With most of us getting time off work or school over the holiday period, it is the ideal to book a trip and get away from it all. Whether you’re after something close to home a grand adventure on exotic shores, not every destination is ideal for travel at this time of year. We’ve put together a list of the best places to visit in December and January, no matter which type of trip you’re looking for.
1. Explore the Desert or Tropical South in India
India is a vast country, and the climate varies greatly. While the icy region around the Himalayas would be off the cards during their winter, it is the ideal time to visit the otherwise steamy south and central areas of India, including the Rajasthan. The desert regions can reach 50° C (122° F) but is much cooler at this time of year, with pleasant daytime temperatures and cool evenings, the perfect time of year to travel.
In the south, the temperatures vary less, with lovely warm days year-round, but summer is the wet season, and tropical storms are common. Travelling in December or January means you can take advantage of the warmth without the rain.
2. Discover the Hills and Coast of Sri Lanka
Most of Sri Lanka experiences warm temperatures year round, thanks to its position on the equator, averaging around 28°C (83°F). There is, however, an east and west monsoon season, as well an inter-monsoon season so if you are keen to avoid the rain, it can be more complex. December and January (right through until April) is the dry season in the West and South, as well as the hill areas, which are some of the most popular parts of Sri Lanka.
December and January are therefore the perfect time to meet elephants in the wild at Yala National Park, visit the capital Colombo and historical Galle Fort, as well as some of the untouched beaches on the west coast. It is also an ideal time to understand the history of Buddhism at the Temple of Tooth in Kandy.
3. Uncover the Fascinating History of Myanmar
October to February is considered the best time to travel to Myanmar, avoiding the soaring temperatures of the hot season which can reach 38°C (101°F), and the brief but heavy showers of the wet season.
Myanmar is dotted with ancient towns, ruins and historical sites. December and January are the best time to visit all the major areas of Myanmar, including the temples at Bagan, peaceful Inle Lake, the capital Yangon and historical Mandalay. It is also the ideal time to lay on the beach at Ngapali or trek the hills.
4. Get Some Culture with your Cocktails in Laos & Cambodia
If you’re looking to combine some culture with your dose of sunshine, then Cambodia and Laos are for you. Rather than getting heatstroke trying to trek around Angkor Wat in the middle of summer, head to Cambodia in December or January, when the temperatures are more moderate, and you’re less likely to encounter a tropical downpour in the afternoon.
In laid-back Laos wander the charming streets of World Heritage listed Luang Prabang, and explore the glittering temples, then head to the south of Cambodia for a break on the beach or a private island.
5. Relax on the Beach in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is easily the best destination in Thailand during December, thanks to its sublime weather. The hours of gorgeous sunshine are just perfect for snorkelling Phang Nga Bay surrounded by limestone cliffs or explore the melting pot of Sino-Portuguese architecture of Phuket’s Old Town. If you are looking to lie by the pool this holiday season, cocktail in hand, then Phuket is one of the best options.
6. Spot Wildlife in South Africa
If you are looking for adventure, South Africa is where you’ll find it. Combine game drives with wine tasting, stunning landscapes with history. The warmer weather makes December and January ideal for a trip to the coast. Summer can bring afternoon storms to most of South Africa, except the Western Cape.
If you want to see Africa’s biggest game, including the elephant, visit the Kruger National Park. Other December destinations include Cape Point Nature Reserve and V&A Waterfront. While the more dense foliage can make wildlife spotting a little more difficult, it is a great time to see mothers with their young.
7. Adventure in New Zealand
New Zealand has something for everyone, from bungee jumpers to bird-watchers. Expect for their excellent ski slopes, all of this is made even better by a warm summer day, the type they bask in during December and January.
Sunny days are the ideal time for a cruise around the incredible Bay of Islands or a drive through some of the prettiest scenery on Earth. Whether it is adventure or relaxation you’re after, New Zealand is simply beautiful at this time of year.
8. Hit the Slopes in USA or Canada
While parts of America are best viewed in the balmy summer months, those that chase the white stuff will be heading over in during the holiday season for some serious winter sports. Canada and the USA have a number of skiing and snowboarding destinations. Canada boasts some big names like Whistler and Banff, but also Revelstoke, Fernie, Sun Peaks and Big White, or for a family holiday in the snow try Silver Star or Panorama. If you’ve left booking a little late and the Canadian slopes are full, the USA has Sunrise Park Resort, Big Sky, Aspen and Lake Tahoe, some of which fill up much later.
9. Get Back to Nature in Tasmania
For a world heritage area, iconic mountains and rugged beaches, artisan food and wine (and craft beers), look no further than Tasmania. Both the smallest and most southerly state in Australia, Tasmania can get chilly in the winter, so the long warm summer days experienced in December and January are perfect for hiking the hills and mountains and spotting some of the local wildlife, which includes kangaroos, wombats and birds.
Not feeling so active? How about a visit to the renowned Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart or the Taste of Tasmania Festival which runs from the 28th of December to the 3rd of January, showcasing the best local and artisanal food and wine Tasmania has to offer.
10. Find the right destination, just for you!
Let us design your perfect trip over the holiday season, or anytime. Contact one of our travel gurus for personalised travel advice.