Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel media company, has announced its inaugural Best in Asia list – an agenda-setting collection of the continent’s 10 best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.

“In compiling our Best in Asia 2016 list,” Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific Media Spokesperson Chris Zeiher says, “our Asia-expert authors have explored the continent’s most electrifying cities, trekked through steaming jungles and even swum in bountiful seas to seek out the spots you simply cannot afford to miss.”

“The result,” Chris says, “is a varied hit list of classic destinations offering a fresh twist for travellers, regions packed full of action, and edge-of-the-map places you may never have heard of.”

1. Hokkaidō, Japan

Mount Rishiri towers over a field of wildflowers off the coast of Hokkaidō, Japan.
Mount Rishiri towers over a field of wildflowers off the coast of Hokkaidō, Japan. 
© Seigo Yamamura/Aflo / Getty Images

“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. Hokkaidō has become a lot more accessible this year thanks to the new bullet train linking its southern port city, Hakodate, to Tokyo.”

2. Shànghǎi, China

The sun sets behind the iconic Shànghǎi skyline.
The sun sets behind the iconic Shànghǎi skyline.
© tonnaja.com / Getty Images

“Looking for the centre of the universe right now? It’s surely Shànghǎi. This year’s a big one, with the first Disney resort in mainland China opening here, as well as the completion of the long-awaited Shànghǎi Tower, the world’s second tallest building.”

3. Jeonju, South Korea

Jeonju Hanok Village is a time capsule of traditional architecture in the centre of the city.
Jeonju Hanok Village is a time capsule of traditional architecture in the centre of the city. © Kangheewan / Getty Images

“Having long flown under the radar as the country’s top foodie destination, Jeonju has finally started to make mouths water further afield. The birthplace of Korea’s most famous dish, bibimbap, now lures a younger crowd thanks to its fast-emerging street food scene.”

4. Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Sunrise paints the morning sky pink above the Con Dao Islands, Vietnam.
Sunrise paints the morning sky pink above the Con Dao Islands, Vietnam.
© Cao Tran Tho / Shutterstock

“This archipelago now ranks among Asia’s hottest emerging destinations. With improved flight connections from Ho Chi Minh City, there is no better place right now to feast on fresh seafood, explore in search of a perfect beach and revel in a castaway vibe.”

5. Hong Kong, China

A traditional Chinese junk sailing across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.
A traditional Chinese junk sailing across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.
© chinaface / Getty Images

“Hong Kong is focusing on its natural heritage – specifically, the UNESCO-designated geopark, a 50-sq km region to the northeast. A shuttle bus between the geopark’s Sai Kung town and its ancient rock formations debuted this May, hard on the heels of a ferry service to Lai Chi Wo Village.”

6. Ipoh, Malaysia

Window shutters in the charming old town district of Ipoh, Malaysia.
Window shutters in the charming old town district of Ipoh, Malaysia.
© coleong / Getty Images

“Malaysia’s lesser-known food capital has new flair thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that have sprung up in its historic quarter. At the heart of Ipoh’s renaissance is otherworldly concept hotel Sekeping Kong Heng.”

7. Pemuteran, Indonesia

A coral-covered Buddha statue off the coast of Pemuteran, Indonesia.
A coral-covered Buddha statue off the coast of Pemuteran, Indonesia.
© Tropical studio / Shutterstock

“A double bay of beaches near Menjangan … don’t wait until everybody arrives; catch the buzz now from this alluring mix of art-filled resorts, inventive new restaurants and the mellowest vibe around.”

8. Trang Islands, Thailand

Two longtail boats moored amid the dramatic limestone rock formations of the Trang Islands, Thailand.
Two longtail boats moored amid the dramatic limestone rock formations of the Trang Islands, Thailand. © Sunphol Sorakul / Getty Images

“Trang Islands pack the same knockout punch as their more famous Andaman Coast neighbours; all they lack are the crowds. Go, now – while these sleepy islands bask in untouched splendour.”

9. Meghalaya, India

A misty morning at Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji, Meghalaya.
A misty morning at Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji, Meghalaya.
© Mahesh / Getty Images

“Opportunities for hiking, climbing, caving and rafting abound. After decades off the tourist map, people are starting to notice this backwater. Meghalaya won’t stay this quiet for long; go before thrill seekers storm the Khāsi Hills.”

10. Taitung, Taiwan

The 'dragon' footbridge that connects Sansiantai Island to Taitung County.
The ‘dragon’ footbridge that connects Sansiantai Island to Taitung County.
© Anthony Ko / Getty Images

“Taitung is Taiwan’s secret wild card. This cradle of indigenous culture is the place to party after harvest with music festivals and sweet millet wine. Or take advantage of this rural county’s superb whale watching, stargazing and cycling.” Please note: Typhoon Nepartak has caused recent devastation; however Best in Asia is a collection of great places for the next 12 months and Taiwan has already begun the rebuilding efforts and will be welcoming travellers again soon.

 

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