ASIA’S NEXT HOTSPOTS
These destinations are soon to be on everyone’s lips, writes Elizabeth Sleith
Lonely Planet recently named its best in Asia for 2018 — that is, “the destinations you should see now” — and the city on top may just be one you’ve never heard of. Busan is South Korea’s secondlargest city after Seoul — but now it’s the travel guide’s top pick for its delicious seafood, stunning beaches and historic temples. About 2.5-hours from Seoul, Busan has also been named East Asia Culture City for 2018. Therefore, says Lonely Planet, it “will be at its most vibrant this year with a medley of colourful events showcasing the country’s cultural heritage, from street-art festivals to traditional dance shows”. A good time to go.
Second on the list is an entire country — Uzbekistan, lauded for its “dreamy mosaicclad mosques and Silk Road lore”.
While the country has for a long time been difficult for travellers to access, part of its selection now has to do with its opening up to tourism with new visa-free and e-visa schemes and air routes. Whereas would-be visitors once had to apply in person at an embassy, as of today, travellers can apply for a single-entry, 30-day visa online (see http://evisa.mfa.uz).
The rest of the top 10 is a mix of old favourites and new hotspots: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Western Ghats, India; Nagasaki, Japan; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Lumbini, Nepal; Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka; Sìchuan Province, China; and the Komodo National Park in Indonesia.
SOULFUL Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan was built in 1376.