One of the wonderful things about world travel is that destinations come and go as trendy options. When we talk about tourism, the term “up-and-coming” doesn’t necessarily mean that a place is new, but rather that it’s gaining relevance among travelers. For instance, even Rio de Janeiro – arguably one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities on the planet – could have been considered to be trendy in recent years because it was hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Here I want to point out a few “up-and-coming” destinations in East Asia. Some of these are becoming popular for the first time, and others are merely about to come under the spotlight for new reasons. Whatever the specifics, they should be among the most enjoyable and interesting places to visit in this part of the world in the coming years.
Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Cambodia isn’t exactly a secret as a brilliant getaway for travelers seeking relaxing accommodations. Furthermore, Koh Rong Island is not particularly well hidden, as the country’s second largest island. That said, another article looking at some up-and-coming destination pointed out that currently, the accommodation options are limited here – though that appears to be on the cusp of changing. With a spattering of resorts along Koh Tuich Village, Koh Rong Island already offers a setting on part with most of the paradises of Southeast Asia. And as more and more people start to realize it, the island seems to be a prime candidate to host new resorts in the years ahead.
This is a little bit less specific, but it never hurts to include a whole country on the list, if indeed it’s getting more attention. That seems to be the case with Bhutan. In the past few years it seems to have become more widely known that Bhutan measures its own “Gross National Happiness,” which is both endearing and indicative of a fascinating value system. Generally viewed as affordable, peaceful, beautiful, and perhaps safer than some of its neighboring nations, Bhutan has become one of East Asia’s most appealing destinations.
Tokyo may not be the boldest pick – but given that the city is gearing up for the 2020 Summer Olympics, it should be even more fun to visit than usual moving forward. Furthermore, it increasingly seems as if the 2020 event will represent something of a crossroads toward a new era of the games. It’s been written that with no expenses being spared, the ceremonies could be particularly futuristic in Tokyo. And we know that in the next few events things will change drastically. For the Paris games in 2024, the Olympic committee is considering adding gaming to the program of events; for LA in 2028, some have basically suggested Los Angeles will reshape itself as a city of the future to host the world. The Olympics are changing, and with a chance to play a part in that change, Tokyo is going to be going through a lot of change and innovation.
This is perhaps the most obscure selection I’m pointing out, though it’s also a perfectly logical choice. Some of the most famous scenes in the anime film Your Name – called the highest grossing anime in the world earlier this season – actually involve a famous shrine that is used in the Takayama Festival. This should emphasize the destination not just for anime fans around the world but also for people in Japan and East Asia who may already be familiar with this festival or the specific location. In a more general sense, narrow streets, pretty neighborhoods, and the backdrop of the Gifu Mountains make Takayama a beautiful place to visit for a more tranquil holiday.
If Martinique is the Hawaii of France, Sanya is most definitely China’s Honolulu. That’s a statement from Harper’s Bazaar in a piece on “where to go in 2017,” and quite the statement it is. White sandy beaches, beautiful waters, and top-notch resorts make it the sort of destination many people don’t expect to find in China, and it’s likely to become a more sought after beach getaway in the near future (thanks in part to that write-up from Harper’s Bazaar!).