Mother Nature knows best! Asia’s top 9 nature destinations according to WWF, Agoda

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Mother Nature knows best! Asia’s top 9 nature destinations according to WWF, Agoda


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Aside from our very own Siquijor Island, here are 8 other underrated tourist spots around Asia to visit for nature's finest!

MANILA, Philippines – Earth to travelers! In need of a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city? Nature is the answer!

Digital travel platform Agoda, together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has hand-picked nine of Asia’s most popular and favored nature destinations across nine markets, based on searches made on Agoda in January this year.

These stunning, environmentally-conscious destinations were chosen for their culturally rich landscapes, summit views, ancient forests, serene lakes, and well-conserved gifts from nature. If you’re looking to enjoy some R&R on your next overseas (and even domestic) vacation, consider these underrated tourist spots next!

Ooty, India

Ooty, otherwise known as “Queen of Hill Stations,” lies in Nilgiri Hills and forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve at the Western Ghats in South India.

GREEN. Queen of the Hill Stations in India. Kumar Vivek via Unsplash

Known for being India’s largest protected forest area, it houses a picturesque town with beautiful lakes and gardens, making it a prime spot for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re there to enjoy boating, safaris, hiking, or all three, Ooty is the place to be if you want to revel in India’s natural beauty. 

Lombok, Indonesia

The UNESCO-designated Mount Rinjani-Lombok Global Geopark in Indonesia showcases a variety of terrains, such as savannahs and tropical forests formed by volcanic rocks.

Reaching a height of 3,726 meters, Mount Rinjani boasts a stunning panorama from its peak. Nestled within Rinjani’s crater, Segara Anak Lake offers serene views, drawing Hindu devotees for ceremonial practices. Consider traveling to Rinjani-Lombok for a unique adventure!

Siquijor Island, Philippines

Philippines represent! It’s no surprise that our very own Siquijor, the “Mystical Island of Central Visayas,” bags a spot on this selective list.

Mountain-goers and beach lovers can enjoy the island at the same time, as Siquijor boasts both magnificent mountain vistas and crystal-clear waterfalls alike.

JEWEL TONES. Serene sunset in Siquijor Island. BR via Unsplash

There you’ll find Mount Bandilaan, Siquijor’s highest peak, which acts as a sanctuary for indigenous flora and over 100 butterfly species. Tucked away in a lush rainforest, the captivating Cambugahay Falls is believed to possess rejuvenating qualities, offering a tranquil retreat from city living.

Miri, Malaysia

Miri acts as the portal to Gunung Mulu National Park, an esteemed UNESCO site boasting lush rainforests, diverse fauna, and immense caves like the Sarawak Chamber, recognized as the largest cave chamber globally.

Here, travelers can engage in discovering karst formations, hiking up Mount Api for remarkable views, and observing captivating bat migrations in Deer Cave, all facilitated by adventurous paths and boat expeditions.

Hakone, Japan

Looking for another Japanese destination that isn’t Tokyo or Osaka? Say no more! Hakone stands as one of Japan’s best under-the-radar tourist destinations, with remarkable vistas and a rich history that runs deep.

TORI. Hakone Shrine in Japan. Ikko Nishimura via Unsplash

Enveloped by majestic mountains, Hakone is celebrated for its picturesque beauty that evolves with each passing season, its therapeutic hot springs, and cultural landmarks like Lake Ashi and the Hakone Shrine. With easy access to Mount Fuji, a wide array of dining options, and unique souvenirs, Hakone’s appeal captures travelers from Asia and beyond. 

Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Jeongseon County, situated in Gangwon Province, is renowned for its peaceful mountain scenery, making it an ideal retreat into nature.

It offers various outdoor activities depending on the season, from winter hikes on Hambaeksan to autumn explorations of Gariwangsan. Adventure seekers can also enjoy the excitement of the Byeongbangchi Skywalk, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Explore the natural beauty of Auraji through activities like rafting, a must-try during your visit.

Hualien, Taiwan

Hualien, situated on Taiwan’s eastern shore, offers the best landscapes for outdoor adventures.

Taroko National Park, a major highlight, showcases dramatic marble cliffs, verdant forests, and clear rivers. Its hiking trails lead to spectacular viewpoints, waterfalls, and mountain temples, making it a must-visit for travelers who wish to see more of Taiwan’s diverse wildlife.

Khao Yai, Thailand

Khao Yai, translating to “big mountain” in Thai, serves as a peaceful natural getaway close to Bangkok, hosting Thailand’s inaugural UNESCO-recognized national park.

VERDANT. Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. Thitiphum Koonjantuek via Unsplash

With expansive rainforests, renowned waterfalls such as Haew Narok and Haew Suwat, and a variety of wildlife including wild elephants and the Asian black bear, it provides an ideal setting for hiking, safaris, and stargazing. Visitors can enjoy an immersive experience within Thailand’s wilderness.

Dalat, Vietnam

Just a brief flight away from bustling Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat is a haven for nature enthusiasts! With its refreshing climate, pine-filled landscapes, and cascading waterfalls, it’s the perfect destination for hiking, lake activities such as canyoning, and exploring charming local gardens.

Agoda’s flagship partnership worth $1 million with WWF produced the “Eco Deals 2024” project. For every booking made under Eco Deals, one dollar is contributed towards WWF’s conservation initiatives dedicated to safeguarding wildlife and preserving vital habitats across Southeast Asia. – with reports from Patty Bufi/

Patty Bufi is a Rappler intern.

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