Narigama beach, Sri Lanka. Picture: Andrey Danilovich/Getty Images
Narigama beach, Sri Lanka. Picture: Andrey Danilovich/Getty Images

Bali’s over, and this new list confirms it

For years, Bali has been the default destination for Australian travellers - but if you've had an inkling change was afoot, you'd be right.

There's a new island of sun, sand and surf taking the world by storm - Sri Lanka.

The island country has been rapidly rising up the tourism charts since 2009, following the end of a decades-long civil war.

And now it's been named the world's No.1 destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet.

With its beach scene, lush countryside, intriguing culture, affordable prices and welcoming locals, Sri Lanka has been likened to the Bali of a bygone era.

And new direct flights, hotels and tours have seen it emerge as a growing drawcard for Aussie travellers in recent years.

"Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived," says Lonely Planet in its Best in Travel 2019 edition.

"There's now more than ever for families, adrenaline junkies, eco-tourists, wellness seekers and foodies of all budgets."

Getting around the country is now easier than ever, with new road and rail services having opened. "Destinations that once required determination and endurance to reach are now a comfortable ride away," the Lonely Planet listing says.

Although Sri Lanka took out the No.1 spot, Bali isn't completely ignored in the Lonely Planet edition.

Indonesia is ranked as the world's seventh best destination for 2019, but the publisher recommends travelling beyond its most touristed island to explore more remote areas such as Raja Ampat, Sumatra, Borneo and Komodo.

Several Australian destinations also rated a mention, with the Red Centre named among the best regions to visit in 2019, The Tasman in Hobart listed as one of the world's best new places to stay, and Victoria picking up two gongs with restaurant Laura named one of the world's best new food experiences and Live Wire Park on the Great Ocean Road one of the best new attractions for kids.

LONELY PLANET'S TOP 10 COUNTRIES FOR 2019:

1. Sri Lanka

 

Sri Lanka is known for its tropical island experiences. Picture: iStock
Sri Lanka is known for its tropical island experiences. Picture: iStock

 

2. Germany

 

Fussen, Germany. Picture: bluejayphoto/Getty Images
Fussen, Germany. Picture: bluejayphoto/Getty Images

 

3. Zimbabwe

 

The awe-inspiring cascade of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Picture: e2dan/ Shutterstock
The awe-inspiring cascade of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Picture: e2dan/ Shutterstock

 

4. Panama

 

Coral reefs off Bocas del Toro on Panama’s Caribbean coast. Picture: Vilainecrevette / Shutterstock
Coral reefs off Bocas del Toro on Panama’s Caribbean coast. Picture: Vilainecrevette / Shutterstock

 

5. Kyrgyzstan

 

Kol-Tor lake is set amid supreme mountain terrain. Picture: Anton Agarkov / 500px
Kol-Tor lake is set amid supreme mountain terrain. Picture: Anton Agarkov / 500px

 

6. Jordan

 

The Treasury (Al Khazneh), carved out of the rock in magical ancient Petra, Jordan. Picture: Truba7113 / Shutterstock
The Treasury (Al Khazneh), carved out of the rock in magical ancient Petra, Jordan. Picture: Truba7113 / Shutterstock

 

7. Indonesia

 

Pulau Padar, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Picture: Danaan / Shutterstock
Pulau Padar, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Picture: Danaan / Shutterstock

 

8. Belarus

 

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is a landmark of the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Picture: bruev / Getty Images
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is a landmark of the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Picture: bruev / Getty Images

 

9. Sao Tome and Principe

 

The 668m-high Pico Cao Grande rock tower on Sao Tome Island. Picture: Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet
The 668m-high Pico Cao Grande rock tower on Sao Tome Island. Picture: Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

 

10. Belize

 

Belize's Blue Hole plunges 124m. Picture: Matteo Colombo / Getty Images
Belize's Blue Hole plunges 124m. Picture: Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2019 is out now, RRP $27.99. See lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

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