Living in Hong Kong means we are in a fantastic spot as a base for some serious globe-trotting and exploring. Thinking about what to put on your travel wish list for the year? We asked the team from Flight Centre to uncover those under-the-radar spots for their guide to the top 10 destinations for 2018 that will make this coming year your best travelled one yet.
The beautiful island of Siargao, ringed with truly spectacular coral reefs, is home to mangroves and a resident population of saltwater crocodiles. But the big draw here is the surf, which led Surfer magazine to list it among the “Ten Best Surf Trips of All Time”; for the ultimate in wave-riding cred, head to the famous Cloud Nine Reef, which plays host to Siargao’s annual international surfing cup competition. Rad!
Branded the world’s “most liveable” city by Monocle magazine, Copenhagen really does have it all – stunning architecture, incredible dining, rich culture and bags of charm. It’s also clocked up an impressive number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and, with the likes of Noma leading the way, exciting contemporary cuisine teeming with Denmark’s finest ingredients should definitely be on the menu for any visit.
Beautiful Namibia is an ideal place to start to explore Africa, making it an obvious choice for one of the top 10 destinations for 2018. Stroll around the striking German colonial architecture in Windhoek, try four-by-four dune-bashing in the sweeping Namib Desert or elephant-spotting on Etosha National Park’s otherworldly salt pans, and go whale-watching on blustery Walvis Bay. From desert to dining, whatever your dream holiday looks like, you’ll find it in Namibia.
With its blend of natural beauty and medieval architecture, it’s perhaps surprising that Montenegro has remained relatively undiscovered until now. Pink sand beaches, peacock blue seas, soaring mountains and lush forests all lie in wait if you know where to look, with highlights including the buzzy coastal city of Budva, and Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the north.
Historical sites don’t come much more iconic than the Kremlin and Red Square; visit at night for an even more magical view, and don’t miss the Kremlin Armoury, Moscow’s oldest museum. A ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theatre is another must-see, along with a sobering look at the Soviet Union’s dark days at the Gulag Museum. To try some caviar, head to the 24-hour Café Pushkin for a taste of the high life, topped off with a few rounds of vodka too.
Phú QuÔc, Vietnam
Part of the UNESCO-designated Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, over half of Phú Quôc is national park, its lush jungles, rugged mountains and long protected coastline providing a safe haven for all kinds of animal life, including dugongs. Phú Quôc is renowned for its pristine beaches, with Sao Beach to the southeast purportedly the whitest of all. Meander down to the island’s sleepy south and charter a boat to the An Thoi Islands, a tiny archipelago offering unsurpassed snorkelling. Make this one of your priorities for the top destinations for 2018.
The contrast between Mongolia’s rugged rural plains and bustling modern Ulaanbaatar couldn’t be starker. Khövsgöl Nuur is a serene lake with reindeer, wolves and endangered Siberian bears; visit in July for Naadam, an annual festival of traditional wrestling, archery and horse racing. Elsewhere, Gurvan Saikhan National Park, gateway to the Gobi, is home to the elusive snow leopard, and the spectacular ice and gorges of Yolyn Am offers a memorable backdrop for the hike of your life.
A rugged island off mainland Australia’s south coast, Tasmania boasts crisp air, unspoilt natural beauty and a thriving food scene. Freycinet National Park offers azure bays, white sand beaches, pink graphite mountains and an abundance of birdlife, while the atmospheric former convict settlement of Port Arthur provides a haunting glimpse into the island’s history. Foodies will relish the incredible wine, seafood, cheese, fruit and other local produce. Definitely one for the list of top 10 destinations for 2018!
Start in lively capital Mexico City, which, in addition to a flourishing foodie scene, is packed with fascinating museums, galleries and monuments. The Yucatán Peninsula has party towns Cancún and Tulum, but its real draw is ancient ruins, including the awe-inspiring Chichén Itzá – an excavated Mayan city with a vast central pyramid, temples and even an observatory. After all that, cool off with an icy-cold cerveza, served with a wedge of lime. It’s easy to see why this is one of the top 10 destinations for 2018!
Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Asia isn’t short of island paradises, but the unspoilt beach bliss of Koh Rong takes some beating. Accessible via a ferry from Sihanoukville, this Cambodian island won’t be a hidden gem for much longer. Home to over 20 picture-perfect beaches, Koh Rong is ideal for kicking back or for getting the adrenaline pumping with excellent diving, snorkelling and hiking opportunities.
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This article first appeared in the December/January 2017 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.