The World From Above is a series on The Trusted Traveller that will be rolled out throughout the year. In each post I’ll be taking you above the world one region at a time. From Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Oceania, nothing will be missed.
If your new here you might want to go back and check out my other World from Above posts from part one of Asia plus North America and Europe.
Now for the second and final part of Asia. And as always I’ve enlisted the help of some of my most well travelled friends who’ll be taking you through Asia from above. Giving you the low down on how you too can get the best views from above from Japan to the UAE and everything in between. We’re here to help inspire you to get that view too.
So lets get right into it with the final 14 Asia from Above photos.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Keri – Baby Globetrotters
This is the tallest building in the world with an observation deck “At the Top” situated on the 124th floor. The view here is over Sheik Zayed Road and the Financial District – early on a Friday morning (the weekend) so very little traffic to be seen in this normally bustling part of Dubai.
Patuxai, Vientiane, Laos
Sophie – Finding My Island
Laos’ relaxed capital city Vientiane is well know for its French influence. Patuxai, the city’s answer to the Arc d’triomphe, provides a great view over the capital, including Lane Xang Avenue, unsurprisingly referred to as the ‘Champs-Élysées’ of Vientiane. One you’ve finished admiring Patuxai’s detailed stone carvings and gold lacquered stupas from the ground, simply pay the 3000kip entrance fee and climb the steps to the top of the arch.
The Great Wall of China
Anna – Slightly Astray
There are a few sections of the Great Wall available to tourists, but Beijing locals will all say that the Simatai section, while not the most popular, is the best. This section of the Wall has not been heavily restored and is more or less left in its natural state. That is, aside from the new steps for ascending the mountain and the gondola lift (for the lazy travelers like myself!). But no matter how you arrive at the top, there is nothing like gazing out and and seeing the Wall snake through the lush green hills.
Balangan, Bali, Indonesia
Katie – Hummingbird Away
Balangan is one of Bali’s best surf spots, not to mention one of its most beautiful beaches. It can be hard to find peaceful beaches on an island as touristed as Bali, but Balangan is just that. Clean and blissfully underdeveloped compared to many of Bali’s more mainstream tourist beaches, Balangan is a quiet slice of paradise. This photo was taken from the top of the cliff not far from the stairs leading down to the beach. You’ll need to hire transport to get to Balangan (it’s about 40 minutes outside of Kuta by motorbike), but trust me — getting off the beaten track in Bali is so worth it! Definitely don’t miss the sunset views from the top of the cliff here.
Crater Rim of Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia
Karianne & Fabio – The Breathing Forest
After a seven hour hike to an altitude of 2,640 metres, visitors to Mount Rinjani (the second highest volcano in Indonesia) are rewarded with this spectacular view into the Sengara Anak crater lake. Rising out of the lake is another volcano, Gunung Barujani, which has been formed from further eruptions in the Rinjani caldera. Most visitors start their climb in the lovely village of Senaru, where they can hire a guide and porters. Climbing in the dry season (April – November) is best and make sure to check volcanic activity before setting off – both Rinjani and Barujani are still active.
The Peak at Yangshuo Park – Yangshuo, China
Josh – Peanuts or Pretzels
Climbing to the top of the karst peak at the local park in Yangshuo, China provides a picturesque view of this town, tucked away within the mountains. We stumbled across this opportunity as we were walking in the city, and noticed a small structure perched at the top of the peak high above us. Tempted by the hike and potential view, we went on a search to find the pathway that led to the top. We wandered through the local park, watched some locals doing Tai Chi, and ultimately found a hidden path in the trees that led to rickety and slippery rock stairs. After a roughly 30 to 45 minute hike straight up these sketchy stairs, we arrived at the top and were rewarded with this stunning view over Yangshuo.
Sentosa Island, Singapore
Aleah – Solitary Wanderer
Sentosa Island is a must-visit when you’re visiting Singapore with your family. There are a lot of rides and attractions for children, but even adults would enjoy it, too, with a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. There are several ways to go to Sentosa, but I would highly recommend taking the cable car. At S$29 for a return ticket, it’s very much worth it for the aerial views of the island which includes Universal Studios and the city’s harbor. It’s certainly the best mode of transport into Singapore’s island of fun!
Penang Hill, Malaysia
Margherita – The Crowded Planet
One of my favourite places in Asia to get a view from above is Penang Hill. Maybe that’s because I’m crazy in love with Penang, so anything Penang-related is amazing in my opinion. But in this case, it is also because Penang Hill is a great way to experience being in nature a short distance away from the city. You can get to the top of Penang Hill on a gondola, but I recommend walking. It is rather tough, especially in the stifling Penang heat, but the walk’s not technical so everyone that’s fit enough can do it. You walk uphill for about 5 kilometers across a forest – we saw monkeys, birds and even a cobra! And once you get to the top, you have the whole of Penang before you – the island coastline, Georgetown and the bridge to Butterworth.
Yading Nature Reserve, China
Jenny – Jenny Far Away
An exceptionally beautiful spot in Western Sichuan province, Yading Nature Reserve is not so easy to get to, but the stunning scenery makes it worth it. From Daocheng it’s three hours by bus to the entrance, from where you can walk or take a cart to Luorong pasture (I recommend the walk!). Then it’s a tough, steep climb up to Milk Lake at 4600 metres above sea level. But don’t worry, this is China, so there are horses available to take you if you’re suffering from the altitude!
Ella Rock, Sri Lanka
Victoria & Elaina – The Freedom Travellers
The gorgeous little town of Ella sits perched high in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka overlooking the Southern Plains completely surrounded by forests. One of the best ways to see this amazing Sri Lankan scenery from above is to head to the top of Ella Rock. The path can be a little tricky to find. Armed with a few rough directions we set off along the railway track. Luckily for us, we bumped into a fantastic local guy (pictured) who guided us up to the top of the rock. It’s a bit of a hike and takes around four hours return but it’s worth it. The view from the top is breathtaking!
Chocolate Hills, Philippines
Marcela – Fotostrasse
So, this is the amazing view you can have from the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park in Bohol. Bohol was, by far, my favorite place in all of the over 7000 islands in Philippines. The Chocolate hills are amazingly beautiful and on the same park, you can do some adventure sports with this fantastic view. And if you visit it during the months before rain season, the name will make perfect sense, since everything that is green, will be brown! Bohol is a fantastic location and often forgotten by tourists that rather go to the well known Boracay or El Nido. Both are fantastic too? Of course! But I think Bohol has its own charm!
Vertigo & Moon Bar, Bangkok
Inma & Jose – A World to Travel
On top of the Banyan Tree Hotel, Vertigo and Moon Bar was our second rooftop of our last night in town. We dedicated that one to chase the Bangkok skyline with some classic long exposure shots from above and had some 5 cool venues listed to give them a try. Not particularly cheap but very worth if you are looking for some height awesomeness!
83 Tower in Daegu, South Korea
Neysha – Travelsuras
South Korea has unexpected views at all angles, but seeing it from the top is almost transcending. I always think I know what Daegu, the city hat I live in, looks like, but then I see it from the height of a new building. 83 Tower, standing 202 meters towards the sky, is by far one of the best way to get a beautiful view of Daegu. I shot this from the revolving restaurant as I sipped a margarita at teatime. Plus, the tower looks over a super cool amusement park that lights up the entire neighborhood at night. You can’t go wrong.
And one from me!
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Japan
There are a bunch of tall towers in Tokyo where you can get a view from above, but only one is completely free. Yep I said free! It’s not often you find a view like this for free so I suggest taking full advantage of it. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located near Shinjuku and has two towers open to the public with 360° views of Tokyo sprawling out below. They even have volunteer guides who can help point out some of the key sights around the city. On a rare clear day you can even see Mt Fuji.
This is part two in a series of two posts about Asia From Above. Check out part one now and make sure you keep coming back to see other regions from above or subscribe for updates direct to your inbox.
Over to you!
What would you include on your top list of Asia From Above views?
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