Explore the most mystical places in Asia you've probably never heard of. Prepare to be overwhelmed by these supernatural goals.
There is one thing that most of us can agree on completely without arguments. Asia is never a bad idea. Law?
From fast-paced mega-city life to stunning tropical beaches, scrumptious street food, friendly locals and story before the birth of Christ - a continent you'll always find yourself booking a return journey to.
As much as I'm digging family-friendly travel destinations and shaking up chillin 'sippin's watermelon all day on the beach - I'm also a bit adventurous. Something that can become parents is not extinguished in my adventurous soul. Most of all I am fascinated by the mystical and mythical history of the ancient cultures - their superstitions, their fables and legends have aroused a curiosity that I want to discover for myself.
As your soul itches beyond your comfort zone for a spiritual journey, consider these breathtaking mystical destinations in Asia as part of your next journey.
This is definitely not an attraction you'll find in TripAdvisor's top attractions in Cambodia or in any other travel guide.
There are popular tourist attractions at the foot of this mountain, but frankly, what's up there will blow you away. The best part? It is practically untouched by tourists because not many of the locals know about its existence.
The mystical mountain range of Phnom Kulen is less than 2 hours drive from the provincial capital of Siem Reap. Less than 2 hours drive from the provincial capital of Siem Reap. It is best to visit a local guide, more specifically a local who knows that he exists. Come on, Bun, from the Siem Reap Motor Mystery Tour - he's the friendly guy who revealed this hidden local secret to us, and I do not think there's another tour operator who knows this place. I mean, this place does not even have a name.
Bun will tell you stories of mythical sadhus (holy men) dressed in all white and living in the trees, using magic, talking to animals and performing religious rituals.
There is an ethereal and otherworldly feeling as you reach the top - gold and silver shrines adorn the top of Mount Kulen, built by people whom Buddha had fulfilled their wishes for.
Like us, you can stay in Phnom Kulen to enjoy all the breathtaking sights the mountain has to offer. Try a host family with a local family (the most sincere and humble and best experience). It's something we'll love forever. You can also enjoy the incredible homemade Khmer dishes of your host.
If you have not heard of this magical place in Asia, be prepared to be fascinated.
You see, it's not one of those impressive sinkholes that lie under lakes and pour waterfalls from the surface, but Phraya Nakhon has one thing that no other cave in the world has. A freakin '125 year old Thai pavilion. Pretty spesh, right?
On a strenuous 1-hour hike, you'll hike through lush forests with monkeys swaying above you and rugged rocky terrain just to get to this artificial spectacle dedicated to King Rama V. You know, the mighty jungle that accompanies Deet loaded (because you do not want to get out with a blood transfusion, you know?).
Want to spend more time exploring the vast and beautiful National Park where Phraya Nakhon Cave is located? Stay in one of these crazy bungalows or villas.
Arrival: 45 minutes by car or by scooter from the beach town Hua Hin.
Entrance Fee: 200 Baht (6 USD) per adult
If you thought this was the actual tree under which Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, meditated for 49 days, without a single drop of water or an ounce of food twenty centuries ago - that's not the case. I'm sorry people.
However, do not scroll too fast - the one standing in the Mahabodhi Temple today is considered a direct descendant. Today's bodhi tree has its roots in the same soil where the original tree once stood.
It is believed that King Ashokas wife sometime in 3000 BC. The destruction of the tree commanded because her beloved husband seemed a little too happy. Look, I get the malice you feel when your husband perverts another woman, but - it's a damn tree. Chill for a second, lady. This type of affair is not sustainable.
Today, the Mahabodhi Temple is a place of pilgrimage for those who pay tribute to the Buddha and seek to soak up the energy of this deeply spiritual place where Siddhartha attained enlightenment.
The nearest town is Gaya, where you can find a whole range of cheap accommodation. You can even place inns and hotels right in front of the temple grounds.
Arrival: 10 km south of Gaya (northeastern city in India). Accessible by car, bus or taxi.
Entrance fee: no fee
At first glance, you may think that someone has acidified your drink or that Pad Thai, which you ate for lunch, was riddled with magical mushrooms. As fun as that would be, this temple is what it is. Rest assured, your mind does not summon any crazy hallucinogenic visions. It's all real.
The most bizarre temple complex you'll ever go through is decorated in the gardens with pop culture heads hanging from trees like Batman and Gollum by Lord of the Rings. The inside of the temple is just as amazing, with popular Hollywood and music icons painted on a great mural.
The temple was designed by Thai visual artist Charlemchai Kositpipat and is forever a WIP, much like Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The closer you get to the main temple, the crazier it gets, prepare for creepy hand sculptures that emerge from the abyss, bones, skulls, and other works of art that secretly yearn for your mother.
On our last visit, we stayed at the outstanding Nak Nakara Hotel, which is the perfect base from which to explore the White Temple and the quaint little town of Chiang Rai.
Arrival: 20 minutes southwest of Chiang Rai. Accessible by car, scooter, bus or tuk tuk.
Entrance Fee: 50 Baht ($ 1.50) per adult
For a temple experience that is literally above the clouds, Emei Shan in central China is an absolute must for travelers and Buddhist pilgrims.
If you stand at 3080 meters above sea level at the Golden Summit, the sky will come so much closer to you. The largest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains, the mystical mountain, is visited daily by pilgrims to pay tribute to its faith and its divinity.
If you want to avoid the crowds, you can even stay in this super-nice hotel overlooking the edge of Mount Emei and be the first to wake up to the sunrise over the temples of the Golden Summit.
Arrival: 1.5 hours high-speed train from Chengdu
Entry fee: 90 ¥ ($ 14 USD) from December to January, ¥ 185 ($ 28 USD) from February to November
Okay, I will not lie. I screwed this in here - it's not really a physical place. But the idea is way too cool to exclude.
Gyanganj, also known as Shangri-La, Siddhashram or Shambala, is a mythical place on earth that is believed to exist in another dimension than ours. I know, I've just done all the "stranger things" with you, but it's still a fascinating thought.
Locals believe that this hidden paradise is inhabited by immortal beings who guide the world through prayer and meditation. According to Tibetan and Indian legend, this heavenly kingdom is embedded somewhere in the Himalayas, but only visible to those who are enlightened. Or those who have smoked a ton of ganja.
It is also likely that some yogis, tall as a dragon, have reported this finding. But one can not deny that many see the Himalayas as one of the most pristine and mystical places on Earth, from stories of how the sadhus perched on the edge of the mountains to goddesses living in holy lakes - a true mystery captivates even those skeptics.
Directions: About meditation, prayer, enlightenment and maybe a joint in between.
Entry fee: Maybe ... your soul?
High on the hills of Chongqing Province, central China, there is a bizarre old "City of Spirits" that is considered a gateway to life after death. The complex houses three tests that allow the dead to safely enter the next life - the Bridge of Helplessness, the Ghost Torturing Pass and the Last Glance at Home Tower.
The roots of the city go back almost 2,000 years and were built in the Han dynasty. The story goes that two imperial officials, Yin and Wang, escaped their monotonous jobs and retreated to the mountains to practice Taoism, becoming immortal.
The combined use of their names, which Yinwang actually means, means "king of hell". This is why the place harbors the underworld and everything that goes along with it, including demonic stone carvings, ghosts, ghosting and general uncanniness.
Getting there: By boat on the Yangtze River Cruise or by train from Chongqing (one-hour drive)
Entrance Fee: 100 yen ($ 15 USD) per adult
Do you have a knack for things that give you goose bumps? Take a look at these 23 enchanted places in Europe, which will pull up the hair on the neck.
The Mustang Caves are one of the largest archaeological mysteries in the world. They are made up of some 10,000 mysterious man-made caves located on the rugged and wind-swept rocky edges of northern Nepal.
Nobody knows who dug them, for what purpose they served, or just how the vertical surface was scaled to access them. Some caves seem impossible even for experienced climbers who carry all the equipment and equipment of the 21st century.
Archaeologists have theorized that some were used as homes and others as burial chambers.
Take a look at this stunning collection of photos taken by National Geographic researchers, archaeologists and mountaineers.
It is recommended to visit the Mustang Caves on a guided tour as they are in an extremely remote area of Nepal.
Considered to be the holiest Buddhist site in Japan, Mount Koya is the place where Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism, dates back to 835 BCE. In the eternal meditation came.
His grave and remains are preserved to this day - monks living on the mountain prepare food daily and decorate it every morning with fresh robes. Although his grave is not accessible to the public, the question arises as to whether he is really in a deep state or in eternal meditation, or is it just a fat myth.
The Shukubo Koyasan Eko-in Temple offers traditional Japanese-style accommodation in a 1000-year-old Buddhist temple on the mountain, where guests can attend the Buddhist morning service, the Goma fire ritual and meditation with the monks.
Getting there: By train from Osaka (1.5 hours) or Kyoto (2.5 hours)
Entrance Fee: ¥ 1,500 ($ 14 USD) per adult for a combined ticket that grants access to all temples
One of the last borders of a centuries-old Buddhist culture of the Himalayas - the small inland Bhutan lies between Tibet and India. The landmark of the postcard is the stunning Tiger Nest, Bhutan's most sacred and religious site.
The Bhutanese believe that Guru Rinpoche (also known as Padmasambhava) flew on a tigress back from Tibet to the hillside to subdue a local demon. According to legend, his bodyprint is in the wall of a cave in a nearby monastery.
Depending on the condition, the hike to the Tigernest takes about 3-4 hours. If it were me, I would probably rate a day or two with a break and 500 breaks. Because hiking and cardio is just not something that I can distinguish in life.
It should be noted that Bhutan can only be visited on a pre-arranged tour. Take a look at the Top 10 tour companies in Bhutan, which will bring you to Tiger's Nest as part of their itinerary. But be aware - traveling to Bhutan is not cheap. The government charges a tourist tax of USD 250 per day (most of which are included when booking a tour).
Mount Kailash, a place of great cultural and spiritual importance, in the west of the Tibetan Plateau, is equally revered and revered by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. Pilgrims believe that the circumambulation of the sacred mountain will purify the soul and develop the ability to see the divine.
The climbing activities, which are believed to be the residence of the great Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati in Hinduism, are extremely frowned upon. Mountaineer applications are generally rejected by the Chinese government to preserve the sanctity of the mountain.
What are you doing on earth? They walk around the foot of this sparkling, snow-capped peak, admiring and worshiping the divine mountain from afar. Always the same. Law?
Some pilgrims will complete the entire 52 km long route in one day. But let's be honest, most of us do not have the necessary fitness and dedication (ie me). Therefore, it is more common for visitors to spend up to three days to complete the exhausting journey. Inaccessible by plane, train or bus - the road to the region where Mount Kailash is located is an expedition in itself. The Tibetan capital Lhasa is only a few days on the road to get around.
Mount Kailash is virtually unavailable by plane, train or bus. It takes an expedition to get there. It's literally days with rugged, bumpy overland 4x4 rides from the Tibetan capital Lhasa. This adventure can only be started with a guided tour from Kathmandu or Lhasa.
In precarious position on the edge of a cliff sits the golden cliff of Myanmar - a gravity-independent spectacle, about 160 km northeast of the capital Yangon.
Legend has it that the whole building miraculously balances on a single strand of hair. It is said that Buddha once visited a hermit named Taik Tha, who lived on the mountain and gave him a lock of hair. Taik Tha then gave it to the king with instructions to place it under a rock shaped like his head. The king then found a rock under the sea and managed to balance it perfectly on the hillside where the hermit once lived.
It will never be known if the legend is true or not, but apart from the myths, one can not deny that Kyaiktiyo is a miracle that contradicts the laws of physics.
Getting there: By bus from Yangon (3.5 hours) or Bago (2 hours)
Entrance Fee: 10,000MMK (7 USD) per adult
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