None of the continents of the world can surpass Asia in terms of cultural richness and diversity. Ancient civilisations have left their mark all over Asia and shaped the many distinct Asian cultures that exist today. Here are some of the top cities in Asia to visit if you want to experience some fascinating cultures face to face.
Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, is a haven of culture. Old Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines dating back over 700 years are well-preserved and a great place to visit and lose yourself in this period of Japanese history and culture. Japanese people are justifiably proud of their culture, and no place in the country showcases Japanese culture more impressively than Kyoto. In addition to the magnificent temple and shrine architecture, there are beautiful Japanese gardens, geisha girls, ryokan traditional lodgings, tea ceremony demonstrations and much more.
The capital city of Nepal is a fascinating blend of Hindu-Buddhist cultures and religion. Located in the Himalayas Mountain range, the city has a lot of religious significance with cultural influences from India and Tibet. The surrounding countryside also has great examples of traditional life. Colourfully dressed villagers and their ways of working and living in this ancient former kingdom are a very rewarding sight.
Ayutthaya was the capital of the old Kingdom of Siam, now part of modern day Thailand. It was a very important city before its destruction hundreds of years ago by invading Burmese forces. What remains is a unique combination of ancient ruins and modern replacements where important Buddhist ceremonies are performed. Some of the ancient ruins and temples are very famous, and there's an entrance charge payable. Most others, however, are completely free to enter and walk around and marvel at the great artistry and craftsmanship. You can get around the many spread out sites in Ayutthaya easily if you hire a car in the town. Make sure the hire company has English speakers so that you can enquire about important matters such as car hire excess insurance in the event of an accident.
Situated on the banks of the River Ganges in India, Varanasi is an important centre of pilgrimage for Hindus, who come to bathe in the river as it's considered sacred in Hinduism. You can visit temples and ashrams and listen to Indian classical and traditional music in many places in Varanasi. You can also see interesting sights such as long-haired and bearded holy men lying on beds of nails, cremations and scattering of ashes by the banks of the river.
While any one of those great cities would make a great starting point for any visitors looking to expand their knowledge of Asian cultures, there are so many others that visitors will find themselves spoiled for choice. Asia is the largest continent on the planet, and there are cultural riches and experiences to be found throughout the entire length and breadth of the continent.