SLOW TRAVEL, or a variety of longer-duration trips at a destination where they can create a deeper connection with the local culture and society, resulting in a meaningful travel experience, is becoming a hot topic among the public.

In Agoda’s official statement in Jakarta recently, searches for slow travel have tripled in the last five years, based on Google Trends data.

“In today’s fast-paced world, many tourists are realizing their desire to make the most of their vacations by taking a break from the daily grind and forging deeper connections with the people and places they visit,” said Gede Gunawan, Agoda’s Senior Country Director for Indonesia.

In response to this trend, his party then made eight recommendations for suitable places for people to slow travel, namely:
1. Khao Lak, Thailand
The surfing paradise of Khao Lak is the most popular relaxing tourist destination in Asia. Many of its beaches and natural tourist attractions are less well known, but are beautiful places to relax and get away from it all. In the evening, the bars and restaurants around Phet Kasem Street are a great place to enjoy Thai folk music and maybe even a game of snooker played by local players.

2. Seoul, South Korea
The quiet streets of Buam-dong offer a unique mix of stylish modern cafes and nostalgic shops from the 1960s and 1970s, such as traditional rice mills and barbershops. The tranquil Baeksasil Valley attracts tourists who want to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and immerse themselves in a refreshing natural retreat with pristine waters and well-preserved forests. Literature lovers can explore Seongbuk-dong, the historic Hanok residence of famous Korean writers since the 1930s.

3. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Escape to the Perhentian Islands, a classic Malaysian beach paradise off the coast of Terengganu, offering tranquil tropical charm where crystal clear waters meet soft sandy beaches. Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar are ideal places to relax and enjoy aquatic adventures such as snorkeling and diving amidst colorful coral reefs.

4. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is known as a city that cannot be explored in one trip. Experience Tokyo’s charm like a local by strolling through some of its lesser-known neighborhoods, such as Shimokitazawa for antique shopping, Yanaka for a traditional vibe, and the bohemian Koenji district for alternative music and punk rock. End the day with a craft cocktail in a small alley in Sangenjaya.

5. Siargao Islands, Philippines
Dubbed the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” the famous “Cloud 9” surf spot overlooking the open ocean attracts surfers with some of the best waves year-round. Despite its small size, Siargao has many natural wonders worth experiencing.

The island can be explored by renting a motorcycle. Magpupungko Rock Pools is filled with stone carvings, and the mystical aura of Hagukan Cave shines amidst the splendor of Sohoton Cove.

6. Pekanbaru, Indonesia
Scenic locations such as Lake Siak and Lake Kayangan offer a relaxing day on the water; rent a boat, go swimming or just relax in the beautiful surroundings. The historic alleys of Kampung Bandar are filled with wooden houses and friendly locals. For a cultural experience, the Muara Takus Buddhist temple complex can take tourists back to the atmosphere of the past.

7. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City flows with dynamic energy that can be enjoyed wholeheartedly. Follow the rhythm of the locals and soak up the tranquility of the city by sipping traditional Vietnamese coffee, Ca Phe Sua Da, in the morning.

Soak up Vietnamese culture by indulging in a variety of epic street food, then take a break from the crowds and find peace among a collection of more than a thousand trees in Tao Dan Park, one of the city’s oldest parks. Saigon offers a variety of experiences that can be discovered by taking your time.

8. Ahmedabad, India
Ahmedabad invites adventurers to spend time exploring the city’s old lanes of colonial-era havelis and iconic city walls. There are authentic tastes to be found at the Manek Chowk market and solace along the Sabarmati River.

A visit to the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram and the Calico Textile Museum brings tourists in touch with the history of the city and the rich heritage of the cotton textile industry. [sources/photo special]