Thailand Bags the No. 1 City & Island Titles in Southeast Asia with Bangkok & Phuket

by Matthew Escosia
SEA Wave - Thailand
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Thailand scored the biggest wins in the Asia’s Best Awards 2022 by New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure. According to the Tourism of Authority of Thailand (TAT), Bangkok was named as the number one city in Southeast Asia and Phuket as the number one island in Southeast Asia for 2022.

Chiang Mai also made it to the Top 10 cities in Southeast Asia, coming in at 6th place. On the other hand, Thailand was able to score a total of 3 spots in the Top 10 islands in Southeast Asia with Koh Samui taking 2nd place and Koh Phi Phi in 9th place.

What makes Bangkok the best city in Southeast Asia?

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia answers, “If warm smiles, spicy street food, and feeling the wind in your hair as you glide through the city on a motorbike or tuk-tuk are appealing, Bangkok certainly hits the mark. If you prefer high-thread count linen in your private-pool suites and Michelin-starred meals, the city also has you covered. Whether you’re just spending a night en route to the islands, using Bangkok as a hub for further exploration of Southeast Asia, or visiting for what we advocate should be a dedicated vacation in its own right, there is no shortage of options.”

Bangkok was followed by Singapore at #2 and Danang (Vietnam) at #3. This was followed by Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hanoi (Vietnam), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Hong Kong,        Saigon (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and Jakarta (Indonesia) respectively.

And for naming Phuket as the number one island in Southeast Asia, Travel + Leisure highlights the success of the reopening of Phuket to tourists during the pandemic as a reason for the island topping the list.

“Since the most famous isle in the Andaman Sea hosted the region’s first Sandbox program, which allowed vaccinated visitors to enjoy a more relaxed version of quarantine, the destination off the southwest coast of Thailand was a viable getaway for months when other tropical getaways were closed to tourists or challenging to access,” the publication said.

They also added that, “In addition to the sandy stretches of postcards and the buzz of Patong, Phuket is home to a wide range of neighborhoods – do you want uber-luxury, beach club party vibe, local hipster, family-friendly, or yoga and detox? There is plenty of unique accommodation, outdoor activities, and attractions to explore on Thailand’s largest island. And wow, is Phuket Town coming into its own; take a day’s break from the beach for photogenic Sino-Portuguese architecture, and a thriving food and bev scene.”

The other islands that made it to the Top 10 list are Koh Samui (Thailand) at 2nd place, Bali (Indonesia) at 3rd place, followed by Phu Quoc (Vietnam), Langkawi (Malaysia), Lombok (Indonesia), Palawan (Philippines), Penang (Malaysia), Koh Phi Phi (Thailand), and Con Dao (Vietnam) respectively.

The Asia’s Best Awards 2022 also had its readers vote on different categories such as their favorite hotels, resorts, restaurants, and bars throughout the Southeast Asian region – with various ‘best of’ lists for Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Thailand was also included in the lists of Best City Hotels, Best Beach Resorts, Best Upcountry Resorts, Best Hotel Pools, Best Hotel Bars, Best Hotel Spas, Best Beach Clubs, and Best New Openings in Thailand 2021 (hotels, restaurants, and bars).

Have you ever traveled to Thailand? What are the best spots that you would recommend? Comment down below!

Featured photo by seng chye teo / Getty Images

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