Where you should find yourself during the festive season

Firstclass | September 24, 2018

If you haven’t yet looked up from your busy schedule, you’ll realise there are only 90 days left until Christmas, which means there are only 97 days left until 2019! That’s right, you only have three months to decide, then plan, where you will be to celebrate the festive season and to welcome the brand-new year.

Will you do the same thing you’ve always done? Or will this time around be extraordinary? Or if you’ve always done extraordinary, will you look to be somewhere remarkable? Here are some ideas to scratch the itch in your travel-yearning feet and to stoke the fire in your magic-seeking soul.

 

Game and Relaxation in Kenya

Here’s an inspired combination: a tranquil tropical retreat balanced with action-filled adventure for a festive break that will be hard to top (until next year). On one day, relax on one of many undisturbed beaches on the Kenyan coast like Manda Toto, a small secluded island off the northeast coast of Manda, 40 minutes from Lamu. Enjoy a packed picnic lunch and soak in some sun as well as the raw, natural beauty of Kenya. On another day, completely mix it up and turn on the action with phenomenal game in the Masai Mara and have your mind blown by the Savannah wilderness in the presence of majestic animals such us lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, and hippos.

Fairy Tale Christmas in Finland

Channel your inner child and rediscover the magic of Christmas in Finnish Lapland. Meet the big man himself at his original residence in the mysterious Korvatunturi (‘Ear Fell’) in Rovaniemi as his elves serve you a hot beverage and ginger biscuits. Pale landscapes masked in darkness lit only by the stars and ice lanterns make for a soothing and peaceful festive season. Stay in a glass igloo at Kakslauttanen or Levin Iglut with domed roofs and surprisingly cosy and luxurious interiors, or in a chic log cabin with a fire crackling at your feet as you wind down from the day’s activities. Continue the fun into the new year with dog-sledding and ice fishing whilst the wonder of the northern lights will have you inspired for new beginnings ahead.

Lively Celebrations in Rio

Ok, so ‘lively’ is one way to put the new year celebrations in the city that truly knows how to throw a party – Rio de Janeiro. Millions of bodies clad in the occasion’s traditional white (which symbolizes good luck) descend on the beaches on New Year’s Eve to watch incredible fireworks in the legendary shadow of two of the planet’s geographical heavyweights in Sugar Loaf and Corcovado mountain. This is possibly the most visually pleasing New Year’s revelry you will ever experience. Beyond partying, try the Hippie Market in Ipanema if you’re looking for a fantastic Christmas gift with handmade jewellery and local artwork, or escape the heat and humidity at the city’s impressive Botanical Gardens. Or if you’re looking to momentarily escape the city’s constant hum of activities, make your way to a stretch of beautiful green coast dotted with beaches and islands – the Costa Verde.

Cruise the Nile in Egypt

What travel experience could be more evocative than cruising the fabled River Nile on a genuine 19th Century steam ship? Drift past some of Egypt’s most iconic landmarks, including the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Edfu, and the temple of Karnak, on a vessel that speaks of oriental opulence – Steam Ship Sudan. Combine this with a few days on land at The Old Cataract hotel which overlooks the Nile from the Nubian desert, behold the biblical Mount Sinai, dive with almost all of the Red Sea’s 1,000 species of fish at Ras Mohammad National Park, and of course don’t miss the famous Pyramids of Giza. If you have a little more time, a visit to Siwa Oasis in the Western region of Egypt will surely round out your festive season in the most unforgettable fashion. At this isolated and remote paradise, you can take a dip in Cleopatra’s Baths and see the Temple of the Oracle Amun whilst savouring the dates and olives produced in the Oasis.

Splash Out in Thailand

Christmas is not for everyone; some prefer to get away from all things ‘festive’, and Thailand is the perfect place to do so. With its population being 95% Buddhist and Christmas not widely celebrated, it’s the ideal place to love the Christmas break, not necessarily Christmas itself. Bangkok is world renowned for its nightlife so head over to one of its many luxury rooftop hotspots like Moon Bar atop one of the city’s tallest buildings or join the new year revelries at GLOW or Maggie Choo’s, which host legendary NYE parties. Immerse yourself in lush greenery in Chiang Mai with its clifftop temples, hill tribe communities, sprawling national parks, and cultural charms. Thailand is of course famous for its stunning islands; soft-sand beaches in Pattaya, majestic limestone karsts in Krabi, and rugged rainforests of Koh Samui.

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