10 lesser-known Asian destinations to add to your 2017 bucket list

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The results of the latest Travel Smart study, revealing the top 10 destinations in Asia gaining in popularity with travelers from around the world, were announced today.

From the millions of bookings made in 2016, travelers to Asia are showing a growing preference for lesser-known destinations that promise unique experiences.


Fastest riser is Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan’s mythical powder paradise. Niseko features four interconnected resorts with more than 800 skiable hectares along the eastern side of the mountain. With an annual snowfall of over 15m, Niseko offers off-trail skiing, uncommon in Japanese resorts. But it’s not just the snow that attracts visitors. Some go simply to savor the best of Hokkaido’s local cuisine.

With seven of the ten destinations in South East Asia, tropical island life continues to attract nomads looking for holiday spots off the beaten track. This includes islands like Thailand’s Koh Kood (3), Cambodia’s Koh Rong (5) and the Philippines’ Siquijor Island (9). To many Filipinos, Siquijor is an island known for its healers and witchcraft magic. For its visitors though, the Island’s most spellbinding features are found underwater on this marine reserve, on its pristine white beaches, or at the peak of Mount Bandilaan, the highest point at the island’s center.

Andy Edwards, Global Director Brand and Communications of agoda accommodation site adds, “It’s clear that more travelers are adopting a more adventurous approach to travel, exploring new, undiscovered places rather than the traditional ‘holiday’ to a well-trodden destination. We’re seeing an increase in bookings made in areas that bring travelers closer to local culture and nature, where life is experienced at a different pace, and against a different backdrop.”

The rankings for Asia’s 10 fastest growing destinations are as follows:

1. Niseko, Japan
2. Banaue, Philippines
3. Koh Kood, Thailand
4. Koh Lipe, Thailand
5. Koh Rong, Cambodia
6. Koh Lanta, Thailand
7. Harbin, China
8. Tangalle, Sri Lanka
9. Siquijor Island, Philippines
10. Khao Lak, Thailand

The study compared property bookings made by agoda travelers visiting Asian destinations from 2015 to 2016.