The new world order: Myanmar and Sri Lanka our must-do destinations
|Stilt fishermen in Sri Lanka. Photo: Alamy|
Myanmar and Sri Lanka top the list of must-do destinations, industry experts agree.
My pick for 2014 is Riga, the art nouveau jewel of the Baltics. The Latvian capital is a twin to Prague, minus the fleets of tour buses and crowds, and is the 2014 European Capital of Culture.Next year is all about indulgence for me: I'll be travelling to stunning Waiheke Island off Auckland to celebrate my birthday.
Brazil will be in the limelight, thanks to the football World Cup. We've seen increased interest in Myanmar and Cambodia and Sri Lanka is a rising star: visit the fort town of Galle. Mount Kinabalu (4095 metres) is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea: let's see if I am up for it.
SUJATA RAMAN AND GEOFFREY KENT
Abercrombie & Kent
Sri Lanka is still remarkably unspoiled, with ancient cities, tea plantations and hill stations vying for attention alongside amazing wildlife, temples and golden beaches, while Myanmar is a truly spiritual destination. In 2014, you will be able to travel along the Ayeyarwady River on the boutique river cruiser, Sanctuary Ananda, through stunning landscapes.
Intrepid Travel Group
Myanmar is Asia's hottest new destination: get even further off the beaten track and set sail around the 800 islands of the blissful Myeik Archipelago. Sri Lanka is rising in popularity, and with all eyes on South America for the World Cup, my tip is to escape the crowds in Colombia.
Outdoor dining in Istanbul. Photo: Getty Images
Homeaway Holiday Rentals
Internationally, Dubai, Istanbul, Phuket, Kyoto and Tel Aviv are receiving strong booking inquiries for 2014, while domestic mainstays are Gold Coast, Byron Bay and Sydney. Rising stars include Seminyak, Boracay and Goa and the holiday rental market is becoming more popular in South-East Asia. I will be hitting the slopes of Queenstown, sunning on a Bali beach and catching some weekend respite on Phillip Island.
Mr and Mrs Smith
Lanterns in Kyoto. Photo: Getty Images
People are looking for accommodation that offers an authentic connection to the destination, such as smaller, locally owned boutique hotels like Brody House in Budapest or Claska in Tokyo. We're seeing a surge in interest in Japan, prompted by its distinctive pop culture and increased flights. I'm going to Costa Rica and Belize for their beautiful beaches, incredible diving, and unspoilt rainforest. I hope to stay at six-suite hotel Kura.
Sri Lanka is safe, easy to get to and great value, has an excellent range of accommodation and offers both beaches and culture. In many respects, it's the new Bali. Myanmar is another one on my list. It still lacks beds, so prices are unreasonably high, but it's seen as Asia's last frontier. Cuba is in the same category - go before it changes forever! My left-field prediction is Iran. The new government is clearly trying to build bridges with the West.
THE LEGGY LOVELIES
Why sprint madly through an overcrowded airport when you can transfer leisurely and luxuriously via riverboat? We like Heritage Line's (heritage-line.com) vintage-inspired fleet for South-East Asian jaunts. For gastro-travel, Copenhagen, Lima, Bangkok and Tokyo are emerging as envelope-pushing culinary destinations. Pack your elastic-waist slacks! There's very good bang for your buck. Quaint boutique hotels and delicious street foods keep it cheap, cheery and culture-savvy. South America is booming but we also intend to escape the crowds in Mongolia and Myanmar.
The delights of Noma in Copenhagen. Photo: NY Times
After slowing in 2012-13, Bali is becoming popular again for Australians. Our top picks are Sydney for its great 2014 events line-up, Tropical North Queensland for beach and adventure travel and Adelaide, just named in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 roundup, with a focus on culture and the arts. With an increase in low-cost airlines flying into Adelaide and Cairns, accessibility has never been easier. I'm heading to Terrigal, NSW, close to home, for a great Australian beach holiday.
Compiled by Belinda Jackson for the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age newspapers