British summertime has officially come to an end and those dark and dreary autumn/winter nights draw in, you would think that there’s not much else to look forward to apart from Fireworks Night and Christmas. I beg to differ, not only do we get an extra hour in bed as we turn back the clocks, but autumn/winter could be considered as the perfect time of year to grab that last bit of sunshine before the New Year is upon us. With this in mind, I thought it would be great fun to take a look at some of the most unusual places in the world where you can grab that winter sunshine!
Jordan, The Middle East
Competing with Machu Picchu (Peru) and Angkor Wat (Vietnam) as the world’s most dramatic ‘lost city’, Petra is quite possibly the first thing to spring to mind when contemplating visiting Jordan but there is so much more to discover. Obviously, there are many Biblical connections to be found from the babbling brook where Jesus was baptised to the fortress where King Herod beheaded John The Baptist and the mountain where Moses first saw the Promised Land. The contrasts between historic and modern are clearly evident in Jordan from its ruined Roman cities and men wearing traditional dress leading herds of livestock to the modernised capital of Amman with its leafy residential districts, trendy bars and influential art galleries. Hop in a dune buggy and explore the red deserts of Wadi Rum, grab your wetsuit and dive in the brilliant blue, coral-filled seas of Aqaba or swim lifeless in the mysterious Dead Sea.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fall in love with the magic of Buenos Aires from its sultry Tango and awesome shopping experiences to its gourmet cuisine, there’s truly something for everyone here. The city’s streets are laden with designer boutiques, glitzy neighbourhoods and plenty of razzmatazz to suit any ‘WAG wannabe’ but venture further out to discover the real Buenos Aires. Visit the Old Town where you’ll come across classic cafes serving up regional delicacies and buzzing outdoor markets surrounded by colonial architecture – a budding architects dream! Not forgetting to party the night away in Viejo’s trendiest nightclub Palermo, seek out a bargain gem in San Telmo, soak up the thrills & spills at Barrios (funfair) and if you can, catch a football match between rival teams River and Boca – if you thought fans of the English Premier League were passionate, you haven’t seen anything yet!
Travel to Borneo and experience a winter holiday with a difference from cruising in a Longboat, exploring the jungle wilderness to discovering hidden caverns and dancing the night away in traditional Longhouses. Be at one with nature visiting scattered valley farms in the Kelabit Highlands where you can sip wild tea with the locals or go trekking through the jungles of Penan. Borneo is home to the world-famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre located in the Kabilli Sepilok Forest Reserve where orphaned Orang-utans are rehabilitated into the wild. Some of Malaysia’s oldest forests can be found here whilst a visit to the awe-inspiring National Parks is highly recommended where you’ll come across hornbills, proboscis monkeys & a whole host of other fantastic wildlife that you would normally only see on TV. The only downfall to holidaying in Borneo is there are no cashpoints, so make sure you take plenty of cash with you!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Head to the carnival capital of the world that is Rio de Janeiro on winter sun holidays. Here you’ll find Bounty-ad inspired beaches lined with palm trees, lush rainforests and a fantastic city that buzzes both day and night. Fall under Rio’s intoxicating spell by sunbathing on the powdery white sands of Copacabana and Ipanema or watch the world go by to the sounds of the Samba filling the air from every corner. A contrast of scenes can be found in Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar from lush forests to red-rock canyons and stunning waterfalls. Feeling energetic? Perhaps hike through Tijuca’s rainforests, try surfing in Prainha or dance the night away in Rio’s variety of dance halls, bars and open-air cafes in Lapa.
Kerala, Southern India
Most people tend to head to the tourist haunts of Goa and Delhi but consider travelling a little further and discover the jewel in India’s crown with a visit to Kerala instead? It could be said that Kerala has taken a leaf out of Jamaica’s book with its laidback & easy going way of life, where locals casually chat to strangers and the beautiful backwaters just meander by – everything flows at a much gentler pace here. Sun worshippers will possibly full in love with Kollam and its beautiful sandy beaches but venture inland and you’ll come across mountainous Ghats covered in tea & spice plantations. Discover Kerala’s colonial past with a visit to Fort Cochin – a former trading-post city and maybe sample the amazing seafood in Varkala. Not forgetting the many vibrant traditions such as Kathakali (religious play & dance) to the gravity-defying martial art of Kalarippayat or the trance-induced spiritual Theyyam.