Asia’s rich history, strong spirituality and breathtaking cultural manifestations enchant the world. Each one of its nations seems to share a common interest for the supernatural, but interpret it in different ways. This traditional knowledge of the mystical, of what’s beyond our world, has spread around the world causing interest in Asia. As a result, people from all over the world travel seek to explore this continent’s folklore, mysticism and spirituality. For them and for everyone else interested, this article will give you some of the must-visit mystical places in Asia.
5. Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Behind the worldwide recognition and daily influx of tourists, Angkor Wat remains to be a charm to everyone. Considered as the largest temple in the world, the sanctuary was built during the 12th century for King Suryavarman as a dedication to god Vishnu. At one point, the stunning multiplex of temples was tailored with gold and intricate jewels. Yet even with the passing of time, the awe-inspiring Khmer architecture is still visible along the portals of the religious site.
Now, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the national symbol of Cambodia and is present in the country’s flag. The best time to wander around the complex is from June to October to avoid the rainy season. And you must wear proper attire within the temple ground. Long pants below the knee and shirts with cover shoulders are advisable.
4. Tianmen Mountain, China
Tianmen in China translates as the ‘Sky Door’ or ‘Heaven’s Door’, which makes it perfect for experiencing a rather magical journey. At some point, many believed that the cavern was the gateway connecting to the gods. Within the vast cavern lies a temple that requires 999 steps before you can see its beauty. The original temple was built around 600 to 900 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty, but was later reconstructed with similar architectural style.
Highlighting its steep and winding path, the place is also tagged as one of the world’s most dangerous roads. Travelers have to conquer more than 9.6 km (6 miles) of death-defying loops 200 to 1,300 meters (656 to 4265 miles) above sea level. There are 99 curves that represent the nine kingdoms of heaven. Regardless of the mystery and jeopardy, the place is still full of pilgrims and tourists.
3. Tiger’s Nest (Paro Taktsang or Taktsang Palphug Monastery) in Bhutan
A picture perfect destination dotted with towering mountains, centuries-old fortresses, and laid-back village, Bhutan is one of the most awe-inspiring mystical places in Asia. But the beauty of Bhutan extends well past the breathtaking landscape into the magical kingdom nestled on a side of a cliff that’s 900 meters above the Paro Valley. The Tiger’s Nest is a sacred site, and only a few people can access this mystical monastery perched deep in the Himalaya.
This magical mountain shrine is a mix of holiness, peace and beauty. It’s the holiest sanctuary in the country with a postcard landmark feature. Now, the monastery was built in 1692 in honor to Guru Padmasambhava, who first introduced Buddhism in Bhutan. Many believe that he meditated in that place during three years, months, days and hours in the 8th century. From then, the mountain became a holy place and a sought-after destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. The hike going to the shrine would take around 4 hours, depending on your pace and endurance.
2. Mustang Caves in Nepal
A stack of around 10,000 man-made caves etched into the side surface of Mustang District in Nepal continues to be one of the greatest archaeological mysteries in the world. Even up to the present time, the collection of these man-carved wonders remains to be an enigma among researchers and archaeologists. No one exactly knows when they were first built, how they were built or who built them.
Several studies theorized that the caves originated around 1000 B.C as burial chambers that consequently served as ancient people’s abodes. Experts also found several mummified human bodies within the strangely sculptured rock pillars. Located between the sensitive borders of Nepal and Tibet, the attraction had a restriction against foreigners until 1992. Even with the opening of Mustang to the public, the relatively isolated location keeps the Mustang Caves close to its original state. Reaching the Mustang region includes an extraordinary journey to a fabled valley. Hence, the national immigration office only issues a limited number of trekking permits to this site.
1. Gyanganj in the Himalaya
Add thrill and uniqueness to your Asia trip and scale the mystical Gyanganj in the Himalayas. The place is probably the most far-flung from human intervention and only those with ‘Karmic Connection’ or those ‘enlightened saints’ can access the site through deep meditation and spiritual enlightenment. Also known as Shambala, Sidddhashram, and Shangri-La, this celestial kingdom is for many the other dimension of the physical world. Legend has it that the mystical land has a population of immortal sages who subtly steer the destiny of the world.
Though there is no particular physical location, many believe that the Gyanganj lies in an isolated valley in the western part of Tibet. Getting to Gyanganj may be ludicrous but to those with an intense longing for mystery and sense of otherworldliness, this is definitely one to tick off your bucket list. The fact that its actual location is unknown makes it one of the most mysterious mystical places in Asia.
Finally, this is just a glimpse of all the mystical places in Asia that you should visit. Remember that it’s important that you look into the rules for visitors before showing up to these places. Some of them may have strict dressing and behavior rules, so make sure you obey them. But most importantly, enjoy your time visiting them, because you’ll never have a similar experience anywhere else.
Have you ever visited one of these mystical places in Asia? Tell us your most memorable and mystical experience in the comment section below!