Haven’t a clue where to go on vacation in 2016? These 10 destinations are becoming popular holiday destinations among Malaysians, according to Skyscanner’s data from the past three years.
1. Kalibo, Philippines (up 156%)
Boracay may be known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but the city you land in to get to Boracay, Kalibo, is worthy of a night or two of your time. Check out Kalibo during Ati-Atihan, a festival that has remained truly Filipino. Be a part of the festival by dancing your vacationing hearts out with the performers instead of just watching on the sidelines. Originally a pagan animist festival that the Spaniards adapted, you can hop on over to the glistening beaches of Boracay once the festivities are over for some R&R. Be sure to visit Boracay’s D’Talipapa Seafood Market for dinner one night – you get to pick your seafood from the market, and have the restaurants prepare it just the way you like it.
2. Mataram, Lombok, Indonesia (up 57%)
The city of Mataram, located on the west of Lombok Island, is the capital and largest city in the West Nusa Tenggara Province. While millions bask on the beaches of Bali every year, many spots in Lombok, like Mataram, are untouched. Lombok offers an idyllic getaway for many – with vast, often isolated beaches, friendly locals, amazing food and an abundance of flora and fauna. While you’re relaxing in the city, don’t forget to make a trip to Pantai Mawun, or Tanjung Aan, both of which are beautiful beaches with azure waters of the sort that you see on postcards.
3. Sapporo, Japan (up 46%)
You know Sapporo for its beer, but have you ever considered a vacation to the gorgeous city? Besides beer, the city is also known for skiing and an annual snow festival that features life-sized ice sculptures. Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan, and also one of the youngest. In 1857, there were only 7 inhabitants in the city. The city made its mark on the world map for hosting the winter Olympics in 1972, and boasts modern infrastructure and incredible seafood. You’ll definitely want to feast on crabs here!
4. Kota Baru, Kelantan, Malaysia (up 44%)
Lots of travellers pass through Kota Baru to make their way to Perhentian Islands, but stop for a night or two and you’ll find museums, delicious foods and unique traditional architecture in the city. Definitely worth a visit is Pasar Besar, a colourful and active daily market, housed in an octagonal building that sells everything from fresh foods to handicrafts and clothing. For the history buffs, you’ll be delighted by the range of museums you’ll find here, including Muzium Kraftangan, a handicrafts museum, Muzium Negeri, the state museum, and Memorial Peperangan Dunia Ke II, the World War II Memorial.
5. Ipoh (up 41%)
Ipoh makes a great weekend getaway because it’s chock full of activities to keep everyone in the family occupied. Adventures you could have here include exploring caves like Gua Tempurung, indulging the kid in you at the Lost World water park, checking out the Ipoh Mangrove Reserve and learning about the rich heritage of the city. Be sure to visit the abandoned Kellie’s Castle, just 20 minutes’ drive away from the city! Plus, there’s Ipoh Hor Fun. It’s no wonder Ipoh is becoming increasingly popular for holidays.
6. Tokyo, Japan (up 37%)
Like New York or London, Tokyo doesn’t need an introduction. Tokyo is a city that manages to fuse, and perfectly pull off traditional and ultramodern lifestyles in one. You’ll find everything for any kind of traveller, but especially so if you’re a foodie – book a ticket and your palate will make it hard for you to return. You’ll be spoilt with the seafood markets, the plethora of hole-in-the-wall bars, Michelin Star restaurants that have six-month wait lists, and more. You might gain some weight (without any regrets), but you’ll return with a full heart as well.
7. Krabi, Thailand (up 36%)
It’s hard not to love Krabi, with its delicious food, sprawling beaches, resorts for all sorts of budgets and activities for any kind of traveller. The beautiful island on the Andaman Sea is where you’ll be able to plant yourself on a beach chair and thoroughly relax on this island paradise. Take a quick boat ride to the scenic Phi Phi islands, and be sure to visit the beaches and caves of Railay as well!
8. Alor Setar (up 35%)
Located on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Alor Setar is the state capital of Kedah and has heaps to offer tourists. If you’re a culture vulture, check out Wat Nikrodharam, an impressive Buddhist temple complex located in the middle of the city centre which has been built in the style of Thai temple architecture, featuring stunning gilded roofs and colourful mosaic walls. Be sure to take in the city’s other icons like the birthplace of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, and Zahir State Mosque, the grandest and oldest mosque in Malaysia.
9. Penang (up 30%)
Good food, a super-hip art scene and an amazing example of old-meets-new, Penang has long been a vacation favourite amongst all holiday-makers. Not only will you be treated to a myriad of street food that’s unique to Penang like the famous Nasi Kandar, you’ll also have a cultural experience like no other, seeing how George Town is now a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site, with well-preserved heritage buildings that you’ll want to spend hours photographing.
10. Osaka (up 28%)
A city bustling with crazy nightlife and delicious street food, Osaka is perfect for night owls. More than just that though, Osaka has plenty in store for travellers – museums for history geeks, gastronomical adventures for foodies, copious amounts of shopping and even beautiful parks to relax in and watch the world go by.