Three destinations in Asia have made it into National Geographic's 25 breathtaking places and experiences for 2023, according to its just- released list.
Broken into five categories, community, culture, nature, adventure and family, the list identified Laos’ high speed train to lesser known regions, Busan, South Korea’s film festival and Longmen Grottoes stone statues in China’s Henan Province.
Both Busan and Longmen Grottoes were classified under “culture” which National Geographic acknowledged as places where history and heritage rule whereas Laos was categorised as “community” where conservation benefits everyone.
It asked travellers to board Laos’ high speed train, called Lane Xang or Kingdom of a Million Elephants, that has made “lesser-known regions of the country accessible to tourists”, while bringing “economic opportunities to locals”.
In Busan, National Geographic suggested that travellers experience the “creative energy of Asia’s top film festival and sip craft beer”.
Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site in China. Photo Credit: Adobe/swisshippo
Over in China, the publication said the world’s largest assembly of stone statues at Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site shows how ancient history can thrive in the 21st century.
“More than 100,000 figures devoted to Buddhism, primarily sculpted between the fifth and eighth centuries A.D., are tucked inside countless caves within limestone cliffs rising above the Yi River,” it said.
Quoting Amy Alipio, senior editor for National Geographic Travel, CNN Travel wrote that 2023 was not only about seeing a big return to travel but also “rediscovering wonder”.
"Because when you are awed by something, you treat it with respect. And that spirit is something we want to encourage with this list," Alipio was quoted as saying.
Other sites which made the list include Karpathos, Greece’s Dodecanese Islands, indigenous tourism outfitters in Alberta, Canada, black heritage and fashion in Accra, Ghana, Botswana’s biodiversity, the Scottish Highland’s rewilding movement, sustainable tourism in Slovenia and Egypt’s Grand Egyptian Museum and Luxor’s Avenue of the Sphinxes.