VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The National Geographic, one of the world’s most widely read magazines, has picked Laos among 25 top travel destinations for 2023.
Laos is the only country in Asean listed in the magazine’s top breathtaking places and experiences for 2023.
The annual list of outstanding destinations is divided into five categories – community, nature, culture, family and adventure.
Laos is listed in the community category as being a place where conservation benefits everyone.
The National Geographic said the South-East Asian country known for its emerald-green vistas of the upper Mekong River got a boost in domestic travel, thanks to the inauguration in December 2021 of the Laos-China railway connecting the Lao capital to the Chinese border.
“Board a new high-speed train that makes lesser known regions of Laos accessible to tourists and brings economic opportunities to locals,” the magazine said.
The bullet train, which passes through 75 tunnels and under 167 bridges in mountainous terrain provides shorter travel times and enables visitors to easily explore the country’s multifaceted heritage, including the former capital of Luang Prabang, a Unesco World Heritage site.
The magazine has introduced a new broader ‘community’ category into this year’s list, replacing ‘sustainability’.
“It’s about broadening the focus on the people striving for sustainable destinations and the various ways that manifests, from making travel more accessible to supporting local businesses,” the senior editor of National Geographic Travel, Amy Alipio, was quoted as saying by the Egypt Independent news agency.
Egypt is the only Arab nation to feature in the list of highly recommended travel destinations.
The National Geographic’s top destinations for 2023 are as follows:
The Community category comprises Laos, the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, Ghana, Milwaukee in Wisconsin, USA, and Alberta in Canada.
The Adventure category is awarded to Utah, Choquequirao in Peru, the Austrian Alps, Revillagigedo National Park in Mexico, and New Zealand.
The Nature category comprises the Azores, Big Bend National Park in Texas, Botswana, Slovenia, and the Scottish Highlands.
The Family category names Switzerland, Colombia, San Francisco in California, Manchester in the United Kingdom, and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Culture category consists of the Appian Way in Italy, Busan in South Korea, Egypt, Charleston in South Carolina, and the Longmen Grottoes in Henan province, China.