Where will you be on Christmas Day?
On the sofa, watching the telly with your family, lounging in your PJs or thinking about treating yourself to a different Christmas? Like waking up on a houseboat on the Okavango Delta or taking a cruise on Tonle Sap Lake or perhaps you are dreaming about riding a cable car up Monserrate or walking on the Perito Moreno Glacier… Well, there are plenty of options, these are my dream TOP 10 destinations for a Christmas break.
Discovering the sights of the capital city of Phnom Penh and learning about the dark days of the Khmer Rouge before driving to Siem Reap while Cruising the largest lake in the region, Tonle Sap on Christmas Day. See the floating villages or explore the vast complex of the Temples of Angkor.
How about taking an overland adventure through tropical southern Thailand, from the bright lights and glittering temples of Bangkok to the palm-fringed and white sand beaches of Krabi. Along the way, learning about the Bridge over the River Kwai, visiting cave temples, camping on a remote beach, spending time getting to know locals and explore one of the oldest rainforests in the world. I’m sold!
Explore the island’s revolutionary history and its modern, vibrant Caribbean culture. Travel across the breadth of the country, discover beautiful colonial architecture and a lively music scene in Trinidad and Cuba. Pass through glorious countryside, rich with exotic birds and flowers, and camp out in the forested Escambray Mountains. The sea is never far away, with spectacular coastlines and tropical islands to enjoy.
Explore the ancient lands of the Maya, visit the early Mayan cities of Tikal, Quirigua and Copan (in Honduras). Also travel through the Guatemalan highlands, spending time in traditional mountain villages and local markets, including the colourful San Tomas Festival in Chichicastenango.
Colombia is definitely one of South America’s most exciting destinations, with a rich cultural heritage, many areas of outstanding natural beauty and a notoriously friendly and welcoming population. Discover the country through the colonial cities of Cartagena, Bogota and Popayan, the beautiful wax palms and coffee farms of Armenia, and the blossoming cultural hub of Medellin.
Patagonia is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. Walk among the glacial lakes and mountain ranges of Torres del Paine National Park, discover the captivating city of Buenos Aires and admire views of the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier.
Explore the diverse cities and landscapes of North India by train, bus or traditional sail boat. From the palaces of the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur to the pilgrimage centre of Varanasi and the magnificent Taj Mahal, uncover the country’s fascinating architectural and religious heritage. Take a cultural journey across this colourful landscape, from intricately carved temple complexes to lush jungle backwaters and historic harbour ports.
Nearly a fifth of Botswana’s landscape is designated for wildlife protection: enter Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve to track Africa’s greatest animals in their natural habitat. Stay on a houseboat on the Okavango Delta, a huge freshwater oasis in the Kalahari desert, and visit the raging Smoke that Thunders – Victoria Falls.
Unwind in the beautiful islands of the Seychelles. Explore the palm-lined beaches of Praslin and visit the forest of Vallée de Mai, home to the famous Coco de Mer Palm. Hike along forest trails to Trois Frères peak to enjoy spectacular views over the island and its beach fringed shores. Cycle around the paradise island of La Digue, pedalling from one palm lined beach to another and only stopping for a freshly caught seafood lunch or a gentle swim. The Seychelles are an iconic destination but it is possible to get off the beaten path and discover a different side to these tropical islands.
Travelling through the scenic Nile Valley and into the desert discovering Sudan, a country with more pyramids than Egypt and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Visit well-preserved sandstone temples, tombs engraved with images of the pharaohs and the many pyramids of the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. Experience the warm hospitality of the Nubian people and stay in a traditional village house.