If your Christmas decorations are already looking a little drab and you can’t face cooking another turkey, make your escape by booking one of these holidays.
Christmas Getaway #1: OMAN
Nothing matches the raw beauty and under-the-radar vibe that emanates from Oman, one of our favourite destinations this year. Dubbed the ‘Norway of Arabia’, soaring fjords, desert forts and towering sand dunes are among the varied landscapes that you will come across while driving through Oman. Top it off with a camel trek and you’ve got yourself a magical Arabic holiday.
- Musandam: Six Sense Zighy Bay
- The East Coast: Desert Nights Camp
- The Empty Quarter: Alila Jabal Akhdar
Christmas Getaway #2: MOZAMBIQUE
Mozambique has pristine beaches, superb diving and beautiful islands full of culture and charm. We really recommend visiting the country sooner rather than later, as Mozambique is one of Africa’s fastest developing countries and its beautiful coastline is already being eyed by the big hotel chains. Northern Mozambique is famous for its unique culture and history, as well as some pretty stunning private islands. The southern part of the country is a bit more accessible however, with great lodges and huge beaches.
Christmas Getaway #3: RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA
Think you’ve seen everything Indonesia has to offer? Think again! Raja Ampat (‘Four Kings’) is truly an underwater marvel and diver’s mecca, and is known as the most diverse marine region on the planet. Over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals make up this unique archipelago with a plethora of sea life. As all seasoned divers know, the only way to tick off all the best dive sites would be to travel by liveaboard – dropping anchor at the best dive spots and then sailing away into the sunset.
Christmas Getaway #4: VIETNAM
If you’ve already fallen in love with Ho Chi Minh, Ha Long Bay and the Mekong and are itching to make your way back to Vietnam why not head over to Vietnam’s northern regions and discover the seemingly never-ending rice fields of Sapa? Mingle with the hill tribes who are always keen to show off their wares. If a beach holiday is preferred, Nha Trang boasts a beautiful coastline, worthy of top beach destinations around SEA.
Christmas Getaway #5: NEW ZEALAND
If you’ve already travelled New Zealand’s Golden Route (the Auckland–Rotorua–Queenstown trifecta) and still haven’t gotten enough of this magnificent country, it’s time to head off the tourist path and holiday like a local. Rent a villa in the Bay of Islands and experience the stunning beaches and diverse wildlife that line the coast – dolphin sightings are extremely common in this neck of the woods! Wellington, “the coolest little capital”, will not disappoint foodies with its gourmet dining that is all sourced from the Wairarapa region (add Malborough and Hawke’s Bay to the itinerary if you‘re in favour of little boutique wineries). Cruise down the West Coast for unadulterated rugged beauty and fit in a heli-hike on a glacier at Franz Josef Glacier.
- Bay of Islands: Eagle’s Nest
- Wellington: Museum Art Hotel, Wharekauhau
- Franz Josef Glacier and West Coast: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
- Hawke’s Bay: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
- Marlborough: Timara Lodge
@teambenter are #LonelyPlanet #travel writers and contributing authors to our #NewZealand guidebook. They recently snapped this shot of Tasman Lake, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Formed by ice melt from the Tasman Glacier, the lake only began to form in the 1970s. Today it stretches around 4km. The effects of climate change, however, are expected to extend it to 8km long within the next 20 years. This view is from the Tasman Glacier View Track, but with the glacier itself having receded so far distant, it’s perhaps time to rename the track to Lake Tasman View. If you squint hard you may just make out the icy terminal face of the glacier in the far distance. The mountain with its head in the clouds is Novara Peak, part of the Malte Brun Range.
Christmas Getaway #6: MERGUI ARCHIPELAGO, MYANMAR
Myanmar has been on the tourist radar for while – the never-ending fields of temples in Bagan, the picturesque Inle Lake and the impressive pure-gold Shwegadon Pagoda in Yangon are not to be missed. What’s hot this year however, is the country’s remote Mergui Archipelago – this supreme dive spot is best accessed by liveaboard.
- Yangon: The Strand
- Bagan: Aurem Palace Hotel
- Inle Lake: Inle Princess Resort
- Mergui Archipelago: Raja Laut
Christmas Getaway #7: NORTHERN TERRITORIES, AUSTRALIA
The Australian outback is home to many natural wonders. Kakadu National Park’s unique and complex ecosystems are best experienced by an air boat, which is a fun day out in itself. The Darwin region’s Aboriginal history is the oldest in the country, but move further south to Ayers Rock and you’ll be surprised to know that the contrastingly, their history is the youngest here. And of course, Ayers Rock is the pinnacle of this arid red – but stunning – landscape.
Christmas Getaway #8: CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY
Surreal and dreamlike, Turkey’s secluded region of Cappadocia is bound to win you over the minute you set eyes on this mountainous landscape. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the region is a maze of ancient underground dwellings that crisscross in an elaborate network. What’s the best way to appreciate Cappadocia’s uniqueness and size? By hot air balloon!
- Cappadocia: Argos in Cappadocia
Christmas Getaway #9: BHUTAN
A destination for hiking aficionados and untouched nature lovers, Bhutan is one of those once-in-a-lifetime journeys. Land of the Gross National Happiness index, the Bhutanese truly know how to keep you smiling and love a great celebration, which are usually a festival of colours, dances and all-round good time.
Christmas Getaway #10: SRI LANKA
A very much untouched and unspoiled country, Sri Lanka is quickly getting a lot of interest from avid travelers especially for the magical Hill Country with its tea plantations and Galle Fort for its boutiques and beach villas. Already popular with the more intrepid travelers, the heavenly beaches to the East of the country are bathed in sunshine year round (unlike the West Coast), and because of the logistics of getting there, are still under the radar. Surfing and diving enthusiasts, this is one to tick off your bucket list while it’s still a hidden paradise!
Trinco’s most famous beaches are at nearby Uppuveli and Nilaveli, but picturesque Dutch Bay isn’t bad. It’s more a place for strolling, but swimming is possible (watch out for the undertow). Manayaweli Cove is an appealing curl of fishing beach where you can also swim; reach it by strolling past Manayaweli Pond , aka Dhoby Tank, where local washers do their laundry. Inner Harbour and Back Bay are too polluted for swimming. Photograph by @art_pacific 📷