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Munnar second-best Asian travel destination for 2010

Last updated on: May 18, 2010 17:42 IST

Munnar second-best Asian travel destination for 2010

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In a round-up of vacationers' most-preferred Asian travel destinations, a total of nine Indian locales made it to the top 25, with the hill station of Munnar making it to second spot.

Compiled by online travel guide TripAdvisor, the 2010 Traveller's Choice Destination awards were determined by real travellers, taking into consideration their comments, favourite places, and overall destination popularity. Now in their eighth year, these awards are based on millions of genuine reviews and opinions about destinations on TripAdvisor and online.

With its sprawling tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains and cool air, it's no suprise that Munar rated so high with holiday-makers. In recent years, it has also been attracting adventure travellers, who are enamoured by the area's stunning topography, which is ideal for paragliding, trekking and rock-climbing.

Read on to find out which other Asian locales made it to the top 25.

Information courtesy Kerala Tourism


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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1. Tokyo

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Munnar came second only to Tokyo, which topped the list. With its national parks, museums and volcanic islands, the Japanese city emerged the undisputed favourite of Asia-bound tourists.


Photographs: Toru Hanai/Reuters
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3. Siem Reap

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This Cambodian city, with its colonial and Chinese-style architecture and proximity to the world-famous temple complex of Angkor Wat, secured third position in the poll.


Photographs: Chor Sokunthea/Reuters
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4. Kyoto

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The second Japanese city to make it to the top five, Kyoto is home to 20 percent of the country's national treasures. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto is worth a visit, as is the famous Iwatayama Monkey Park.


Photographs: Nicky Loh/Reuters
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5. Naha

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Chalk up another one for the Japanese! Naha's city centre contains a mile-long stretch of stores, restaurants and bars, while the Shuri Castle, with its maze of underground tunnels and the Lake Man wetlands are other tourist attractions.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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6. Andaman and Nicobar Islands

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The only other country besides Japan to exert a major influence on the 2010 Travellers' Choice Destinations is India. The beautiful beaches of Andaman and Nicobar rated high enough with holiday-makers to come in at Number Six.


Photographs: STR New/Reuters
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7. Manali

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Tucked into the snow-clad mountains of Himachal Pradesh, this is one of our most popular hillstations. Besides scenic vistas, Manali also offers visitors adventure sports like skiing, paragliding and rafting, hot springs, Buddhist temples and historical sites like the Naggar Fort and Hidimba Devi Temple.


Photographs: Stringer India/Reuters
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8. Hampi

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Located where the ancient Vijayanagara Empire once stood, Hampi is known for its panoramic offerings and as the site of the famed Vrupaksha Temple. There are also several other historical religious monuments you can visit and archaeological excavations are continually underway, given the rich history of the village.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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9. Goa

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There are many who rate our beach state as one of the best holiday locales not just in Asia, but in the world. With its miles of picturesque coastline, Portuguese churches dating back to the colonial era and vibrant nightlife, Goa is undoubtedly a vacationers' paradise.


Photographs: Uday Kuckian
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10. Hoi An

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Esconced on the coast of the East Vietnam Sea, the Vietnamese city of Hoi An also has a significant historical past. It was once a major hub for spice trade and its old town, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, gives you a glimpse of life from more than two centuries ago. Hoi An is also known for its art and craft shops, particularly the lanterns that are produced here.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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11. Luang Prabang

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Situated in Laos, the name of this city literally translates as 'Royal Buddha Image (in the Dispelling Fear Mudra)'. Temples and monasteries dot the landscape and in addition to these, you can visit the Kuang Si Falls, the Pak Ou Caves, enjoy shopping at the night market and even ride on elephants.

Photographs: Reuters
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12. Udaipur

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Rajasthan's City of Lakes has a lot to offer holiday-makers -- palaces dating back to the Rajput era, the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal (folk art museum), the Gulab Bagh and Zoo and of course, scenic lakeside vistas. It's hardly surprising that it sits Udaipur grabs the twelfth spot on the list.


Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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Yangshuo County

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China makes its debut at Number Thirteen, with Yangshuo County. Situated in the city of Guilin. Immensely popular with backpackers, the county runs along the Li River and you can also go rock-climbing, rafting, cruising or visit local caves. Tourists are also welcome to learn Chinese calligraphy and cooking for a fee.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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14. Singapore

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The cleanest city-state on the planet welcomes millions of visitors each year. Singapore offers holiday-makers world-class shopping and dining experiences -- luxurious hotels, high-end fashion stores, state-of-the-art casinos and the Underwater World Oceanarium are only a few of its endless attractions.


Photographs: Pablo Sanchez/Reuters
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15. Biei-cho

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This town, situated in the Kamikawa District of Hokkaido, Japan, is the ideal getaway for those who enjoy views of fields and hills for as far as the eye can see. You can get away from the fast-paced buzz of life in busy cities to enjoy the greenery and maybe take in the Shinzo Maeda Photo Art Gallery while you're there.


Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
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16. Nara

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Buddhist temples, palaces, forests -- you can expect to see all of this and more in this Japanese city. What's more, deer are looked upon as sacred animals in Nara and you will see them roam freely through the streets. You can even feed them by hand with 'deer biscuits' that vendors sell specifically for this purpose.


Photographs: Eriko Sugita/Reuters
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17. Miyakojima

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Miyakojima is the largest and most heavily populated of Japan's Miyako Islands. Vast expanses of blue sea all around and clean beaches will leave you feeling tranquil; you can also experience the culture of the islands firsthand if you visit during the festival of Pantu.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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18. Kobe

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Booked your tickets to Japan yet? If so, don't leave Kobe out of your itenary -- it's the nation's sixth-largest city and is sure to make for a great holiday destination. Pay a visit to the hot springs of Arima Onsen, Ikuta Shrine and Kobe Port Tower, which provides stunning night views of the city. And of course, don't leave without feasting on steak -- this is where Kobe beef gets its name from!


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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19. Gangtok

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Closer to home again, the capital of Sikkim is nothing short of breathtaking. Tucked between the Himalayas, you can expect great weather and indulge in trekking, mountaineering or river-rafting. You can also catch a glimpse of Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world from Gangtok.


Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
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20. Bengaluru

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From the capital of Sikkim, we move to the capital of Karnataka. Also known as the Garden City, Bengaluru is famous for its many parks and greenery. Make sure to visit Lal Bagh Glass House (now a heritage monument), the Nandi Temple, Bangalore Palace (a smaller imitation of England's Windsor Castle) and enjoy sampling regional cuisine at one of the many Udupi eateries.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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21. Chiang Mai

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The largest city in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is located high in the mountains, beside the river Ping and sees more than 1 million tourists a year. There are over 300 Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai; in addition, a lot of Chinese festivals like Loi Kratong and Songkran are hosted here amid much fanfare. National parks and night safaris are a common attraction and you can also look forward to shopping and Thai massages.


Photographs: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters
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22. Dharamsala

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Located in Himachal Pradesh, this quaint North Indian city is a wonderful holiday destination. Visit the village of McLeod Ganj where the Dalai Lama has made his home, go trekking, visit the wonderful temples and waterfalls and rejuvenate yourself.


Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters
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23. Lijiang

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The Chinese city is best known for its Old Town of Lijiang, a heritage site. The Old Town has a history that goes back more than eight centuries and has an array of well-planned waterways and bridges. The architecture, history and culture you see here are said to be significantly different from other historical Chinese cities.


Photographs: Nicholas Macfie/Reuters
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24. Taipei

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Taipei, Taiwan's largest city, is located beside the Danshui River. Aside from its famous monuments like the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the National Palace Museum, it is also home to Taipei 101, a skyscraper with as many floors as its name, which was the world's tallest building back in 2004. Night markets, parks, temples and nature preserves are a few of the city's other attractions.


Photographs: Pichi Chuang/Reuters
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25. The Maldives

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And finally, just about making it to Asia's top 25 destinations is its smallest country, in both population and area -- the Maldives. The islands, with their crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches are a tourist magnet -- go sailing, diving, laze in the sand and take in the tropical breeze with a cocktail in your hand. Aah -- that's the life!


Photographs: Reinhard Krause/Reuters
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