The desire to travel the world and discover new cultures is something that many of us strive to do and the ability to do this does not always need to be restricted to individuals without physical limitations.
Having a disability does not necessarily have to preclude an individual from visiting some of the most amazing places in the world and experiencing everything they have to offer.
With careful planning and by following accessible travel advice from sources such as government websites and useful blog posts, individuals with a disability can make their travel dreams become reality.
While some places may be logistically more difficult to get to and explore than others, more and more popular destinations are becoming increasingly accessible for those with physical disabilities such as paralysis.
Below are 5 cities in Asia which have been cited as being accessible.
The Chinese territory of Hong Kong prides itself on being barrier-free and offering accessibility to all. From first arriving at the airport, visitors will be greeted with incredibly accessible facilities and plenty of readily available public assistance should you need it. Tourists exploring Hong Kong will find that public transport options are plentiful and suitable for visitors with disabilities.
Some of the most famous attractions in the region including Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbour and the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car all offer wheelchair access, while theme parks such as Hong Kong Disneyland cater for visitors with mobility, cognitive, visual and hearing limitations.
Hong Kong is also home to some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world. Within the main tourist hot spots there are hundreds of hotels to choose from that offer ground floor rooms for wheelchair users, as well additional assistance for guests that are visually or audibly impaired.
Shanghai is a vibrant and fascinating city that has a huge number of attractions for visitors to enjoy. The public transport system in the city is largely accessible, but it is by no means perfect for wheelchair users. Individuals choosing to take the popular Maglev train from the airport to the city limits, for example, will need to inform the station staff of their need for access to both the elevator and a ramp before being will able to board the fastest train in the world.
Within the city, the People’s Square and Park, the surrounding shopping areas, the Shanghai Museum and the Jin Mao Tower and viewing platforms are all accessible for visitors in wheelchairs as well as those with cognitive, vision and hearing limitations. Other attractions like the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Yu Yuan Garden will require some careful planning and assistance on arrival.
As with all modern Asian cities, there are plenty of different types of accommodation to choose from in Shanghai and many of them feature accessible facilities.
Seoul is a fast-paced, beautiful city, and one that has been the subject of extensive modernisation and expansion in recent years. These changes include great improvements to the subway system, airport and public transportation system to ensure they are all more accessible for visitors and locals with disabilities.
Popular attractions like the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Jogyesa Temple and the National Folk Museum of Korea all have accessible areas for visitors in wheelchairs. The Korean theme park called Everland offers rides, shows and even a zoo that have been designed to accommodate all visitors who wish to experience them (although some the rides are not suitable for wheelchair users).
The Japanese capital is one the most accessible cities in the world. Airports and public transportation systems are extremely advanced and thoughtfully designed to accommodate the needs of visitors who may have a disability.
However, Tokyo is a very crowded city and as a result, most locals in need of a wheelchair opt to use smaller, manual chairs with an optional joystick, as larger, fully powered wheelchairs may often be too big and cumbersome for the city streets.
Most popular attractions across the city are accessible, including many the more traditional points of interest such as historic temples and cultural buildings.
Singapore is a fascinating city that strives to cater to the needs of all of its visitors. Public transport and many of the public buildings offer accessible facilities including ramps, wheelchair accessible carriages, braille plates and tactile guidance systems.
Popular attractions such as the Adventure Cove Waterpark, the National Gallery and the National Museum of Singapore, among others, are incredibly accessible and can be enjoyed by everyone.
Singapore is home to some of the best and most expensive hotels in the world and in general this is not a cheap city to visit. However, the likes of the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel are not the only places available to stay at which have features in place designed to accommodate visitors with disabilities. There are plenty of more budget-friendly options to consider that will provide just as much in terms of accessible facilities.