Asia

Posted on June 14, 2014.

If Seoul is Korea’s New York, Busan might be its Los Angeles–Miami hybrid. Renowned in East Asia for its miles of wide sandy beaches and busy quayside scene, it’s crowded with high rises whose apartments have been snapped up by wealthy Chinese and Seoul-based Koreans—particularly around Marine City.

Chiang Mai may not even qualify as ‘under the radar’ anymore, considering Condé Nast Traveler readers voted it among the most popular cities in the world last year. Long the cultural redoubt for Bangkok-based expats and art enthusiasts, Chiang Mai has evolved into a must-do on the Southeast Asia circuit. To start with, there is the proliferation of amazing hotels—from the full-blown luxe of the Four Seasons and Dhara Dhevi (pictured) to the intimate colonial charm of the Rachamankha and 137 Pillars House (the clubby bar here is a nice little scene in the evenings).

It used to be a place for crusty foreign correspondents and diehard backpackers. But Cambodia’s capital is coming into its own, as improved infrastructure gives visitors more and more reason to stay. Its traditional tourist landmarks—the Royal Palace (pictured), the Silver Pagoda (with its diamond-bedazzled Buddha), the Independence Monument, Wat Phnom—and vibrant, happily chaotic Central Market are these days enhanced by more 21st-century attractions: the Foreign Correspondent’s Club boasts Khmer and continental food worth traveling for.