37 inspirational destinations for science lovers in Asia

It is time for another edition of my science travel series because the wanderlust is not going away and my frequent search for flights is not keeping me satisfied right now, even though the countdown to the honeymoon trip is now well and truly on!

And as I am heading East for our honeymoon, I thought I would do some research on the best places to be inspired by STEM in the hope that we might be able to visit some. So, why not take a virtual trip with me in this post and hopefully you will be inspired to take a trip to one or many of these 37 stunning locations on this incredible continent that I am excited to explore.

If you are looking for other trip inspiration to learn about STEM – check out these other guides for destinations in the UK, Europe, North America and South America.

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  1. Blue Pond of Hokkaido, Japan

A short walk through the forest near Biel and you will stumble across this scene from a fairytale. While this is an artificial pond – there is lots to learn about it to inspire your inner scientist. It was created as an environmental engineering project to prevent damaging mudflows from the eruption of nearby Mount Tokachi. The pond’s brilliant blue hue is thought to be caused by aluminium hydroxide in the water – which reflects shorter wavelengths of light, meaning that the water itself isn’t this colour. But how captivating is the science behind this site.

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2. Kawah Ijen, Indonesia

A site for any aspiring volcanologist, but what makes this volcano that little bit different as when erupting you can often find electric-blue fire streaming down the side of the mountain. Now this isn’t blue lava as many places on the net claim. Instead the blue glow is actually light from the combustion of sulphuric gases. Those gases appear from cracks in the volcano at high pressure and temperatures of up to 600C or 1112F. When they come into contact with the air, they ignite and send flames up to 5 metres high.

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3. Okinawa Churami Aquarium, Okinawa, Japan

A natural choice for any budding marine biologists or zoologists is this aquarium. It boasts its own Coral Sea tank, full of a selection of coral, and also its enormous sea tank where you can observe the biggest fish in the world like whale sharks and manta rays. You can learn more about deep sea creatures and dolphins too.

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4. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

You might be wondering why I have added this one into my list. But despite behind one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is a stunning spectacle of engineering. Especially given that the four minarets – or spires – surrounding the crypt are designed to tilt slightly outwards, so if they were to fall they would fall away from the grave this structure houses. But also because there is a threat to the structure of this attraction because of the gradual drying of the Yamuna River that sits behind it, so a great opportunity for any environmental biologists and geographers to get inspired.

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5. Flaming Cliffs, Gobi Desert, Mongolia

A visit to this site would be a bit of a trek as it is at the southern part of the Gobi desert and thousands of miles from major concentrations of humans, if you are an aspiring palaeontologist, it could be work the trip. This was the location of breathtaking discoveries such as Velociraptor fossils, early mammals that had never been seen before and the first ever discovered fossilised nest full of dinosaur eggs. This in turn lead to the field of paleoembryology – the study of fossilised dinosaur embryos.

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6. Tubbataha Reef National Park, Philippines

The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 130,028 hectares, including the North and South Reefs. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. Sounds like a stunning place to go snorkelling and be inspired.

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7. Natural Forest Park of Zhangjiajie, China

Probably not for the faint-hearted this one, but seriously look at how stunning this place is. But the whole park has a range of places to visit depending on your interests. You could head to Tianzi Mountain which is famous for mists and fogs and great for anyone interested in meteorology. There are also endless opportunities to be inspired by wildlife and plants for any budding botanists, but also any geologists of the future of could be amazed by these rock structures and formations.

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8. Mount Kelimutu, Indonesia

At the summit of this mountain are three crater lakes. What is magical though is that they are all different colours and those colours are changing all the times in a naturally occurring phenomenon. Whereas other coloured lakes often get their hues from certain species of bacteria, Kelimutu’s lakes are a bit more mysterious—especially since their colours change so often. People believe that particular minerals in the water may interact with volcanic gas to create the mercurial shades, but it’s hard to know for sure.

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9. Lonar Crater Lake, India

Sticking along the crater lake theme, this could be another stop on your science inspired trip. This crater is 1.8km in diameter. A true reminder of how small we are in this universe and the sheer force and power of outer space. Besides a side for any wannabe astrologists or planetary geologists maybe, it is a good one for ecosystems too as there are two distinct water regions in the lake that don’t mix well.

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10. Pandangbai Port, Indonesia

Located on the Indonesian island of Bali, this is the perfect place to see bioluminescence take place under water. You can go snorkeling to view these organisms lighting up, or you can take a boat out of the water. The more the organisms are disturbed, the brighter they glow, so make sure you are in the water and moving around to see the light show. Book a trip with a guide if you decide to go boating or snorkeling! There are also beaches nearby that light up at night.

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11. Akihabara district, Japan

Time to switch our attention to the ‘T’ in STEM. The Akihabara district in Japan is famous for all it’s electronics shops, so any budding technologist will be in awe of what they can find here.

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12. Toshiba Science Museum, Tokyo, Japan

A Museum that introduces a corporate history of technical innovation but also offers hands-on experience with the latest technologies in it’s exhibitions celebrating ‘Cities of the Future’, ‘Energy Use in the Future’ and ‘Information in the Future’. Time to immerse yourself in tech!

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13. Monkey Forest, Bali, Indonesia

A trip for the next Jane Goodall aka our future primatologists. A visit to this sanctuary and natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed Monkey, also known as Macaques. It is not very often that you get to see animals in their natural environment, so heading to the Monkey Forest might be all you need to want to study them for the rest of your life.

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14. Rice Paddies, Bali, Indonesia

Staying on Bali for now, you can also head to the scenic rice fields. Learn more about how rice is grown in this green lusciousness which could inspire an ambition to change food science and food technology and agriculture in the future.

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15. Botanic Gardens, Singapore

A showcase of the best and most spectacular tropical flora. The Botanic Gardens in Singapore, and any other location around the world to be honest, is perhaps an obvious but a perfect choice to surround yourself in the natural beauty of the world.

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16. Mount Everest, Nepal

I couldn’t really make a destinations list for Asia without putting in the tallest peak on the planet. Whilst again this one might not be for the faint hearted, Mount Everest boasts all sorts of opportunities for those who may be searching for a bit of STEM inspiration – from the geology, to the meteorology, to the effects of high altitude on our bodies and even the snow and the wildlife, there are many STEM themed opportunities for inspiration right here.

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16. Tsukuba Space Centre, Japan

A small and free exhibit that is perfect for any space geeks out there. It is home to many different satellites and how Japan has contributed to space exploration and research on the International Space Station. A great compliment to space centres elsewhere in the world to highlight how science needs collaboration at its core.

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17. Taman Negara, Malaysia

One of the world’s oldest deciduous rainforests – estimated at more than 130-million-years-old – extends across an enormous 4,343 square kilometers through Central and Northern Malaysia. Kuala Tahan is just one of the jumping off points from which to explore this ancient jungle. Situated along the Tahan River, day-trippers can wander across the treetops along the world’s longest suspension bridge or trek the Bukit Teresek Hill. You can explore cave systems, raft through rapids, and have a chance to see rare mammals like the Malay tiger and Asian elephant. There really is something for everyone to be inspired by here.

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18. The Red Lotus Sea, Thailand

The Red Lotus Sea is not actually a sea, rather an inland lake, and the lotus flowers are more pink than red, but nevertheless a stunning sight to see a carpet of full lotus blooms stretching far off into the distance.  The lake is one of Udon Thani’s top attractions but remains somewhat unknown among foreign tourists, making it an ideal off the beaten path destination to explore.

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19. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

The tallest building in the world deserves a place on this list for the sheer feat of engineering. Just standing at the base of this building must inspire any budding engineer to come up with all sorts of designs.

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20. National Science Centre, Delhi, India

One of the largest science centres in Asia housed in a really fascinating building. Home to many different exhibits but I particularly like the Energy Ball. The balls are lifted from the ground floor up to a height of 13 metres and are allowed to roll down. The balls chose different paths through systematic and random gates. During the downward journey the balls negotiate several geometric curves such as sine, ellipse, cycloid, parabola, involute and spiral. They also operate on organ pipe, a xylophone, a pendulum, a trolley and a number of wheels. The exhibit is based on the concept of transformation of one to the other.

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21. Sangiang, Indonesia

You can head to the island of Sangiang and take a trip to an underwater volcano and a volcanic island. Learn about all the geology and biodiversity effects that can have.

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22. Mondulkiri Project, Cambodia

I don’t know about you but elephants hold a special place in my heart. You can head to this project in Cambodia that uses the funds to protect the forests that the elephants live in and even more towards elephant conservation.

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23. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Borneo

Designed for families, this visit to Borneo takes in a wide variety of wildlife experiences, including a feeding session at an orangutan sanctuary, canopy walks, a snorkel in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and a river cruise spotting proboscis monkeys, macaques and orang-utans. Also included are cultural visits to local tribal communities. 

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24. Yurikamome line, Japan

Take a trip into the future fo technology and engineering withthe Yurikamome line in Japan. Why might you say? Well, be inspired by driverless transport around cities.

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25. ArtScience Museum, Singapore

Many people believe that art and science are completely opposite fields, but you will be surprised at the overlap between what it takes to be an artist and a scientist, and that’s why I want to highlight this destination and celebrate the cohesion between these two areas. It is here at the intersection between art and science that innovation begins.

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26. Great Wall of China, China

Another incredible engineering feat that has to make your must-visit list. Plus how awesome would it be to walk along something that can be seen in space.

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27. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares in the Central Region of Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. It’s full of places to be inspired by nature and plants from all different climates, but also these incredible towers and the skywalk to see the impact of urban areas and even light pollution on our natural worlds. Plus again the engineering spectacles.

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28. Mount Fuji, Tokyo, Japan

The highest volcano in Japan is a must visit for anyone looking to learn more about them and how its activity influences its shape.

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29. FAST Telescope, China

The FAST telescope also known as the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope is – well – pretty darn big! It uses radio waves to detect cosmic phenomena particularly pulsars. Plenty of things to learn about and by inspired by.

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30. Samsung D’light store, Seoul, South Korea

Unlike many museums, which generally paint a picture of the past, Samsung D’light enables visitors to better imagine the role technology might play in our world in the next decade and beyond. Instead of simply featuring how its products convey its vision, Samsung Electronics demonstrates how its devices and solutions are changing the way we live through a series of immersive activities. The “Sense” area, for example, lets visitors utilise gestures to interact with cutting-edge mirror displays, while the “Home of the Future” exhibition uses augmented reality to illustrate how the Internet of Things will make everyday life more convenient and connected. The future is here!

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31. Tsukumo Robot Kingdom, Japan

I’m not sure any budding robotics engineer or tech enthusiast could visit Japan and not visit the Robot Kingdom; a huge store full of robots and endless inspiration.

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32. Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, Vietnam

One of many, many places were you can do this across the world, but a fab place to be inspired by these beautiful creatures and being inspired to find new ways to protect primate species but also any endangered species you feel passionate about.

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33. Elephant Poo Poo Paper Factory, Thailand

Time to talk sustainability. This one literally does what it says on the tin, but a place for any future material engineers to start their journey perhaps.

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34. VR Plus Cafe, South Korea

The next evolution of playing cards and board games in pubs and cafes. Now you can play VR games in your local cafe. An insight into the cities of the future perhaps.

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35. Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

Another beautiful National Park, full of natural beauty and chances to explore plants, waterfalls, and encounter insects, primates and more.

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36. Robot Museum, Seoul, South Korea

Construction is set to begin in 2020, with the building opening its likely human-installed doors in 2022 as a branch of the Seoul Metropolitan Museum. But one to add to the wish list to visit soon.

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37. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

This heritage site in Vietnam is another bay that features bioluminescence from movement. If you move through the water, a glowing trail will follow you. These waters are made for swimming, and you’ll see some pretty cool effects if you decide to dive in. Be sure to have your camera set to action mode, and venture out when the waters are calm and the moon isn’t too high in the sky.

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So much science inspiration and simply stunning sites, and not enough time or money to explore them. But hopefully that will change soon.

I hope this has inspired your next trip. If you are looking for even more science trip inspiration then check out my science travel guides to learn about STEM in the UKEuropeNorth America and South America.

Where else would you recommend to STEM lovers to visit in Asia? Or maybe you have visited one of these places – how did you find it? Share in the comments below.

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