Siem Reap is Top Destination in Asia, Second in the World. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Siem Reap is Top Destination in Asia, Second in the World

Cambodia‘s Siem Reap is top destination in Asia and second in the world, according to millions of travellers who use the travel review site TripAdvisor. Of course, Temple Town being our home, we have to agree.

And we rarely agree with the TripAdvisor’s restaurant and hotel rankings. There are some surprising inclusions on TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Traveller’s Choice Destinations as the lists are officially called.

I mean Goreme, while lovely, is an odd inclusion on a worldwide list. As is Athens, although having updated a couple of LP Greece books years ago, we have a soft spot for the Greek capital. Queenstown is a fantastic launching pad (literally) for some wonderful experiences and the lake views are breathtaking, but is it really more popular than Hong Kong, Dubai and Sydney?

We definitely think Siem Reap is deserving of its placing and there are a lot of our favourite cities on the Top 25 list, including Marrakech at number one, Istanbul and Hanoi in third and fourth place respectively, along with Rome, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, St. Petersburg, and Barcelona.

It’s funny seeing our former home of Dubai at #24 followed by our hometown of Sydney at #25. Call us biased but we think Sydney should be in the top 10 and Dubai and Hong Kong are infinitely more interesting than Queenstown and Goreme.

But it’s worth keeping in mind that the winners of the 2015 Travelers’ Choice Destinations weren’t voted on. They were determined by an algorithm taking into account the quality and quantity of the millions of reviews, ratings and rankings for attractions, hotels and restaurants in 469 destinations over a 12-month period.

TripAdvisor Top 25 Destinations in the World

  1. Marrakesh, Morocco
  2. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  3. Istanbul, Turkey
  4. Hanoi, Vietnam
  5. Prague, Czech Republic
  6. London, England
  7. Rome, Italy
  8. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  9. Paris, France
  10. Cape Town, South Africa
  11. New York City, USA
  12. Zermatt, Switzerland
  13. Barcelona, Spain
  14. Goreme, Turkey
  15. Ubud, Indonesia
  16. Cusco, Peru
  17. St Petersburg, Russia
  18. Bangkok, Thailand
  19. Kathmandu, Nepal
  20. Athens, Greece
  21. Budapest, Hungary
  22. Queenstown, New Zealand
  23. Hong Kong, China
  24. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  25. Sydney, Australia

The Top 25 Destinations in Asia list is also interesting. It’s great to see so many cities in Vietnam there, but odd that Saigon and Hue, along with Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Seoul and Taipei are way below Denpasar and Seminyak. And as for Pattaya being on there. Please. And where on earth is Luang Prabang? Easily one of Asia’s most enchanting towns.

TripAdvisor Top 25 Destinations in Asia

  1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  2. Hanoi, Vietnam
  3. Ubud, Indonesia
  4. Bangkok, Thailand
  5. Kathmandu, Nepal
  6. Hong Kong, China
  7. Hoi An, Vietnam
  8. Denpasar, Indonesia
  9. Seminyak, Indonesia
  10. Beijing, China
  11. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  12. Jaipur, India
  13. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  14. Hue, Vietnam
  15. New Delhi, India
  16. Tokyo, Japan
  17. Shanghai, China
  18. Singapore, Singapore
  19. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  20. Mumbai, India
  21. Pattaya, Thailand
  22. Jaisalmer, India
  23. Lijiang, China
  24. Seoul, South Korea
  25. Taipei, Taiwan

Of course we all know that TripAdvisor is not without its issues, including fake reviews, and factors must come into play such as the influence of hotels and restaurants on customers to review, which drive views up the rankings. Still, it’s always fun to discuss these things, and as David Thompson said recently, it’s only a list.

In case you’re interested, here’s a link to all of the TripAdvisor 2015 Travellers’ Choice lists. Don’t even get me started on the Beaches list.

Terence’s portrait of the smiling woman above? She’s a rice farmer from a village on the outskirts of Siem Reap whom we met on the Day in the Life of a Village experience we did with Beyond Unique Escapes. I could tell you that she was happy to learn that Siem Reap is the top destination in Asia and second in the world, but I’d be lying. She was actually delighted that she had a good crop of rice, some of which I helped to harvest. More on that soon.

So what do you think of the TripAdvisor top destination lists? Are any of your favourite spots on them? Do you think there are any major oversights?


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

4 thoughts on “Siem Reap is Top Destination in Asia, Second in the World”

  1. I saw this floating around the internet, but didn’t click on it as I assumed it would be mostly rubbish, but I have to say they picked some interesting ones and cities that you may not think of at all. The thing with Goreme, is I would consider it and it s surrounding Cappadocia towns all together as one of the coolest sets of towns anywhere, but not Goreme on its own. Looks like I have to get to Siem Reap on the double!

  2. Agree, Jacqueline – I do love the whole area but I would not rate Goreme as a destination in itself. Siem Reap is a very cool little city – very dynamic; new stuff opening all the time. And while the temples truly are stupendous, there is so much more to do in the town and the surrounding countryside to warrant a longer stay. Do let us know if you get here. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Hi lara, i live in bali and was wondering if by denpasar they meant “bali” generally? Mind you, for a more authentic indonesian eating experience (cost and taste) denpasar wins hands down!

  4. Hi Noel, because they have Ubud and Seminyak on the list, I’m assuming they must mean Denpasar, right? I’m embarrassed to say that we didn’t spend any time there. Promise to next time. Any eating tips?

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