Holiday rituals at home make one feel all warm and fuzzy, but whether you’re an empty nester or an adventurous millennial, you may be thinking of another kind of holiday this year—like traveling to Asia or Southeast Asia. Better book your trip soon or you may find yourself all packed and ready with no place to go. (It may already be too late to use those frequent flyer miles!)
Now is the time to start planning your holiday travel. You may still be able to book a group trip, but better to try a customized trip, providing you with the most flexibility and best fitting your particular schedule.
Depending on what you want out of a vacation, here are some of our favorite places to relax, celebrate the New Year and enjoy a rich cultural experience you’ll remember for many New Years to come.
1. Kick back, relax and restore yourself.
Try Ngapali Beach on the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar. Our year-round travelers often extend their two-week Myanmar tour to include a few days of beachcombing on the miles of white sands, blue waters, and rural setting of Ngapali (pronounced Napally). If you are short on time, you can make Ngapali your sole destination, or spend a day or two exploring Yangon and then a short flight to the beach for a few days. (Unplugging is at your discretion since today almost all hotels, even those in remote areas, have Wi-Fi connections.)
2. You want to mix it up.
Your ideal trip can mix cultural experiences and sacred sites with lovely boat rides that give you downtime to catch your breath. Try a stop in Vietnam, with visits to museums, lively markets, Cham temple ruins, and vibrant hill tribes. Then on to Halong Bay for at least a 3-day/2-night cruise with time kayaking through caves and into lagoons. If your vacation is a bit longer than a week, say 11-14 days, add a stop in Laos or a visit to Angkor Wat and a boat ride on Tonle Sap in Cambodia.
3. You like some holiday spirit.
People of all faiths celebrate the holidays in South India, but those in Goa, which has a large Christian population, go all out with lights, decorations, and gift giving. New Year’s Eve you can head for the Pune hills and the Sunburn Festival, India’s Electronic Dance Music Festival that features artists from throughout the world. A quieter option is to tour the temples, gardens, and palaces of Cochin, Alleppy, and other South Indian towns and wrap up your trip with a day or two on the beach in Goa.
4. You want family-together time.
Nothing makes a child’s heart beat faster than a chance to bathe an elephant or go paragliding over the Annapurna range in Nepal. Then there’s the thrill of tracking tigers during a game drive in India’s Ranthambore National Park or rhino watching in Chitwan, Nepal. These adventures will keep boredom at bay for everyone in your family… and without digital gadgets.
5. Give yourself the gift of luxury of 5-star service.
Why not give yourself a present? Find your bliss in one of the new, luxurious Six Senses Bhutan lodges spread throughout the dramatic landscapes of Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro, or take a delightful break from the holiday hoopla at a spa-hotel in Vietnam or Nepal. At the Six Senses in Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam or Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel in Nepal, you’ll be served delicious meals of fresh, local food and a menu of facials, massages, yoga, and traditional wellness treatments. The views alone of the bay in Vietnam or the Himalayas in Nepal are rejuvenating.