1. See Hong Kong from a new vantage point
Shopping, dining and a jaw-dropping view — the Ocean Terminal Deck at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, launched just a couple of months ago, condenses these Hong Kong experiences into one easy-to-visit spot. Located on the Ocean Terminal roof deck, the Foster + Partners-designed Terminal Deck shows off a 270º panorama of Victoria Harbour from some five floors off the ground — don’t miss the intense reds and pinks of the sunset over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon from here. Afterwards, enjoy dinner at one of five new restaurants in the immediate vicinity: options include Fu Rong, with its sizzling-hot Sichuan spread, and Japanese restaurant Tsukada Nojo, where the star dish is the bijin nabe, a hotptot of collagen-rich chicken broth with seafood and vegetables. Four other restaurants are due to open this year. Entry to the Ocean Terminal Deck is free of charge, and it is open to the public from 7am to midnight.
2. Visit a castle and a theme park in Nagoya
For 500 years, Nagoya Castle guarded one of Japan’s most important cities but its venerable run was interrupted by its destruction in World War II. This year marks a watershed point for Nagoya Castle in two very different ways. First, the reconstruction of its palace, Honmaru Goten, which started in 2009, will finally be completed in June. Artisans from Kyoto restored the palace using old photographs and Edo Period paintings of the interiors. Its silkscreen paintings and hinoki cypress timber closely replicate what was in the palace during its heyday. The castle is open from 9am to 4.30pm, and the cost of admission is ¥500. Another reason to visit Nagoya this year? Legoland will open, with a replica of Nagoya Castle as its main centerpiece. This intricate reproduction will be constructed from 225,000 Lego bricks, a beautifully apt highlight for Asia’s second (and Japan’s first) Legoland theme park.
3. Feel the festive vibe in Bohol
All of Bohol’s 47 towns are promoting the island’s fiesta culture, with the new Fiesta Package for tourists that’s scheduled to be launched by the province’s tourism council this year. “Fiestas in Bohol [are] not just a religious activity but a celebration of life and thanksgiving,” says Emmylou Palacio-Noel, executive director of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council. “This is something that travelers should see and experience.” Throughout the month of May — a major fiesta month on the island — visitors will enjoy an immersive fiesta experience wherever they go in Bohol. The culture and cuisine of each town will be on full display for every visit, whether they take a river tour from Cortes, ride a zipline in Danao or check out the mysterious islands off Anda.
4. Escape the crowds in Boracay
Last year’s debut of Station X expanded the island’s culinary offerings with its eclectic approach to upscale dining. This year, the opening of the Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay in March will bring with it a bold new vision. It will rise on a separate stretch of beach rebranded as Station Zero. Wimberly Interiors worked with the terrain to create a lavish space. “We had to ensure we maximized design impact with the compact space we were given. We kept the architecture simple and clean,” says Chiara Calufetti-Lim, associate vice president of WATG. Aside from the major changes going on in Boracay, the much-anticipated fourth-quarter completion of the Caticlan Airport extension is another reason to head back. The expanded passenger terminal, with two floors and 12 air bridges, will be able to handle up to six million passengers a year.
5. Eat till you drop in Taipei
Taipei’s culinary fan base is about to get a lot bigger in 2018, with the launch of the Michelin Guide Taipei. “The guide will introduce the gourmet food of Taiwan to gourmets all over the world,” Michelin spokesman Bruno de Feraudy says. “And it gives one more good reason for people to visit Taiwan.” Only Michelin’s secretive inspectors know for sure what restaurants, food stalls and eateries make the list — when it goes public in the spring, visitors will be able to narrow down their choices — from five-star establishments to hole-in-the-wall finds.
6. Climb up a giant statue in Bali
After 25 years of very slow work, a massive statue of Vishnu and his faithful steed Garuda will finally be completed in 2018. The wait is worth it: Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), once completed, will be one of the tallest statues in the world, reaching a height of 121m. (For perspective, the Statue of Liberty is 93m tall.) Visitors will be permitted to enter and climb the statue. But out of respect for the Hindu god of preservation, the chest area will be as high as you will be able to climb.