IF you want to limit your travels next year to destinations in Asia we have good news for you. TripAdvisor has come up with the Top 10 destinations on the rise for Asia and some of them are practically at the doorsteps of Malaysians.
Yes Malaysia has three destinations in the Top 10, the only country with such a high number – with Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and George Town all making the list!
Kuching is at eight spot, KK at nine and George Town rounds it up at 10. The top destination for Asia is Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (also making it to five on the World’s list).
The awards recognise 43 destinations around the world selected by an algorithm primarily measured by year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller review ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, and increase in booking interest. This is the fifth year of the awards and Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise lists were also revealed for the United States, Europe and South America.
Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise – Asia:
1. Baku, Azerbaijan
Situated along the Caspian Sea, Baku is a heady mix of Asian and Western cultures, of the old and new, all of which is best reflected in the city’s sights and landmarks. Visitors can explore the famed medieval Old City Baku, hailed as a “must-visit”, which houses the Unesco-listed Shirvanshah’s Palace, and Maiden Tower. Admire the city’s contemporary buildings such as the Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the Flame Towers – a trio of skyscrapers covered with LEDs and displaying the mesmerising movement of a flame.
2. El Nido, Philippines
Known as the Philippines’ last frontier, El Nido in Palawan is perfect for travellers seeking peace and solitude. Visit the off-the-beaten-path Nacpan Beach, ranked as Asia’s second best beach in this year’s Travellers’ Choice awards.
3. Jodhpur, India
Jodhpur is a reflection of the royal lineage it has witnessed for centuries. Majestic forts and palaces, remnants of the glorious past, adorn the landscape of this popular tourist attraction. Travellers can also visit the impressive Mehrangarh Fort which is one of the oldest forts in India and “offers sweeping views of the Blue City”.
4. Da Lat, Vietnam
Situated 1,500m above sea level, Da Lat is also known as the City of Eternal Spring, offering cooling respite from Vietnam’s otherwise tropical climate. Marvel at French-inspired architecture and make a beeline for the Linh Phuoc Pagoda, an intricate structure with ceilings, walls and installations made from millions of pieces of broken glass, terracotta and beer bottles.
5. Jeju, South Korea
A popular honeymoon destination, there is plenty to do in beautiful Jeju, known for its fresh seafood and natural attractions. Hike through Hallasan National Park, a Unesco-listed site that is home to Hallasan Mountain, the highest peak in South Korea and famous for its vertical ecosystem of plants as a result of the varying temperatures along the mountainside.
6. Sapa, Vietnam
Set against a backdrop of towering mountains and undulating valleys, Sapa is located in north-west Vietnam and known for its trekking trails. Visitors can head to the Muong Hoa Valley for spectacular views of cascading rice terraces, peaks and forests and learn more about local culture as they make their way through hill tribe villages.
7. Hualien, Taiwan
Taiwan’s second largest city, travellers head to Hualien for its geological wonders of marble cliffs and waterfalls. A must-visit activity in Hualien is hiking through Taroko Gorge that offers breath-taking views of canyons, mountains and quaint local villages.
8. Kuching, Malaysia
A trip to Kuching is an enriching experience for any visitor, with the many museums and attractions which offer insights into the local heritage and traditions. Learn more about Sarawak’s main ethnic groups including the Iban, the Bidayuh and the Orang Ulu at the Sarawak Cultural Village, a living museum where staff live and work to preserve their heritage and cultural traditions.
9. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Lying on the northwest coast of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, a popular destination for nature lovers with its renowned national parks and marine life. Make an advance booking to take a speedboat to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a cluster of islands great for snorkelling and diving and referred to as “the real beauty of Sabah”.
10. George Town, Malaysia
George Town continues to draw tourists all-year round with its diverse history and delicious food. Take a glimpse at the customs and heritage of the Peranakan community at the award-winning and beautifully designed Pinang Peranakan Mansion, which has been recreated as a typical home of a rich Baba (Straits-born Chinese man).
When it comes to the world, San Jose del Cabo in Mexico tops them all. Besides Baku, El Nido (sixth) and Jodhpur(10) made it to that list too.