Every time Trip Advisor releases one of its famous Travelers’ Choice Awards lists, it shoots us straight into that dreamy state of longing for exploration – itching to discover all places new and exciting that wait for us ahead.
So while you count down the days, hours and minutes to vacation time, and without further ado, here are 2016’s best Asian destinations you should start planning on seeing soon:
6. Tokyo, Japan
It’s hard to find the right words to describe Tokyo, but don’t just take our word for it anyway: in 2014, millions of travelers ranked it first in the “Best overall experience” category of TripAdvisor’s World City Survey. They also ranked it first for “nightlife”, “shopping”, “helpfulness of locals”, “public transportation” and “cleanliness of streets”. Tokyo offers such a curious blend of tradition and pop culture – from serene walks beneath cherry blossom trees in the beautiful East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, to insane gaming in the arcades of Akihabara district. And oh – all that sushi!
Visit: Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo National Museum, Meiji Jingu Shrine
5. Hong Kong, China
Floating islands, skyscraper forests and a one-of-a-kind skyline. A food lover’s paradise on every corner – from traditional dim sum to molecular gastronomy. A mecca for fans of fashion shopping and glamorous club-goers. And when it’s time to slow down, there are the rocks and gentle hills of Nan Lian, the serene Buddhist complex of Chi Lin Nunnery, and the unparalleled views at the top of Victoria Peak offering inner peace and perspective.
Head to: Chi Lin Nunnery, Nan Lian Garden, Hong Kong Museum of History
4. Bangkok, Thailand
MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the second best global destination city by international visitor arrivals – and with good reason. As any self-respecting urban metropolis should, Bangkok has something to offer for everyone: endless shopping therapy in modern shopping venues or traditional floating markets, majestic temples and palaces and grandiose city life.
Must see: The Grand Palace, Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
3. Ubud, Indonesia
If calm and relaxation is your thing, then take the road to Ubud. It’s well-known for its Balinese massage and surrounded by views of unparalleled natural beauty which you can discover on foot. Trying any of its distinct firm massage treatments, acupressure, reflexology, stretching and aromatherapy is a must – it’s not called one of Asia’s top spa destinations for nothing. But there’s more to Ubud: a walk in its narrow streets reveals countless small museums and galleries, making it one of Bali’s major artistic and cultural centers.
Head to: Neka Art Museum, Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), Kecak Fire & Trance Dance
2. Hanoi, Vietnam
Sometimes dubbed as the “Paris of the East”, the 2nd largest and capital city of Vietnam is also one of its most significant cultural centers – priding on over 1000 years of history, over 600 temples and pagodas and the most monuments than any other city in the country. The well-preserved Old Quarter, monumental traditional and colonial architecture, and modern developments live side by side in this popular but also affordable tourist destination.
Don’t miss: Old Quarter, Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor What? Heaven on earth, that’s what. Home to one of the world’s largest and most magnificent ancient temple complex and the 12th century Angkor Thom royal city, Siem Reap has become a world class destination catering to all types of travelers. Discover the country’s rich national history at the Cambodian Cultural Village and get an authentic taste of the city’s life at the Angkor Night Market, a bonanza of shopping stalls, food vendors and bars.
Must see: Sunrise over Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, Angkor Archaeological Park
They say roads are there to be travelled – and that “if not now, when?”. So get your planning hat on and start designing your next travel experience. Things might not go exactly as planned, but being prepared can help you make the most of your trip and cope with eventual mishaps.
Take accident insurance, for example. EZTakaful plans offer worldwide coverage for a wide range of events, and at very little cost. EZCover plan even has an air-travel option which pays you up to RM 1,000,000.