The Top 10 Asian Coast Drives - Page 2
|Nha Trang beach drive, Vietnam (David Buffington/Photographer’s Choice/Getty Images)|
East Coast Peninsular Trunk Road, Malaysia
Penetrating luxuriant forests, Hwy. 3 links a string of small towns and photogenic fishing villages. It leads from Johor Bahru, on the border with Singapore, inland to the developed fishing village of Mersing. It then follows the east coast north to Kuantan, the peninsula's largest city, via the quiet beach resorts of Kuala Rompin and Lanjut.
PLANNING: Hwy. 3 is part of the older of the two main roads between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. www.tourism.gov.my
Bondalem-Ujung, Bali, Indonesia
Almost untouched by tourism, this coastal route traverses parts of southeast Bali, where fishing remains the breadwinner. The road's most dramatic stretch is the narrow and twisting final leg from Amed to Ujung, overshadowed by the twin peaks of Seraya and the temple-topped Lempuyang.
PLANNING: The marine reserve around Tulamben has a diverse underwater ecosystem and the wreck of the U.S.S. Liberty. www.balitourismboard.org
A15, Sri Lanka
Opened in 2010, this 82-mile (132 km) highway between Trincomalee and Batticaloa on Sri Lanka's glorious east coast is bliss to drive. Rebuilt with international aid after the 2004 tsunami, a technical and scenic highlight is the 820-foot (250 m) long, 34-foot (10.5 m) wide bridge across the Oddamavadi lagoon.
PLANNING: The May–September dry season is the best time to visit the east coast. www.srilankatourism.org
Northeast Loop Drive, Phuket, Thailand
Passing small fishing villages and awash with intoxicating viewpoints over the islands of Phang Nga Bay, this little-known loop road is among Thailand's finest drives.
PLANNING: The usual access route runs north-northeast from the Heroines' Monument just south of Tha Lang. www.phukettourist.com
This 115-mile (184 km) Mediterranean coast drive is as much history lesson as visual treat. Starting in Beirut, it heads north through the seaside resort of Jounieh, then Byblos, which probably dates back to around 5000 B.C. Other highlights are the Crusader-era castle and old town of Tripoli and the fortified 12th-century cathedral at Tartus. The road winds up in Lattakia, Syria's cosmopolitan main port, famed for its effervescent café society.
PLANNING: If you need a Syrian visa, it's best to apply for one in your country of residence. www.syriatourism.org, www.lebanon-tourism.gov.lb
Reproduced with permission from Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips, 2010, National Geographic. All rights