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Your 2020 travel guide to Asia: the continent of diversity

From the golden sands of India to the frenzied streets of Tokyo, Asia has captured the hearts and imagination of travellers for centuries.

Hawa Mahal Palace, Rajasthan

While 2018 saw the popularity of European destinations, 2019 marked the rise of Asian destinations – a wave that’s only growing stronger in 2020.

Asia–Pacific is the world’s largest regional travel market. Whether you want to cheer on your country in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, sample some of the world’s most delicious street food in Bangkok or experience the mind-boggling architecture for which Dubai is famous – it’s no wonder Asia is known as the continent of diversity.

Here are just a few of the sensational destinations worth visiting in Asia this year:

Seoul, South Korea

While Seoul’s scenic skyline is filled with modern skyscrapers, at ground level you’ll find it’s brimming with bustling markets, royal palaces and historic temples. What Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market is to seafood lovers, Dongdaemun Market is to fashion fiends and Yangjae Flower Market is to gardening enthusiasts. If you can’t choose between them, Namdaemun Market is the largest in the country, housing more than 10,000 stores – so you’re guaranteed to find a bargain.

Tel Aviv, Israel

One of the lesser-known cities on this list, Tel Aviv is a vibrant mix of stunning Mediterranean beaches, world-class nightlife, amazing food, 12th century BC ruins and UNESCO-recognised architecture. Spend your days exploring the artsy quarter of Neve Tzedek, getting lost in the Jaffa Flea Market or working your way along 16 kilometres of pristine coastline.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo will play host to more than 15,000 of the world’s top athletes and up to 40 million tourists during the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. When you’re not busy cheering on your country, there’s plenty to do in this diverse metropolis. Taste the freshest sushi at Toyosu Fish Market, join the scramble at Shibuya crossing, venture to the top of the Tokyo Skytree or take a stroll down bustling Piss Alley to sample its legendary street food. If you’re looking to break free of the crowds and explore what the rest of the country has to offer, you can take a high-speed bullet train to Kyoto, and down to Osaka and historic Hiroshima.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest floral installation and the world’s biggest indoor theme park, Dubai certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Discover some of the city’s most impressive hotels and restaurants on the man-made Island Palm Jumeirah, experience a lesson in Islam at Jumeirah Mosque, spend a glamorous evening at the Dubai Opera, or take a stroll alongside the superyacht-filled Dubai Marina. Must-see architectural wonders include the towering Burj Khalifa, the twisting Cayan Tower and the epic Atlantis, The Palm.

Bangkok, Thailand

Known for its ornate shrines and buzzing street life, Bangkok is a long-time tourist favourite. To avoid the frantic traffic jams the capital is known for, hop aboard the Sky Train, which covers the most frequented parts of the city. Bangkok’s historical architecture is among the most impressive in the world. See if you can spot Elephant Tower and the Robot Building, and don’t leave before you’ve seen landmarks like Wat Arun or the famous Reclining Buddha. Home to the world’s largest Chinatown, this city is a must for foodies.

Rajasthan, India

One of India’s most colourful and vibrant states, Rajasthan is teeming with ancient forts, authentic cuisine, rich culture and plenty of outdoor adventures. Ride camels across the golden sands of the Thar Desert, spot tigers and crocodiles in the Ranthambore National Park, and explore the famous ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur and the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur – home to the iconic Hawa Mahal sandstone palace.

Read next: Google’s trending travel destinations for 2020

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