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Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2018

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I was gathering some information on the best places to visit this 2018 and came across a few articles. One notable country not on the top 10 list of The Lonely Planet is Hong Kong but I’m sure since Filipinos can easily enter Hong Kong, this will still be one of the frequently visited countries for fun and leisure.

Some of the countries listed in the Lonely Planet’s top 10 are not so well known for us Filipinos but I’m sure its worth checking out.

1) Chile
Number 1 on the list of top 10 places to visit this 2018 is Chile. I usually only hear this country in the Miss Universe pageants but this country boasts of natural beauty. Isolated from the rest of South America (and indeed the world) by the soaring Andes to the east, the vast Pacific Ocean to the west, the bone-dry Atacama Desert up north and the impenetrable wilds of Patagonia down south. Mountains, ocean and desert, what more can you ask for.

Another highlight is the country’s citizens will unite in 2018 to mark 200 years of independence. This is something worth seeing.

2) South Korea
Next on the list is a well known and sought after destination for Filipino travelers due to the widespread popularity of Korean dramas and Kpop music. South Korea has been actively promoting its tourism and has seen an increase in visitors ever since. Snow, cherry blossoms, Korean drama filming sites and Jeju Island are some of the most notable things visitors wish to experience, and I forgot, the food as well.

South Korea has embraced its hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and a new high-speed railway line will whisk travellers across the country to the Games.

3) Portugal
A country, like Chile that we Filipinos don’t usually think of traveling to for leisure. But what does Portugal have to offer to snag that third spot in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries to visit this 2018? According to the Lonely Planet, Portugal is a dynamic centre for art and culture and cuisine. A spate of artfully designed museums have opened in the past two years, there’s now a celebrated microbrewery scene, and rock-star Portuguese chefs are creating culinary buzz from Lisbon to the glittering beaches of the Algarve (seven new restaurants received Michelin stars in 2017). So it’s art and food, a very nice combination indeed.

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If you’re not into art then how about the beach? Portugal is also becoming popular for its incredible affordability and its natural wonders: in 2016, more than 300 beaches earned the coveted Blue Flag rating and two new biosphere reserves were named.

4) Djibouti
Well I had to copy and paste the number 4 place on the list. I have never heard of this place before so what does it offer to be included in the list? This nation is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles; and sunken lake shores glisten with huge salt crystals. This is not the kind of relaxing vacation you would imagine but for some people who seek more than leisure this place is definitely for you. Add intoxicating culture, beckoning beaches and incredible whale shark diving, and you have even more reasons to hop on a plane, or ride the brand new train, to witness Mother Nature at her brutal best in 2018.

5) New Zealand
This we all know and not only from the Miss Universe pageants. New Zealand takes number 5 of the top 10 list and here’s why. According to Lonely Planet, New Zealand offers a sweet suite of trails, the Great Walks, encouraged exploration of the country’s exquisite topography, taking tramping travellers through some of the world’s most extraordinary wilderness. The Paparoa Track and Pike29 Memorial Track, which commemorates the 29 miners killed in 2010, will form a magnificent multi-day trail through the South Island’s wild and wonderful west coast. Hikers can get a taster of the walk’s dramatic scenery on four existing trails.

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Now if you like the wilderness and hiking, this country is for you. (Yes you saw wilderness somewhere there!)

6) Malta
This is another Miss Universe contestant that made it to the top 10. Nabbing the number 6 spot is Malta. What does this nation have to offer? Prehistoric temples crown hills, 17th-century fortifications stalk the coast, and a warren of tunnels – from catacombs to air-raid shelters – dig deep underground. This tiny nation’s buzz has been building to a crescendo in preparation for Valletta’s stint as European Capital of Culture for 2018. Expect baroque, pop and international film festivals, plus a contemporary art biennial. Not to mention a laid-back lifestyle born out of proximity to warm sea, beaches and more than 300 annual days of sunshine.

That’s temples, art, film, beach and sunshine all rolled into one.

7) Georgia
There are lots of Miss Universe contestants in this list. Number 7 spot goes to Georgia. According to Lonely Planet, Georgia is a country of ancient recipes cooked up in tucked-away taverns where toastmasters raise glasses of spirits to honour heroes old and new. It’s so proud of its wine region that airport immigration officials often welcome travellers with a bottle of red along with their stamped passports. One hundred years ago, Georgia was declared an independent state in the wake of the Russian Revolution: just one of many reasons to raise a glass to toast 2018.

Wow red wine upon your arrival! Sounds nice.

8) Mauritius
Here’s another one! Mauritius snags the 8th spot of the list. This nation is famous for its dazzling sapphire seas and luxurious beach resorts, where the watery fun includes coral reef dives, kitesurfing, sea kayaking and lagoon cruises. Past glories are also getting a spotlight in 2018, when the island celebrates 50 years of independence.

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9) China
This is a country we all know. China sits at 9th place in this list and a country that we Filipinos are very familiar with. China is the world’s most populous country. Since 2016, China has opened extensive new high-speed rail tracks, creating the largest HSR network on Earth. Běijīng’s imperial palace – the Forbidden City – has been upgraded in the past few years, and four previously restricted halls are now open to the public. Gargantuan Shanghai Tower welcomes visitors to the world’s highest observation deck, and in late 2017, cultural hub Design Society opened in the cosmopolitan city of Shenzhen, featuring a partnership gallery with London’s V&A Museum. Twenty-first century China is here to stay, so hop on board a bullet train and explore this modern Middle Kingdom.

All those are really very interesting.

10) South Africa
South Africa rounds this list and lands at the last spot. When I think of this country, I immediately imagine safari with wild animals and scorching heat of the sun. What does South Africa have to land number 10 of this list?

Beaches and mountains, wildlife and wine, and let’s not forget vibrant culture and cosmopolitan Cape Town – South Africa has long been one of the world’s most alluring countries. This year the country’s many attractions will be bolstered by ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy’, an official programme of events – some sporting, some educational, others devoted to the arts – aimed at honouring the legendary leader.

That rounds up the list of countries that made it to the top 10 of Lonely Planet’s countries to visit this 2018. Some of this countries may be a little challenging to visit for us Filipinos but it’s still nice to discover some exciting things about them.

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