Service: Most Welcoming City
Winner: Bangkok (Thailand)
With Thailand fondly dubbed The Land of Smiles it’s fitting that the Thai capital has been voted as the most welcoming city in Asia by Marco Polo Club members. From the renowned hospitality of its citizens, to the food, shopping, entertainment, culture and weather – the attraction is obvious. The rest of the world seems to agree, too: Bangkok once again topped Mastercard’s Global Destination Index in 2018 as the most-visited city in the world, with roughly 20 million international overnight visitors last year.
Service: Most Welcoming City Shortlist
Chengdu (Chinese mainland)
With the giant panda as the city mascot, the capital of Sichuan province immediately gives off warm fuzzy vibes. Combined with the relaxed pace of life, lively nightlife and pervading teahouse culture, it’s easy to see why tourists feel welcome here.
Japan was voted ‘Friendliest country’, so it’s unsurprising to see a number of Japanese cities shortlisted. As the cultural heart of Japan (see Top city for culture) it’s the ideal place for visitors to get familiarised with the country’s unique history and characteristics.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – Osaka shows good food will capture the affection of all. Notable food critics Michael Booth and François Simon have both hailed Osaka as the food centre of the world.
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Despite a turbulent past, the modern Cambodian capital shines with new developments, friendly locals and plenty of tourist appeal.
Taipei (Taiwan China)
With a foreigner-friendly culture, Taipei offers a welcoming destination for travellers. Add to that the relatively peaceful streets, easy-to-navigate public transport and numerous cultural and foodie delights.
Another entry from Japan, the capital city may be an overwhelming blur of futuristic billboards, confusing address system and mindboggling underground networks – but the genuine warmth of citizens, raucous nightlife and mouthwatering cuisine ensure visitors will want to return time and again.
More 2018 Service Award Winners:
Explore all the results of the Marco Polo Club Members’ Choice Awards