For 10 years, the Mastercard credit card company has analyzed the travel habits and destination choices of its users. According to its 2018 findings, after looking at 162 cities around the globe the top destination travelers are flocking to is Bangkok, followed closely by London and Paris.
“With roughly 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok remains in the top spot this year and is unlikely to be bested due to a strong projected growth of 9.6 percent for 2018,” the analysis noted. “Interestingly, visitors tend to stay in Bangkok 4.7 nights and spend $173 per day, on average.”
The other top 10 cities include: London, Paris, then Dubai, Singapore, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Istanbul, and Seoul.
So, why Bangkok? First, I think it is a relatively safe, and inexpensive place to visit on anyone’s first trip to Asia. Much has been written about Bangkok in the travel blogs, travel websites, and certainly by people like me. Second, most of us have eaten at a Thai restaurant, and have enjoyed it. The food is somewhat familiar and safe. Third, Bangkok makes an ideal base for traveling throughout the rest of SE Asia. Bangkok is a hub for AirAsia, among others, making air travel both inexpensive and plentiful.
But that does not mean that I refrain from going back. Having a good friend, Danny, there makes visiting a highlight. And certain attractions, like Chatuchak Market, a tailor with whom we are familiar, and the overall Thai vibe keep us coming back many times over.
I strongly suggest that, if you have not been to SE Asia, that you give Bangkok a try, along with another country or two, like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, or Malaysia. Forget Europe!