PICTURES: Introducing Lonely Planet’s BEST places to visit in Asia

Chiang Mai, Thailand - August 27, 2016:  Thai woman sales at the Saturday Night Market on August 27, 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Lonely Planet has unveiled its 2018 Best in Asia list showcasing the continents 10 best destinations to visit in the year ahead.

The list was curated by Lonely Planet’s in-house Asia experts who have named “eclectic” and “vibrant” Busan, South Korea, as the number one destination!

The jewelled architecture and ancient cities of Uzbekistan came in second place with Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, taking out third.

“Asia is such a vast and diverse continent for anyone dreaming of an escape,” Lonely Planet’s AsiaPacific Spokesperson Chris Zeiher said.

“Our experts have combed through thousands of recommendations to pick the best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.

“From Nagasaki in Japan to Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka this is a line-up to inspire a multitude of travellers – whether they’re based in Asia, or maybe they’ve already visited some of the region’s heavy-hitting destinations.”

1. Busan, South Korea

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 11.11.07 AM

“A stunning confluence of scenery, culture and cuisine…Busan packs an eclectic offering of activities to suit all travellers: hike hills to Buddhist temples, settle into sizzling hot springs and feast on seafood…at the country’s largest fish market.

Poised to steal the spotlight, Busan is East Asia’s Culture City for 2018 and will be at its most vibrant with…colourful events showcasing the country’s cultural heritage, from street art festivals to traditional dance shows.”

2. Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

“Change is afoot in a country that has remained largely closed off to the wider world due to tight control following the end of the Soviet era.

Uzbekistan has long held sway over travellers’ imaginations, with its dreamy mosaic-clad mosques and Silk Road lore…and in 2017 took huge strides in opening up to tourism, announcing visa-free and e-visa schemes, new air routes and extensions to its shiny high-speed rail line, making access to its arsenal of jewelled architecture and ancient cities easier than ever”.

3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

street view of Pham Ngu Lao street, Vietnam

“The southern supercity of Ho Chi Minh City somehow keeps getting cooler. Ageing apartment blocks are being colonised by vintage clothes stores and independent coffee shops, innovative breweries are fuelling one of the best craft beer scenes in Southeast Asia, and…eclectic venues are strengthening the local music scene.

Add in long-standing attractions The War Remnants Museum and a pioneering street food scene…and this buzzing Asian megalopolis is in no danger of going out of style”.

4. Western Ghats, India

Western Ghats mountains

“The Western Ghats offer…an atmospheric mirror to Shimla and Darjeeling, with added jungle appeal… coffee, tea and spice plantations, charmingly dated colonial outposts, thundering waterfalls, and a steam-powered mountain railway.

These rugged hills are Unesco listed as one of the top spots for biodiversity in the world, protecting the neelakurinji flower, which blooms only once every 12 years and will be painting the hills in purple livery from August to October 2018”.

5. Nagasaki, Japan

Nagasaki

“For most, Nagasaki is synonymous with the tragic atomic bombing of August 1945…but remarkably, the city has converted the catastrophe into a call for peace, exemplified by the tranquil Nagasaki Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum.

However, Nagasaki’s identity transcends one violent act…visit a new foreign-trade museum housed in Japan’s oldest church, or pass the verdant harbour towards the hiking routes that snake through the surrounding volcanic hills”.

6. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Saturday night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

“This former capital of the Lanna Kingdom feels plucked from the pages of history, where visitors browse stalls of antique jewellery…among archaic alleyways…yet despite this, a young, creative population has taken up residency in Chiang Mai bringing an exciting buzz…alongside majestic chedis (stupas) are cafés known for their latte art, mural-walled fusion cuisine restaurants and the newlyopened, award-winning MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum”.

7. Lumbini, Nepal

Lumbini prayer flags 1

“For decades, Lumbini was somewhere travellers flashed through en route from India to Nepal, unaware they had passed within yards of the birthplace of the historical Buddha.

Today, Lumbini is on the ascendancy…a new international airport is under construction offering a safer route into Nepal, and ever-more aweing temples are springing up”.

Despite these developments, “the town’s cardinal draw will remain its tranquillity”.

8. Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Fisherman in Arugam bay lagoon sunset, Sri Lanka

“This surf town on Sri Lanka’s east coast…has managed to retain its cool as holidaymakers swarm the rest of the country’s ancient citadels and hiker-strewn hill stations. Barefooted boarders sprawl outside vegan cafes…but if the turquoise swells can’t tug you in, Arugam has grown its onland offering with…beachside bars and makeshift music festivals; plus a handy proximity to Kumana National Park, home to leopards, elephants and crocodiles.

9. Sìchuān Province, China

Chinese traditional folk house

“Far-flung villages, towering skylines, giant pandas and fiery cuisine; Sìchuān Province is a microcosm of modern China…gain perspective surveying the Lè Shān Grand Buddha or climb Éméi Shān to absolve a lifetime’s sins…ride the first section of the Sìchuān-Tibet Railway to visit time-frozen Tibetan villages…or spot the mushrooming of luring brewpubs and boutique hotels in cosmopolitan Chéngdū.”

10. Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Indonesia

“New flight connections have made Komodo National Park more accessible than ever. Aside from laying eyes on the illustrious Komodo dragon, visitors to this cerulean-silhouetted archipelago can hike to hallowed viewpoints on Padar, sample laid-back beachside living on Kanawa and dive with a mindboggling array of marine life in the reefs.

A nature enthusiast’s nirvana”.

Latest News

  • News

Female entrepreneurs in tourism invited to enter the 2024 Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards

Entries have officially opened to the 2024 Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards – a prestigious and comprehensive programme that celebrates female small business owners from across the country. This year marks the third consecutive year of the Awards, which spotlight the achievements of some of the nation’s most inspiring women in small business. Including […]

  • Travel Agents

Roy Morgan names Flight Centre the most trusted travel agent brand in Australia

Flight Centre has been named the most trusted travel agent brand in Australia, according to a new Roy Morgan report. The leading research agency’s recent Roy Morgan Risk Report: Trust and Distrust Rankings of Industries and Brands in Australia (February 2024) compared a range of industries and within the travel and tourism sector, which included […]

  • Hotels
  • News

Minor Hotels’ Anantara group reimagines the brand as its portfolio surpasses 50 properties

Anantara Hotels & Resorts is marking a significant milestone with a reimagined brand identity as recent openings across Europe, Middle East and Asia have propelled the brand portfolio beyond 50 properties. Part of the Minor Hotels group, the Anantara visual refresh takes an elegant, pared-back approach that enables each hotel’s unique character to shine – […]

  • Tourism

Club Med Musandam is newest addition to the resort group and a first for the Middle East

Club Med has announced the newest addition to its Exclusive Collection portfolio with the opening of Club Med Musandam, the first Club Med resort in the Middle East. Set to be unveiled in 2028, the development of Club Med Musandam marks a significant investment milestone, surpassing the $100 million mark. A ground-breaking development as a […]

  • Luxury
  • Products

Louis Vuitton champions travel in campaign featuring Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Louis Vuitton has relaunched its iconic Core Values Campaign with a new chapter that sees tennis champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Shot by industry legend Annie Leibovitz, the campaign features the tennis icons summiting a mountain together in the Dolomites of Italy with the tagline ‘There are Journeys that turn into Legends’. Together, they […]

  • Aviation

Garuda and Singapore Airlines to offer reciprocal benefits to frequent flyers, plus explore revenue sharing arrangements

Garuda Indonesia and Singapore Airlines will deepen their commercial partnership and offer reciprocal benefits to their frequent flyer program members, plus explore revenue sharing arrangements for flights between Indonesia and Singapore, subject to regulatory approvals.  The frequent flyer program agreement was signed by Garuda Indonesia CEO Irfan Setiaputra and SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong in […]

  • Hotels

My Fiji announce an exclusive deal with new Crowne Plaza Fiji Nadi Bay Resort & Spa

My Fiji have announced an exclusive deal with the new Crowne Plaza Fiji Nadi Bay Resort & Spa, Fiji’s newest premium resort experience, offering exclusive packages for a limited time. Situated along the shores of Wailoaloa Beach, the resort offers 324 modern rooms, immersive amenities and world-renowned Fijian hospitality, Crowne Plaza Fiji Nadi Bay Resort […]

  • Cruise

Sydney Swans greats announced for Crown Princess cruise

Princess Cruises has partnered with the Sydney Swans to offer fans the first-ever AFL Member cruise aboard Crown Princess. This four-night voyage to Tasmania departs January 25, 2025 and guests will be able to immerse themselves in a once-in-a-lifetime Sydney Swans experience featuring special events and activities dedicated to fans. The cruise will feature Sydney […]

  • Destinations

Listening to whales, followed by Ales and Prawn Tails on the Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is preparing to welcome more than 40,000 humpback whales that are making their way up the Australian east coast on their annual migration. The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s premier whale tourism destinations, built on its long-established whale watching cruises and Sunreef’s pioneering Swim with Whales experience, which celebrates its 10th […]

  • Aviation
  • Travel Agents

Webjet relaunches partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale

Online travel agency Webjet has have relaunched their partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale, available until 2 June. To give customers a greater breadth of choice and price point, hundreds of new flight options to Aussie favourite destinations have been added, including Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok via AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Thai AirAsia […]