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These Are The Top 5 International Cities To Visit This Year According To Travel And Leisure

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Everyone has an opinion on where to go. Take it from me, the black sheep of the family who sees going to the next town over as “traveling.”

Nope, that's definitely not my style! Some of us travel freely without limits, but most of us have some constraints.

You know, like a hectic work schedule we must abide by in order to pay our bills. As such, when we do want to make the best use of our passports, we don't want our vacation to be a snoozer.

Tourist holding mans hand on Golden Bridge - Hoi An, Vietnam

That's why avid readers of Travel and Leisure cast their votes revealing the top 5 international cities to visit this year.

5) Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bangkok may be Thailand's household name, but Chiang Mai has become the trendiest. The stats back this up.

As Thailand has shattered tourism records, Chiang Mai has soared to second place among the most visited destinations in Southeast Asia's most popular country.

Tourist entering temple in Chiang Mai

There's many reasons as to why, but the bottom line is you'll never have a dull moment here temple-hopping, getting up close and personal with wildlife, and endless markets to peruse.

Foodies will feel like they've died and gone to heaven with savory cheap eats throughout the city perfect to fuel up before exploring 300 temples in the surrounding area, but most notably Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

4) Hoi An, Vietnam

Summing up Hoi An seems like an impossible task, but to give you a snippet, many travelers have dubbed this immaculate city as the “Venice of Vietnam”.

Woman in traditional bamboo hat bicycling in Hoi An

Scenic canals weave through this historic city, lit up with lanterns at night, creating a whole new aura.

Hoi An may be best known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it's also a world-class beach getaway with stunners like An Bang Beach and nearby Cham Islands.

But perhaps most appealing of all is how dirt cheap it is to visit Hoi An. Yes, flights to Vietnam might stretch your budget, but once you land, you're in a different world where all thoughts of your budget go out the window.

Slurp pho and drink local beer for just a couple bucks and stay long-term if you'd like with a monthly budget under $900, according to Nomad List.

Lit-up boats on canals of Hoi An, Vietnam

Lastly, a visit to the world-famous Golden Bridge is an absolute must! It's undoubtedly one of the most stunning sites in Asia.

3) Kyoto, Japan

There is no place like Tokyo to get lost in a sprawling urban jungle, but Kyoto is where to go to discover the roots of Japanese culture.

The former capital of Japan still holds its unique charm and character, although tourists will strike out witnessing geishas since a recent ban took place.

Despite this, the city is still incredible to visit with postcard villages, picturesque Zen gardens, and a gateway to some of Japan's top natural sites like the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, perfect for photo-ops.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Gate in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto has something for everyone, and it should be no surprise how much of a foodie destination it is, given how popular Japanese cuisine has become.

2) Udaipur, India

New Delhi and Mumbai may be the most recognizable Indian cities, but its beautiful Udaipur is stealing all the thunder.

Actually, this should be no surprise as this underrated city was voted the best destination in Asia last year for its stunning lakes, beautiful palaces, and bustling bazaars.

Woman enjoying view of Udaipur from arch window opening

And this may seem out of left field, but you can skip iconic cities such as London to get your palace fix – Udaipur is brimming with eye-popping palaces.

No more so than the majestic City Palace overlooking scenic Lake Pichola, a picture-perfect for a postcard.

1) San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

A top Mexican destination not named Cancun, Cabo, or Mexico City? You bet!

Popular among expats for decades, San Miguel de Allende is taking on a new identity as a top vacation spot.

Cathedral in San Miguel de Allende

Located in the state of Guanajuato, this awe-inspiring town is teaming with history and character through its cobbled streets and unmissable Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel cathedral.

Not only historic, this charming getaway boats various festivals through the year along with a buzzing arts and food scene.

Definitely dive into a plate of Enchiladas Mineras, a Guanajuato specialty.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.