Now that Asia is gradually reopening to tourism after nearly three years of closure, visitors are anxious to visit once more and discover its natural marvels and enormous Buddhist temples. The continent now makes up seven out of the top ten trending travel locations for 2023 due to the high demand for country-hopping experiences there.
There is no disputing that Asia is in a much better position now than it was at the beginning of the year, despite the fact that it has not yet completely restored normality like Europe has. For instance, a number of Asian nations that had outright banned tourism in the wake of the health crisis now embrace it, free of the customary pandemic-era red tape.
The best places in Asia to visit in the forthcoming year are as follows:
7. Tel Aviv, Israel
Although technically in Asia, Tel Aviv, Israel, is a history-rich city that spans the Mediterranean Sea. Tel Aviv has a reputation for being the "most liberal" enclave in the Middle East over the years, but if you know where to look, it can also be a fantastic culinary and cultural location.
With a 134% increase in searches from the previous year, Tel Aviv is now the seventh most popular Asian city break going into 2023. Israel, thankfully, has changed its strategy and eliminated all entry requirements, going back to the pre-2020 travel recommendations: no forced vaccination, no testing, and no quarantine.
6. Tokyo, Japan
The next Asian hub on Kayak's ranking is Tokyo, a city of orderly chaos. The Japanese capital, known for its ancient temples, beautiful gardens, art museums, and a contemporary skyline punctuated by neon-lit skyscrapers, has never appeared more welcoming now that the nation has abandoned its harsh restrictions and completely reopened.
Searches for Tokyo have increased by 150% as a result of the move, and if you live in the United States, you're in luck because many flights that had been cancelled following Covid have been relaunched in addition to a much-needed frequency boost, including daily service between LAX and Tokyo-Haneda until March 24.
5. Bangkok, Thailand
Unquestionably, the bustling capital of Thailand remains to be the country's top tourist attraction for Americans traveling to Southeast Asia. The enormous Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan Temple, the majestic Grand Palace, and the vibrant Wat Phra Chetuphon Buddhist shrine are just a few examples of Bangkok's imperial treasures. Bangkok is an ancient monarch dripping with these treasures.
Thailand is as free as it has ever been, so it should not be surprising that searches on Kayak for Bangkok are up 166%. The "Big Mango" (as it is fondly known by locals and tourists alike) provides short-term visitors with a lively nightlife, mouthwatering food at incredibly low prices, and Thai fleamarkets in addition to cultural immersion.
4. Hong Kong
The city-state of Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, is not quite on the same pandemic management page as Japan or Thailand: tourists can enter, but they are subject to a stringent testing regime and continued monitoring for up to 5 days following arrival, so it may not be the best of times to visit just yet.
However, it has seen an increase in Kayak inquiries of 190% year over year. The area's distinct Western vibe, the edginess of its bohemian districts, and its general openness to the outside world, despite recent efforts by mainland China to force it into submission, may be reasons for its rising popularity among explorers.
Singapore, which is frequently cited as Southeast Asia's most developed country, is another city-state awash in the kind of cutting-edge, futuristic building that must be seen to be believed. It is truly a site to behold, with leisure facilities, contemporary marina promenades lined with gorgeous Asian specimens, and gorgeous fountain displays.
Inquiries on Kayak have increased by 201%, showing how popular it is now. The only drawback to visiting Singapore? It has not yet relaxed its health-related entry requirements, which still call for all unvaccinated arrivals to show evidence of travel insurance and a negative Covid test conducted no later than two days prior to departure.
2. Taipei, Taiwan
Located in the disputed territory of Taiwan, off the coast of mainland China, Taipei is a fast-paced, energetic capital that feels somewhat Chinese, though not quite — it is a democracy, for starters — and that heavily borrows from Western culture, but still feels 'foreign' enough for American visitors looking for an escape from the comfort of home.
Although searches have increased 289% year over year, Taiwan's stricter border controls may ultimately serve as a deterrent to thousands of tourists considering trips to Asia in 2023: only those who obtain a permit under one of the government's special programs, and who fulfill all requirements listed under said permit, are allowed to board a flight to Taipei.
1. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh, also known as Saigon in the past, is the cultural center of Vietnam and is predicted to be the most popular travel location in Asia in 2023. Here, visitors can see a wide range of architectural styles, including Buddhist, French colonial, modernist from the Communist period, and more.
Ho Chi Minh is clearly in the lead when it comes to Kayak searches, with a 769% rise in clicks and 480% more than Taipei, the closest rival. In 2023, Americans are flocking to Vietnam in record numbers, and it makes sense why: Covid regulations are no longer in effect, international flights have resumed, and most crucially, travel there is completely safe.