Where do you go when it seems like all the popular destinations have been covered? But then again have you explored every nook and cranny of even a popular destination fully?
Lonely Planet perhaps can answer that with the inaugural Best in Asia list. And Malaysians can take pride that a place that’s popular with the locals has made the list. Charming Ipoh makes it to No. 6! And this after being featured in Agoda.com’s fresh destinations for 2013.
So with a mix of many “best-kept secrets” and a couple of popular destinations here is Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2016.
1. Hokkaido, Japan
“Hokkaido’s perfect powder snow put it on the international map, but it has also blinded visitors to the year-round charms of Japan’s northernmost island. Hokkaido has become a lot more accessible this year thanks to the new bullet train linking its southern port city, Hakodate, to Tokyo.”
2. Shanghai, China
“Looking for the centre of the universe right now? It’s surely Shanghai. This year’s a big one, with the first Disney resort in mainland China opening here, as well as the completion of the long-awaited Shanghai Tower, the world’s second tallest building.”
3. Jeonju, South Korea
“Having long flown under the radar as the country’s top foodie destination, Jeonju has finally started to make mouths water further afield. The birthplace of Korea’s most famous dish, bibimbap, now lures a younger crowd thanks to its fast-emerging street food scene.”
4. Con Dao Islands, Vietnam
“This archipelago now ranks among Asia’s hottest emerging destinations. With improved flight connections from Ho Chi Minh City, there is no better place right now to feast on fresh seafood, explore in search of a perfect beach and revel in a castaway vibe.”
5. Hong Kong, China
“Hong Kong is focusing on its natural heritage – specifically, the Unesco-designated geopark, a 50 sq km region to the northeast. A shuttle bus between the geopark’s Sai Kung town and its ancient rock formations debuted this May, hard on the heels of a ferry service to Lai Chi Wo Village.”
6. Ipoh, Malaysia
“Malaysia’s lesser-known food capital has new flair thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that have sprung up in its historic quarter. At the heart of Ipoh’s renaissance is otherworldly concept hotel Sekeping Kong Heng.”
7. Pemuteran, Indonesia
“A double bay of beaches near Menjangan…don’t wait until everybody arrives; catch the buzz now from this alluring mix of art-filled resorts, inventive new restaurants and the mellowest vibe around.”
8. Trang Islands, Thailand
“Trang Islands pack the same knockout punch as their more famous Andaman Coast neighbours; all they lack are the crowds. Go, now – while these sleepy islands bask in untouched splendour.”
9. Meghalaya, India
“Opportunities for hiking, climbing, caving and rafting abound. After decades off the tourist map, people are starting to notice this backwater. Meghalaya won’t stay this quiet for long; go before thrill seekers storm the Khasi Hills.”
10. Taitung, Taiwan
“Taitung is Taiwan’s secret wild card. This cradle of indigenous culture is the place to party after harvest with music festivals and sweet millet wine. Or take advantage of this rural county’s superb whale watching, stargazing and cycling.” Please note: Typhoon Nepartak has caused recent devastation; however Taiwan has already begun the rebuilding efforts and will be welcoming travellers again soon.