he pristine blue waters and white sandy beaches of beautiful Ishigaki, Japan, have earned the ranking of number one in the world.
The island has topped TripAdvisor’s Destinations on the Rise list.
The awards, now in its sixth year, recognise 44 destinations around the world selected by measuring year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller review ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, as well as increase in search and booking interest. Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise lists were also revealed for the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America.
Contrary to its name which literally translates to “stone wall”, Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa that is surrounded by water. Home to sandy beaches and coral reefs, the destination is a popular diving spot. Also great for food lovers, Ishigaki is known for its soba noodles – called Yaeyama soba – made of flour instead of the more traditional buckwheat.
A city located in the mountainous Gifu Prefecture, Takayama’s appeal lies in its beautifully preserved towns and historic districts. Be sure to head to Takayama in spring and autumn to catch the Takayama Festival that will feature dozens of heavily decorated festival floats.
Busan, South Korea
South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, has plenty to offer to every traveller – it’s a favourite amongst nature lovers for its hot springs, beaches, hiking trails and nature reserves, while the cultural and art buffs will appreciate the museums, temples, and historical buildings scattered across the city. The Gamcheon Cultural Village, also known as the “Machu Picchu of Busan”, is a must-visit with vibrant alleyways decorated with murals and sculptures made by residents.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh still retains traces of its French colonial history through its temples, museums, palaces and cultural sites, while reminders of its somber past are still palpably felt in the Killing Fields located just outside the city. A lively town at night, budget-conscious travellers will also appreciate Phnom Penh’s extensive range of accommodations that are reasonably priced.
Nantou County, Taiwan
Nantou County is the only landlocked county in Taiwan and home to Taiwan’s highest peak (Yushan), mountainous ranges, lush forests and scenic lakes including the famous Sun Moon Lake. Besides natural offerings, travellers can learn more about the practices of the locals by visiting its temples, cultural villages and even agricultural farms. Travellers can also learn more about its aboriginal communities at the Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village that aims to impart knowledge on the Taiwanese native aborigine cultures.
Situated in Guangdong Province and adjacent to Hong Kong is Shenzhen, a cityscape that is on the list of UNESCO Creative Cities with some of the most modern buildings worldwide. Although the destination is largely industrial, it offers many attractions to travellers including theme parks and cultural villages where travellers can learn more about China’s long history and varied cultures.
Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan with over 200 years of history as the capital of Taiwan under Koxinga and later Qing Dynasty rule. Now, a modern city of commerce and trade, history and culture, it is also a religious centre, with more than a thousand temples including Taiwan’s first Confucian temple. A foodie heaven, Tainan is also known as Taiwan’s food capital, with its delectable local dishes and famous street food that is not to be missed.
Seogwipo, South Korea
Seogwipo is the second largest city on Jeju island and offers swanky hotels, rugged cliffs, popular beaches and gorgeous waterfalls. A coastal city that is located on the south side of the island, Seogwipo’s many activities revolve around the ocean, including diving and submarine tours.
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Known for its centuries-old fishing industry, one of Negombo’s top sites is its fish market called the “Lellama” where travellers can watch the boats returning with their fresh catch or even try their hands at fishing in the lagoon. It is no wonder that the town is a food lover’s paradise with seafood available in plenty. Attractions in the city include Old Dutch Fort with history dating back to Sri Lanka’s colonial days.
Most visitors to Pokhara stop here before starting or after finishing the “Round Annapurana” trekking route. Because of its popularity with travellers, the city itself has relatively modern hotels and restaurants, but travellers will also be able to find ancient lakes, waterfalls and gorges and majestic views of the Himalayan Mountains.
Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise – World
1. Ishigaki, Japan
2. Kapaa, Hawaii
3. Nairobi, Kenya
4. Halifax, Canada
5. Gdansk, Poland
6. San Jose, Costa Rica
7. Riga, Latvia
8. Rovinj, Croatia
9. Nerja, Spain
10. Casablanca, Morocco