extraordinary landscapes. Going on a road trip while in Asia will give you plenty of photo opportunities and loads of great memories.