There are different kinds of travelers: there are those who explore a place for its food, those who are always on the hunt for the best bargain, those who want to take in the “feel” of a place leisurely. And then there are those who are always looking for thrilling activities to satisfy their thirst for adventure.
READ: Must-haves for your next adventure trip
Home to some of the world’s most extraordinary locales, Asia Pacific offers endless possibilities for those with a sense of adventure.
Hence, automobile firm Ford and travel site TripAdvisor have teamed up to find out the best extraordinary adventure destinations in the region in a bid to encourage explorers to discover amazing locations around them.
“Our consumer research shows that nearly 50 percent of Ford Everest owners in Asia Pacific are using their vehicles for weekend trips at least once a month. In fact, we also see an increasing trend of people across the region using their SUVs for off-roading,” shared Brett Burin, marketing director for Asia Pacific operations of Ford Motor Company.
Ford and TripAdvisor uncover the best “off-road”, “extreme destinations” with “tough roads” using the latter’s machine learning to identify the popular road trip destinations.
“We know that travelers want to discover new places that are off the beaten track when they’re looking for adventure,” said Janice Lee Fang, TripAdvisor’s communications director for Asia Pacific. “These were some of the more popular ones for adventurous road trips that we know, through our data, are already loved by TripAdvisor’s global travel community.”
Chiang Rai, Thailand
Located in northern Thailand near the borders of Laos and Myanmar, Chiang Rai offers a sense of tranquility for those looking to escape the stress of the city. If driving up from Chiang Mai, explorers get to experience 197 kilometers of scenic forested mountains along the long and winding highway.
Franz Josef, South Island, New Zealand
In a small clearing in the middle of the rainforests of South Island, Franz Josef is a small town just seven kilometers from the awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier. The area is composed of untouched rainforests, waterfalls, and lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The nearest major city to drive from is Queenstown, which is 350 kilometers to the south.
Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia
The perfect place to explore Australia’s rugged Blue Mountains, Katoomba is a small town and artistic hub bordering the mountains and its bushwalking trails. Situated on the Great Western Highway, 110km west of Sydney, it’s ideally located for a short weekend getaway. The area is mountainous with steep cliffs, dense rainforests, and several waterfalls.
Lhasa, Tibet, China
At an elevation of 3,656 meters on the Tibetan Plateau, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, winding rivers, and vast marshlands. As such, the roads in the area are rough, rocky, and challenging. If driving in from outside of Tibet, one of the nearest major cities is Xining, China, nearly 1,900 kilometers away.
Lijiang, Yunnan, China
Home to the UNESCO Heritage Site Old Town, the city has been preserved to look the same as it did when it was part of the legendary Ancient Silk Road. Lijiang is also the perfect base camp when checking out the beautiful surrounding areas, being only an hour drive from the Jade Snow Mountain range and two hours from Tiger Leaping Gorge. The nearest major city to drive from is Kunming, which is 518 kilometers away. On the drive, travelers can expect rough roads with sand, mud, and rocky areas.
Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
Located on a peninsula at the southwestern tip of Cebu, Moalboal is surrounded by water with a mountainous inland covered with dense jungles and divided by rivers and canyons. Driving to Moalboal from Cebu City is a memorable part of the experience, with 89 kilometers of beautiful coastline to take in from the comfort of one’s vehicle.
Phuket is an island in the Andaman Sea off the coast of southern Thailand, and home to several famed destinations such as Karon Beach, Patong, and Phuket City. The island is covered with mountainous rainforests from north to south, with white sandy beaches lining its west coast and rougher, muddier terrain on the east, offering drivers a variety of terrains to conquer.
Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Home to the famed Wulingyuan Scenic Area, visiting Zhangjiajie can feel like visiting another world. The area consists of vast forest, winding rivers, and cascading waterfalls. For a truly extraordinary experience, drive up Tianmen Mountain Road, which rises to 1,200 meters in 11 kilometers with 99 hair-raising bends.
READ: Travel the world with Thai
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