If you’re looking for fresh ideas on where to visit next year, get inspired by the top destinations searched for by Aussies in the past 12 months, according to Skyscanner.

The eternally popular destination: Bali, Indonesia

The Indonesian island known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife and luxury villas needs little introduction. Particularly among holidaying Australians who have (for years) considered this piece of paradise their own private backyard. And travel to Bali looks to continue to soar in popularity – with increased routes on a number of budget airlines making it easier – and cheaper – to access than ever before. While many return visitors will opt to revisit the bars and beaches of previous trips, a 2020 escape to Bali also presents the opportunity to discover new destinations across the island. Hike the verdant volcano that is Gunung Batur, visit Ubud’s iconic rice paddies, escape to the islands of Nusa Dua or Nusa Penida, count your blessings at the religious sites and cliffside Temples of Uluwatu, or if you prefer partying to prayer, consider crazy Kuta for sexy Seminyak and its plethora of day clubs, restaurants and resorts.

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The slow travel destination: Athens, Greece

With their hordes of hedonistic holidayers, the Hellenic party Islands of Mykonos, Ios and Paros may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one seeks a ‘slow travel destination’. But research suggests that the Greek capital of Athens is actually one of the few European countries that Australians like to take their time in, rather than hurriedly tick off on a guided tour.
The heart of ancient Greece is packed with landmarks that pay tribute to the once-powerful civilisation and empire, and with much to see and do is best explored over a few days. These include the Acropolis – a hilltop citadel topped with millenium-old buildings like the Parthenon temple, Varvakios Agora (an open-air market in Monastiraki – one of the oldest and busiest areas of the capital) and the picturesque squares brimming with traditional Greek restaurants, cafes and bars in the Plaka neighbourhood.

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The local gastronomy destination: Busan, Korea

Seoul may have had its moment in the sun in 2019, but next year neighbouring Busan looks set to steal the limelight. Separated from the Korean capital by bullet train, Busan offers visitors breathtaking beaches, transcendent temples and most-impressively some truly mouth-watering meals. And its off-the-beaten-track location makes it surprisingly affordable to explore. Among the unmissable epicurean experiences on offer in this Asian harbour city are: eomuk (these fish cakes are served by street vendors all over the city, otherwise try the ones at Samjin); ssiat hotteok (the seed-flavoured version of Korean pancakes); chungmu gimbap – seaweed rice rolls served with spicy radish and boiled squid (the best ones are sold at Gukje Market); yubu jumeoni (fried tofu bags stuffed with glass noodles and julienned vegetables popularly found in mobile carts in BIFF Square) and Dwaeji Gukbap – a regional, spicy pork soup that’s a particular favourite of Busan locals.

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The adventure destination: Kathmandu, Nepal

Travellers looking for an adventure-filled escapade are encouraged to check out Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Known as the city of temples (with one of the oldest pagodas in the world), the royal seat of the former Kingdom of Nepal also hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. However, as well being the beating heart of the country’s historical and cultural offerings, it is Kathmandu’s position as a gateway to the Himalayas, that makes it an ideal destination for adventurous exploits – one of the anticipated travel trends of 2020. Thrill-seekers in Kathmandu can, of course, embark on the trek of a lifetime to Everest Base Camp (the highest mountain in the world). But given Nepal’s reluctance to limit the number of permits issued to scale Everest (and the dangerous overcrowding that has resulted) more sustainable options might include rock climbing through its namesake valley; water rafting through the many rushing rivers of the region; taking a flight over the Himalayan peaks; venturing to the Nepal-Tibet Border to bungee jump into the Bhote Kosi River gorge; enjoying a Chitwan National Park safari; paragliding over the nearby Pokhara Valley; mountain biking past the monasteries that line the trails of Shivapuri National Park; or simply losing yourself to the bustle of a busy day in the maze-like alleys of Durbar Square in the Old City.

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The sustainable destination: Yangon, Myanmar

Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar (formerly Burma). And given that the Government has started encouraging outsiders to visit only relatively recently, the enigmatic nation has established a reputation for being unspoilt and idyllic – making it an ideal option for eco and ethical travellers. (Fun fact: It’s one of the few Asian countries yet to have a McDonald’s!) Tourism in Myanmar, and specifically Yangon, is driven by tailored trips and independent travellers who seek a sustainable experience designed to both minimise their impact on the environment while simultaneously supporting the local economy. And with thousands of local families – from rickshaw drivers to handicraft artisans, hotel staff to home cooks – now dependent on tourism for their income 2020 makes for a wonderful time to immerse yourself in the city’s British colonial architecture, modern high-rises and notable religious sites (including the famed Shwedagon Paya – a shimmering pagoda complex, which draws thousands of pilgrims annually), without compromising on your conscience.

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The transformative destination - Nairobi, Kenya

With its incredible rolling landscapes, exciting safari opportunities and surprisingly easy access to some of the continent’s most crystal-clear beaches, there’s nowhere in the world that provides an introduction to Africa quite like Nairobi, Kenya. And while the city has plenty to offer for those seeking earthly wonders that have stood the test of time, it greater power lies perhaps in its ability to transform those who visit it. A trip to East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city will change the way you view the world – and your place in it. Nairobi’s natural wonders (among them Nairobi National Park, Great Rift Valley, Lake Magadi and the archaeological site of Ologesailie) coupled with its emergence as an edgy city buzzing with culture, will truly make you believe that when you travel, anything is possible!

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The best-value destination: Amritsar, India

Sprawling India has long-lured travellers with its intoxicating contradictions. Chaotic yet spiritual, modern without sacrificing its rich history and culture, brimming with both people and treasures, India has always enticed visitors to explore its iconic cities. And done so very affordably. While tourists traditionally follow the established routes of the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur), Mumbai and Goa, travellers in 2020 are likely to consider adding Amritsar as an alternative (or in addition!) to. Found in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab (less than 30 kilometres from Pakistan border) this city of one million people is an important religious site full of beautiful architecture. At the centre of its walled old town is the gilded Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) – the holiest religious complex of the Sikh religion, surrounded by the sacred Amrit Sarovar Lake where pilgrims often head to bathe.

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