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Destined

1 September 2018
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Been there, done that? Keep your itineraries fresh visiting these rising stars or the old favourites having another moment in the sun.

Perth 

The mining boom drove a swag of swanky new hotels, both high-end and hip, and a host of new shopping and restaurant precincts. While mining has waned, the hotels and visitors keep coming to a revamped city boosted by new non-stop flights between Perth and Europe. Much of the city’s transformation stems from the $580-million redevelopment of a huge CBD block around Cathedral Square where several heritage State Buildings had sat unused for 20 years. Then COMO The Treasury took up residence in three of the 140-year-old buildings and promptly won every award going, including #2 Best Hotel in the World on the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2016. It remains the only Australian hotel on the Top 50 list, but Perth travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury lodgings.  The design-driven Alex Hotel in Northbridge was another trendsetter and has since been joined, among others, by The Melbourne Hotel, another boutique heritage revival; the Westin Perth and InterContinental, along Hay St from The Treasury; and Crown Towers Perth across the Swan River. More international heavyweights like Hilton’s DoubleTree and Ritz Carlton open later this year and big investment is now planned to re-energise idyllic Scarborough Beach and Fremantle.

For retail therapy and top eats head to the State Buildings, King Street Precinct in the city’s West End or Northbridge.

 

Lisbon

It’s been dubbed Europe’s new capital of cool and plenty are heading Lisbon’s way attracted by its chilled blend of big little city charm. Some come for the culture, its hilly coastal beauty best explored by trams, funiculars and the Santa Justa elevator; others to surf, shop, admire the architecture, or indulge in the food (Pasteis De Belem, famed for its Portugese Tarts, was TripAdvisor’s most reviewed restaurant globally last year – be prepared to queue for one of 23,000 magnetic morsels made daily). Everyone is welcomed by fashionable, creative inhabitants enjoying living in the city of the moment. And, compared with much of Europe, Lisbon has the bonus of being inexpensive.

Also consider Belgium: the past four years’ WWI commemorations have put the spotlight on the Flanders Fields battlegrounds and a wealth of beautiful, yet unsung nearby Flemish cities like Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels.

 

La Paz

At 3,640 metres above sea level, it’s little wonder that La Paz feels so other worldly.

To say that La Paz is hustling and bustling would be an almighty understatement; the constantly frantic nature of this Bolivian city is often too much to handle. But if you can stick it out, there are serious rewards to be reaped.

There’s really no surmising this incredible destination, where an ancient culture that predates the Incas meets modern South American living, so get amongst it! Visit the Witches’ market, watch some wrestling cholitas, sample the local culinary delights and round off a manic day of exploring with a famed Bolivian spirit, such as singani. When it comes to getting around La Paz, let us recommend Mi Teleférico, the world’s longest and highest urban cable car network.

This South American must-see certainly delivers high altitude and high intensity, so don’t forget to breathe.

An exclusive destination in the best sense of the word, La Paz flies under the tourist radar more for its challenging geography, than its high prices.

 

Seoul

Rest well before your trip to Seoul because this is the non-stop city that will keep you intrigued 24 hours a day.

From an early morning palace tour to admiring the numerous galleries, in between each stop you’re sure to spend much time gazing up at the most spectacular architecture. When the sun goes down behind Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park and City Hall, vodka-like drinks called Soju will recharge your batteries before you take on the Namdaemun night markets. If you’re still standing, no trip to this diverse city would be complete without blasting out a few karaoke favourites in a self-service noraebang or hitting the plentiful dancefloors of either Itaewon or Hongdae.

Seoul is just as modern as it is traditional and as natural as it is cosmopolitan. This forward-thinking and most dynamic destination, will have you returning time and time again.

Don’t miss: South Korea’s second-largest city Busan, a port beauty attracting plenty of attention for its mountains, beaches, hot springs and food.

 

Time to revisit

  • Singapore

Since the opening of the look-at-me Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore seems to have shed its safe and sterile persona to offer visitors a far more edgy experience (read Kate Preece’s Singapore experience page 20).

  • Egypt

It’s got some of the most incredible attractions in the world, but since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, the world’s visitors have stayed away big time.  Over the past year or two a lot of effort has been going in to allay security fears (especially at Egypt’s airports and museums) and incentivise tourists’ return. Bear in mind MFAT official advice that it considers Egypt high risk because an ongoing threat of terrorism throughout the country, including in Cairo.

safetravel.govt.nz/egypt

  • Japan

Rugby World Cup 2019, Tokyo Olympics 2020; more Michelin 3-star restaurants than anywhere else in the world... Need we say more?

 

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