Out of the world’s top 10 most populated countries, five of them are located in Asia. But among the iconic giants of the continent are also those countries that are not only far less populated but also less visited.
From strict requirements for travel visas to safety warnings from the government, there are a variety of reasons why the following countries experience such low numbers of tourists every year. Even though they’re currently unpopular as travel destinations, they all have worlds of beauty to offer visitors.
Check out these 10 least-visited countries in Asia and why you should add them to your bucket list.
Tajikistan is the poorest country in Central Asia, and also among the least visited and least well known. Many people wouldn’t be able to point out Tajikistan on a map since it tends to get overshadowed by its neighbors of China. Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
The top reason to visit Tajikistan is its gorgeous scenery, as well as the fact that you can take in the wondrous views without having to worry about battling thousands of other tourists for breathing space. Tajikistan is also a country of historical significance since the iconic Silk Road connecting the west to the east passed through it.
Situated in the Middle East, Yemen is the fourth least-visited country in all of Asia. This is mostly due to the political unrest driven by the Yemeni Crisis which began in 2011. The Bureau of Consular Affairs strongly advises against travel to Yemen at the current time, but if the situation improves in the future, there are many beautiful sites to see in the country.
Yemen boasts four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Old City of Sana’a, the Socotra Archipelago, the Old Walled City of Shibam and the Historic Town of Zabid.
The last traditional Buddhist Kingdom in the world, Bhutan controls the numbers and types of tourists that pass through its boundaries. To travel to this unique location in the Himalayas, you have to travel on an official package. The fee includes your own guide, as well as transport, accommodation, and food.
The country is known for its peaceful Buddhist monasteries, along with its historically significant fortresses and its stunning natural landscape. It also serves as a popular trekking destination due to its mountainous territory. In Bhutan, the official language is Dzongkha.
Nepal is perhaps the most famous of the least-visited countries in Asia. Although most people have at least heard of Nepal, and can pinpoint it on a map, it doesn’t see anywhere near the number of travelers as many of the other countries in Asia.
The most famous attraction in the country is Mount Everest, but if you aren’t into trekking, there are still plenty of other things to see and do in Nepal. Here you’ll find a variety of temples and national parks where you’ll see Bengal tigers and other native animals.
Just under half a million inhabitants call the nation of Brunei home. Although it's one of the least-popular countries to visit in Asia, it's not among the poorest. Brunei has been able to thrive thanks to petroleum and natural gas, and its Sultan is known to be one of the richest men on the planet.
On a trip to Brunei, where the culture is strictly Islamic, there are a number of things to see and do. The country is famous for its stunning Muslim architecture and is also home to the world’s largest floating village.
Timor-Leste is a former Portuguese colony at the end of the Coral Triangle, which was able to gain its independence in 2002. It doesn’t experience great amounts of tourism thanks to a volatile recent history, with much of its infrastructure still being rebuilt.
If you do decide to visit Timor-Leste, you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Those interested in diving will also discover some fascinating local reefs. The nation also boasts markets and churches to visit, and one of the world’s finest sunsets can be seen from the Cristo Rei Statue.
Turkmenistan is a difficult country to travel to thanks to the strict visa and entry requirements. Straddling the Caspian Sea and bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan is home to just over five and a half million people and is one of the most secretive countries in Asia.
The capital city, Ashgabat, means the city of love and boasts a number of bazaars selling fresh produce, carpets, and souvenirs. There are also a variety of museums showcasing art and artifacts dating back to the days of Soviet control and beyond.
Despite being surrounded by India, one of the world’s most populated nations, Bangladesh receives an incredibly low number of visitors every year. While there’s not a travel ban on the country, the Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends exercising increased caution in Bangladesh due to crime and terrorism.
There are endless examples of natural beauty to be found in Bangladesh, including the Sundarbans which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest mangrove swamp on the planet. In addition to the natural sites, you’ll also find historic palaces and forts to explore in Bangladesh.
It comes as no surprise that Afghanistan is one of the least-visited countries in Asia, and US citizens are currently warned not to travel to the country due to the fact that it is still considered a war zone. That said, Afghanistan contains a plethora of intriguing archeological sites and museums to see. It also boasts some of the world’s most beautiful and least-explored rugged landscapes.
Some determined tourists still visit Afghanistan, but the country is closed to tour groups until further notice. If the situation improves in the future, travelers will discover a world of beauty awaiting in Afghanistan.
Many inhabitants in Mongolia still follow a traditional nomadic lifestyle. A vast wilderness, Mongolia is like a gateway into the past and is truly unlike any other place on earth. In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, you’ll discover monasteries, museums, and a total sense of otherworldliness.
To really immerse yourself in Mongolian culture (and go way out of your comfort zone), try staying in a ger or yurt. In the countryside, many families open their nomadic homes to travelers, but there are also tourist ger camps where you can experience life in a yurt.