The year’s end is fast approaching and with so many ups and downs, many of us haven’t had a chance to go for a vacation yet. Most people plan their annual vacations for summer, but autumn and winter months are equally good for planning a getaway. Here are a few places you can consider for a break:
Vietnam is not as popular a destination as its neighbour Cambodia, or Thailand, but that only adds to its appeal. Saigon and Hanoi are the two major airports and most travellers to the country begin their explorations from one of the two hubs. The compact capital city of Hanoi is the jumping off point for the stunning Ha Long Bay, which should be on your must-see list. Hoi An’s quaint old town is charming enough for you to be able to spend a few days there, and Hue’s imperial city provides a rare glimpse of pre-war Vietnam. Conclude your vacation with a couple of days in dizzying Saigon, sampling its culinary delights and drinking iced coffee by the litre, take a day trip to visit the historic Cu Chi tunnels, and cruise down the mysterious Mekong Delta to cap it off.
You’ve probably noticed an increasing number of people on your timeline making their way to Norway in the last two years. Although Norway, along with other Scandinavian countries, is one of the most expensive countries to visit, it is becoming easier to visit with each passing year! This year is also supposed to be one of the best to view the Northern Lights or Aurora borealis, which occur in 11-year solar cycles, and this decade’s cycle is winding down, making it the best time to check it off your bucket list! Apart from chasing the Northern Lights, Norway’s cosmopolitan capital of Oslo is an exciting city to visit and the colourful city of Bergen is a delight and the most popular city with travellers visiting the country.
With normalcy returning to Turkey, so are tourists. With its fabled old cities, confluence of cultures and celebrated hospitality, Turkey is a destination that needs no introduction! Istanbul’s famous alleys, markets, food, coffee and architecture alone can keep a traveller happily occupied for days! Once you’ve had your fill of Istanbul, make your way to Cappadocia, famous for its unusual rock formations, which seem to have been plucked straight out of a fantasy novel. If beaches are more to your taste then head to Turkey’s coastline, also nicknamed the Turquoise Coast, and spend your time floating around in the Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. In fact, you can even sail across the Aegean Sea to all the way Greece, as many travellers do!
If you’re more of a mountain person, then you cannot do better than a trip to Bhutan. From its quaint Himalayan cities like Paro and Thimphu to luxuriant valleys and mountainous monasteries, Bhutan is a destination like no other! Most places you’ll visit in Bhutan require some hiking and trekking, so be prepared for it. But rest assured that the views of the Himalayas from here are unmatched. Bhutan is fiercely independent and protective of its indigenous culture and takes every step to protect it—including restricting foreign visitors to the country! As a result, Bhutan also makes for a great cultural vacation. Any trip to Bhutan is, of course, incomplete without a trek to its most famous monastery, Tiger’s Nest, situated at a height of 3,120 metres! The hike up to the monastery is certainly not easy but is a truly rewarding experience. This is by far the best time of the year to make a visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan, so make your plans now.
5. Arunachal Pradesh
Closer home, Arunachal Pradesh is no less beguiling and definitely worth your consideration. For those looking to get away from the throngs of tourists for a much-needed mental break, there could not be a better destination than Arunachal Pradesh and its pristine jungles, lakes, valleys and Himalayan views. Tawang’s famous monastery and the now-famous Ziro Valley are the most popular stops on any traveller’s itinerary. However, the further you get away from the tourist-frequented places, the more magical (and remote) it gets! Mechuka Valley and its unhindered views of snow-capped peaks and crystal clear rivers, and the Namdapha National Park in eastern Himalayas, are both largely untouched by tourism and perfect for a serene vacation, cut off from the frenetic pace of city life. Arunachal Pradesh is certainly not for the faint-hearted but it is highly recommended for travellers looking for an immersive experience in the lap of Himalayas, surrounded by nature in all of its raw, awe-inspiring glory.