Lonely Planet’s top Asian destinations to see in 2017
Global travel authority Lonely Planet has today revealed its 2017 Best in Asia list – an agenda-setting collection of the continent’s 10 best destinations to visit in the year ahead.
For this second-annual Best in Asia list, Lonely Planet’s in-house Asia experts have named “blissfully well-connected” yet “underrated and relatively crowd-free” Gansu, China as the number-one destination; while the urban scene South of Tokyo, Japan is in second place; and Northern Kerala, India, “emerging slowly like a butterfly from a chrysalis”, comes in at number three.
“Asia is such a vast and diverse continent for anyone dreaming of an escape,” Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific Media Spokesperson Chris Zeiher says. “Our experts have combed through thousands of recommendations to pick the best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.”
“From Astana in Kazakhstan, to Xi’an in China,” Chris says, “this is a line-up to inspire a multitude of travellers – whether they’re based in Asia, or maybe they’ve already visited some of the region’s heavy-hitting destinations.”
Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2017 is available online, with accompanying articles to each destination, at lonelyplanet.com/best-in-asia.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2017
1. Gansu, China
“Blissfully well-connected thanks to high-speed rail services and upgraded highways, and a new metro will ease traffic in provincial capital, Lanzhou, when it opens this year.
2. South of Tokyo, Japan
With Japan currently on many travellers’ bucket lists, “two cities south of Tokyo are well worth making time for. Yokohama is just a 20-minute train journey from the capital and packs considerable appeal with its bayside location, eclectic architecture, microbreweries and tasty cuisine.
3. Northern Kerala, India
“Northern Kerala has long been the underrated half of the state, concealing its backwater charms and emerging slowly like a butterfly from a chrysalis. 2017 marks India’s 70th year of independence and the opening of a new international airport in Kannur – Kerala’s largest – which will provide an easy introduction to the north.
4. Keong Saik Road, Singapore
“Once a crime-riddled red-light district, Keong Saik Road has reinvented itself to become the poster-child for hip ‘New Singapore’.
5. Astana, Kazakhstan
“From mid-June to mid-September 2017, Astana will host the World Expo on the subject of sustainable energy. And as of 2017, citizens of 45 countries may visit Kazakhstan without a visa for up to 30 days.
6. Takayama, Japan
“The time to treasure Takayama is now … Secluded in the mountainous Hida region of central Japan, Takayama is a place where Japanese history and tradition flourish in the 21st century.
7. Xi’an, China
“Xi’an’s diverse heritage is supreme, and then there’s the biggie: the Army of Terracotta Warriors, celebrating 30 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
8. Sri Lanka’s Hill Country
Sri Lanka may be “so hot right now”, but Lonely Planet recommends getting ahead of (and away from) the pack by taking “a scenic train to Sri Lanka’s idyllic Hill Country for a wonderfully temperate escape from the nation’s humid coasts.
9. Melaka City, Malaysia
“Boat rides along the meandering Melaka River are popular and soon water taxis will connect Melaka Sentral bus station with downtown.
10. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
“Packed with white-sand beaches, lush jungle and unusual mushroom-shaped islets, Raja Ampat is a biological hotspot.