Urban Escapes: Where To Find The Cleanest Air In Asia
With many of the Asian cities ranking high on the list of the world’s most polluted places, it’s difficult to avoid pollution even while on holiday—but you’d be mistaken to think you need to travel far to find fresh air. To help you get a dose (or two) or crisp and clean air, we’ve rounded up five of the least polluted cities in Asia for your next urban getaway
Cape Grim, Tasmania
Located in northwest Tasmania is the Cape Grim Peninsula, a secluded coastline home to the cleanest air on the planet. In fact, the air arriving from the Southern Ocean—which gets naturally filtered and purified by wind currents—is so clean that it’s classified as “baseline” air to measure global climate change.
The best part? You can bring home with you a small piece of this paradise in the form of bottled crisp air taken straight from the cape, so you can breathe in the freshest air whenever you need it.
Although Japan’s metropolitan capital didn’t make the list, the country’s cultural capital, Kyoto, has long been a global leader in clean air initiatives.
Home to the Kyoto Protocol, the city is a tranquil destination where you can spend days exploring the tallest wooden pagoda in Japan, traditional bath houses and manicured Japanese gardens—not to mention the cherry blossoms in Spring which should be on every traveller’s radar.
When you picture the Maldives, beautiful islands with pristine white sand beaches surrounded by turquoise blue waters spring to mind. But did you know that the island has recently launched its first "National Action Plan on Air Pollutants" to reduce local air pollution?
As a low-lying island nation, the Maldives is particularly vulnerable to climate change and increases in sea-levels. By enforcing emission standards for road vehicles and the marine fleet, the Maldives is set to become a low-carbon country by 2030, ensuring clean air for its inhabitants and visitors.
Brunei, also known as “Abode of Peace”, has the second least polluted urban areas in the world after Australia, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
Tucked in a corner of the island of Burneo, Brunei in itself is a breath of fresh air. Just a short hop from Vietnam, Brunei is an unassuming country that offers long stretches of powdery white sand, some of the world’s oldest rainforests and a diversity of marine life, coupled with a welcoming Malay culture and stunning Islamic architecture that adds to its beauty.
Ulaanbaatar may have overtaken both New Delhi and Beijing as the capital with the highest air pollution levels on Earth, but outside of the coal-burning city, the landlocked country of Mongolia sprawls across vast grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts.
One of the least densely populated countries in the world, Mongolia has endless space filled with fresh air and epic silence. Spend a night glamping at one of the pristine wilderness sites in a Mongolian ger will give you the luxury of drifting to sleep while inhaling pollutant-free air under the starry sky.