5 wonderful places to discover autumn in Asia

Curated by BuffaloTripSeptember 23, 2016 Viewed: 378

Autumn, the most romantic season of the year with slow melodies and deep feelings, is an endless source of inspiration. This year, let buffalotrip.com inspired you with some tranquil havens where you can immerse yourself in autumn.

South Korea: Scroll in the island of love Nami

Well-known as the setting of the most romantic Korean movie “Winter Sonata” with scenes ancient almond trees in rows, Nami Island has been one of the hottest tourist destinations in this country for a long time. Prepare a light cardigan, a pair of boots, and a nice hat to explore the island.

Stroll along small paths among the trees, meet some squirrels at the wild conservation area and collect some maple leaves at the Baekpungmilwon garden. Visit Dodamsambong Park, breathe the fresh air around the lake while watching the  small wooden boats or partake in an array of leisure activities such as bungee jumping and canoeing. All these experiences will put you at ease.

Nami is not only an ideal place for lovers but an attractive destination for young visitors or families to go on a picnic. If you don’t bring fast food and snacks, you can drop by the restaurants and beautiful café and enjoy delicious cuisine such as stir-fried boneless chicken with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots served with a spicy sauce, grilled pork, and stewed chicken with ginseng. The atmosphere of the hotels on the island is shaped by romantic decorations, especially Jeong Guan Ru, the hotel where the two main actors in "Winter Sonata" stayed when other hotels were full at peak season.

Street food: Bibimbap mixed rice

Bibimbap is one of the iconic symbols in Korean culinary culture. A bowl of bibimbap often consists of at least 6 dishes including rice, eggs, vegetables, and meat. The vegetables can be sliced cucumber, carrots, spouts, and lettuce (optional). Fried or coated eggs with meat (usually with beef) are chopped, making the dish more delicious. Red chili is an indispensable ingredient. You can also enjoy bibimbap with kimchi or add salmon, tuna, or octopus according to your tastes.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: Immerse yourself in the blue of the pristine island

Kota Kinabalu is situated in a prime location on Borneo – the world’s third largest island, belongs to three countries: Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. With the pleasant weather at the beginning of the rainy season, it is an ideal place for your journey of autumn.

Here, you can visit the Mari-Mari village where you will have a chance to experience local life, from cooking rice with simple tools to joining in traditional dances and other daily activities.

Diving to see the corals, swimming with turtles, and enjoying the cool air by the sea are just a few exciting activities awaiting you on the small islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Ocean Park. Tunku Abdul Rahman is just 20 minutes from Jesselton Point wharf and consists of 5 pristine islands: Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi, and Sulug. Within the bright jade waters are numerous corals and marine species. Each of them is a secret for you to explore.

Particularly, when visiting Kota Kinabalu, don’t forget to sightsee at Kinabalu Park – Malaysia’s first natural world heritage site. The park hosts a myriad of fauna and flora, including about 5,000 – 6,000 higher plants, with 1,000 types of orchids, Rafflesia – the biggest flowers in the world with a diameter of 3m, 300 bird species, and more than 100 other species of animals. With a height of 4,101m, Crocker Range – the highest mountain in Southeast Asia – is also located in this area. Moreover, Poring Hot Spring is the best place to relax after a long day of hiking. 

Street food: Grilled seafood with chili salt

Never miss seafood in Kinabalu – the paradise of night markets. The fruit market usually closes at 7pm, making way for hot seafood and street food stalls selling shaved ice, roasted peanuts, and grass jelly. All you need to do for a delicious dinner on the beach is choose from among your favorite shrimp, crab, and squid dishes for only ~$5 to ~$10.

Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai: The golden autumn of love

From mid-September to the end of October is the “gold” time for tourists to enjoy the yellow rice paddy fields of the Northwest, from Sapa and Y Ty to Quan Ba and Mu Cang Chai. It is quite difficult to point out the most beautiful rice terraces of this season as each destination has its own beauty, but Mu Cang Chai is the most popular. On the way to these famous mountains in the Northwest, you will have a chance to experience thrilling hours of turning sharp curves on the way to the Khau Pha Peak, admire sunrise at Tu Le Valley, enjoy the aromatic sweet sticky rice, and attend the famous weekend market here.

The terraces in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, and De Xu Phinh have become frequent "stops" for tourists who wish to admire the yellow rice paddies. In the afternoon, the sunbeams lightly paint some yellow stripes on the terraces. After each curve, the immense golden rice, layer by layer, stretches from the valley to the hillside. Sometimes it even reaches up to the misty summits, representing a rich and fulfilled harvest.

During your trip, do not forget to spend a night in Tu Le. In the morning, try to get up a little earlier than usual, go jogging while the sun is still shrouded by mist, and admire the panorama of Tu Le Valley reflected by the pure sunshine. 

Street food: Upland sweet sticky rice

The sweet sticky rice in Tu Le is among the most delicious for its plump and glutinous grain. At Tu Le, you can easily find some shops selling it. On cold days, there is nothing more wonderful than going to Tu Le to enjoy the fresh air and delicious Tu Le sweet sticky rice. It is also a great idea to try it with barbecue.

Dong Van, Ha Giang: Buckwheat flowers on the rocky highlands

The buckwheat season in Ha Giang lasts from late October to the end of December. A mixed color of red, white, and pink flowers covers the fields, the beds of streams,the jagged cat ear rocks, and roadside slopes.

The tiny mauve buckwheat flowers seem fragile, but in bunches, they form colorful patches adorning the rocky highlands of Ha Giang. The buckwheat trees were originally planted along rocky slopes and hill slopes for food, but they have become a "specialty" of the land in the eyes of travelers.

Apart from the buckwheat flowers, Ha Giang enchants visitors with its exclusive landscapes from Quan Ba double mountain, the green river of Nho Que, Cat King palace, Lung Cu flagpole, Dong Van Town, and especially Khau Vai love market.

Street food: Thang Den cake

Upon arriving in Ha Giang, try the Thang Den cake (Bánh Thắng Dền) to feel the warmth spreading in the immense space and the tranquility of the upland. At first glance, it looks like a stuffed sticky rice ball, but upon closer inspection, you will see differences. In the freezing air, holding a bowl of hot steaming bánh Thắng Dền, sniff and enjoy the nice little cakes. Taste the sticky rice flour blending with the hot ginger and spicy peanut sesame, and you will have absorbed all the essence of the rocky Ha Giang Plateau.

Nam Cat Tien National Park: Dreams in the forest of butterflies 

Located 150 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City and stretching across Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and Binh Phuoc and separated from the outside world by the Dong Nai river, Nam Cat Tien National Park attracts tourists by its simple and natural beauty with rich systems of fauna and flora. 

Going to Nam Cat Tien National Park in the rain season from September to October, you can easily be mesmerized by the colorful butterflies of the tropical region, creating a strange scene and beautiful fairy domain. The puddles after heavy showers are the favorite gathering place of butterflies. Morning is also an ideal time to see hundreds of butterflies flying along the trails into the forest. 

Accounting for more than 50 percent of the butterflies in Vietnam, Nam Cat Tien National Park allows you to see butterflies in every corner. You can even reach out and touch some “friendly” butterflies. Going deep into the forest and caves, you will find thousands of butterflies fluttering in the sun and creeping over the stones, which is a wonderful spectacle that words are just not enough to describe. 

The trip is also a chance for you to learn about the many kinds of trees in the forest as well as their benefits to the life of local people while trekking to the Doi Xanh.

Lying on the edge of Nam Cat Tien National Park among nature and the cultural diversity of ethnic minorities, the Ta Lai Longhouse is an exciting destination for anyone who wishes to stay away from the stuffiness of life for a little while. Designed by the Ta Lai village elders, the Ta Lai Longhouse’s is made of palm leaves wood and bamboo. Founded by the WWF, this community tourism model was set-up to preserve the traditional culture of the local ethnic minorities as well as raise awareness for environment protection.

For further information, please visit: www.talai-adventure.vn.

Street food: Chàng hiu sấy

Fried Chàng hiu sấy (a type of dried frog) with chili, garlic, and pork rinds is a strange and delicious dish for many people when visiting Nam Cat Tien. Chàng hiu is also used for soup or stir-fry dishes with wild vegetables. On rainy days, it is very easy to find chàng hiu. Chàng hiu sấy is sold in many stores along National Highway 20 with much lower prices than in other places.