Destinations that go off road

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BANGKOK, 12 October 2018: TripAdvisor and Ford have dreamed up a must-visit list for off-road enthusiasts that features eight destinations including Chiang Rai and Phuket island in Thailand.

Ford and TripAdvisor partnered to pencil in a list of what the review site calls “extraordinary adventure destinations across Asia Pacific”.

Using machine learning and algorithms, TripAdvisor retrieved a list of road trip options from its vast review data that identified “adventure destinations loved by TripAdvisor’s global travel community”.

The top spots for adventure road trip experiences were listed alphabetically:

Chiang Rai, Thailand;
Franz Josef, New Zealand;
Katoomba, Australia;
Lhasa, China;
Lijiang, China;
Moalboal, Philippines;
Phuket, Thailand;
Zhangjiajie, China.

“We know that travellers want to discover new places that are off the beaten track when they’re looking for adventure,” said TripAdvisor’s communications director for Asia Pacific Janice Lee Fang. “These were some of the more popular ones for adventurous road trips that we know, through our data, are already loved by TripAdvisor’s global travel community.”

Project partner Ford Motor Company’s consumer research showed that nearly 50% of Ford Everest owners in Asia Pacific were using their vehicles for weekend trips at least once a month.

“In fact, we also see an increasing trend of people across the region using their SUVs for off-roading,” said Ford Motor Company marketing director Asia Pacific operations, Brett Burin.

Recognising the growing appeal of adventure getaways, Ford and TripAdvisor partnered to uncover the best “off-road”, “extreme destinations” with “tough roads” using TripAdvisor’s machine learning to identify these popular road trip destinations.

  • Chiang Rai – Thailand

From borderland ridges to dense jungles, fertile plains and t he mighty Mekong River, Chiang Rai Province has something to offer for off-road enthusiasts of all levels.

Located in far-north Thailand bordering Laos and Myanmar, Chiang Rai Province offers a sense of tranquillity for those looking to escape the stress of the city. If driving up from Chiang Mai, you’ll get to experience 180 kilometres of scenic forested mountains along the long and winding highway.

Must-do experience: Private Trekking Tour to Hill Tribes Villages and Learning Traditional Weaving – Bookable on TripAdvisor from USD89.

  • Franz Josef – South Island, New Zealand

In a small clearing in the middle of the rainforests of South Island, Franz Josef is a small town just seven kilometres from the awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier. The area is comprised of untouched rainforests, waterfalls, and lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The nearest major city to drive from is Queenstown, which is 350 kilometres to the south.

Must-do experience: Heli-Hike Franz Josef Glacier Walk. This award-winning experience was #10 in New Zealand on TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travellers’ Choice Experiences list and is bookable on TripAdvisor from USD331.

  • Katoomba – New South Wales, Australia

The perfect place to explore Australia’s rugged Blue Mountains, Katoomba is a small town and artistic hub bordering the mountains and its bushwalking trails. Situated on the Great Western Highway 110km west of Sydney, it’s ideally located for a short weekend getaway. The area is mountainous with steep cliffs, dense rainforests and several waterfalls.

Must-do experience: Full-Day Canyoning and Abseiling Adventure – Bookable on TripAdvisor from USD143.

  • Lhasa – Tibet, China

One of the most majestic destinations in the world, Lhasa has the power to amaze even the most experienced travellers. At an elevation of 3,656 meters on the Tibetan Plateau, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, winding rivers and vast marshlands. As such, the roads in the area are rough, rocky and challenging. If driving in from outside of Tibet, one of the nearest major cities is Xining, China, nearly 1,900 kilometres away.

Must-do experience: Day Tour to Tibet Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple – Bookable on TripAdvisor from USD220.

  • Lijiang – Yunnan, China

Driving to Lijiang is like taking a trip back in time – home to the UNESCO Heritage Site Old Town, the city has been preserved to look the same as it did when it was part of the legendary Ancient Silk Road. Lijiang is also the perfect place to use as a base camp to check out the beautiful surrounding areas, being only a one-hour drive from the Jade Snow Mountain range and two hours from Tiger Leaping Gorge. The nearest major city to drive from is Kunming, which is 518 kilometres away, and on the drive, you can expect rough roads with sand, mud and rocky areas.

Must-do experience: Private Day Trip to Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge and Black Dragon Pool – Bookable on TripAdvisor from $115.

  • Moalboal – Cebu, Philippines

Sandy white beaches, world-class diving and tropical rainforests – Moalboal has something for everyone. Located on a peninsula on the southwestern tip of Cebu, Moalboal is surrounded by water with a mountainous inland covered with dense jungles and divided by rivers and canyons. Driving to Moalboal from Cebu City is a memorable part of the experience, with 89 kilometres of beautiful coastline to take in from the comfort of your vehicle.

Must-do experience: Half-Day Discovery Freediving – Bookable on TripAdvisor from $77.

  • Phuket – Thailand

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Phuket is an island in the Andaman Sea off the coast of southern Thailand. Inland from the west coast beaches, island is covered with mountainous rainforests from north to south.  One the east side of the island there off-road trails through forests and rubber tree plantations offering drivers a variety of terrains to conquer.

Must-do experience: Phang Nga Bay Kayaking Tour with Loi Krathong Festival at Night – This award-winning experience was #4 in Thailand on TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travellers’ Choice Experience list and is bookable on TripAdvisor from USD126.

  • Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China

Home to the famed Wulingyuan Scenic Area, visiting Zhangjiajie can feel like visiting another world, which it was famous for in the movie Avatar. The area is comprised of vast forest, winding rivers and cascading waterfalls. For a truly extraordinary experience, drive up Tianmen Mountain Road, which rises to 1,200 meters in 11 kilometres with 99 hair-raising bends.

  • Must-do experience: Zhangjiajie Tianmen Mountain Day Tour – Bookable on TripAdvisor from USD289.

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