It’s all about getting out of your travel comfort zone and venturing into new, exciting destinations in 2024. These are the top places you should visit.
So what if it’s only mid-January? That doesn’t mean you can start thinking about your next vacay. Whether you’re considering a short getaway or looking to maximise your annual leave with a long trip, we know the best places you have to visit this year. Add these destinations to your 2024 travel bucket list and prepare for an unforgettable holiday!
Top travel destinations to visit in 2024
1. Tainan, Taiwan
Move over, Taipei, we’re packing our bags and jetting off to the oldest city in Taiwan. This year marks Tainan’s 400th birthday, and you know what that means… a massive celebration! That’s not the only reason why you should put a travel pin on this charming destination for 2024. Tainan is rich in history, culture, natural beauty, and delicious street food.
The Yanshui Beehive Rocket Festival is one celebration you should totally partake in. Taking place on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, it’s also known as the world’s most dangerous festival as it involves rockets set off in the streets. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart! If you prefer something more calming (and safe), you can drop by the various museums or check out the adorable Snail Alley.
2. Fukuoka, Japan
Unsurprisingly, the Land of the Rising Sun remains the top destination for travellers. But if you’re tired of Tokyo or Kyoto (though we seriously doubt that), perhaps you should plan a trip to Fukuoka, Japan’s sixth-largest city. Hardcore foodies can look forward to tonkotsu ramen, yatai (street food) stalls, and motsunabe (hotpot made from offals).
Besides stuffing your face, there are other things to do here. If you’re all about cherry blossoms, Atago Shrine and Forest City Aburayama are two spots where you can spot cherry trees in abundance. Those who are familiar with TeamLab will be glad to know the art collective has a permanent exhibition in Fukuoka. The interactive museum comprises two interactive areas: a learning space and a creative athletic section.
How about a visit to the world’s happiest country? Tucked in the Eastern Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan is famous for its hiking trails, gorgeous architecture, and one fascinating fact: there are no traffic lights here! How cool is that? Before you make travel plans, note that you require a valid visa to enter the country. You must also book your holiday through a tour operator or hotel and reserve funds for sustainable development fees for the number of days you’re there. Yes, there’s a lot to settle here.
The best times to visit the “Switzerland of Asia” are between March and May, and September to November. During these seasons, the weather’s said to be pleasant and mild, and you’ll get to drink in all the glorious scenery. If you happen to be there in October, take part in the annual Jomolhari Mountain Festival. The two-day festivity features various activities, including indigenous sports competitions, tug-of-war games, and cultural performances.
4. Jaipur, India
“This looks like a nice holiday spot,” you think to yourself, after coming across Dua Lipa’s Instagram posts of her New Year’s vacation in Jaipur. Well, you’re absolutely right. Take it as a sign from the universe that you should start planning a trip to the city, and stat. The capital of India’s Rajasthan state is also known as the pink city, all thanks to the colour scheme of its buildings.
Brush up on your history by spending time at stunning sites such as Amer Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal. Be sure to visit Chokhi Dhani, a Rajasthani village showcasing the city’s essence through paintings, food, and live cultural performances. If you’re keen to shop, Johri Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar are two marketplaces to note.
If you’re looking for an exotic destination in 2024, add this North African country to your travel list. Morocco is lauded for its sights: colourful wall murals, lounging cats at every turn, sweeping desserts and epic mountains. You’ll also encounter warm hospitality and kindness here, where everyone – even travellers – is treated like family.
Love museums and branded goods? (A lethal combination, we say.) Make your way to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, which showcases the fashion brand’s collections of haute couture clothing and accessories from the past 40 years. Your next stop should be the Jardin Majorelle, which was bought and preserved by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. You can also bask in nature and admire sculptures at the Anima Garden or set aside a day to trek along Erg Chigaga, an expansive golden sand stretch.
6. Galicia, Spain
Sun, sand, sea, and seafood. If those nouns sound like music to your ears, we have news for you: Galicia is where you can find them. Located in the northwest corner of Spain, this autonomous region is popular with beachgoers and seafood lovers. This destination remained a closely guarded secret for the longest time, but there’s no more gatekeeping this year.
First-timers to this part of the world should start by exploring Santiago de Compostela, the regional capital city. Strap on your comfiest pair of shoes and go on a walking tour of the city. Learn more about the region’s history at the museums, marvel at the monumental Santiago chapel, and snap loads of photos of Raxoi Palace. If you’d rather skip all that and head straight for the beach, the Praia das Rodas on the Cíes Islands comes highly recommended.
What do you know about Mexico? Telenovelas, Salma Hayek, and Narcos: Mexico don’t cut it. This federal republic is the third-largest country in Latin America and boasts must-see ancient ruins, fantastic cuisines, and exciting mariachi music. Oh, and don’t forget the dazzling beaches, mountain ranges, and natural wonders… yeap, this is one country you must visit this year.
Reserve a day in your itinerary to visit the Mayan ruins – there are more than a dozen, so be selective about the ones you want to see. If you’re one of those who has to clock their steps daily, you can go on an exhilarating hike around the El Salto Canyon. Planning a summer vacay? Cenote Ik-Kil beckons with its lush green surroundings and crystal clear waters. Enjoy a cool, refreshing dip after exploring the breathtaking natural wonder. Remember to pack your sunscreen, towel, and swimwear!
8. Paris, France
The French capital has got a lot of things going on this year. A new prime minister, another season of Emily gallivanting in Paris, and the summer Olympics, aka the biggest multi-sport event in history. Throngs of visitors are expected to drop by this year, so if you have massive FOMO, a trip to Paris should be on your cards.
There’s plenty to do in the City of Light, from exploring tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum to snapping pictures of the Arc de Triomphe and grabbing croissants and macarons from myriad cafes. While there’s nothing wrong with doing all of that, if you want to spice up your trip, we suggest going off the beaten path and checking out the hidden gems around the capital. See if you can find a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty.
9. Sri Lanka
2024 is poised to be the year of wellness retreats, and Sri Lanka is said to be one of the top travel destinations for it. The South Asian country is filled with divine sanctuaries and lush greenery, which are the perfect setting for your spiritual journey. Travellers can also look forward to spectacular tea plantations, historical monuments, amazing wildlife, and more.
Animal lovers, grab your cameras and go on a safari tour around Yala National Park. Here’s where you can spot leopards (though they’re an elusive bunch), elephants, birds, and even the sloth bear. FYI, Yala is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular parks, so you can expect the place to be crowded. You’ve been warned! You can also go on a tea trail and see how tea is cultivated, plucked, and processed.
10. Los Angeles, USA
New York may be a concrete jungle where dreams are made of, but if you intend to visit the United States, Los Angeles is the way to go. Picture this: warm and sunny weather all year round, beautiful beaches, top-notch cuisines, and glitz and glamour, of course. “Everybody comes to Hollywood,” as the great queen mother Madonna says.
Speaking of Hollywood, head to the neighbourhood on Sundays for its farmers’ market, where you can enjoy fresh produce and artisanal delights. When you’re done, you obviously have to check out the iconic Hollywood Sign. Another place you must have in your itinerary? Disneyland! Get on all the rides, refuel at the restaurants, and empty your wallets at the souvenir shops.
Get in, wanderluster, it’s time to visit these top travel destinations in 2024.