Thailand’s iconic capital has been voted the best city in Southeast Asia by Travel + Leisure, in the annual Asia’s Best Awards. Chiang Mai also featured on the list, while Phuket was named the region’s best island, in a top 10 that included two other popular Thai destinations.
The winners were decided by T+L readers themselves, who voted for their favourite hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars throughout the Southeast Asian region, along with their top airlines, cities and island getaways. In addition to the Land of Smiles, destinations that cropped up in the list included the likes of Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Within each country, readers voted for a number of sub-categories, including 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 2021 (hotels, restaurants and bars).
When describing Bangkok, the T+L awards drew special attention to the city’s attractions, including “spicy street food, private-pool suites and Michelin-starred meals.” They also went on to mention Bangkok’s connectivity and its unique appeal: “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.”
The awards were equally effusive in their praise of Phuket: “in addition to the sandy stretches of postcards and the buzz of Patong, Phuket is home to a wide range of neighbourhoods – 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.”
Although Bangkok and Phuket were named Southeast Asia’s Best City and Best Island, respectively, various other Thai highlights were also honoured in the awards. Chiang Mai came in at number six on the Top 10 Cities list, while Ko Samui and Ko Phi Phi also featured in the list of Top 10 Best Islands, in second and ninth place, respectively.
Travel + Leisure is a travel magazine based in New York City, USA. Published monthly, it reaches a readership of around 4.8 million people. The T+L World’s Best Awards feature a mix of global destinations, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drink, outdoor adventures and various other attractions currently trending in tourism.