It doesn’t seem five minutes since we were basking in another sizzling hot summer, but here we are, the winter season is well and truly upon us. You could stay put, grit your teeth, pull on a sweater and just get on with it, or you could set your sights on a great escape.
Whether you can breakout for ten days or are thinking of absconding for a longer period, there’s a destination for you. So, without further ado let’s discover four of the top destinations to visit over winter. Your time is precious, so you don’t to spend too much of your holiday time traveling to and from your destination. With that in mind these three locations are within striking distance (no more than 12 hours flying time), less time traveling and more time enjoying your vacation.
Taking a Moment in Ubud, Bali
Steeped in tradition, and with an air of absolute tranquillity, the town of Ubud sits serenely in the Uplands of Bali, Indonesia. Spiritualty oozes from the pores of this place – along with traditional crafts, arts and dance. Rainforest intermingle with rice paddies, whilst Hindu temples and ancient holy sites beckon you for a closer look. Amble around the town and then reinvigorate yourself in one of the many yoga studios. Nightlife here has a relaxed vibe, take in a cultural performance complete with traditional dancing, or head to one of the more modern bars and sample the live music.
Best For: Those looking to relax in an otherworldly environment.
Flight Time: Around 6 hours 15 mins
Go Au Naturel in the Solomon Islands
Forget Fiji, and say au revoir to Vanuatu, if you’re looking for an unspoiled spot, a place that boasts golden beaches, lush rainforests and dramatic waterfalls, then head to the Solomon Islands. There are just under 1000 islands (but only around 150 are occupied, and they offer the perfect sanctuary from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
You won’t find intercontinental hotels, or a plethora of busy bars – “The Sollies” have a rustic charm all of their own. Bring your scuba stuff as the diving here is divine – expect to greet dolphins, rays, barracudas, sea turtles, neon slugs and a whole host of other marine-life.
You’re also likely to come across submerged ships, sunken submarines and immersed aircraft – remnants of a war long since passed. Clamber onto dry land dry land you can visit the war memorials and museum, all serving as poignant reminders of WWII and the vital Battle of Guadalcanal.
Best For: Underwater enthusiasts who love to explore.
Flight Time: Around 4 hours 45 mins
Soak Up the Bustling Atmosphere of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
If you’re hankering after sunny skies and a buzzing atmosphere then head to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. July is one of the best months to visit, and there’s plenty to see and do.
There’s an avant-garde art scene and the city is framed by striking architecture.
Old meets new here, ancient monuments and colourful mosques sit comfortably next to steely skyscrapers. You’ll also find an eclectic mix of greenery, glitzy (and enormous) shopping malls, and vibrant markets – begging to be explored.
Let your feet do the talking in Kuala Lumpur – explore on foot, it’s the best way to meet locals and savour the local delicacies served from numerous stalls. Find a shady spot beneath the leaves of a Banyan tree and tuck in. When night falls Kuala Lumper is ready for action – offering guests a heady mix of restaurants, bars, and clubs.
Best For: A bustling city break – morning, noon and night!
Flight Time: Around 8 hours 15 mins
Rediscover the Northeast of Sri Lanka
Elephants, beautiful beaches and rolling surf, tea, ancient ruins, friendly locals – just a few of things deemed synonymous with Sri Lanka.
This relatively small country has a varied climate. If you’re planning to visit during June, July or August check out the Northeast – great if you’re seeking pleasant weather. Central Sri Lanka is reasonably dry and hot too (but it can be windy).
The Northeast has re-emerged following a period of isolation (due to civil war), and it’s now it’s ripe for exploration. Why not tour the area and take in all of the sights and sounds on offer? Start in Sri Lanka’s dynamic capital – Columbo, with its bustling port, shops and eateries (don’t forget to pay the street vendors of Pettah Brim a visit). Jump in a Tuk-Tuk for a tour of the city (soaking up its colonial heritage as you go).
Next stop – Anuradhapura, an ancient city that plays host to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Camera’s at the ready as you savour the rambling ruins and historical spectacles. The 1600 columns of Brazen Palace are not to be missed, and you can’t leave without paying your respects to the sacred Bo-Tree (reportedly the oldest tree in the entire world)! From there head to Jaffna. Explore the Dutch built Jaffna Fort, constructed in the 17th century. Look out from the ramparts and take in the stunning views of the city. Other highlights include the Nallur Hindu Temple, and the Nagadepa Buddhist Temple.
Finish your tour with a plenty of relaxation. The natural harbour of Trincomalee offers golden beaches framed by palms, and the ancient town is well worth a visit too. Stroll along backstreets and happen upon Hindu temples and handsome colonial villas.
Best For: Adventurers, history buffs and those who like to keep moving!
Flight Time: Around 8 hours
What Are You Waiting For?
Pack your thongs, slip on your shades, and jump on a jet – it’s time to leave work behind and indulge in a spot of serious rest and play. Within a few hours you could be exploring new vistas, dining like a local, marvelling at historical treasures, and immersing yourself in the culture of a fantastic town or city. What are you waiting for?