While most of the world is still stuck inside its borders, summer is upon the northern hemisphere once again and the itch to go on vacation is growing stronger as the days get hotter. While you may not be able to go to your favourite Asian destinations this summer, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is coming to the rescue.
Today, we've gathered the best destinations of Asia and the Middle East that you can explore in the Microsoft Flight Simulator. We've got something for everyone, high rise buildings for the city boy, historic landmarks for the history nerd inside you and a few serene and natural spots to have a relaxing flight. You may find our list a wee different from your average summer vacation guide since you can only glide through the skies, so we've only included the places that look absolutely stunning from the skies.
The best way to explore these destinations is on a small and slow glider, something like an ICON A5 or a Flight Design CTSL. A slow plane will give you the most bang for your buck and allow you to go descend low and explore these destinations up close.
When we're talking about cities in Asia, you can't really kick off the conversation without mentioning Tokyo. Take off from the Narita International Airport situated right outside Tokyo city. When the sun sets, the city wakes up on the cusp of sky-high buildings lit with lights. The centre of the city is marked by a huge Tokyo tower that's lit up in different colours depending on the time of the year.
The Shanghai skyline is the home to a few of the tallest buildings in the world, including the second-highest building. the Shanghai World Financial Centre and the Shimao International Plaza have a menacing look as if they house posh bond villains. Flying among these tall high rise building on a clear day makes you feel like a badass.
If we're talking about Singapore, then we're talking about Marina Bay. While the rest of the popular Singapore sights aren't visible from the sky, Marina Bay looks head-on at you even in the skies. A ship in the sky is indeed a marvel. However, as much as Singapore is a metro city full of buildings kissing the skies, it's also a natural paradise. Fly a few miles south and you'll find yourself in the open seas while a few miles up north leads you to forests. Plus, let's not forget the renowned Changi Airport, though you won't see much of it from the runway.
I think Dubai may take the crown of the best city in the Microsoft Flight Simulator from me. Dubai usually has clear skies and sunny days. The cities best attractions including the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeriah and the World Islands are clearly visible from the sky. No other city on this list has its best attraction so clearly visible from the skies as Dubai.
The white marble mausoleum is crowned as one of the seven wonders of the world. The whole complex, complete with intricate stonework, is clearly visible from the open skies. The Yamuna river flowing behind the wonder and the densely packed city of Agra in front of the mausoleum makes up for an amazing contrast best viewed from up above.
Built on two continents, Istanbul is a wonderful city on its own. However, its crown jewel is the Hagia Sofia, sitting proudly near the Bosphorus bank of the European side. However, unlike the Taj Mahal, the Hagia Sofia is laid within a bustling city divided by the Bosphorus. On either side, you'll find a modern city full of high buildings and wide roads.
The Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world by land area, measuring 162.6 hectares, located in Cambodia. The temple was built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura, and today, it seems as if the clock has hardly ticked upon Angkor Wat. The temple is pristinely preserved in a forest and surrounded by a moat. Fly around the Angkor Wat complex and take up some history and nature at the same time.
Flying to the Pyramids of Giza in Microsoft Flight Simulator is like taking a dip into the history itself. As you may know, it is illegal and pretty much impossible, to climb on top of the Pyramids. So this your best chance of getting up close and personal with the pyramids like never before. On one side, you'll find the bustling and dense city of Cairo and on the other, you have a seemingly endless desert.
The Himalayas is a pretty vague entry since the mountain range is so big that it spans across 5 countries and 595,000 km² and it is inhibited by more than 50 million people, that's more than the population of Spain! While you can easily get lost in the Himalayan landscape, here are a few places you must visit:
- Mount Everest: The highest mountain in the world
- Lukla: A small mountain town with the world's most dangerous airport with a downward sloping landing strip.
- Spiti and Leh: Desert valleys in the greater Himalayas dotted with numerous lakes and rivers
Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi Islands were one of the most popular beach destinations in Asia prior to the lockdown. Originally a small fishing town, Phi Phi is now renowned for its clear waters, blue skies and lush green islands.
The iconic Mount Fuji is an active volcano that's just a few hours drive or a few minutes flight from Tokyo. The UNESCO world heritage site is considered to be one of the three Holy mountains of Japan and it's now commonly depicted as a cultural icon. While it's visible from as far as Tokyo on clear days, it's not even visible from nearby towns on a hazy or cloudy day, which speaking from experience, are most of the days. However, you won't have to worry about that when you whip out an ICON A5 and discover the top of Fuji-San.