The Best Places to Travel in Asia in January

Consider this a list of 18 reasons you might want to kick off the year in Asia.

Tourists are clearing out, flight prices are low, and the weather is warm (no sign of an Arctic freeze here). That makes Asia a perfect place to recover from an exhausting holiday season. Make that an exhausting 2017, actually.

January is an awesome — albeit overlooked — month to travel, and there are a number of exciting destinations in Asia to consider for your first trip of the year. Whether you’re a photography buff, an adventure seeker, or a serious beach lounger, every type of traveler can find a getaway to fit his or her style on this continent.

With so many destinations to consider, we sought local expertise, ideal weather, and looked at popular or noteworthy events and major hotel or restaurant openings to assemble our list of the top destinations to visit in Asia in January.

That’s why you’ll recognize some of these destinations from our list of the 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018, like hot spot Luang Prabang, in landlocked Laos, and increasingly upscale Bali.

Stunning all-villa resorts, firework festivals, and improved connectivity are just a few reasons these 18 places in Asia are on our travel list for this January.

Top View HDR shot of coastline in Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

With a new 12-lane highway and a seriously upgraded airport, it’s finally getting easier to travel around the Thai island of Phuket. And thanks to a slew of new luxury hotel openings, the infamous party island is taking a more upscale turn. One of the most anticipated openings, Rosewood Phuket, has upped the ante on the island with 71 eco-villas and pavilions overlooking Emerald Bay on the southeastern coast. Meanwhile, the 40-room Baba Beach Club brings a bit of Ibiza to the Phang Nga’s pristine shores. On Chalong Bay, travelers can also bed down at the new Anayara Retreat Panwa: an all-villa hillside boutique resort.

Vat May Souvannapoumaram buddhist temple – Chùa May Souvannapoumaram, Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang’s gilded spires and dramatic mountains are reason enough to have the city on your travel list. But a burgeoning arts scene, easy-going cafe culture, and influx of new luxury hotels are quickly transforming the sleepy town into the region’s next hot spot. Last year, hotel legend Adrian Zecha, of Aman Resorts, opened 53-room Azerai in a cluster of century-old heritage-style buildings. Also raising the stakes is Rosewood Luang Prabang, a tent and villa encampment tucked into the nearby jungle, which is set to open later this year.

Thailand, Bangkok, China town during Chinese New Year, busy night market, crowds of people shopping.

Bangkok, Thailand

Whether it’s the booming creative scene, recently announced Michelin guide, or new hotel openings that attract you, Bangkok is the place to be — just ask the 21 million international visitors who made their way to the capital in 2016. Stay at the Park Hyatt Bangkok (last year’s most talked about opening) and visit one of the capital’s many new art spaces. Travelers should also book a table at Jay Fai, the Chinatown street food stall that recently received a Michelin star. Best of all, the weather is at its most enjoyable this time of year, making it easy to enjoy the bustling city.

See the rest of the destinations here.