Looking forward to discovering new secret getaways for your next holiday? As Singapore travellers embark on journeys beyond the usual top searched destinations, they seek the lesser-searched and overlooked destinations for their next adventure. Skyscanner‘s search data reveals the up and coming 2017’s travel trends: 10 of the fastest growing destinations that Singaporeans should check out this year. These trending destinations are growing in popularity as you’ll see from the list below – and for good reason!
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland’s capital and largest city, Reykjavik, has been starting to get noticed and is ready for its close-up now. Perhaps you have heard the news that the Northern Lights are dimming, so make sure you catch them while you can. Reykjavik and its surrounding tundras are equally enchanting whether viewed under the midnight sun or by the light of the aurora borealis in the long dark winter nights. Icelanders believe strongly in elves, faeries and other mythical creatures, and after a visit here, you may start to believe as well. For such a small island, it is a hotbed of creativity, home to the likes of Bjork, Sigur Ros and many other fantastic musical acts. The city itself is walkable and urbane, with lots of culture and art to soak up while you’re here. And at the end of the day, wash your worries away with a soak in one of the famous geothermal pools.
2. Hua Hin, Thailand
Serving as a getaway for the fine folk of Bangkok since the roaring 20s, Hua Hin remains a great destination for people seeking a beach-side retreat away from the madding crowds of the mega cities of Asia. On hot days, inviting ocean and gleaming beaches beckon alluringly, and water sports are on the menu here. The tranquil beaches, lined with fancy hotels and humble seafood huts, provide countless choices of activities like kite surfing and water skiing, perfect for thrill-seekers and families as well. Hua Hin Jazz Festival is another attraction, and when you get tired of city life, you can charter a boat for a trip out to Monkey Island for a day of exploring, fishing and swimming.
3. Paro, Bhutan
Tourists are finally starting to catch on to the magic of Bhutan, and Paro is the place to go to begin your explorations of this reclusive Himalayan kingdom. This ancient town is dotted with classic Bhutanese architecture and temples, including some of the nation’s most iconic, like Taktsang Monastery, the retreat perched on the sheer face of a cliff. Outside of town, the trekking is world-class, and wandering the foothills here will leave you simultaneously exhausted and refreshed. There isn’t much shopping beyond the local markets, but that’s not why you go to Bhutan. You go for the peace, quiet and spiritual calm of the place.
Fly to Paro International Airport via Drukair, the only airline to fly from Singapore to Paro with a Kolkata stopover, available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from Changi International Airport (Terminal 1) at 6.30am.
4. Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo, Japan’s snow capital and the biggest city of the Northern island of Hokkaido, is getting known for its seafood, snow festivals and more. In addition, nearby Otaru is an intriguing day trip, with its well-preserved historical district. We don’t even need to mention the world-class skiing, do we? Beer lovers will flip on their visit to Sapporo Beer, Japan’s oldest beer brewery founded all the way back in 1877. The Sapporo Snow Festival happens in February, when the drifts are at their highest and temperatures hover in the freezing range and people head to the hot springs to warm back up.
5. Dunedin, New Zealand
New Zealand’s south island has gained a measure of fame through big screen exposure in Peter Jackson films, and tourists are beginning to bypass the north and head straight here. Dunedin is a lovely picturesque town founded in the Victorian era, and glimpses of this past can be seen today. With its large Maori influence, it is also a great place to taste the complete range of Kiwi culture. Outdoor enthusiasts will also have plenty to keep them busy with a full slate of hiking and cycling trails. The Otago Peninsula’s dramatic scenery will leave you slack-jawed as you pass through.
6. Tiruchirapalli, India
The tiny Tamil town of Tiruchirapalli is a lovely place to visit and soak up the local culture, which has thrived here since the days of ancient Rome. And it’s not even that tiny; at just under a million people in size, it is a proper city without being an overwhelming mass of humanity. The city is renowned for its temples and monuments, and the ancient forts make for fascinating exploring, like Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort. After you’ve seen the cultural sites, stop by Puliyancholai Falls for a picnic to check out some of the natural beauty of the region, and of course you’ll have to sample some of the marvellous south Indian cuisines. You can’t claim to have been to India without tasting authentic thosai!
7. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s other big city, is often overlooked by visitors to the island, but if you try to do the same you’ll be making a big mistake! Kaohsiung has so much to offer in terms of its sights and tastes and is a gateway to some of the wonders on the wild side of the island as well. The city is chockablock with skyscrapers, including the 250 meter Tuntex Sky Tower, and you get all the convenience and amenities of a large Asian city here. There is also a lovely harbour where you can watch the sunset and soak up the atmosphere. The shopping and dining are amazing, and you’ll be glad you came.
8. Tokyo, Japan
Perhaps the most surprising entry on this list, Tokyo has been a dream destination for many many years. Why is it trending? Perhaps it’s due to the city’s increasing internationalisation, making it easier than ever to navigate. Or maybe it’s because Skyscanner has such great deals on tickets to Japan’s busy, endlessly fascinating capital city. With nearly every major tourist attraction in the city conveniently located adjacent to the central city’s Yamanote line, you can see into the distant past and near future with one train pass. Visit the imperial palace and wander the sprawling grounds, and then head over to Tokyo Skytree to check out the views. From there, head to Shinjuku and Shibuya for shopping, food and fun.
9. Hobart, Australia
While most eyes are on trendy Melbourne, cool stuff is starting to happen on the other side of the Bass Strait, in oft-overlooked Hobart. The capital and largest city of the island state of Tasmania, this quaint, easily-navigable town is charming and welcoming and makes a great place from which to venture inland, to the untamed wilds of the back country here. The city itself has a burgeoning culinary scene and is now home to some of Australia’s best eating in the historic waterfront restaurants. You can round out your visit with trips to the modern art museum and bustling marketplaces.
10. Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia is becoming a hot destination among those looking for something classical and fun, and this ancient town fits the bill perfectly. In winter, it’s a short drive to the fantastic ski slopes just outside the city, and in summer, renting a bike and pedalling around the city is the perfect way to take in the sights. The squares and markets are quintessentially European, and when the sun sets, the young people of this small country really know how to party. The food is a delightful melange of influences from around the region, and it goes perfectly with a glass of the local wine.
It is not surprising why Reykjavik’s snowscapes and aurora borealis which are perfect for Singapore’s Instagram generation ranked high over the past three years. Other scenic emerging destinations include Dunedin (New Zealand) and Hobart (Australia). For the cultural traveller, there is also growing interest in the lesser travelled locations like Sapporo (Japan), Tiruchirapalli (India), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), and Zagreb (Croatia). Where will you visit in 2017?