Keong Saik Road among Lonely Planet's top 10 Asian travel destinations for 2017

Hip hangouts like Potato Head have transformed Keong Saik Road.
Hip hangouts like Potato Head have transformed Keong Saik Road. PHOTO: POTATO HEAD FAMILY

SINGAPORE - Keong Saik Road in Chinatown is among the top 10 travel destinations in Asia, according to travel guide Lonely Planet's 2017 Best in Asia list.

Revealed on Tuesday (July 11), the annual ranking provides a list of the continent's 10 best destinations to visit in the year ahead.

Keong Saik Road placed fourth in this year's list, the second edition of it.

The former red-light district was a hotbed for crime, but has "reinvented itself to become the poster-child for hip 'New Singapore'", Lonely Planet said in its release.

It was lauded for its "beautiful colonial and art-deco buildings", where visitors could experience the city state's "famed dining scene".

Lonely Planet acclaimed the area's restaurants which provided inventive Asian fusion, such as Meta restaurant, and trendy cocktail bars with fabulous rooftop views, such as Potato Head Singapore.

It also highlighted boutique hotels, such as Naumi Liora's "heritage chic" style.

The "cool" factor has also spread to Neil Road and Tek Lim Road, according to Lonely Planet, making this pocket of Singapore a delightful destination.

The 2017 Best in Asia list was topped by China's Gansu province, for being "blissfully well-connected" yet "underrated and relatively crowd-free".

In second place was the urban scene in the south of Tokyo, Japan, while India's northern Kerala took third place, for "emerging slowly like a butterfly from a chrysalis".

"Asia is such a vast and diverse continent for anyone dreaming of an escape," Lonely Planet's Asia-Pacific media spokesman Chris Zeiher said.

"Our experts have combed through thousands of recommendations to pick the best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.

"From Astana in Kazakhstan, to Xi'an in China, this is a line-up to inspire a multitude of travellers - Whether they're based in Asia, or maybe they've already visited some of the region's heavy-hitting destinations."

Here's the list of the top 10 destinations:

1. Gansu, China

An aerial view shows people visiting an area of Danxia landform in Zhangye, Gansu province, China. PHOTO: REUTERS

2. South of Tokyo, Japan


Venture south from Japan's capital to see the likes of arty Yokohama. PHOTO: SEANPAVONEPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

3. Northern Kerala, India

Have the beaches to yourself in lesser-known Northern Kerala. PHOTO: NEIL MCALLISTER/GETTY IMAGES

4. Keong Saik Road, Singapore

A row of shophouses along Keong Saik Road. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

5. Astana, Kazakhstan

Astana offers an aerial view like no other city on Earth. PHOTO: EVGENYKKZ/SHUTTERSHOCK

6. Takayama, Japan

Soak up history and culture in captivating Takayama. PHOTO: URBAN NAPFLIN/SHUTTERSHOCK

7. Xi'an, China

Cycle the city walls and say hello to Xi'an's Army of Terracotta Warriors. PHOTO: NIKADA/GETTY IMAGES

8. Sri Lanka's Hill Country

Can't take the heat? Head to Sri Lanka's Hill Country for tea, temples and hikes. PHOTO: ALEX_ALLADIN/SHUTTERSHOCK

9. Melaka City, Malaysia

A riverside amble in Melaka City reveals creative treasures. PHOTO: FRANS SELLIES/GETTY IMAGES

10. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Divers are drawn to the coral-rich waters of this Indonesian archipelago. PHOTO: JONES/SHIMLOCK-SECRET SEA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES