The third installment of our twelve part series of the best places to visit when, this month it’s all about sunny escapes in laid-back Laos, tropical Zanzibar, and beguiling Cambodia, plus unique festive getaways for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in snowy Russia and rhythmic Rio.
From thriving metropolises and colonial towns, to verdant rain forest and palm-fringed beaches, Brazil is a land of striking contrast and incredible beauty. With year-round sunshine, this South American gem is the perfect place to escape the winter blues, and what better way to ring in the New Year than by partying with the locals on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janiero. Second only to Carnival, New Year’s Eve sees the city burst into a lively display of music and dance with party-goers flocking to the beach to watch fireworks crackle over the sea when the clock strikes twelve.
With pristine landscapes, unspoilt culture and friendly locals, Laos is fast emerging as a firm favourite amongst travellers making their way through Southeast Asia. November through to April are the best months to travel to this beguiling country, when the weather is warm and dry and the nights are comfortable and cool. In December bright and clear days make for perfect conditions to cruise down the Mekong Delta, explore colonial Luang Prabang, uncover the archaeological wonders of the Plain of Jars and enjoy the laid-back charm of Vientiane, the riverfront capital city.
A land laden with riches, Russia cannot fail to impress and captivate even the most seasoned of travellers. December in Russia makes for the perfect time and place to experience winter at its best, with snow covered landscapes, delicate birch trees laden with frost, steamy banya houses and a healthy share of vodka to take off the winter chill. Dust off your moon boots, wrap up in your winter woollies and spend Christmas morning throwing snowballs in stunning St Pete’s or party in the New Year in Red Square in Moscow as you watch fireworks burst over the iconic coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral.
Home to thriving cities, wild jungle, teeming national parks, pristine beaches and fascinating temples, what is there not to love about Cambodia? The dry season, from November to April, is the best time to visit Cambodia when long days of glorious sunshine, clear skies and warm temperatures offer pleasant conditions to explore the best of this captivating country. Explore the legendary temples of Angkor Wat, take a boat ride to the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake, marvel at the beautiful Royal Palace Complex in Phnom Penh and unwind on the beach in laid-back Sihanoukville.
Whether you’d like to snorkel amongst colourful coral reefs, go diving with manta-rays, follow the spice trail or simply top up your tan, sun seekers are bound to find respite in sunny Zanzibar. With a close proximity to the equator, this Tanzanian isle boasts year-round sunshine, and is the perfect place to plan a December getaway. Discover Arabic-style mansions, cobbled streets and colourful markets in Stone Town, learn about Zanzibar’s fascinating history, embark on a spice tour through the verdant plantations, and dig your toes into the sand on a palm-fringed beach.
Stay tuned next month for the best places to visit in January.