Asian cities rank among world’s friendliest
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Asian cities rank among world’s friendliest

Conde Nast Traveler’s recent readers’ choice survey on the world’s friendliest cities, has placed a number of Asian cities in the top 10.

In fact seven out of the list were Asian locations, leaving this correspondent with only one response really –  “I told you so.” So if you were seeking a friendly place to travel to this year you won’t actually need to go too far. Here’s the list:

1. Florianopolis, Brazil

2. Hobart, Tasmania

3. Thimpu, Bhutan

4. Queenstown, New Zealand

5. Charleston, South Carolina

6. Paro, Bhutan

Tied with 6. Margaret River, Australia

8. Mandalay, Burma

9. Kilkenny, Ireland

Tied with 9. Ubud, Bali

Hobart, Australia

Hobart, high up on the list, and capital of Tasmania in Australia, was praised by Conde Nast reviewers for its people–“they know how to treat visitors,” wrote one–and it’s natural beauty–“One of the best places I’ve visited,” wrote another. We’re happy to have given Hobart a fair plug over the years including its excellent markets, old town, harbour and general ambience. See some of these posts on Travel Wire Asia:

In pictures: Old Hobart town

In pictures: Salamanca markets, Hobart

Hobart in the spotlight: what makes the harbour city so great

Check for hotel deals in Hobart

Thimpu, Bhutan

If you’ve never been to Thimpu, number three on the list, you may be interested in noting some of the praise heaped on the Bhutanese capital. An “extraordinary experience,” “a fascinating combination of modern and ancient,” and a “relaxed attitude and sense of adventure” were some of the compliments thrown its way. Paro, in number 6, where most people arrive by international flight, also got Bhutan a top 10 rating for its “beautiful architecture”, “tasty” food and way out of the ordinary” experiences. To familiarise yourself with Bhutan see some of these stories on Travel Wire Asia:

Bhutan: A trekker’s paradise

In pictures: Bhutan – land of the Thunder Dragon

Check for hotel deals in Thimpu and Paro


View near Paro airport. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Queenstown, New Zealand

Moving down to 4 on the list and Queenstown needs little introduction to most readers as New Zealand’s adventure capital on the south island. Conde Nast listed it as “A tranquil and peaceful town,” with an “excellent outdoor vibe” and “down-to-earth, nice people.” The scenery, adventure sports and hospitality were all commended. If you’re keen to get to know Queenstown in more detail check out these posts about the walking tracks, scenery and things to do in this friendly part of the world:

6 of the best… walking tracks in Queenstown

In pictures: The stunning beauty of New Zealand’s South Island

Queenstown, New Zealand

Check for hotel deals in Queenstown


The Skyline Gondola whisks visitors up Bob’s Peak for a view over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Margaret River, Australia

Position 6 is shared between Paro (above) and Margaret River in Western Australia. Margaret River lies to the south of Perth and is known for its vineyards and surfing. Conde Nast readers loved its ambience, restaurants and locations. Here on Travel Wire Asia you can get to know Margaret River through its wine thanks to these posts:

Must-have wine: 2008 Peccavi Chardonnay

Top 10 best family wineries in Western Australia

Check for hotel deals in Margaret River Wine Region

Mandalay, Burma

Mandalay in Burma takes slot number 8 on the list thanks to its architecture, impressive ancient temples and forts and a “spirit of old-meets-new”. The very name Mandalay is usually enough to thrill most would be travellers to the city and is usually on their travel itinerary given its number of monasteries, traditional crafts, sights and markets. Here’s a few posts to get acquainted with the city:

A visit to a place lost in time: Burma

In pictures: Mandalay uncovered

Check for hotel deals in Mandalay


Lunch time for monks at Sagaing Monastery, Mandalay. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Ubud, Bali
In spot 9, Ubud, Bali has tied with Kilkenny in Ireland. Ubud gained international renown thanks to the Eat, Pray, Love book by Elizabeth Gilbert, but it’s good to see Conde Nast readers don’t think it has lost any of its charm. They noted its scenic rice paddies, luxury accommodation, great hospitality, relaxed lifestyle, shopping opportunities and spirituality. Surely a winning combination. If you’re seeking a serene destination this year this could be it. Read more on Travel Wire about it here:

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