THE secret’s out on the Asia-Pacific region’s appeal as a travel destination, with eight cities from Asia, Australia and New Zealand making TripAdvisor’s list of the 25 best destinations in the world. Anyone who has visited these metropolises will easily understand why they ranked on this list, as each offers unique culture, style, food, and nightlife and each makes for a memorable visit.
Here is a look at the Asia-Pacific cities that made the cut.
Arguably Australia’s most famous city, Sydney came in at number 10 on the list, edging out cities such as Chicago, Berlin and Istanbul to make the top 10. It’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t enjoy Sydney, especially as Australia is a dream destination for many a Western traveler. From the Sydney Opera House to King Street Wharf to Sydney Harbour to the city’s many museums and galleries, there is plenty to keep you busy and plenty of reasons to love this place.
Also fairly high on the list at number 13, Bangkok well deserves its place. Though it is well-known for its ping-pong shows and wild nightlife, the Thai capital has so much more to offer. A visit to Bangkok is not complete without spending a few hours wandering the ground of the sprawling Grand Palace, a magnificent compound that is still the sight of many royal events and ceremonies. Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha, is also worth seeing. And then of course there is all the delicious, cheap street food you’ll find all over the city.
Tokyo ranked number 15 on the list, and it’s easy to see why Japan’s premier city is considered one of the best destinations in the world. This is a city that seamlessly blends Japanese culture and history, modernity, high fashion and a certain taste and elegance that weaves through life in this city. In comparison with the chaos of many other Asian urban centers, the order and beauty of Tokyo is a breath of fresh air.
Beijing, ranked at number 21, is about as far from Tokyo as you can get in terms of atmosphere. Beijing is hectic, chaotic, unruly – and a lot of fun. Not only can you see famous sights such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City, to name a few, but you’ll get to see a globally significiant city growing and developing before your eyes.
The atmosphere in Shanghai, which came in just behind Beijing at number 22, is also quite different to Beijing – it has a cosmopolitan flair, with clear European influences but still retains its distinct identity as a Chinese city. Head up to the bar at the top of the Jinmao Tower and have a cocktail while overlooking this massive city and wander the Bund for an authentic taste of Shanghai.
The number one reason to visit Siem Reap – number 23 on TripAdvisor’s list – is to marvel at the wonder of Angkor Wat. The popular move is to visit it at sunrise, though that might be a slightly less than serene experience as you navigate your way around tour groups. If you can find a spot where you can enjoy it quietly, though, this will be a truly memorable experience.
Thailand’s major northern city came in at 24 on the list, and is a delight for travelers from all walks of life. Whether you want to volunteer with elephants or hill tribe communities, go on a meditation retreat, learn to cook or just chill out and eat good food, Chiang Mai is your city. It is surrounded by great spots for day trips to nearby lakes, waterfalls and a quarry that is popular for swimming.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Rounding out the list is Queenstown, which fans of the Lord of the Rings films will recognize, as much of the trilogy was shot near here. Even those who are not LOTR enthusiasts will find plenty of reasons to enjoy Queenstown – the area is so beautiful you could spend your entire visit simply admiring your surroundings and it would be well worth it. But if you are keen to be a bit more active than that, you can go horse rising, kayaking, hiking and sky diving, to name but a few of the adventures that await you in Queenstown.