Vending machines are commonplace in Tokyo (photo: Dominic Blewett/Alamy)

Modernist Side Trips in Top Asian Destinations

By AMA Staff

So you’ve explored Bangkok, Thailand‘s ancient wonders, modern mega-malls and local-favourite things to do. Now check out a few contemporary attractions in capitals elsewhere in Asia.

In Japan’s bustling capital, history lives harmoniously with cutting-edge technology.

Battling Bots: Nowhere else in the world will you find a spectacle like Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant. Order a drink and wait for laser fights and dramatic battles during the cabaret show of electronic sharks and mechanical moths.

Rise up: More than 634 metres high, Tokyo SkyTree dominates the neon cityscape. A radio and observation tower, it’s also the second-tallest structure in the world. But size isn’t the only thing that matters: The latticed facade houses state-of-the-art earthquake safety technology and multi-hued light shows.

Insert coins: Japan boasts the highest concentration of vending machines in the world—about one for every 23 people. And you’ll find more than Kit Kats and Dr. Pepper. The automated vendors dole out virtually any food imaginable, from sushi to sake to fresh eggs, plus items like neckties and umbrellas.

The 65th-floor view from Hanoi’s Lotte Tower (photo: Bob Henry/Alamy)

Vietnam’s bustling capital houses ancient shrines and avant-garde spectacles alike. Keep an eye on the past Here while cruising toward the future.

Mighty mural: You can’t miss the colourful murals lining the Red River Dike. Nearly four kilometres long, the Hanoi Ceramic Road mosaic was completed in 2010 to mark Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday. The mural of geometric patterns and historic scenes is said to be the world’s largest ceramic mosaic.

A new woman: The thoughtfully curated Vietnamese Women’s Museum showcases female contributions to society and culture. The contemporary exhibits combine costumes, propaganda posters and artwork to demonstrate women’s efforts during periods of war and peace.

View from the top: For the best view of the city, head to the 65th floor of the Lotte Tower. Opened in 2014 in the bustling Ba Dinh district, the observation deck offers a panoramic view of Hanoi’s Old Quarter alongside the city’s soaring skyscrapers. Raise a toast at Top of Hanoi, the rooftop bar.

Modernist cuisine at Dewakan (photo: Dewakan)

Like Bangkok, diversity is key in Malaysia’s capital. citizens of Malay, Chinese and Indian descent mix with visitors and expats from around the world, while street markets mingle with skyscrapers.

Modern mecca: For contemporary art lovers, there’s no better place in town than the ILHAM Gallery. Occupying levels three and five of the 60-storey IB Tower, the gallery is home to South Asia’s first permanent sculpture display by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

Shop hop: Kuala Lampur has become one of Asia’s premier luxury shopping destinations. Peruse the seven-storey Pavilion shopping mall and its 450-plus stores. Near the iconic Petronas Towers, pop into Suria KLCC, which houses Alexander McQueen, Dior and Chanel.

Futuristic fare: Street food is king here. But for something a bit more refined, book a table at Dewakan. Chef Darren Teoh specializes in molecular gastronomy, and serves high-tech cuisine via five- or 10-course tasting menus.

Whether your interest lies in ancient temples or cutting-edge dining rooms, AMA Travel counsellors can help you arrange for flights, accommodations, adventures and more throughout Asia. Visit or call a travel expert at 1-844-771-1522 to learn how you can make your bucket-list dreams a reality.