DECEMBER TRAVEL IDEAS

Things to do in December

Deals and discounts, exploring Myanmar
and Christmas markets


GRAB YOUR DEAL

Pre-Christmas period is a real Black Friday in the tourist business, so travelling in the first half of December can be a pretty good idea. If you are lucky to have a free week for a trip in this period you will definitely get the best value for your money. Most air tickets and hotel fares are 15-30% lower than average, but there are even  better offers.

Flights to warm Atlantic spots such as Canary Islands, Madeira or Cape Verde from continental Europe may cost less than your weekly expenses to commute to work (at least here in London it’s been like that recent years!) Exotic Maldives and Seychelles, as well as flights between US and Europe are on a good offer too. You can find last minute cruises, all inclusive tour packages or just charter flights to Caribbean and Red Sea resorts at half of the regular price.



December is the best time of the year to enjoy idyllic Caribbean indeed – hurricane season is gone while usual tourist crowds have not arrived yet. There are no two islands alike here, each has its own personality and offers it’s unique experiences. Just don’t get me started about magic bioluminescent harbours of Puerto Rico, lush jungle mountain trails of St.Lucia, all times tourist trap Maho beach of St. Maarten (with the famous plane runway) or waterfalls and cave hotels of Jamaica. The only thing they all have in common is that on each island there are some secluded beaches, and in early December you can have those sugar sands and turquoise waters pretty much to yourself – which is a real luxury with over 30 million people travelling to Caribbean each year



Tourism boom in Egypt fortunately or unfortunately has faded due to some unrest in recent years, which means snorkelling is more comfortable than ever and there is always a free sunbed waiting for you on the beach or by the pool. Egypt has lots to offer – its coral reefs are some of the most beautiful in the world, boasting absolute abundance of fishes and being accessible directly from the pontons of hotel beaches, it’s hotels are classic all inclusive, some occupying several kilometers and offering all kind of services and entertainments next door – starting from waterslides, pools with waves and lazy rivers and ending with casinos, night clubs, hammams and theaters.It’s deserts covered with ancient mountains are abode of unforgettable sunsets, starry skies and cool quadrocycle and buggy rides




ROAD TO MANDALAY


Myanmarese claim that most beautiful veil of fog wraps the hill of Mandalay and ancient temples of Bagan in December. And we sincerely have no reasons to doubt that.

Cool and dry December weather allows you to comfortably explore enchanting pagodas and temples, admire untouched nature and souse into indigenous rural life from sunrise to the late night. And even though being a high season, the amount of tourists in Burma is long way off the crowds of the neighbouring Thailand, especially if you choose to travel in the first half of the month, while curious Asian explorers from the neighbouring countries have not started their holidays yet. The only thing that you might want to book far in advance, especially if you have only few days to play with – is famous balloon flight experiences in Bagan– those guys are way too popular.

From Bagan or Mandalay, take a trip to Inle lake to encounter ancient traditions of leg-rowing fishermen and to calmly paddle through floating gardens and authentic stilt water huts where locals live.  Inle is nestled between two mountain ranges that create a backdrop for dramatic sceneries and a perfect spot for relaxation and solitude.

For even more pioneering experience, divert off the popular routes and spend a couple of days in Hpa An (above)- a picturesque riverine town which is some 6 hours bus ride from the Burma capital. Beautiful river sunsets, plentiful cave temples and extraordinary hikes among jurassic limestone rocks are well worth the trip.

And of course facing Andaman sea and Bay of Bengal Myanmar boasts endless tropical beaches, both on the mainland an numerous islands. Those travellers who were lucky to explore untouched beauty of Thailand some 30 years ago often compare it to nowadays Myanmar. As you may have guessed it may be challenging to get to the most stunning beaches, and there is no selection of luxurious hotels or modern infrastructure there, there are just clear sands, crystal waters, unique diving spots and cheerful locals living throwback lives so different from ours


CHRISTMAS MARKETS

Yes, it’s the magic time of Christmas markets and Winter Wonderlands that are litting up their girlands from the end of November and welcome visitors with hot punch and mulled wine, local delicatessen and sweets and with stalls selling Christmas decorations and gifts for all ages. Not to forget about such important attributes as skating rinks, merry-go-rounds, carols singing and Santa caves, ho ho ho. In Europe, Christmas markets pop up in every big city and each of them has its own character and personality.  If you are looking for something new and different – it is time to check Christmas markets in trending Scandinavia, vibrant Iberica or undiscovered Baltic. While advocates of traditions will enjoy festivities in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, France or UK – and, this list can go on and on as you know. So, which one is your personal favourite, where would you recommend to go this year?


Photo credits and copyrights: UpYourValley, WikiMedia, Flickr (Vince_Vega, Mark Hodson)

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