Even before the winter season has completely arrived in the Northern countries, some people have already started thinking about ways and means to escape the bone-chilling cold. Well, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the little dislike for winter is not just about the temperature but also about the increased limitation to outdoor activities. The roads are blocked by snow, vegetation halted and not to miss the overarching feeling of not doing anything except being tucked inside the blankets.
However, a wise man once said, ‘opportunities are everywhere. You only have to see it.’ So, yes, rather than choosing to spend your winter vacations cribbing about the unbearable cold and constantly checking the temperature scale, get up, pack your bags and escape this winter by travelling to warmer places (to get the best warm hugs!)
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world”
~ Mary Anne Radmacher
Here, tourHQ has curated a collection of the best comparatively warmer destinations you can travel to in the soon-to-arrive WINTER 2022!
Goa, India- Marvel at the Portuguese Heritage
Goa is definitely one of the best destinations to gather a wholesome experience. If you go by the data published by the Govt. of Goa, “more than 3.0 million tourists, including 0.5 million foreign tourists, visit Goa every year, and the number is growing at a healthy pace.” It is because, unlike the popular opinion that Goa is just nightlife and beaches, Goa offers much more.
Being a Portuguese colony in the 19th century, many of Goa’s attractions like the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral (the largest church in Asia), Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Aguada Fort and Reis Magos (the oldest surviving Portuguese fort in the region), not to miss, Fontainhas- a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Zone and a beautifully-preserved Portuguese colony, a scene of narrow lanes and multi-coloured houses are attributed to the Portuguese.
Apart from Portuguese architecture, other heritage sites of Goa include Chapora Fort, St. Augustine Tower and Monastery of St. Augustine, Shri Ramnath Temple and Tambdi Surla, among others. These heritage sites, when combined with the plethora of water activities (like snorkelling, scuba diving, banana boat ride, kayaking, parasailing, cruise, etc.), make up for an outstanding holiday!
Do you know? Goa celebrates two independence days. One on 15th August, the date marking India’s independence and the second on 19th December, marking the day when the Portuguese left Goa. (It also means if you are visiting Goa in December, get ready to experience an atmosphere of zeal and celebrations!)
Kandy, Sri Lanka- Immerse in the Spiritual Atmosphere
Located in the heart of Sri Lanka and recognised as a World Heritage City, Kandy is truly a heaven for anyone seeking a spiritual atmosphere and slow life. Gifted by the Buddhist influence since the 3rd century, Kandy is the home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth (a sacred tooth relic believed to have remained post-Buddha’s cremation), Dambulla Cave Temple (a beautifully preserved cave monastery for the last 22 centuries!), Lankatilaka Temple and the World Buddhist Museum (first international Buddhist museum).
Apart from Buddhist sites, Kandy offers a walk through the flower-covered magnificent trails of Kandy’s Botanical Garden, birdwatching at the Uddawata Kele Sanctuary, relaxation by meditating at the Kandy Lake, playing and feeding the Elephants at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, and most importantly, warm natives ready to welcome you with the traditional dishes of Kottu Roti (Sri Lanka’s national dish) and Pol Sambol ( a dish representing the simplicity of native Sri Lankans).
Do you know? Adam’s Peak, also known as Sri Pada or ‘sacred footprint’, is the most sacred mountain in the country, where Buddha left his final footprint while transcending to Paradise. (Similarly, in the Hindu tradition, the peak marks the last site for receiving the footprints of Shiva, and Christians and Muslims believe it to be the footprints of Adam when he was banished from the Garden of Eden.)
Bangkok, Thailand- Have Fun with Your New Elephant Friends
Number 3 on our recommendation list is Bangkok, famous for its overwhelming natural beauty, beautiful trails of lakes and forests, simple people, Buddhist sites, national parks and most importantly, elephants! In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Bangkok qualifies as one of the best places for an elephant tour. Imagine rather than exploring the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market on a cliche boat ride; you choose to pass the forest trail and water stream on the back of an elephant!
Some attractions of Bangkok are the Buddhist temples of Wat Pho and Wat Arun, the overwhelming grandeur of the Grand Palace (home to the Royal Family for 200 years), Lumpini Park, Khao Sam Roi Yod National Park, the enchanting land of Saraburi Sunflowers, and Bangkok’s national dish- Pad Thai. Additionally, a more uniquely beautiful experience to gather if you are visiting Bangkok this winter is the Loy Krathong Festival 2022. You will be amazed at the site of the beautiful lighting of Bangkok’s waters as people float baskets decorated with lotus, banana leaves and incense sticks to pay their respects to the water spirits.
Do you know? As per World Meteorological Organisation, Bangkok is one of the top hottest cities in the world (by mean average), which means that November to February is the best time to explore the city.
Hanoi, Vietnam- Witness the World’s Largest Murals
This capital city of Vietnam is truly like that comforting hot cup of coffee in the freezing winters. In fact, the city has so many diverse attractions and experiences to offer that you might be tempted to settle in the city only!
Starting from the world-famous UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site of the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, other attractions of Hanoi are the soulful Christmas concert by Geothe Institute and the Hanoi Opera House, the Flower Festival 2022 in December, Hanoi Cathedral, the outstanding murals (amongst the largest murals in the world) at the Dyke Road, cultural and art performances at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and the best Vietnam delicacies such as Pho and Com Tam. Moreover, if you have booked yourself a long holiday, remember to visit another World Heritage Site of Trang An, an eco-tourism complex which has beautifully harboured waters, caves and limestone formations. The boat cave tours in Trang An are absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Do you know? Hanoi is the home to the world’s largest mural- The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural. It is a 4 km long mural which has the Guinness World Record to its credit.
Siem Reap, Cambodia- The Land of Temples
Taking a holiday trip to Siem Reap is truly like travelling back in time to the Khmer Empire, which ruled Cambodia between the 9th to 15th centuries (approximately). It is because much of Siem Reap’s heritage is the output of the uncommon and extraordinary building skills of the Khmer Empire. The largest religious monument in the world- Angkor Wat, is also located here in the Angkor Archaeological Park, a World Heritage Site. The temple complex contains numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples, of which the most popular ones are Ta Prohm, Terrace of the Elephants, Bayon Temple and Banteay Sri.
However, there are other attractions to make your visit wholesome, such as learning the traditional silk art at the Angkor Silk Farm, watching the traditional apsara dance and masked dance, walking amongst the beautiful tiny little butterflies at the Banteay Srey Butterfly Exhibition, enjoying at the Phnom Kulen National Park, and most importantly, savouring the taste of Fish Amok and Samlor Korkor.
Do you know? Out of 195 countries, Cambodia is among the rarest few that have a building (Angkor Wat) on its National Flag.
“Of all the books in the world. The best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”