Which destinations in Asia are the favourites among global travellers this year? According to a poll run by the region’s first online magazine, Thailand, Indonesia (specifically, Bali) and Singapore.

Smart Travel Asia, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, recently released the results of its “Best In Travel” poll, conducted throughout last month. This annual reader polls have run since 2005 – with a four-year hiatus (2019-2022) – covering airlines, airports, destinations and hotels.

According to the results, the magazine’s frequent traveller readers are based worldwide with many in the United States, Singapore, India, China, Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan, Australia, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands. These affluent travellers are said to take 10 air trips annually within or to Asia, with an average annual household income of US$145,000 (RM685,995) in 2023.

The poll also showed that this year key travel interests include (based on rank, from most to least) adventure/nature, culture/history, dining/nightlife, wellness (spas), shopping, family travel, and weddings.

Younger travellers were also adventurous in their hotel choices, while older and higher income readers preferred classic luxury brands.

As for the “Top 10 Destinations” in Asia, Bangkok (Thailand) sits at the top, followed by Bali, with the Maldives and Hokkaido (Japan) tied at #3. The magazine concludes that travel recovery followed destination re-openings as well as airline routes and frequencies.

Malaysia’s Langkawi island tied at #8 with Vietnam’s Danang and Hoi An, as well as Seoul, South Korea.

In the “Top 10 Airports” worldwide category, Singapore’s Changi Airport ranked #1; neither of the two Kuala Lumpur International Airports are on the list. KL did, however, make it to the “Top 10 Cities For Meetings” in Asia list, sitting at #8.

Langkawi fared better at #5, tied with Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). Singapore clinched the top spot for this category.

AirAsia is many travellers’ preferred low-cost airline as it is ranked #1 in the “Top 10 Budget Airlines” in Asia category. This is followed by IndiGo, Jetstar Asia, Scoot, Spice Jet, Cebu Pacific, Peach, Air Arabia, HK Express and Vietjet.

Many properties and brands had similar rankings in the “Top 10 Luxury Hotels” in Asia category, with Kudadoo Maldives Private Island as the top choice. Others on the list include Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape (#2, Bali); COMO Uma Punakha (Bhutan) and Amankila (Bali) at #3; Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve (#4, Bali); Aman Tokyo and Taj Lake Palace (Udaipur, India) at #5.

Two hotels in KL are on the list of “Top 10 Value Hotels” in Asia: The Chow Kit – An Ormond Hotel is ranked #3, while Aloft Kuala Lumpur is ranked #5.

The poll is an independent, free, and fair poll with no nomination fees. Smart Travel Asia tracks anomalies and eliminate repeat votes and garbled entries.

For the full list, head to the poll page (smarttravelasia.com/travelpoll2023.htm).