In pictures: These are the most visited Asian cities this year

Does the world’s most visited city in 2018 surprise you? Source: Shutterstock.

IT looks like cities, with its towering skyscrapers, shuffling of feet amidst the hustle and bustle, unmistakable buzz in the air, and bright lights by night are still firm favorites with travelers.

But which Asian cities are the most visited this year?

According to Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destination Cities Index, the vibrant Thai capital city of Bangkok is still the world’s most visited city, with over 20 million international overnight visitors.

Bangkok is followed closely by Dubai (15.79 million), and neighboring metropolises Singapore (13.91 million) and Kuala Lumpur (12.58 million).

“With roughly 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok remains in the top spot this year and is unlikely to be bested due to a strong projected growth of 9.6 percent for 2018,” Mastercard said.

“Interestingly, visitors tend to stay in Bangkok 4.7 nights and spend $173 per day, on average.”

And that is not the only Thai destination which made the list.

The lush holiday Phuket island is a newcomer with 9.29 million while the sunny resort city of Pattaya, the closest of Thailand’s major beach resorts to the capital city, welcomed 8.67 million international overnight visitors.

However, in terms of the amount visitors spend in the local economy, Dubai came out tops based on overnight spend – a whopping U$537 per day on average. Dubai is joined by Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and Phuket, Thailand.

Of the most visited cities, Istanbul comes in with the lowest spend per day at just $108 on average.

Here is the complete list of the most visited Asian cities in 2018:

Bangkok, Thailand (20.05 million)

Dubai, The United Arab Emirates (15.79 million)

Singapore (13.91 million)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (12.58 million)

Tokyo, Japan (11.93 million)

Istanbul, Turkey (10.7 million)

Seoul, South Korea (9.54 million)

Antalya, Turkey (9.42 million)

Phuket, Thailand (9.29 million)

Mecca, Saudi Arabia (9.18 million)

Hong Kong (9.03 million)

Pattaya, Thailand (8.67 million)

Osaka, Japan (8.42 million)

Bali, Indonesia (8.3 million)

The Mastercard Index, which expanded this year to look at global 162 cities, is not just a ranking of the top travel destinations.

Based on visitor volume and spend for the 2017 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2018 and – for the first time – a view into average length of stay and amount spent per day.