October 10, 2008 / 9:42 AM / in 9 years

Visit a "Stan," sail away: Lonely Planet's '09 best

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Visit a 'Stan. Sail somewhere. Journey through the Basque country or the Bay of Fires in Tasmania. Eschew the art museums for temporary exhibits.

The travel gurus at Lonely Planet have come up with what they say is the definitive list of what to do and where to go in 2009, and in a condensed format for today's time-strapped travelers.

The "Best in Travel 2009," published this month, is a compilation of lists of 850 destinations, journeys and experiences recommended by the guide book publishers. And the longest entry is two pages long.

"We want people to open the book, point their finger and come up with something different every time," Ben Handicott, Lonely Planet associate publisher, told Reuters by telephone.

"We want people to be able to dip in and out of content, to basically be able to get some ideas and plan their trip on the plane. I guess it's the effect of the Internet."

As well as lists such as "Most Spine-Tingling Commutes" and "Best Places for Deadly Sins," the guide book includes the top 10 countries, and top 10 regions, travelers must visit next year. There is also a month-by-month trip planner, as well as country profiles and statistics.

Unlike more in-depth guides, there are no restaurant or hotel recommendations.

One of the highlights of the book is a section dedicated to water, aimed at today's more environmentally conscious travelers, Handicott said.

"Climate change is an issue affecting all of us and water is such a major issue everywhere these days," he said. "Water is also just a great traveler. Some of the first significant travel of humanity took place over water."

Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet's co-founder, introduces the book with his own list, which includes visiting a country whose name ends in "-stan" such as Afghanistan or Kyrgyzstan, finding a trip that involves sailing, such as a transatlantic cruise, staying for a long time in one place to soak up the atmosphere or going on a long trip, such as a trek across the Sahara or a Cairo-to-Capetown bicycle ride.

Here are Lonely Planet's list of top 10 countries to visit:

1. Algeria

2. Bangladesh

3. Canada

4. Georgia

5. Greenland

6. Kyrgyzstan

7. Oman

8. Peru

9. Rwanda

10. Sierra Leone

Editing by Paul Tait

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