Luxury Travel Announces 2018 Emerging Asian Destinations
Updated: 18/8/2018 | 4:29:43 PM
Luxury Travel , the world’s leading ultra-luxe Asia travel designer, has announced their 2018 emerging Asian destinations, offering valuable insight on where their high-end clientele should consider traveling to in the coming year.
The list, coined the “Dozen Dream Destinations,” is curated by the team’s well-traveled experts and is comprised of a selection of Asia’s more remote, hidden gem destinations that are currently experiencing growth and development with the arrival of new resorts, cultural experiences, new direct flights and more.
“Our discerning and well-traveled clientele are always looking for new places and experiences, and each year our team of travel experts scour the continent to offer these travelers new and exciting destinations that they may have otherwise overlooked,” says Catherine Heald, Remote Lands co-founder and CEO. “We curated our Dozen Dream Destinations for 2018 to include destinations that are largely undiscovered as well as those that are on the rise or are currently experiencing major development. Our personalized itineraries highlight the best of each destination and provide unique experiences and exclusive access beyond what would be available for the standard traveler.”
View the full destinations list below and for more information, visit remotelands.com.
South Vietnam is characterized by its pristine beaches, elegant colonial cities, rich history, bustling floating markets, and picturesque countryside. Two new luxury hotels will open by the end of 2017, making the destination a particular draw for the upcoming year. The Marriott Phu Quoc, designed by renowned architect Bill Bensley, will open November 2017 as the first luxury hotel on Phu Quoc island. Remote Lands has developed a new corresponding itinerary, Sun & The Sea in Southern Vietnam, with highlights including exploring the breathtaking tropical beaches and scenic Suoi Tranh waterfalls, enjoying seafood in the fishing village of Ham Ninh, sailing through the famous Cai Rang Floating Market, preparing local dishes in a private cooking class, cycling through the countryside, and experiencing traditional Vietnamese life. The 60-room Azerai hotel, located on the Hau River islet, will open in Can Tho in December 2017. Remote Lands has several new itineraries that highlight Can Tho and the new hotel including the Saigon & The Mekong Delta and Vietnam’s Southern Charms which focus on the diverse sights of Saigon, boat rides along the Mekong, bike rides into the rural riverside and plantation areas, and a sunset sampan tour through islet canals.
The largest landlocked country in the world, Kazakhstan is a nation of great geographical and cultural variety with treks and hikes in the mountains, a winter oasis of winter, and a rich and a fascinating history. With several new developments, Kazakhstan is ripe for welcoming visitors. Wild tigers will be reintroduced to the Ili-Balkhash region of the county 70 years after they became extinct, a project that involved the creation of a natural reserve and a forest restoration. Additionally, The Ritz-Carlton Astana opened in the summer of 2017 and is the first international luxury property in the Kazakhstan capital, blending Central Asian and European traditions. The opening draws increased attention to Astana, a developing city with many spectacular urban design projects underway including public buildings, educational establishments, sports and tourism projects, and a new state-of-the-art transportation system. Architect Norman Foster, whose London-based company is known for its high-tech architecture, has worked to design the city’s Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, an award-winning tented-shaped steel structure, which echoes Kazakh history. Additionally, following a successful Expo 2017, which Kazakhstan hosted in September, the site is now being converted into a new International Financial Center. Remote Lands has developed two new itineraries to highlight the best of Kazakhstan and the country’s newest offerings including the 18-day Ultimate Kazakhstan Adventure and the six-day Cities of Kazakhstan.
Bawah Island, Indonesia:
Within the Anambas archipelago of Indonesia, Bawah Island, a barely touched string of five islands, opened in August 2017 as a new eco-destination for discerning world travelers with a private island resort. Opening up accessibility to the undiscovered destination is the launch of the Water Aerodrome, the first-ever water-based airport for seaplanes in Indonesia, which offers an established flight route from Batam to Bawah Island. To access, guests take a short ferry ride from Singapore to Batam Island, Indonesia, where they will then fly to Bawah Island via seaplane on a 70-minute flight. Stretching just over a mile, this oasis has breathtaking scenery and is home to three crystal clear lagoons, 13 powder white beaches and miles of hiking routes through lush green forest. Travelers can explore the island’s stunning beaches and lush land, hike through a virgin primary forest, and snorkel in the lagoons among the thriving corals. Bawah is designed to integrate people with nature while maintaining a commitment to sustainability. Due to the easy flight connectivity, Remote Lands recommends Bawah Island in conjunction with Singapore and Bali and organizes an itinerary with several days in Singapore that includes a chartered yacht cruise around Nongsa and Nikoi islands followed by a trip to the lush Bawah Island and concluding with Bali and the new Capella Bali resort, opening in late 2017.
An enchanted Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas nestled between India and China, Bhutan is known to the locals as the Happiest Place on Earth. In August 2018, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas will debut their latest and highly-anticipated project: Six Senses Bhutan, a collection of five intimate lodges in five separate locations, including Thimpu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, and Paro, with a total of just 82 guest suites and villas. Each of the five locations will feature a specific theme so that guests can move between them to indulge all their senses. The opening of the resort further elevates Bhutan’s position as a luxury destination and maintains its exclusivity with the minimum visitor spend being $250 per person per night. Further opening up access to the destination is a road network expansion between Thimpu, Paro, Punakha, and Gungtey, expected to be fully completed by the end of 2017, as well as an increase in flights through Bhutan Airlines and DrukAir, which are routed through Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi, Nepal and Bangladesh. A guide is required to tour Bhutan, and Remote Lands offers several exclusive Bhutan itineraries including the 14-day Classic Bhutan, a cultural and history-focused trip which explores the major towns of the kingdom and must-see sights, and the Pilgrim’s Valley Trek, which is ideal for the adventurous traveler.
Southern Coast of Sri Lanka:
The Southern Coast of Sri Lanka is on the rise with the opening of several luxury hotels within the last two years. Furthering its desirability is the opening of two brand new hotels, including the five-star Wild Coasted Tented Lodge Yala which opened in October 2017 adjacent to the world famous Yala National Park, renowned for its dense leopard population, and the Shangri-La Colombo, the brand’s second hotel in Sri Lanka, which will open November 2017 and will feature uninterrupted Indian Ocean views from most of its 500 rooms and suites and 41 serviced apartments. In 2018, Alia’s first Sri Lankan hotel, the Alila Koggala will open on Koggala Lake in Habaraduwa as an ecological escape amid stunning views and lush serenity. Remote Lands’ recommended Sri Lanka itinerary is the 12-day Classic Sri Lanka which highlights culture, tea plantations, and the beach with hotel stays in the region’s newest luxury resorts.
With the Winter Olympics 2018 taking place in PyongChang, South Korea in February, the destination’s momentum is rising. In addition to the highly-anticipated sporting event, several hotel openings are popping up over the upcoming year, particularly on the UNESCO-listed Jeju Island, home to stunning volcanic landscapes, hiking trails, beaches, and underground caves. Jeju Shinhway World has been opening in phases since the beginning of 2017 and upon completion aims to be one of Korea’s most exciting and prestigious world-class integrated leisure and entertainment resorts. Four Seasons is opening a property within the complex, and Grand Hyatt has also announced plans for a property on the island. Remote Lands offers two new itineraries that incorporate these buzzing areas, including The Ultimate Korean Cultural Experience, which begins in the vibrant capital of Seoul, visits historical and cultural sites throughout the country, and ends in one of the new resorts on Jeju Island. For active sports and beach, the South Korean Summer Adventure is the recommended itinerary and includes a variety of thrilling land and water-based activities.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE):
Long considered a gateway destination for Westerners heading to the Middle and Far East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a destination in its own right. A key tourism cultural development project that is currently underway is Saadiyat Island, expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center. The highly-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel will open November 2017 and the island is planning a number of other museums as well in conjunction with renowned architects such as Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid Architects. There are several other infrastructure developments in the works including a new terminal at the Abu Dhabi airport, expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Remote Lands offers two suggested itineraries to explore this lavish city including Abu Dhabi: Arabian Days and Nights, a five-night trip which travels through desert and sea and takes in some of Abu Dhabi’s top sites and Sandy Serenity and Family Fun: An Amazing Adventure in Abu Dhabi, a great option for families which explores Abu Dhabi’s beaches and wildlife.
Luang Prabang, Laos:
Once the capital of the first kingdom of Laos, the city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang has experienced a wave of restoration and renovation. Travelers who book an itinerary through Remote Lands can stay at the brand new Rosewood Luang Prabang, a luxury tent and villa encampment opening in late 2017 and secure exclusive reservations at the variety of new restaurants that have recently opened such as Azerai Bistro, Manda de Laos, and 525. Another highlight of the destination is the Mandalao Elephant Sanctuary, a non-riding elephant experience focusing on education and animal welfare. For a general Laos and Luang Prabang experience, Remote Lands recommends booking their Classic Laos itinerary which starts in Luang Prabang and includes elephant trekking, hiking through pristine rainforest and exploring ancient temple sites. The Jungles, Rivers & Elephants: Vientiane to LPQ tour ends in Luang Prabang with the highlights being hiking beside an elephant in a jungle and exploring the UNESCO World Heritage city.
Mount Kailash, Tibet:
A great mass of black rock soaring to over 22,000 feet, Mount Kailash in Tibet has the unique distinction of being the world’s most venerated holy place, sacred to the Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists – while at the same time being one of the least visited by tourists. What used to be a three-day drive from Lhatse with overnight stops in the towns of Saga and Paryang to get to the doorstep of Mount Kailash can now be done with a short flight from Lhasa to Kunshal airport in Ngari. The sacred nature of the mountain means that it may not be climbed, but journeys around the base of the mountain are popular. For those that enjoy challenging hikes with rewarding viewpoints, Remote Lands can organize the nine-day Trekking in Tibet Itinerary, where travelers can sleep right at the foot of Mount Kalish.
One of Central Asia’s most mysterious and least-visited countries, Turkmenistan is a country of diverse history and terrain. The landscape is broadly characterized by the vast Karakum desert, punctuated by lush green national parks and the famous and astounding Door to Hell, an enormous crater in the middle of the Turkmenistani Desert burning with sulphuric flames, illuminating the clouds above and blasting heat for miles around. The country is becoming a five-star destination with a variety of luxury hotels such as the Yyldyz Hotel, Oguzkent Hotel and Grand Turkmen Hotel in Ashgabat as well as the brand new Ashgabat Golf Club, the country’s first golf club, which opened in October 2017 by renowned golf course designer Jack Nicklaus. Remote Lands’ tailored seven-day Classic Turkmenistan tour delves deep into the country’s long-reaching history, journeys through the vast Karakum Desert via jeep past rugged mountains, bubbling geysers and hidden caves, beginning and ending in the developing capital of Ashgabat. On the Turkmenistan Road Trip: From the Door to Hell to Ashgabat itinerary, the more intrepid traveler will enjoy exploring the sparse desert and stunning architecture of the country, while sleeping under the stars to view the spectacular Door to Hell, and even staying overnight at a local’s home in the quaint untouched village of Damla.
Sujan Jawai Camp:
Located between Jodhpur and Udaipur in India, Sujan Jawai Camp, which opened in recent years, provides a unique experience for visitors – leopards and other wildlife, rural villages and tented accommodations – in between two bustling cities full of exquisite palaces and temples. The highlight of Jawai is exploring the countryside and nearby villages by open air jeep with a primary goal of spotting the leopards who live in caves in the dramatic mountains and rock formations surrounding the camp. Jawai is also a cultural destination and visitors can learn about the local Rabadi people and their symbiotic relationship with the leopards, whom they revere as godlike. Because Jawai is not a national park, they are not bound by the same strict regulations of other parks so visitors are able to go out and return at whatever time they like with their own personal ranger. Jawai has just 11 tents and over 50 staff and each guest has their own butler. They also offer a luxury spa and a swimming pool. Remote Lands organizes a diverse Classic India itinerary with Sujan Jawai Camp as a key highlight, interspersing cities with countryside, grand architecture with wildlife and city hotel rooms with luxury tents.
Tohoku Region, Honshu, Japan:
A brand new destination for Remote Lands, Tohoku is in the northern region of Honshu Island and is comprised of six prefectures: Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, and Fukushima. A 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, the best time to visit Tohoku is in the spring for cherry blossom season at the end of April, fall for foliage viewing opportunities, and a two-week window in mid-July to August to see the Summer Festival. Top sites include the Hirosaki Castle and the sacred Mr. Osore in Amori; Senshu Park and the Aoyagi Samurai House in Akita; Kongjikido golden hall and Fukusenji temple with a 5-story pagoda in Iwate; Yamadera Temple, Mount Zao ski area and Mount Haguro in Yamagata; and Matsushima Bay, Shiogama Sushi City (most sushi restaurants per capita in the country) and Fox Village. Remote Lands can arrange a personalized itinerary around the destination with private touring and exclusive access to Tohoku’s top sites and attractions.
(Source: Luxury Travel Co., LTD)