Lonely Planet recently released its annual list of top destinations to visit around the world, including the top 10 destinations in Asia.
Hokkaido, Japan, topped the list for its “year-round charms” and China’s “Shanghai” was second to Hokkaido as “the centre of the universe”.
Take a look at the destinations and plan your next adventure.
On the list are:
1. Hokkaido, Japan. The island at Japan’s northern extremity is famous for volcano skiing and hot springs, but most of all, its year-round beauty.
Hokkaidō‘s perfect powder snow put it on the international map, but it has also blinded visitors to the year-round charms of Japan‘s northernmost island: a wild, mountainous landscape that begs exploration on foot, bike or motorbike; alpine villages where you’ll stumble upon hidden onsen; and sumptuous seafood – including crab, sea urchin and scallops – pulled from rich, cold seas.
2. Shanghai, China. Shanghai is a conjunction of fashion, culture and beautiful architecture. Lonely Planet said: “Looking for the centre of the universe right now? It’s surely Shanghai.”
Where it often seems as if all 24 million-odd residents are hell-bent on having a good time. So why not join them? Ballroom dancing in parks, sipping delicate brews in old teahouses, or bolting platefuls of vinegar-soaked dumplings.
3. Jeonju, South Korea. Jeonju, capital of North Jeolla Province, is the birthplace of Korea’s most famous dish, bibimbap. Lonely Planet said that Jeonju is “one of Korea’s best-preserved traditional villages with hundreds of wooden villas with gracefully upturned roofs housing an intriguing assortment of museums, teahouses and artisans’ workshops.”
4. Con Dao Islands, Vietnam. Isolated from the mainland, the Con Dao Islands can be hard to get to. But once you are there, you will find the Con Dao Islands to be a hidden gem in Vietnam.
5. Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong is a paradise for food and shopping. Lonely Planet also recognized Hong Kong for its focus on its natural heritage, specifically, the UNESCO-designated Geopark.
6. Ipoh, Malaysia. Ipoh is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Perak, and a gateway to the Cameron Highlands. Lonely Planet said: “Malaysia’s lesser-known food capital has new flair thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that have sprung up in its historic quarter.”
7. Pemuteran, Indonesia. Pemuteran is a laid-back beach destination for lovers of natural beauty. Lonely Planet said: “A double bay of beaches near Menjangan… don’t wait until everybody arrives though.”
8. Trang Islands, Thailand. Trang Islands offer some of Thailand’s best tropical weather, white beaches, great coral reefs and amazing marine life, which you could spend months exploring.
9. Meghalaya, India. Meghalaya, which means ’the abode of clouds’, is a beautiful state in the northeast of India. Lonely Planet said: “Opportunities for hiking, climbing, caving and rafting abound.”
10. Taitung, Taiwan, China. Taitung is a city that lies on the southeast coast of Taiwan and home to seven aboriginal ethnicities. Lonely Planet said: “Taitung is Taiwan’s secret wild card.”