Bangkok is no longer the world’s best city for travel and leisure in 2014 : Kyoto is, according to the readers votes gathered by the US magazine Travel & Leisure.
Kyoto, the ancient Japanese capital famed for its historical landmarks, was ranked the best city in the world for 2014 instead. Kyoto jumped four places from last year, unseating Bangkok from the top spot in the magazine’s 2014 World’s Best Awards list.
Cambodia’s Siem Reap which was not listed on the magazine’s top 10 best cities in the world last year was named the fourth best city.
Also in the poll of best cities for travel in Asia, Bangkok was also unseated by Kyoto to third place after Siem Reap.
Bangkok was rated the world’s best city last year for the fourth year in a row by the magazine’s readers.
The US magazine Travel & Leisure said the world’s best cities were rated by its readers on sights and landmarks; culture and arts; restaurants and food; people; and value.
Kyoto, renowned for its centuries-old temples and shrines, ranked ninth in 2012, becoming the first Japanese city to break into the magazine’s top 10. In the latest poll, it scored 90.21 points, followed by Charleston, South Carolina (90.18), Florence, Italy (89.99) and Siem Reap (89.82).
In 2013, Kyoto received a record 51.62 million tourists, according to the city. Kyoto hotels and inns accommodated 1.13 million foreign travelers, topping the 1 million threshold for the first time.
A city official said its promotion of “washoku”, or Japanese cuisine, and cultural traditions helps to draw in the tourists.
The 2014 survey gave scores to each city based on votes received from readers. Poll participants were asked to judge destinations on a variety of factors including culture, arts, food and value for money.
The rise of Luang Prabang
Readers of Wanderlust, a leading British travel magazine, have voted World Heritage listed LuangPrabang as one of the top two cities in the world to visit for 2014.
LuangPrabang ranked second after Bagan city in Myanmar while third place belonged to NgheAn in Vietnam, according to a report from LuangPrabang Provincial Department of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Some 95.71 percent of the readers nominated LuangPrabang as their favourite while 97.5 percent also voted for Bagan city in Myanmar and 94.33 percent voted for NgheAn in Vietnam.
However, Laos as a whole was the 10th top ranked country to visit for 2014 with 93.19 percent of the magazine readers voting for it.
Wanderlust readers previously ranked LuangPrabang as “best tourist destination” for three consecutive years from 2006-2008. In 2009 it fell but was still in the top 10 in the same category before again topping the list from 2010 to 2012. Last year, the city was not included on the list of the top 10 cities.
LuangPrabang is the former capital of the Lane Xang Kingdom, or the Land of a Million Elephants. The town is a cultural centre in the region, with its numerous temples paying testimony to its former glory. Its landmark attractions are its centuries-old Buddhist temples and monasteries, Kuang Xi waterfall, Phousy hill and Buddha cave, all of which are easily accessible.
Unesco declared the town a World Heritage Site in 1995 and since then tourist arrivals have risen with each passing year.