1. Hagia Sophia, Turkey
  2. The Great Mosque of Sammara, Iraq
  3. Petra, Jordan
  4. Wadi Rum, Jordan
  5. Registan Square, Uzbekistan
  6. Kalon Minaret, Uzbekistan
  7. Burana Tower, Kyrgyzstan
  8. Pamir Highway, Tajikistan
  9. Konye Urgench, Turkmenistan
  10. Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan
  11. Big Almaty Lake, Kazakhstan
  12. Taj Mahal, India
  13. Potala Palace, Tibet
  14. Lake Baikal, Siberia
  15. Gobi Desert, Mongolia/China
  16. Mount Everest, Nepal/Tibet
  17. The Great Wall of China
  18. Longmen Grottoes, China
  19. Tigers Nest, Bhutan
  20. Bagan, Myanmar
  21. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  22. Juche Tower, North Korea
  23. Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
  24. DMZ, North/South Korea
  25. Gamcheon Culture Village, South Korea
  26. Mount Fuji, Japan
  27. Halong Bay, Vietnam

About the Famous Landmarks in Asia

Asia is a remarkable continent comprising many different cultures and landscapes. Come on a journey with us through these famous landmarks in Asia. Discover ancient civilizations, deserts, mountains, mosques and temples as we take a look at these incredible natural and man made places.

Take a journey with us through the Middle East and along the ancient Silk Road through China and Central Asia, to the roof of the World in Tibet. Explore volcanoes in Japan, Siberia’s vast wilderness and much more as we discover these Asia landmarks!

27 Famous Landmarks in Asia

1. Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Asia Landmarks - Hagia Sophia
Asia Landmarks – Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia has been in the new recently for the controversial descision of Turkish President Recep Teyyip Erdogan to turn the former church into a mosque (not for the first time in its history).

Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a church in 521AD when Constantinople (present day Istanbul) was the seat of the Byzantine emprire. When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 it was turned into a mosque and was used as such until 1935 when it was turned into a museum.

In 2020 Hagia Sophia was again turned into a mosque, a descision which has been seen as highly controvesial by some, but it is still possible to visit the site (inide and out).

Opening Hours: 09:00 to 19:00

Ticket Price: free

Time Needed for a Visit: one to two hours

More info: Guide to Hagia Sophia


2. The Great Mosque, Iraq

Sammara Great Mosque
Asia Landmarks – The Sammara Great Mosque, Iraq

Complete in 851, the UNESCO listed Great Mosque at Sammara in Iraq was once the largest of its kind in the world. The spiralling Malwiya Tower minaret stretches 52 metres (171ft) into the desert sky.

At present (May 2021) it seems that visiting the mosque is not possible, however if you talk nicely to the soldiers guarding it, they “may” let you have a quick look around, but because of the security situation taking photographs is prohibited.

Opening Hours: closed

Ticket Price: n/a

Time Needed for a Visit: around one hour

More info: Travelling to Iraq


3. Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan

Petra has to be one of the most iconic Asia landmarks and is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. Incredibly, the ancient city lay undiscovered for centuries until 1812 when a Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burkhardt stumbled upon the ruins.

The most famous site at Petra is the Ad Deir Monastery carved into the face of the rock, which was built by the Nabataeans at least 2,000 years ago. The site is open to tourists but ticket prices are quite expensive. Nevertheless, cisiting Petra is a once in a lifetime opportunity and should not be missed!

Opening Hours: 06:00 to 18:00

Ticket Price: 50 J.D ($70)

Time Needed for a Visit: one to two days

More info: Guide to Petra


4. Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum is a national Park in the Jordanian desert that has been the home to many civlisations throughout history. People have lived and travelled through Wadi Rum from prehistoric times to Lawrence of Arabia and beyond.

The valley of red sandstone and granite is truly an incredible site, and walking through the area has been likened to walking on the moon thanks to it’s unique and imposing landforms.

Wadi Rum is a must-visit on any trip to Jordan alongside the famous landmark Petra!

Opening Hours: 24 hours

National Park Ticket Price: 5 J.D ($7)

Time Needed for a Visit: one to two days

More info: Guide to Wadi Rum


5. Registan Square, Uzbekistan

Famous Landmarks in Asia
Famous Landmarks in Asia – Registan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand was the ancient home of the Timurid Empire which stretched across Central Asia. It was here that Amir Timur (Tamerlane) created a centre of Islamic learning which included art, culture, ecenomics and astronomy.

Samarkand’s medieval architecture dates back to 1420AD and dominates the city. Registan square is made up of three large madrassas; Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tilla Kari. In medieval time the square was home to a large bazaar.

Samarkand is a must see destintion in Central Asia and is now easier than ever to visit since Uzbekistan ushered in visa free travel in 2019. Registan Square is surely one of the most famous landmarks in Asia and should be on the bucket-list of anyone interested in history!

Tip: if you slip one of the traders inside Ulugbek madrassa a couple of dollars, they will let you climb the minaret for incredible views of the city!

Opening Hours: 08:00 to 19:00

Ticket Price: 30,000 Uzbek Som ($3)

Time Needed for a Visit: two to three hours

More info: Guide to Samarkand


6. The Kalon Mosque, Uzbekistan

Famous Landmark in Asia
The Kalon Mosque and Minaret, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Built in 1127AD, the Kalon minaraet stretches 47 metres above the centre of Bukhara in Uzbekistan. The minaret was built by the Karakhanid’s, and the same style can be witnessed all over central Asia (see Burana Tower below).

Like Samarkand, the medieval Islamic architecture of Bukhara has survived incredibly well and this Asia landmark is a must-see when travelling the ancient Silk Road.

Opening Hours: 08:00 to 2000

Ticket Price: 13,000 Uzbek Som ($1.25)

Time Needed for a Visit: around one hour

More info: Guide to Bukhara


7. The Burana Tower, Kyrgyzstan

The Burana Tower
Asia Landmarks – The Burana Tower, Kyrgyzstan

The Burana Tower is a large minaret near the small town of Tokmok in Kyrgyzstan and is the last remaining part of the ancient city of Balasagan. The 25 metre (82ft) tower is surrounded by the imporsing peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains.

The 36 acre site is also home to an ancient graveyard with burial mounds, petroglyphs and a small museum. It’s possible to climb the tower for sweeping views across the plains to the mountains.

To reach the Burana tower from Bishkek, take a marshrutka (shared minibus taxi) from the eastern bus station. Journey should cost around 50 Kyrgyz Som (less than $1).

Opening Hours: 09:00 to 17:00

Ticket Price: 150 Kyrgyz Som ($1.77)

Time Needed for a Visit: one to two hours

More info: Guide to the Burana Tower


8. Pamir Highway

Pamir Highway
the Pamir Highway stretches across Central Asia

The Pamir Highway is one of the most famous landmarks in Asia. This desolate road stretches through the Pamir range through Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The road is dominated by sweeping valleys and high mountain passes and is stunningly beautiful.

Travelling the Pamir Highway is one of the most incredible journeys across Asia and should only be attempted by adventurous travellers, as there are long distances between towns and villages! The best way to travel the Pamir Highway is to take a tour, hire a car or even cycle if you are brave enough!

More info: Guide to the Pamir Highway


9. Konye Urgench, Turkmenistan

Asia Landmarks - Konye Urgench
Konye Urgench, Turkmenistan

The UNESCO ruins at Konye Urgench were once the capital of the Khorezm empire and the centre of the Islamic world. Like many such sites across Central Asia, it was sacked by Ghengis Khan and his invading armies, but many of the buildings are still standing.

The architecture is similar in style to that found across the region from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan, and has been restored to a decent level.

The ancient city is located in the north of Turkmenistan close to the border with Uzbekistan and this Asian landmark is a must see on any trip to the country. Visiting Konye Urgench is included with many tours of “The Door to Hell” at Darvaza (see below).

Opening Hours: 09:00 to 17:00

Ticket Price: 21 Manat ($6)

Time Needed for a Visit: around one hour

More info: Guide to Konye Urgench


10. The Darvaza Gas Crater (Door to Hell), Turkmenistan

Asia Landmarks - Darvaza
Darvaza Gas Crater

Definitely the most obscure Asia landmark on this list, the Darvaza Gas Crater in the middle of the Karakum Desert has been burning for over 50 years!

In 1971 Soviet geologists found what they thought was a large oil field in the Turkmenistan desert and set about extracting. However they discovered large pockets of natural gas, and in an effort to burn it off to continue drilling for oil, they set light to the gas. It hasn’t sstopped burning since then!

The door to hell is truly one of the most famous landmarks in asia and one of the more interesting sites on the old Silk Road. Although independent travel is very difficult in Turkmenistan, it is possible to arrange a tour that includes camping overnight at Darvaza.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Ticket Price: Entrance to the gas crater is free, however you will need to book a tour to get there, which doesn’t come cheap (around $1,000 for a small group tour). Alternatively, you could try and get a transit visa for Turkmenistan and pay for a driver and vehicle to get there. See my Darvaza guide for more info.

Time Needed for a Visit: one to two days

More info: Guide to Darvaza Gas Crater


11. Big Almaty Lake, Kazakhstan

Big Almaty Lake
Big Almaty Lake

Our final landmark from Central Asia, Big Almaty Lake, is a beautiful lake high above Almaty in Kazakhstan. The colour of the lake changes from slate-grey to turquoise depending on the sky and looks idyllic surrounded by the towering mountains.

Big Almaty Lake sits in the Zailisky Alatua mountains that dominate southern Kazakhstan (part of the larger Tian Shan Mountains that stretch through China) and the area is perfect for adventurous hikes. Be aware that the lake is very close to the border with Kyrgyzstan and you should pay attention to warning signs and soldiers in the area.

Getting to the lake isn’t easy due to the lack of public transport, so arranging a tour or car and driver is the best way. You can also pay taxi drivers to wait for an hour or two (careful that they don’t get a better offer and leave you stranded though, and I speak from experience).

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Ticket Price: free

Time Needed for a Visit: half a day

More info: Guide to Big Almaty Lake


12. Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal
Assia Landmarks, Taj Mahal

This iconic Asia landmark is one of the most famous mausoleums in the world. The Taj Mahal was built in 1643 to house the tomb of Indian emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite wife.

The USESCO listed site covers 42 acres and remains one of the best examples of Muslim art in India. It is located in Agra on the shores of the Yamuna River and is open six days a week for tourists.

Be aware that the Taj Mahal gets very busy and it is advised to go early inthe morning to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Opening Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset (closed Fridays)

Ticket Price: 1,000 rupees ($13.65)

Time Needed for a Visit: half a day

More info: Guide to the Taj Mahal


13. The Potala Palace, Tibet

Famous Landmarks in Asia - Potala Palace
Famous Landmarks in Asia – Potala Palace

The Potala Palace is one of Asia’s most famous landmarks. This beautiful Buddhist temple sits at an elevation of 3,700 metres (12,100ft) high in the Himalayas and dominates the city of Lhasa.

The palace was built in 1645 but was added to throught later centuries and you can see this in the distinct colours of each section (white, red and yellow).

The Potala Palace is open to visitors who are on a tour in Tibet (the only way foreigners can enter Tibet is on a guided tour) and is truly worth seeing. One of the most famous landmarks in Asia and indeed the world!

Opening Hours: 09:30 to 15:00

Ticket Price: May to Oct ¥200 ($31) Nov to Mar ¥100 ($15.50)

Time Needed for a Visit: two to three hours

More info: Guide to Tibet


14. Lake Baikal, Siberia

Lake Baikal
Famous Asia Landmarks – Lake Baikal in Siberia

Lake Baikal is the deepest and largest freshwater lake on earth. This famous landmark in Asia (Siberia is in the Asian part of Russia) is home to a unique variety of flora and fauna including the nerpa seal, the only freshwater seal in the world.

Lake Baikal is a truly magical place to visit and in summer is a great place to swim, fish and camp. In winter, the whole lake freezes over, with the ice thick enough to hold heavy vehicles.

Baikal is easily reached via the world famous Trans Siberian Railway which stops at nearby Irkutsk and along the southern part of the lake itself.

It is even possible to volunteer on an eco tourism project creating a hiking trail around the lake.

Time Needed for a Visit: one day to one week

More info: Guide to the Great Baikal Trail


15. Gobi Desert, Mongolia and China

Gobi Desert
Gobi Desert at Dunhuang in China

The Gobi Desert is the sixth largest in the world and covers much of northern China and southern Mongolia. This vast, empty expanse stretches for 1,600 kilometres (994 miles) across parts of Inner Mongolia and Gansu Province.

There are many activities in the Gobi from camel trekking to off-roading as well as exploring ancient Silk Road towns. Two great places to see the desert up close are Jiayuguan and Dunhuang in Gansu Province.

When setting off into the desert, be sure to have plenty of water, sunscreen and warm clothes as temperates can drop quickly at night. The best way to see the Gobi is to take a tour with a 4X4 vehicle.

More info: Guide to the Gobi Desert at Dunhuang


16. Mount Everest, Tibet

First View of Everest
Mount Everest – One of the most famous landmarks in Asia

The 8,800 metre (29,032 foot) Mount Everest straddles both Nepal and Tibet and can be summited from either side. The majesty of Everest is hard to put into words without actually seeing it. For those that don’t have the will or bank balance to climb this magnificent peak, the base camps can be visited from both Nepal and Tibet.

On the Nepal side it takes up to two weeks of hiking to reach EBC, however on the Tibetan side there is a paved road leading to the foot of the mountain and the Chinese base camp making visiting a lot easier (but less adventurous no doubt).

If visiting EBC, be sure to acclimatize first as you will be reaching heights above 5,000 metres (16,000 feet) and the risk of altitude sickness is very real. Truly one of Asia’s most incredible landmarks!

More info: Tibet Everest Base Camp


17. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China at Badaling

This famous landmark in Asia needs no introduction! The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications stretching across the northern part of the Middle Kingdom. Sections were built at different times with the earliest thought to be constructed around the seventh century BC.

The most popular sections of the great wall such as Badaling and Mutianyu are easily reachable from Beijing by train, bus and taxi. Although these sections have been rebuilt, they are still an impressive sight and make for a great day trip from the capital.

If you want to see parts of the wall that haven’t been reconstructed, there are plenty of options from Dandong on the border with North Korea, to the Jiayu pass in far-western Gansu Province. People even camp on some of these sections, although it is forbidden.

Opening Hours: 06:00 to 19:00

Ticket Price: ¥40 ($6)

Time Needed for a Visit: half a day to two days

More info: Guide to the Great Wall of China


18. Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang

Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang
Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang

The Longmen Grottoes are one of the most important cultural landmarks in Asia. The site contains thousands of statues of the Buddha carved into the rockface above the Yi River in Luoyang.

The statues range in size fom a couple of centimeters to over 17 metres (57 feet) tall and date back to 493AD.

The grottoes stretch for a kilometre along the river and over to the other side. Entrance also includes access to a nearby garden and temple. Come in April when Longmen joins the city-wide peony festival!

Opening Hours: 08:00 to 18:00

Ticket Price: ¥90 ($14)

Time Needed for a Visit: two to three hours

More info: Guide to Longmen Grottoes


19. Tigers Nest, Bhutan

Tigers Nest, Bhutan
Tigers Nest, Bhutan

The Tigers Nest, also known as Paro Takstang, is a Buddhist monastery built into the cliff-face 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan. This famous landmark in Asia has to be seen to be believed!

Opening Hours: 08:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 18:00

Ticket Price: 500 ($6.90)

Time Needed for a Visit: two to three hours

More info: Guide to the Tigers Nest


20. Bagan, Myanmar

Lanmarks in Asia - Bagan
Lanmarks in Asia – Bagan

The UNESCO listed site at Bagan in Myanmar contains over 2,200 temples and Pagodas which date from the 9th to the 13th centuries. This Asian landmark is located in the Bagan Archaeological Zone, Myanmar’s primary tourist attraction.

One of the most popular ways to view Bagan is by hot air baloon, and the sunsets over the temples are incredible!

Opening Hours: 08:00 to 17:30

Ticket Price: K25,000 ($15.00)

Time Needed for a Visit: one to two days

More info: Guide to Bagan


21. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Lanmarks in Asia - Angkor Wat
Lanmarks in Asia – Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a series of temples in Cambodia dating back to the 12th Century and is considered the largest religious site in the world.

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire (not to be confused with the Khmer Rouge) and was originally a Hindu site, before being converted to a Buddhist temple.

Opening Hours: 05:00 to 18:00

Ticket Price: 1 Day = $37, 2 days = $62 and 7 days = $72

Time Needed for a Visit: one to seven days

Where is it: Siem Reap, Cambodia

More info: Guide to Angkor Wat


22. Juche Tower, North Korea

Juche Tower, Pyongyang, North Korea
Juche Tower, Pyongyang

The Juche Tower is a 170 metre (560ft) column topped with a large red flame in Pyongyang representing the Juche ideology of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This Asian landmark sits on the east side of the Taedong River and can be seen from all over the city.

It is possible to take a ride in the rickety old elevator to the top for incredible views across Pyongyang.

Opening Hours: 09:00 to 17:00

Ticket Price: Entry to the museum below is free and it costs $5 to take the elevator.

Time Needed for a Visit: one hour

Where is it? Pyongyang, North Korea

More info: North Korea Landmarks


23. Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

Victoria Harbour Hong Kong
Victoria Harbour Hong Kong

Victoria Harbour is the body of water between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The world-famous vista of the harbour backed by gleaming skyscrapers and Victoria Peak iss one of the most iconic landmarks in Asia.

One of the best ways to view the harbour is from the Star Ferry. These iconic ferries criss-cross the harbour every 10 minutes from 06:30 to 23:30 and cost just $2 one way.

Another great way to see the harbour is from the top of Victoria Peak. You can take the Peak Tram or hike up to the top for incredible views of Hong Kong and the harbour.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Ticket Price: free

Time Needed for a Visit: under one hour

Where is it?: Hong Kong, China

More info: Guide to Hong Kong


24. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Korea

DMZ North Korea
DMZ seperating North and South Korea

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), sometimes known as the 38th Parellel, is the fortified zone separating North and South Korea.

It is possible to visit the DMZ from both North and South Korea.

Time Needed for a Visit: two to four hours

Where is it?: Korea

More info: Guide to the DMZ in North Korea


25. Gamcheon Culture Village, South Korea

Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village

Gamcheon Culture Village is located in the southern city of Busan in South Korea. This unique settlement is made up of hundreds of brightly coloured houses clinging to the cliffside above the ocean.

One of the most interesting things to do at Gamcheon is to obtain a tourist map at the post office and collect stamps from various places in the village.

Opening Hours: Although the village doesn’t close, tourists should leave by 5pm.

Ticket Price: free

Time Needed for a Visit: two to three hours

Address: 203 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Gamcheon 2(i)-dong, Saha-gu

More info: Guide to Gamcheon Culture Village


26. Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji, one of the most famous landmarks in Asia

Mount Fuji is a 3,776 metre (12,389 foot) volcano in central Honshu and is Japan’s highest mountain. This active volcano last errupted from 1707 to 1708.

According to UNESCO, Mount Fuji has “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”

It is possible to climb Mount Fuji in around one day.

Time Needed for a Visit: One to two days

Where is it? Honshu, Japan

More info: Guide to Climbing Mount Fuji


27. Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay
Halong Bay, one of Asia’s most famous landmarks

Halong Bay is an area off the coast of Vietnam famed for its carst stacks rising from the ocean. The limestone pillars have been formed over millions of years and are a true site to behold.

One of the best ways to ssee Halong Bay is to take one of the many boat cruises that last from one day to a week. This way you can explore hidden islands, swim, kayak and enjoy the incredible scenery.

Time Needed for a Visit: One to three days

Where is it? Hanoi, Vietnam

More info: Guide to Halong Bay


How many of these famous landmarks in Asia have you visited? Comment below!



Steve Rohan

About the author: Steve Rohan, originally from England, has lived in China for over six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, the ancient capital of Luoyang and now resides in the tropical paradise of Sanya on Hainan Island.

He has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, mostly by train, and has written about his travels for this blog as well as self-publishing his first book, Siberian Odyssey.


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