Photography: travel 3Sixty° Photoblog
Popular is an understatement for these destinations, which attracted the most fliers out AirAsia’s 100-plus destinations.
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
As AirAsia’s regional hub, Kuala Lumpur is the shoo-in for the top destination for travellers in the region who use it as a base for low-cost flights.
It also delivers good value for money, with excellent rates for hotels and guesthouses that make it worth staying for colonial-era buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers, not to mention numerous options for dining and both brand-name and low-cost shopping.
2. Phuket, Thailand
For islands and beaches, it’s hard to match Phuket. The island itself has a string of beaches, each with its own character. Further out, numerous islands are favoured by divers and kayakers.
There are few places where you can change up the pace with the snap of a finger, and Phuket is one of them. When it comes to outdoor activities and nightlife, Phuket is legendary. When all of that gets old, a motorbike ride to the Big Buddha on the hilltop is in order.
3. Bangkok, Thailand
There is nothing quite like Bangkok, a heady mix of East and West. Shopping at its endless malls and markets is incomparable.
Head down the Chao Phraya River on a water taxi or go on a dinner cruise for a glimpse of local life. The Grand Palace is truly jaw-dropping.
Singapore is a modern miracle, a commercial outpost where efficiency and planning bore abundant fruit. Beyond the landmarks dotting the Marina Bay area, the island is chock-full of attractions.
Close to the far end of Orchard Road, the Singapore Botanic Gardens presents a rare treat: thousands of species and hybrids of orchids. Don’t miss the galleries and museums that show how this city-state became the cultural powerhouse it is today.
The first thing that Malaysians think of when they mention Penang is the food. And it’s understandable—any hawker dish with “Penang” appended to it will magically become the stuff of dreams.
Then again, it’s not just about the cuisine. Maybe it’s got something to do with George Town’s shophouses and street art that make every Instagrammer happy to come back for more.
You looked them up on airasia.com, but will you book? Maybe it’s time to find out what the hype is about.
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Northern Thailand’s mix of culture and nature appeals to temple hoppers and elephant lovers.
It’s where city dwellers go to escape the city without going crazy and where you can go well off the beaten track with its access to national parks. Bangkok’s laidback sister is also the gateway to hippie haven Pai.
2. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is the world’s premiere megapolis, where the future seems to already be here, even as its citizens straddle tradition and modernity.
The urban sprawl may appear endless, but once you’re away from the train tracks, you’ll be close to poetic gardens and temples that are distinctly Japanese.
3. Cebu, Philippines
The Philippines’ second largest metropolis is the jump-off point for white-sand islands, waterfalls and mountains.
With historic churches, scrumptious food and boisterous festivals, it’s happily a much more liveable city than the capital and a worthy stop when you tour the archipelago.
4. Taipei, Taiwan
Beyond the iconic Taipei 101, the city is not so much after superlatives but a more healthy and sustainable way of life.
The abundance of street food at the night market, lovely scenic towns only a train ride away, and wonderful people should be enough reason to book that ticket right away.
5. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
KK is where Borneo adventures begin. You don’t even need to be a climber to appreciate the lofty peaks of Mt Kinabalu.
Islands cannot be removed from any itinerary. And those magnificent clouds at sunset put on a stunning show every day.
ON THE RISE
These are the ones to watch out for. Will you be the among the first to go?
1. Da Nang, Vietnam
Central Vietnam may not get the same recall as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but it’s worth exploring precisely because its character is so different.
Here, it’s about the relaxing beach, the romance of the riverside, and the slow pace of life in the heritage city of Hoi An.
2. Luang Prabang, Laos
There are numerous reasons why Luang Prabang should be on your radar. Once the capital of an ancient kingdom, it is a place frozen in time, where ethnic groups bring out their wares at the night market.
Nature is close to untouched and the city is still green, its riversides quiet and undisturbed. Small but elegant, it’s the boutique town of Indochina if there ever was one.
3. Puerto Princesa, Philippines
Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan, an island that inspires dreams of all shades of blue.
As the gateway to Honda Bay, El Nido, the subterranean river, and the famed Tubbataha Reef, it is the best remedy for those deficient in Vitamin Sea.
4. Hyderabad, India
The heart of Hyderabad’s heritage, the Old City is full of wonders in the form of a fort, a palace and numerous monuments that show the power and wealth of the dynasties that ruled it.
It is also a city of bazaars, with a dazzling array of crafts, jewellery and textiles available every day of the week, in addition to weekend street markets that will satisfy both bargain hunters and photographers. For Tollywood (Telugu) film buffs, Ramoji Film City should be a part of your itinerary.
5. Chiang Rai, Thailand
It’s impossible to say Chiang Rai without thinking of the White Temple, a haunting monument to art and spirituality.
It may not be as famous as Chiang Mai, but Chiang Rai is where you can come to soak up the simplicity and beauty of the northern tribes and the landscape.
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