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: ST FILE

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

Yokohama is a 20-minute train journey from Tokyo, Japan.  PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KYOHEI_KOSAKA 


3. Northern Kerala, India

The Bekal Fort in northern Kerala was built over 300 years ago.  PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KERALA TOURISM 


4. Keong Saik Road, Singapore

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

5. Astana, Kazakhstan

A sculpture is seen in front of the buildings of sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna in Astana, Kazakhstan on March 24, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS 


6. Takayama, Japan

Takayama, a beautifully preserved city in Gifu prefecture, Japan, is a charming old town which still has many buildings and houses that date back to the Edo period. PHOTO: AIRBNB


7. Xi'an, China

Terracotta Warriors at the Terracotta Warrior Museum in Litong, located on the outskirts of Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi province, China. PHOTO: MOKSIM SALEH 


8. Sri Lanka's Hill Country

Tea plantations stretch endlessly in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. PHOTO: ST FILE

9. Melaka City, Malaysia

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

10. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Raja Ampat is a diving paradise on the far east of Indonesia, beside Komodo. PHOTO: TIGER BLUE