Do you know that being around bodies of water is said to be beneficial to reduce stress and increase general wellbeing? That is exactly you should tell your boss next time you need to take leave for that much needed holiday.
Apart from being the biggest cultural melting pot, Asia is also home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. For those of you who would love some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and just be one with the wonders of nature, these lakes are a perfect travel choice. So, here are some of the best, underrated lakes in Asia that you should consider visiting the next time you are planning a trip.
1. Lake Toba, Indonesia
Lake Toba is situated on a dormant volcano in the Northern Sumatra and is popular for its scenic views of high mountains and crystal clear water. The lush greenery surrounding the lake and its low temperature makes it the perfect destination for a chill and tranquil stay. Apart from enjoying a picnic by the lake, you can also head on over to the jaw-dropping Binangalom waterfall for a splash, discover the rich culture of Batak people or maybe even go for a hike up the mountains in Samosir for some splendid views.
Take a flight to the Medan airport, drive to Parapat and you can get a boat to Samosir island. While driving probably gets you there within 4 hours, public transport may take up to 6 hours.
Best time to visit: May to September
2. Inle Lake, Myanmar
Myanmar’s Inle Lake is a famous tourist spot for all the right reasons. Surrounded by lush greenery and gorgeous views of traditional wooden-stilt houses and floating gardens, Inle shows you the other side of Burmese life that you’re not used to. The best part of visiting the lake apart from its historically preserved monasteries is the fact that the only means of transport for the natives and tourists on the lake is by boat, which is indeed a new experience that you are sure to enjoy.
While Myanmar is less than a 3-hour flight, getting to the Inle Lake may take a little longer. It is around 650km from Yangon and takes up to 10 hours if you’re looking to take a cab, but if you’re looking for other options, you can either take the train or even catch a 1-hour flight to Heho, Inle’s local airport.
Best time to visit: November to February
3. Tonle Sap, Cambodia
This one most probably does not come as a surprise to you. Tonle Sap is not only the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, extending over 120 km in length, but is also home to various species of flora and fauna(its bird sanctuary is famous). The lake is, in fact, a huge commercial source, especially for fisherman. You can get to Siem Reap by flight, then take a cab to Chong Kneas boat dock and later on take a boat to the lake.
Best time to visit: October to February
4. Kenyir Lake, Malaysia
If you’re a little hesitant about going too far away from the country, then head on over to Malaysia to spend some time by the gorgeous Lake Kenyir. The man-made lake is a popular spot for both locals as well as tourists, although it is located in Terengganu, which is pretty far from the Kuala Terengganu’s city centre. You can either choose to drive over to Kuala Terengganu or take a cheap flight instead.
The most convenient entry point to the lake is Pengkalan Gawi but to enter remember to get a permit from the Wildlife Department at the Tourist Information Center.
Best time to visit: March to September
5. Lake Wuhua Hai, China
Lake Wuhua Hai, or also known as Five-Flower Lake is one of the many treasures located in the gorgeous Jiuzhaigou Valley. The lake’s constant change in colour from dark blue, to sea-blue, green, yellow and red, is what makes it a natural beauty, apart from its crystal clear water of course. The latter allows you to enjoy the stunning view of broken branches and tree floating on the lake bed. You can get to Jiuzhaigou by taking a flight to Chengdu and subsequently a bus from any two main bus stations in Chengdu.
Best time to visit: May to November
6. Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan
The Balkhash Lake is one of the biggest lakes in Asia and the 15th biggest in the world. Furthermore, it is also home to over 100 species of birds, which makes it a must-visit place for bird photographers and bird lovers. The lake is uniquely made of two separate portions of freshwater and saltwater, while the former makes up the east side of the lake, the latter fills the west. Take a flight from Singapore to Kazakhstan and you can either hire a car, take a cab or even a train to Lake Balkhash.
Best time to visit: May to October
7. Lake Karakul, Kashgar, China
Here’s another gem from China! Located at the foot of the Pamir Mountains, in Kashgar, a city in Xinjiang, the Lake Karakul is truly a beauty. The picturesque views of the harsh peaks being reflected in the calm waters of the Karakul Lake make it a wonderful sight and if you’re feeling a bit adventurous then we suggest that you camp by the lake to enjoy an even more gorgeous view at night.
You can reach this amazing lake by taking a flight to Guangzhou and then another one to Kashgar.
Best time to visit: May to September
8. Lake Biwa, Japan
If you’re planning a trip to Japan then be sure to set a day to visit the country’s biggest lake, situated not too far from Kyoto. Lake Biwa offers more than just dynamic views of high mountains. The lake is rich with culturally preserved sites and is surrounded by must-visit historical architectures such as an 8th-century Buddhist temple and a 17th-century Hikone castle. On top of that, don’t forget to take a walk down the Lake Biwa Canal, while admiring the beautiful cherry trees that envelop it.
Now getting to Lake Biwa is pretty straightforward, take a flight to Tokyo, then a train to Kyoto which is unbelievably close to the Biwa Lake.
Best time to visit: All year round
9. Lake Pichola, India
Situated in Rajasthan, Lake Pichola is, in fact, a man-made freshwater lake that was created all the way back in 1362, by Pichhu Banjara and was later on developed by Maharana Udai Singh II. The calm waters of Lake Pichola offer scenic views of high hills and are home to several islands, temples and even palaces. Due to its shallow waters, the lake usually dries up during drought, so avoid visiting this place during extremely hot seasons.
Once you’ve taken a plane to Delhi, you can either travel by road or air to get to Udaipur where Lake Pichola is located. If you’re not a fan of long journeys then take a cheap flight instead.
Best time to visit: late September to March
10. Jurong Lake, Singapore
And, finally, here’s one that does not require you to travel too far. Our own Jurong Lake, Singapore’s famous reservoir cum freshwater lake is most definitely a must-visit for all those in the country. It is in fact, the result of the damming of the Sungai Jurong and is currently being developed in phases and is envisioned to be the country’s national gardens, a place for families to come together to spend some quality time.
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