Malaysians sure love to travel. And despite the depreciating currency and implementation of GST, it seems that where there is a will, there’s always a way to make that trip!

From exploring local destinations, Malaysians are moving towards previously underrated destinations. Search data from online accommodation booking website, Hotels.com, reveals that an interest in dining, diving and off-the-beaten-track destinations is what steers Malaysian travellers’ interest towards locations in Japan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Top of the list is Sapporo in Japan, with a phenomenal 677% increase in search activity among Malaysian travellers last year. Sapporo, which is Japan’s fourth largest city and birthplace of the miso-based soup ramen noodles which are especially popular in Malaysia, offers visitors a full 360 degree view of Japanese culture and cuisine, as well as easy access to the ski resorts across Hokkaido.

Sapporo.

Top in the list of most underrated destinations for Malaysian travellers is Sapporo, Japan. Photo: Hotels.com

In second place is Koh Lipe, an island off Thailand, with an impressive 620% leap in search volume among Malaysian travellers last year, Less commercialised than its big brothers Phuket and Koh Samui, the small island located in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago of the Andaman Sea, close to the Malaysian border, offers pristine waters perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling.

Third in the top 10 most underrated destinations is Indonesia’s Lombok, which is even less commercialised that Koh Lipe. It mushroomed by 448% in search activity among Malaysian travellers in 2015.

Other fast-growing off-the-beaten-track destinations include Pattaya, Thailand, in fourth place with a search volume increase of 309% and Hat Yai, Thailand, in fifth place with a search volume increase of 299%.

Lombok.

Lombok is one of the less commercialised destinations popular among Malaysian travellers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/David Stanley

Rounding up the Top 10 are Macau (232%), Phuket, Thailand (209%), perennial favourite Bali (182%), Busan, South Korea (148%) and surprisingly Jakarta (129%).

The data was based on comparisons between Malaysian travellers’ hotel stay searches on Hotels.com during the two year period. – Ming Teoh