Traditionally, the holidays are a time of coming together, seeing family and friends and spending some much-needed quality time at home. However, if you’re already stressing over who to invite for Christmas lunch or worried about getting the perfect gift it may be time for a change in the festive timetable. By the time you’re 35’000 feet up in the air the only thing you’ll be thinking about is where did I put the sunscreen?
If your summer break already seems like a lifetime ago then Australia is the perfect choice for a winter holiday. You won’t have to look too far for some sun; Australia’s in the southern hemisphere where temperatures quickly reach 35 degrees. Why not head to Sydney? You’ll find a vibrant, bustling city bursting with culture, incredible architecture, and world-famous landmarks. Take a tour of the majestic Sydney Opera House, climb to the top of Sydney harbor bridge or just ride the ferry over to Manly, watching the water drift by as you enjoy the cityscape. If you do wish to indulge in some festive merriment head to the city center. Enjoy spectacular Christmas concerts and holiday-themed fireworks at Darling Harbour, gaze at Martin Place’s giant Christmas tree and, for once, celebrate the season in shorts and t-shirt without a snowflake in sight.
Colombia is a colorful cornucopia of snow-capped volcanoes, deserts, verdant jungle, alpine lakes, and endless coffee plantations. If you’re planning on rainforest trekking it’s highly recommended you get your holiday vaccinations for Colombia early. One of South America’s most beautiful countries Colombia has unique archaeological ruins as well as the Tierradentro-elaborate underground tombs. Bogota, Colombia’s capital city, has numerous museums, historic buildings and fabulous theater districts. The old towns and villages of Barichara, Mompox, and Villa de Leyva look much like they did when the Spanish first left and life continues at a relaxed, leisurely pace. It’ll come as no surprise that as 150 types of fruit and vegetables are grown locally culinary themed tours are popular with tourists! It’s said that you haven’t experienced Bogota until you’ve tried a decent Bandeja Paisa – Colombia’s national dish of rice, beans, chicharron, avocado, arepa, fried egg and anything else you have to hand!
If you fancy something a little low-key, with fewer fairy lights and more culture, then you’ll be pleased to know that less than 4% of Thai people celebrate Christmas. Instead, it isn’t even a public holiday; many people go to work, and 90% of tourist attractions are open as normal. It’s 32 degrees in Phuket in December, perfect for beach bunnies, and it’s an ideal time to charter a boat to one of the offshore islands. You may get people exchanging a few small gifts, even tucking into a delicious Thai curry but that’s probably it for the festive fun. Head to Phuket town where ornate temples rub shoulders with quaint cafes and dedicated Thai monks wander the same streets as neon painted clubbers. Why not visit the Shrine of Serene Light? It’s considered lucky for travelers as is a successful shopping trip at the Thai Amulet Market.