Mirissa, Sri Lanka. Photo by Dinuka Lankaloka from Unsplash

Bangkok named best city in Asia Pacific, while two PH islands among the region’s best according to this travel magazine

Palawan and Boracay take the third and fourth spots on the list of 10 best Asia Pacific islands according to the Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards.

The Asia Pacific is a region of many wonders. From breathtaking nature to man-made marvels, gastronomic delights to enriching cultural experiences, there’s always something to do in this part of the world. 

A photo of Balabac, Palawan. The Asia Pacific region is known for its stunning sun-kissed islands. Photo by Cris Tagupa; all photos from Unsplash

Choosing where to go and what to do then can be a pleasurable yet daunting task. Itching to go on a shopping spree? Then you might be torn between booking a flight to Dubai or Singapore. Thinking of hitting the beach? You can’t go wrong with Southeast Asia’s turquoise waters and white-sand shores. Looking forward to a food crawl? There’s Penang, Bangkok, Hanoi, and so many other destinations from which to choose. I almost forgot our very own Bacolod and Iloilo!

To say the choices are endless isn’t exactly an exaggeration.

The region also has a slew of destinations that are rich in culture, such as Penang in Malaysia which is famous for its vibrant art and gastronomic scenes.

So to help you streamline your options for your next vacation, you may want to check out this year’s winners of the Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards Asia Pacific in its two categories: Best Cities and Best Islands.

Bangkok is Asia Pacific’s best city

The Thai capital was voted by readers as Asia Pacific’s best city for the third edition of the Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards—and we couldn’t agree more. 

The best cities in Asia equate with street food, friendly people, five-star service, and a non-stop 24/7 culture, according to the publication’s statement. And those who have been there, we know Bangkok has it all and more.

There’s so much to do—and love—about the Thai capital.

Street food? Check. Friendly locals? Check. Five-star service? Check. Rich culture? Check. The city better known to locals as Krung Thep is also famed for its lively shopping scene, pulsating nightlife, and a wide range of accommodations from affordable hostels to five-star hotels. 

Hanoi, which took the sixth spot, is known as a backpacking mecca for its affordable food and accommodations.

Joining the City of Angels on the 10 best cities in Asia Pacific list are three cities from Japan (no surprise there!), with Osaka taking the second spot, followed closely by Tokyo at third, and Kyoto at sixth.

Dubai, UAE, which took the fourth spot, is the only country from the Middle East which made it to the list. Completing the winners from the sixth to tenth spots, in order are: Hanoi, Vietnam; Hong Kong SAR; Seoul, South Korea; Singapore, and Taipei, Taiwan.

Osaka has always been popular among travelers most especially for its vibrant culinary scene, earning it the nickname “Japan’s kitchen.”

Bangkok also took the top spot in last year‘s awards, followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Hanoi; Luang Prabang, Laos; Hue, Vietnam; Siem Reap, Cambodia, and Taipei.

Palawan and Boracay take the third and fourth spots

Thailand also won big in the Best Islands category, with three of its islands voted among the best in the Asia-Pacific region. Koh Samui took the top spot, while Phuket and Koh Phi Phi eased into the fifth and ninth spots, respectively.

Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi ranked 9th on the list of best islands in Asia Pacific.

The Philippines, meanwhile, has much to be proud of as well, with perennial island favorites Palawan and Boracay taking the third and fourth spots, respectively.

When it comes to the best islands in Asia Pacific, Travel + Leisure readers looked for that “perfect balance of accessibility and remoteness, local character and global sensibilities,” the publication said. We can all agree that our crown jewels Palawan and Boracay have those—and a few more up their sleeves.  

A drone shot of an island in Balabac, Palawan. Boracay and Palawan ranked third and fourth, respectively, on Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards Asia Pacific’s 10 best islands in the relationship.

Occupying the second spot, meanwhile, is Indonesia’s pride Bali, known for its spirituality as much as for its stunning beaches. Rounding up the top 10 are Sri Lanka (6th); Sumba, Indonesia (7th); Penang, Malaysia (8th); and Phu Quoc, Vietnam (10th).

Last year’s top 10 is not too different from this year’s, with only slight differences in placements. Bali led the list, followed by Palawan, Phuket; Langkawi, Malaysia; Boracay, Koh Samui, Penang, Phu Quoc, Koh Phi Phi, and Sri Lanka.

Bali, known for its beaches and temples, ranked second only to Koh Samui on the list.

One of the world’s leading travel and lifestyle magazine, Travel + Leisure, established the Luxury Awards Asia Pacific three years ago to name the best cities in the Asia-Pacific region for global travelers. The awards are determined by conducting a survey among its readers over a specific period. This year’s survey was conducted from January to March.

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