Global travel authority Lonely Planet has named Australia’s Margaret River & Southern WA as the number-one Asian-Pacific destination to visit in the year ahead. Shikoku, Japan is in second place, while Bay of Islands & Northland, New Zealand comes in at number three.

“Asia Pacific has it all,” says Lonely Planet’s Media Spokesperson for the region, Chris Zeiher. “Its food delights the senses, its forests and seas teem with life, and its cities fizz with culture and creativity. Our experts have explored this vast region’s highlands, islands and everything in between to find the best places to visit this year.”

“From primate-filled jungles to mirage-like lagoons,” Chris says, “their recommendations reflect a part of the world increasingly determined to protect its most prized possessions at the same time as it charges whole-heartedly into the future.”

Continue reading to find out what Lonely Planet has to say about the 10 picked destinations!

  1. Margaret River & Southern WA, Australia

“Take one look at Meelup Beach and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life: the West Australian bush parts to reveal ocean the hue of a Bombay Sapphire bottle, which is typical of the coastline stretching from Margaret River to the state’s south. Beyond the sand, some of the country’s slickest wineries, breweries and restaurants lie between tracts of tall-tree forest and kangaroo-dotted farmland.”

  1. Shikoku, Japan
The sacred summit of Ishizuchi-san, otherwise known as ‘the roof of Shikoku’ © Paprikaworks / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

“This somewhat off-the-beaten-path haven is finally being discovered by non-Japanese visitors, with an increasing number of international flights winging into the main cities of Takamatsu and Matsuyama.”

  1. Bay of Islands & Northland, New Zealand
A bird’s-eye view of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands © Martin Barraud / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

Northland is the cradle of the country’s culture and history – both for the indigenous Māori people and for the European settlers who followed them. The two formally came together with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, and 2020 sees the 180th anniversary of that key nation-building event.”

  1. Singapore
Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Singapore was one of the brightest stars in the 2018 movie blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians, and the Lion City is hipper and hotter than ever. 2019 offers a chance to participate in the city’s bicentennial, but also to celebrate more than 700 years of Singapore’s rich, diverse history.”

  1. The Cook Islands
Aitutaki’s turquoise lagoon looks like a Photoshop fantasy, but it’s 100% real © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

“A visit to the Cook Islands, 15 tiny islets, far-flung over a swathe of the deep-blue, breezy Pacific Ocean, is bound to rejuvenate even the most jaded. And locals on the main island, Rarotonga, are welcoming visitors off an increasing number of international flights to their Polynesian paradise.”

  1. Central Vietnam
Aitutaki’s turquoise lagoon looks like a Photoshop fantasy, but it’s 100% real © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

Hue’s vibrant cuisine showcases the city’s imperial legacy, while south in Hoi An’s storied laneways, local dishes include fragrant cao lầu noodles. Seafood stars in nearby Danang, and the city alongside the Han River is becoming one of Vietnam’s most exciting urban destinations.”

  1. Fiji
Beautiful flowers and lush rainforests are what make islands of Taveuni truly special © Douglas Peebles / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

“From solar-powered resorts that serve locally harvested food to coral reef restoration projects and limited plastic usage, this vulnerable island nation has moved headlong into eco-tourism. October 10, 2020, will mark the island nation’s 50th year of independence, called ‘Fiji Day’

  1. Palawan, Philippines
The sun sets on another day in paradise… aka the Bacuit Archipelago, Palawan © XYZ PICTURES / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

“These are the heady days when new air routes and upgraded roads make it easier than ever to explore the dramatic seascapes and wildlife-laden jungles of the slender 400km-long main island (also called Palawan) before it inevitably becomes more developed.”

  1. Beijing, China
History-rich Beijing is glowing lately, thanks to a number of eco-conscious modernisation projects © kool99 / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

Beijing is changing fast as the new decade approaches. In a bid to battle the smog, an eco-friendly bike-sharing scheme has launched, and the rapidly expanding subway is expected to reduce traffic congestion. High-speed links will soon race passengers to the extraordinary, Zaha Hadid-designed, starfish-shaped Beijing Daxing International, the world’s largest airport, which is slated to open later this year “

  1. Cambodia
Cambodia’s Koh Rong Samloem © Rocky89 / Getty Images (courtesy of Lonely Planet)

“The skyline of Phnom Penh is on the up, bringing sky bars and designer dining; the Southern Islands are generating a beach buzz thanks to new boutique and luxury resorts; colonial-era vestiges are under restoration in Battambang and Kampot; and in remote areas like Koh Kong and Mondulkiri, wildlife spotting is drawing visitors off-the-beaten track. New airlines are making connections between Siem Reap and the South Coast smoother, with hydrofoils whisking people to the islands.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Pacific 2019 is available online, with accompanying articles to each destination, at lonelyplanet.com/best-in-asia-pacific.

Read also: Lonely Planet Revealed Top 10 Countries To Visit in 2019