New year, new you?
Its January. Again. You’ve made your new year’s resolutions. Again. You’re going to eat healthy, hit the gym, tidy up more, travel the world and you know the rest. While we can’t make you kale smoothies every morning or spot your bench presses, we can give your travel planning a jump start. Take your pick from our list of the 10 Best Places to Visit in January and treat yourself to a January jaunt.
1 Kruger National Park, South Africa
One of the world’s greatest wildlife reserves, Kruger National Park is often the only reason tourists take the long trip to South Africa. The park is, perhaps, the best place to spot Africa’s Big Five, the lion, buffalo, rhinoceros, leopard and elephant, besides thousands of other less famous animals. To experience the African bush in all its glory we recommend staying at one of the many camps located within the park such as Olifants and Crocodile Bridge and taking a wilderness walk or night game drive.
2 St Moritz, Switzerland
St Moritz oozes luxury, glamour and sophistication. The town has hosted the rich and famous since the 1800s and it shows. Haute couture boutiques, grand hotels, and exclusive restaurants line the streets with mink wrapped ladies traipsing through them. You don’t have to be royalty, however, to add St Moritz to your January holiday plans. The town’s hiking trails, ski slopes, frozen lakes and the stunning sunrise on Piz Nair are open to all. St Moritz rose to prominence because of its mineral springs and its claim to fame still is its spa culture. One of the biggest attractions in Switzerland, the spas of St Moritz offer mineral spring baths, mud packs and a huge range of unique wellness therapies
3 Bentota, Sri Lanka
One of Sri Lanka’s most popular seaside resorts, Bentota is known for its pristine beaches, luxurious hotels, turtle hatcheries and water sports. A magnet for foreign tourists and Colombo residents looking for a weekend getaway, Bentota is a quiet town with a storied past. Galapata Vihara is a Buddhist temple that dates to the 12th century with a maze of tunnels built underground that offer a great afternoon adventure. Head to palm fringed Bentota Beach for a day of sailing, snorkelling and soaking up the sun, visit a turtle hatchery that cares for ill and endangered turtles or cruise through the mangroves of the Bentota River.
4 Bali, Indonesia
With its incredible capacity to be a playground for the rich and famous as well as a haven for backpackers, Bali has something to offer to everyone. explore its paddy fields and sylvan landscapes, sandy shores and stunning temples this January and know exactly why this beautiful strip of paradise is called the Island of the Gods. No trip to Bali will be complete without a visit to Tanah Lot, a 16th century temple dedicated to Dewa Baruna or Bhatara Segara, the god of the sea. Ubud is known for its terraced paddy fields, lush vegetation and swaying palm trees as well as its yoga schools, temples and artisans. Enjoy meditation, adventure, healing, yoga, exploration and authentic Balinese dining experiences. Kuta, on the other hand, offers bang for your buck with luxuries spas, fancy hotels, sprawling malls and excellent restaurants.
5 Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Cambodia conjures up images of ancient temples, paddy fields, straw hats and Lara Croft. Its storied past, stunning natural beauty and warm people scream Indochina, but the nation biggest draw is Angkor Wat. This January, visit the largest temple complex in the world and give your year the auspicious start it needs. Originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu by Khmer emperors in the 12th century, the temple complex evolved into Buddhist viharas over a few decades. The temples today are visited by thousands of tourists everyday who are as mesmerised by the stone murals and sprawling gardens
6 Dubai, UAE
On the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, Dubai is a cosmopolitan city of diversity and contrasts. It is a vibrant and unique destination, combining variety and excitement with glamour and luxury. Surrounded by mesmerizing Arabian sands, Dubai is an oasis of decadence; some would say a modern-day Babylon. This grandeur and ultra-modernity is what draws tourists to choose Dubai holidays. This January, discover this city-state and its haute couture boutiques, five-star hotels, Lamborghini police cars and heaven piercing high rises.
7 Île aux Cerfs, Mauritius
A traveller favourite, Ile aux Cerfs is a tiny islet in Mauritius that offers the perfect balance between adrenaline pumping adventures and drink in hand, toes in sand relaxation. Feast your eyes on the vivid turquoise colour of the lagoon, lush green casuarina and mangrove trees and the powdery white sand or take a leisurely stroll on the beach and indulge in exciting water sports such as parasailing, banana ride, tube ride and an undersea walk.
8 Pattaya, Thailand
The quintessential Thai resort town, Pattaya is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world and with good reason; a sleepy fishing village till the 50s, Pattaya saw a transformation during the Vietnam War when it saw an influx of American GIs making it the hottest holiday destination in Asia. Families should add the Pattaya Elephant Village and the Million-Year Stone Park and Crocodile Farm to their Thailand holiday plans. Other attractions in Pattaya, besides its pretty beaches, include the Alcazar Show, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the sprawling Nong Nooch Tropical Garden with its French-style parks, topiary displays and orchid nurseries.
9 Chamonix, France
The French ski resort of Chamonix is located deep in the Aiguilles Rouge, a mountain range that is home to the legendary Mont Blanc . The town rose to prominence in the 19th century when droves of tourists descended on the mountains to experience the glaciers, trails and ski slopes. While Chamonix does have pretty meadows, hiking trails and spas to keep tourists coming, it is primarily a winter destination. The slopes are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, ice climbing and mountaineering. The the perfect winter holiday can only mean Chamonix.
10 Gold Coast, Australia
Skirting the east shores of Australia, the Gold Coast is known for its theme parks, its beaches, its nightlife and forests. The perfect place for a family vacation, the city is home to Dreamworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Sea World and Warner Bros Movie World; some of the biggest theme parks in the world. If you would prefer a different kind of adrenaline rush, head down Main Beach for some surfing or Wave Break Island for world class diving opportunities.
And there you have it, the ten best places to visit in January. We hope this post has been inspiring enough for you to pull out your passport, pack your bags and head to the airport. If it hasn’t, there’s always next year.