Breathe in, breathe out: Destinations with the cleanest air in the world

Go on and treat yourself to some clean air. Source: Shutterstock

FOR years, organizations and environmentalists have been dishing out reports on destinations which have recorded the highest pollution levels.

It is not news that the Indian capital of New Delhi, Indonesia’s sprawling metropolis of Jakarta, and the smog-filled Chinese city of Beijing are among some of the most polluted places in the world.

In fact, in 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) report indicated that India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations. And a handful of other Asian cities are trailing not too far behind. So where can travelers go to escape pollution and give their lungs a break?

Online travel booking platform Agoda has released a list of holiday ideas based on countries with the best air quality. The suggestions were compiled based on a Yale University Air Quality Results report.

If escaping the hustle and bustle of the city to get a dose (or two) of crisp and fresh air is on your itinerary, these destinations in Asia-Pacific are a breath of fresh air:

Australia (Air Quality Results rank: 1)

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Australia is ranked as the cleanest air country in the world, according to Yale. Hobart, capital of the island state of Tasmania, is the cleanest among them. This small city, known to locals as Tassie, is set upon a gorgeous harbor flanked by hills and offering fresh seafood aplenty provides the ideal base to explore the state’s wilderness forests and secluded beaches.

On the mainland, Melbourne leads the way among the larger cities. Australia’s cultural capital boasts the country’s best shopping and an all-year events calendar that is the envy of the world. Guests are never short of things to do in the Victorian city – and its reputation as The Garden State, along with a Bayside location ensure that your lungs get some time off as well.

Brunei (Air Quality Results rank: 8)

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Tucked in a corner of Borneo, tiny Brunei was the highest rated PM2.5 nation in Asia and the oft-overlooked destination that is just a short hop from Vietnam for a quick getaway.

Branding itself as an “Abode of Peace”, the often misunderstood country offers an abundance of pretty beaches and lush jungles, wildlife uncommon to the rest of the region, delicious night markets, and some of the most stunning Islamic architecture in the world, sure to impress any visitor to the nation.

Japan (Air Quality Results rank: 27)

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It is no surprise that Japan is on this list. Home to the Kyoto Protocol on clean air, this destination should be on every traveler’s list looking to get some quality air in the region.

Make a stop at the Kyoto Protocol’s namesake city, where you can spend days exploring Shinto shrines and temples that date back millennia, Imperial palaces, traditional wooden houses, magnificently manicured gardens – it is a must visit for any traveler looking to explore the country’s rich heritage.