Hottest Travel Destinations in Asia in 2018 | UrbanJourney.com

Hottest Travel Destinations in Asia in 2018

Though Singapore’s diverse dining, entertainment, and nightlife scenes, keep us entertained year-round, when wanderlust hits, it hits big; you’ll regularly find us jetting off at any chance we get. And this year we have a few amazing Asian destinations on our list that aren’t your usual holiday breaks. Don’t get us wrong—we love a good beach vacay or city escape, but these places hit all the right notes for their unique vibes and offerings. From epic surf spots to pink cities in the desert, foodie havens, and end-of-the-world kind of feels, these are some of the coolest destinations to visit in Asia in 2018.

 

For an unspoiled tropical island paradise: Palawan, Philippines

Sun, sea, and sand seekers may flock to Thailand and Indonesia, but if you really want breathtaking beaches and turquoise lagoons all to yourself, Palawan is where it’s at. This Philippine province is made up of nearly 1,800 islands that have yet to be overrun by the masses. Stay in the capital of Puerto-Princesa for a day or two to explore the world’s longest underground river by canoe, then head to the smaller islands for a Robinson Crusoe-like stay on powdery white beaches surrounded by swaying palm trees, limestone karsts, and cerulean waters teeming with marine life.

 

When to go

November to May is the dry season and the waters are calmest from May to June.

 

Where to stay

Palawan’s most luxurious resort by far is Amanpulo, a gorgeous five-star property on the private island of Pamalican. Here you’ll find expansive villas and casitas spread out along the beachfront, perched on the hillside, and hidden away in the lofty treetop canopy. Also on offer are beautiful restaurants and a bamboo raft bar, a serene spa, and a fleet of boats available for exploring the surrounding islands. But if you’re looking for a more adventurous escape, you need to know about Tao; we’ve tried it and it rocks.

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Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Palawan, Philippines. +63 2 976 5200

 

For an off-the-beaten-path adventure: Mongolia

Mongolia’s remote location means it’s not easy to get to, but those who make the journey will be rewarded with vast blue skies, rugged mountains, and few travellers other than nomadic tribes who are quick to offer warm hospitality. At every turn expect spectacular scenery; from massive freshwater lakes in the north to grasslands in the east, the Altai mountains in the west, and the Gobi desert in the south. Jump on a horse or into a 4WD and follow the ancient routes of Genghis Khan across incredible landscapes where you may not see another tourist for weeks.

 

When to go

May to September is the warm summer season in Mongolia. July is a good time to visit if you want to experience Naadam festival, a week-long extravaganza of wrestling, horse racing, and archery.

 

Where to stay

Most travellers fly into the capital of Ulaanbaatar and stay for a day or two before setting off on adventures around Mongolia. If you want to stay in style, the Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar is a good bet. Each of the contemporary rooms offers beautiful views over the city, and there are excellent restaurants on site serving up Mongolian, Chinese, and international fare.

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Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. +976 7702 9999

 

For sublime surfing: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

Surfers in the know skip the crowded lineups in Bali and head for the swells in Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is located along the southwest coast and is one of the most popular spots on the island for consistent waves that are great for beginners and intermediate surfers alike. The mornings are the best time to hit the water, as the offshore winds create rolling breaks over the sandy reefs. Later in the day you can stroll along golden beaches, check out sea turtle nurseries, and enjoy cold drinks, fresh seafood, and excellent curries at one of the many restaurants and bars right on the beach.

 

When to go

The southwest coast of Sri Lanka gets the best surf between the months of November and April. This is also the dry season, so sunny days are almost always a given.

 

Where to stay

For location, service, and amenities, you can’t beat Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon. This beautiful beachfront property offers chic rooms, a huge freeform pool overlooking the gardens and ocean, an al fresco pool bar, and an array of restaurants serving some of the best food in town. Plus, you’re just steps from a sandy bay where you can paddle out to great swells.

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Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. +94 11 216 1161

 

For a foodie free-for-all: Osaka, Japan

Ask any Japanese person where to find the best food in Japan, and chances are they’ll proudly state their hometown, but push them a bit further and they’ll probably admit it’s Osaka. This is the birthplace of instant ramen, takoyaki, (deep-fried octopus balls), kushikatsu (deep fried meat and veggie skewers) and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes filled with seafood, meat, and veggies). Dotonburi is the main dining and nightlife district, and the best place to sample insanely good street food and hit up restaurants serving everything from sushi to shabu-shabu.

 

When to go

The temperatures in Osaka don’t go to extremes, but if you want mild weather that’s not too humid and not too cold, spring and Autumn are the best times to visit. Try to make it for the cherry blossom season between March and April when the streets come to life with pink blossoms and festivities.

 

Where to stay

Sleek, stylish, and offering some of the best views of Osaka from its walls of glass, the Conrad Osaka offers luxe living in the heart of the city. As you would expect from a five-star property, you have all the mod cons you could want at your fingertips, plus amenities like a heated indoor pool, 24-hour fitness centre, tranquil spa, three restaurants, and a slick lounge on the 40th floor.

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Conrad Osaka, 3 Chome-2-4 Nakanoshima, Kita, Osaka, Japan. +81 6 6222 0111

 

For superlative diving: Raja Ampat, Indonesia

The remote Raja Ampat archipelago consists of 1,500 islands that sit in the bottom half of the Coral Triangle, an area that has the highest recorded marine biodiversity on the planet. Raja Ampat’s mostly uninhabited islands are cloaked in jungle and fringed with brilliant white sandy beaches, but it’s the underwater world that draws visitors from around the globe. The dive sites are absolutely incredible with vibrant coral gardens, over 1,500 species of fish, underwater caves, and fascinating wrecks.

 

When to go

The seas around Raja Ampat are calmest and clearest from October to April. July to September sees heavy winds and rain, but the shoulder seasons are fine for diving and a good time to avoid the crowds.

 

Where to stay

Surrounded by the Misool Marine Reserve and boasting a range of cottages and villas on stilts over the water or next to the beach, Misool Eco Resort is a prime base to explore the underwater wonders of Raja Ampat. Plus, with space for just 40 guests, it’s easy to find plenty of peace and privacy. Divers are well taken care of with a house reef just off the jetty and plenty of opportunities to dive further afield. Even better, a portion of your stay goes towards conservation initiatives.

 

Misool Eco Resort, Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. +65 0813 5406 0519

 

For colourful culture: Jaipur, India=

Nicknamed the ‘Pink City’ for it’s unique sandstone-hued buildings, Jaipur is actually a riot of colours and culture, both ancient and modern. This is the capital city of Rajasthan state and a heady mix of magnificent palaces and forts, bustling bazaars, and sacred temples. Visit Amber Fort Palace and marvel at the glittering Hall of Mirrors, explore the sprawling courtyards of the City Palace, and take a trip to Jal Mahal, a palace that seems to float on the surface of a lake. If you’re lucky, you may just find yourself in the midst of one of Jaipur’s fantastic festivals.

 

When to go

Jaipur has a dry desert-like climate that can get quite hot in the summer. The best time to visit is between November and March when the days are usually clear and temperatures hover around a pleasant 25-degrees celsius.

 

Where to stay

Relax like a royal at the Rambagh Palace, an exquisite heritage hotel that was once the residence and hunting lodge of the maharajah of Jaipur. Sheer opulence would be one way to describe this grand hotel with huge rooms decked out in antiques, lush lawns replete with primping peacocks, indoor and outdoor pools, and a stunning dining room with frescoed ceilings and plush carpets.

 

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India. +91 141 238 5700.







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