Travel Awards

Asia’s Best Up-and-Coming Destination

Psst! These are the places no one’s talking about – but really should be. Read up on the winner and shortlist for Asia's best up-and-coming destination in the 2019 Marco Polo Club Members' Choice Awards

Asia’s Best Up-and-Coming Destination

Winner: Busan

You might know it for the Busan International Film Festival but there’s more to this coastal city than the silver screen – think seafood and seaside, street food and shopping, and a colourful culture village.

‘Beaches, Buddhist temples and a very big bridge – South Korea’s version of San Francisco is getting very cool indeed.’ –Mark Tjhung, content director of Cedar Hong Kong and part of our panel of travel experts

Asia’s Best Up-and-Coming Destination Shortlist


From the top of Mount Tapyas to the underwater mountains of Barracuda Lake, Coron is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Swim in natural hot springs and lagoons, dive Japanese shipwrecks from the Second World War and hop from one tropical island to another.


Chongqing has it all – arts and culture, heritage and nature. Explore the ancient town and the surrounding karst landscape, take in the street art surrounding Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and taste its region’s famed spicy food.

Phnom Penh

Throwing off the veil of darkness post Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s capital remains home to the S21 prison and the Killing Fields, but also to temples and the Royal Palace, a contemporary dining scene, vibrant nightlife and distinctive boutiques and markets.


Stunning pagodas glitter in the sun; colonial architecture stands strong; an alternative music scene booms; market, museums and mohinga (a classic Burmese noodle soup) entice – Yangon is a melting pot of heritage, history, traditional craft and creativity.


Sri Lanka’s capital is home to some of Asia’s best restaurants, beautiful suburban beaches and a burgeoning nightlife scene. Then there are opportunities to explore the nation’s colonial past and taste its renowned teas.


This Indonesian island offers the natural beauty of Bali without the crowds. Home to wild orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos, as well as untouched beaches, volcanoes, jungle and waterfalls, it’s made for lovers of the great outdoors. And Medan, the capital of Northern Sumatra, is a melting pot of culture, cuisine and leisure well worth discovering.


Known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ for its agreeable climate, this laid back southwestern Chinese city provides easy access to nearby nature and culture – from national parks, caves and cliffs to temples and ethnic minority villages.

Luang Prabang

With its French colonial past, and influences from neighbours China and Vietnam, this ancient city is unique. Situated in the northern mountains of Laos, it boasts natural beauty, ancient architecture and traditional arts and crafts like no other.

Cathay Travell Book


Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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