Best Place To Go in December
With hurricane season over, now is a good time to dodge the January crowds and make the most of sun-soaked Belize. While you’ll likely have to pay high season prices traveling this month, it’s the perfect weather for taking in the country’s varied sights, from delving into Mayan history on a tour of ancient Xunantunich and the vast Caracol archaeological site, to lounging on a beach along the Caribbean coast. Belize is also renowned for its adventure activities, so head to the island of Ambergris Caye where you can enjoy snorkeling, zip lining and tubing, or go scuba diving at the incredible Great Blue Hole.
Nearby Guatemala is also heading into peak tourist season, so hop over the border and discover sights like the grand Mayan city of Tikal, cruise along the Rio Dulce or scale the peak of an active volcano. December also brings a number of celebrations in the run-up to Christmas day, including the Burning of the Devil on December 7th, when Guatemalans burn waste paper and unneeded household items en masse, in preparation for the holy weeks ahead, and the unique St Thomas’ Day festival held in the highland city of Chichicastenango on the 21st.
Spending New Year’s Eve in the sunshine is an appealing idea. Sydney Harbour fills up with boatfuls of revellers, out to watch the firework extravaganza playing overhead at midnight. You can hire out a boat, bring your own bubbles and start the countdown early. Alternatively, motor out to Cockatoo Island and set up a moonlit picnic in preparation for the show; you can even camp there for the night, as long as you book a spot in advance.
Landlubbers might prefer to book an outside table at one of the waterfront restaurants by Sydney Harbour Bridge for a front-row seat for the world’s biggest firework display.
On New Year’s Day, if the hangover isn’t too severe, strap on a rope and climb the Harbour Bridge from where the fireworks were set off
4. Hong Kong
Take in spectacular views during the final moments of the year in intense, frenetic Hong Kong. Watch the countdown fireworks over Victoria Harbour from a traditional junk, along the shoreline or from one of the city’s many world-class rooftop bars. Here’s our pick of Hong Kong’s best sky-high drinking spots.
If you really want to get as high as you can, head to Ozone on the 118th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, formerly the highest bar in the world (until Dubai opened At.Mosphere on the 165th floor of the Burj Khalifa in 2010, that is). If you’d prefer to stick around the 32nd-floor level, Sugar bar in the East hotel, which featured on our Hot List for its slick design, has a Mediterranean, beachy vibe as well as views of both the harbour and the mountains from its location slightly outside Central. Felix at The Peninsula, meanwhile, was designed by Philippe Starck and, boy, can’t you tell. As you walk up the spiral staircase towards the hip little circular bar, the lights even dim and the music fades in anticipation. Best of all, however, is the famed view over the Harbour, visible from the gents’ toilets (sorry ladies).
5. Big Island, Hawaii
Snowbirds flock to Hawaii in December, which means high-season crowds and rates are in full effect. The Big Island, however, sees lower rates than the others, not to mention far less rain—making it a fantastic place to catch some surf (waves peak this time of year) or a glimpse at humpback whales breaching offshore (December signals the beginning of their migration season). For an even hotter experience, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike any other in America: visitors can spot molten lava from the continuously erupting Kilauea Volcano.
December is the start of peak season in Malaysia, so make the most of the idyllic weather by wildlife spotting in the Taman Negara rainforest, hiking among tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands or climbing to the summit of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mt Kinabalu. Be sure to pay a visit to Kuala Lumpur too, where the famous Petronas twin towers provide a dramatic backdrop to the NYE fireworks.
7. Koh PhanganThailand
There are parties on the beaches of Thailand’s islands all year round, and the mother of them all is New Year’s Eve on Koh Phangan, home to the world’s wildest and most famous full-moon party. The maelstrom revolves around Sunrise Beach in Had Rin, which starts as soon as it gets dark in the evening and rages on well beyond sunrise and into the following afternoon.
Our tips: go for cocktails and a dinner of freshly-caught and grilled fish over on the Sunset side of the island, and don’t even think of joining the party until just before midnight; then head back to Sunset Beach for a dawn swim.
Finland is a little hidden gem located far up North.
While we might be small in size, we’re big in things to discover.
Our air is one of the cleanest in the world and landscapes are second to none. We are a country of thousands of lakes and forests – which are never far away from wherever you are. Wish to pay a visit to Santa, admire the Northern Lights or experience the peace of the countryside & cottage life?
When you think you’ve seen and experienced it all, it’s time to explore us. Lonely Planet did and listed us as one of the TOP 3 travel destinations for 2017.
The thrill of witnessing the Aurora Borealis is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. The Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Finnish Lapland. Catching the magical phenomenon requires clear and dark skies and a viewing spot not affected by light pollution, like street lights and neon signs.
This year you can take admiring the Northern Lights to the next level, as several northern destinations will open new and unique accommodation options where you can admire spectacular views over the Northern skies in a nest-like atmosphere. Check out TreeHouse Hotel in Rovaniemi, Aurora Dome in Muonio and Glass Villas in Kemi.
Travellers are spoilt for choice during Dubai’s cooler season, with sport events, concerts, parties and celebrations keeping everyone busy. The month kicks off with some patriotic celebrations on 2 December, as the UAE celebrates its 45th National Day. Expect fireworks, parades and plenty of enthusiastic flag-waving during the public holiday.
Throughout the rest of the month, it’s one glamorous event after another. Rub shoulders with Dubai’s high society while watching the horses at the Meydan Races – a real glimpse into the lifestyles of the UAE’s fabulously wealthy; see a movie at the Dubai International Film Festival; get into the sporting spirit for the three-day Rugby Sevens tournament; and to wrap up the month, splash some cash at the Dubai Shopping Festival.
After all that excitement, anyone in serious need of a holiday can flop down on the beach for a few days. After all, ‘cooler’ season in Dubai still means warm weather and glorious sunshine.
Winter (December – March) is a beautiful time to visit Japan, especially if you are venturing to the ski slopes of Hokkaido or Nagano. These areas are carpeted in a brilliant white coating of fresh powdery snow making the traditional Japanese onsen (hot springs) even more fun to sit in. Nagano is also a great place to visit in the winter because of the resident snow monkeys who appear in bigger numbers at this time of year.