Asia is the ultimate destination for on-the-go backpackers looking to experience a plethora of unique cultures. These backpackers typically have complete function of both legs, but this is not the case for everyone. For this reason, cities all throughout the Asian continent are making efforts to cater to wheelchair users from around the world. Even booking agencies like Bookaway are beginning to offer more wheelchair accessible transportation methods.
This means that it’s possible to experience all that Asia has to offer, even when confined to a wheelchair. Unfortunately, not every destination in Southeast Asia is wheelchair accessible, but there are plenty of places to keep wheelchair users busy. Don’t let the fact that you need four wheels instead of two legs to get around stop you from exploring the world.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong, also referred to as Asia’s World City, is one of the most densely populated metropolises in the world. Hong Kong has a lot going for it, including the fact that it is extremely accessible to those with disabilities. This is extremely shocking to some travelers since the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong is like nowhere else in the world.
Even with all the crazy goings on throughout HK, the Chinese government has done an amazing job accommodating individuals in wheelchairs. The international airport ranks high in terms of accessibility compared to other major airports in Asia. For some countries, though, the accessibility stops right there.
In Hong Kong, this is not the case and accessible transportation and sightseeing opportunities are always available. Some of the top-rated tourist attractions accommodating for wheelchairs include Victoria Peak, Star Ferry, Symphony of Lights and Avenue of Stars, and the Ngong Ping 360-degree cable car overlooking the famous Big Buddha statue.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur is most well-known for the massive Petronas Twin Towers. For those of you who are confined to a wheelchair, visiting the towers is entirely possible. In fact, the Malay government has made it a point to make this attraction one of the most accessible spots for wheelchair users in the city.
Of course it is possible to find wheelchair accessible hotel rooms and public transportation. The more difficult aspect of wheelchairing is having the luxury to visit the same sites as able-bodied individuals. In KL, this won’t be a problem. In addition to visiting the Petronas Towers, wheelchair users have plenty of options for sightseeing.
The tour through the Petronas Twin Towers provides everything from accessible bathrooms to a wheelchair friendly walkway leading to the connecting mall. Other accessible sites to add to the itinerary include KL City Center Park, Aquaria, Kuala Lumpur Tower, and Merdeka Square. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of the I Heart KL sign; it’s extremely touristy but still a must-see attraction while in KL.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is the largest city of South Korea, which makes sense since it is also the official capital of the country. It is known for its innovative technology and high-techniness that give it a futuristic vibe. This futurism is especially true with a trip to Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which is 100% wheelchair accessible.
In addition to making a trip to Dongdaemun, wheelchair users should consider adding a ride on Namsan Cable Car to the top of the Seoul Tower. After that, head to the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace.This impressive palace was constructed in the 1300s and has consistently ranked as the top attraction in Seoul for decades.
After rolling through the palace, the sightseeing is still not over. A few more wheelchair accessible attractions throughout the city include the War Memorial of Korea and the National Museum of Korea for history lovers, Seoul World Cup Stadium for sports fans, and Cheonggyecheon Stream for engineering fanatics.
A common misconception about Thailand’s capital city is that it only caters to able-bodied travelers. This is not the case, in fact it is far from the truth. The majority of Bangkok’s top attractions cater to everyone, including travelers and locals needing wheelchairs to get around.
The reason for this misconception is probably due to the fact that many of the famous temples of Bangkok have tons of steps leading to the top. However, there are wheelchair accessible entrances that serve as alternatives to stairs. So try not to let the sight of the many stairs leading up to Wat Traimit keep you from experiencing this temple as well as others.