Best Places to Travel in December
Best Places to Travel in December
Best Places to Travel in December
At this time of the year, the Andaman Coast on the southwest side of Thailand offers dry, warm and clear conditions. For those interested in watersports, like snorkelling and diving, the conditions are perfect as the sea is calmer and visibility is better. If you are looking for some summer sun over the Christmas period then destinations like South Africa, Costa Rica, the Seychelles and South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia) are worth looking at. If you want to embrace the cold Christmas ambiance, then Germany or northern European cities are great for Christmas markets.
Where to stay – Cape Town, Eastern Cape
To understand the main weather patterns in South Africa, it’s helpful to split the country into two. Northern South Africa includes destinations like Kruger National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve and Johannesburg. The southern part of South Africa includes the cosmopolitan hub of Cape Town, the iconic garden route, and the Eastern Cape Game Reserves. In December, the weather is warm and there is an abundance of blue skies and sunshine across the country, but the best destinations to head to are the southern ones. Cape Town is often busy during this time of year because of the Christmas festivities and celebrations, so make sure you book your accommodation and excursions well in advance. We’d recommend at least 9 months before your travel. To combine a safari with your time in Cape Town, we’d recommend reserves like Sabi Sands and Madikwe, which both offer the Big Five safari sightings.
Where to stay – Namiri Plains, Plantation Lodge, Baraza Resort & Spa
The short rains in November come to an end in December, so the weather begins to clear and warm up. From a safari point of view, the northern parks are particularly good during the December to March window. For an itinerary, we’d recommend combining Lake Manyara National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the southern plans of the Serengeti National Park to see the wildebeest herds. The herds make their way back down to the southern plains (through the eastern side), in time for the calving season which takes place from January to March. If you’d like to add some time on the beach, Zanzibar offers warm temperatures and almost 12 hours of sunshine in December. With a wealth of small, boutique hotels, and larger resorts, we can certainly recommend the best accommodation for you – feel free to get in touch with our Africa specialists today.
Where to stay – Edinburgh
Although you can explore the capital of Scotland year-round, Edinburgh certainly comes alive in December to celebrate Christmas and the New Years. The traditional Hogmanay stems from the Viking times and although celebrations across the country come vary in style, it’s always an exhilarating atmosphere to experience. Inverness throws an al fresco party with music and plenty of colorful fireworks, while Edinburgh’s Princess Street is taken over by an outdoor concert of music, fireworks, and comedy performances. Wherever you enjoy the celebrations, Hogmanay always ends with a ‘wee drum’ of whiskey. We personalize all of our itineraries and trips here at Unforgettable, so whether you are looking to travel around Scotland, or visit a city like Edinburgh on it’s own, we are more than happy to help and curate.
St Vincent & The Grenadines
Where to stay – St Vincent
Located in the Caribbean, St Vincent and the Grenadines Islands chain are worth serious consideration for those looking for some winter sun. Both islands are in the Caribbean Sea, and home white-sand beaches and azure waters. December is a great time to visit as the weather is warm and relatively dry (the December to May period). For those looking to relax on the beach, there is plenty of choice when it comes to palm-fringed beaches to set up on for the day, and most luxury hotels and resorts will have their own pool or plunge pools. From mid-December, the islands come alive as the local population rises at 4am to sing, dance, and generally perform for the 9 days that lead up to Christmas. This Vincentian tradition is much livelier than the standard advent calendar that many of us are used to.
Where to stay – Laos
The period between November and February is the dry and cool season in Laos. March to May is the hot and humid period, and then June to October is the rainy season. Although the days can be cool (especially the mornings and evenings), December is a great time to explore all that Laos has to offer. Whether you’re looking for culture, history, food, and cooking classes, or simply the hospitality of the wonderfully friendly local Lao people, the country will not disappoint. Laos is often traveled by those who have been to Asia before (many of whom will have done Thailand, Vietnam, or Cambodia first as they are more known). Laos can be combined with any of these countries, or it can be a stand-alone destination.
Where to stay – Rayavadee Resort, ALeenta Resort & Spa, The Siam Hotel
Thailand’s high season is between October and March, so December is a perfect time to visit. With warm weather, low humidity, and often clear blue skies, it’s no wonder that Thailand is busiest in this month too. If you’re planning to travel to Thailand over Christmas, we’d recommend booking well in advance (9-12 months) to make sure that your desired accommodation options are still available. There is so much to do and see in Thailand, but as you will most likely start and finish your trip in Bangkok, it’s worth spending a couple of days here to take in the chaos of this tropical Asian city. Two or three days is enough time, before you then head off to other destinations like Ko Tao, Nong Ya, Chiang Mai, or Koh Samui to name a few.
Where to stay – La Sultana, Riad El Fenn, Heure Bleue Palais
Although December is outside of the peak season in Morocco (September to November), it’s still a good time to visit as it’s the start of the winter season, which means temperatures are cooler and there are much fewer people and crowds. Outside the cities, the Atlas Mountains have a dusting of snow on them which makes them look even more beautiful. The desert daytime temperatures are still pleasant, but it does drop considerably in the evenings. That said, this is one of the best times to see shooting stars in the Sahara Desert. Marrakesh is also cooler (temperatures around 58°F), but the markets and vibrancy of the city is still there. Get in touch with our Africa specialists to find out more about a Morocco trip!
Where to stay – Havana
December falls within the cool and dry period in Cuba, which runs from November to April. although this is technically one of the low seasons, December comes alive with local festivities and many travelers who fly over to celebrate Christmas on an island home to so much history, culture, and tradition. Cuba’s capital, Havana, is always somewhere that offers a great time and experience. Roam the streets, admire the ancient architecture, sample the rum cocktails and the classic mojito, or even take an old-school car trip around. December also hosts a couple of jazz and film festivals.
What to do – Glacier Express
The Glacier Express is regarded one of Europe’s slowest express trains, but therefore it’s so loved! It is a perfect example of the concept ‘slow travel’ which allows travelers to enjoy the slower pace of the journey and the experience, rather than just rush to the next destination. The scenery that you pass on route is truly breathtaking, and in winter, everything has a bright covering of snow on it. Some of the sights include the Matterhorn (a mountain in the alps which stands at 4,478m), Rhone and Rhine valleys, hilltop castles, and picturesque Swiss villages dotted around in remote areas. In December, the Glacier Express follows the winter timetable which has only one departure a day (compared to three in the summer months). Booking a seat on the Glacier Express is mandatory, so get in touch to start curating your once-in-a-lifetime train journey!
Chile and Argentina
Where to stay – Southern Patagonia
December falls within the warm and relatively dry season for Southern Patagonia. This is the best time to go for trekking experiences, as the spring turns into summer and the temperature increases. The southern Patagonia covers both Chile and Argentina in South America. There are more popular areas which do tend to get busy. For example, Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most popular destinations, with the four-day ‘W-trek’ one of the most iconic. For more serious hikers, there are many other trails and routes to book – get in touch with our specialists to find out more and start curating your South America adventure.
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