AUSTRALIA'S love affair with Asia continues to grow thanks to its beautiful beaches, plethora of cheap flights and the strong dollar, but we are increasingly looking for alternatives beyond the traditional hot spots.
Indonesia particularly Bali is still the No.1 destination for Australians heading to the region, followed by Thailand and China.
Australians have made almost 900,000 trips to Indonesia during the past year, latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) research shows.
But places such as the Philippines, India and Singapore are growing in popularity.
There was a 19 per cent rise in trips to the Philippines in the past year, 15 per cent rise to India and 8 per cent rise to Singapore, according to ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departure figures.
While Japan is a favourite for skiers and snowboarders, the country has taken a big hit after last March's earthquake and tsunami.
Trips by Australians fell by nearly 30 per cent over the past year.
Demand for travel to Myanmar is also booming following the easing of travel restrictions, with many Australian travel companies reintroducing tours there this year.
Asia travel specialist Travel Indochina has added three extra guaranteed small-group trips to its 2012 schedule.
"The increase in tourism is a double-edge sword in some respects, as the country comes to grips with demand that is far outstripping supply," Travel Indochina's managing director Paul Hole says.
Hole says Australians are adventurous travellers and love to discover the food, culture and history in Asia.
"We like to go places that are different to our normal day-to-day experiences," he says.
"Whether watching the sunrise over the ancient temples in Bagan (Myanmar), witnessing the monks collecting morning alms in Luang Prabang (Laos) or taking a cyclo ride in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Asia provides a sense of being outside our daily experiences.
"We love the food, which has been integrated into our own cuisine and palette, and we also share an affinity with the outdoor lifestyle within South-East and North Asia, and a connection with the sea.
"Despite the fact there are a lot of practical reasons for the popularity of travelling to Asia, including the value for money and the number of airlines that service the region, the reality is that beyond that Australians and Asians have a fundamental value in common hospitality and a love of making people feel welcome."
Wendy Wu Tours marketing manager Amanda Bruno says Asia is close and accessible and great value for money.
But she says people are increasingly looking for something beyond the Bali or Thailand beach holiday.
"People can get a cultural experience and immerse themselves with the locals and see fantastic structures such as the Great Wall of China,'' Bruno says.
"They can also try different cuisine.
"It's the ultimate combination of things that we look for in a holiday."
Top 10 Asian destinations for Aussie travellers
6. Hong Kong