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Best Countries To Visit In January

Planning A Trip In January? Here's our list of best countries to visit in January

January, named after the Roman god Janus, is the month that straddles two years, one that marks the end as well as the beginning. World over, 1st of January is the perpetual hangover day as people come to their senses after all the wild partying of the previous night of 31st. Yet, world over, January is also a great month to travel and explore some uncharted territories. The foremost reason being its tendency to bring cool dry temperatures to most of the world that lies in the Northern Hemisphere and a happy warm summer peak in the Southern. Hence according to our list, some of the best countries to visit during the month of January include New Zealand, Australia, Dubai, Thailand, Maldives, Kenya, South Africa and Morocco among others. Some are great for their summer, others for their calming beaches, or their subdued winters. Either way, one of them is bound to make you happy on your holidays.


Australia:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://mmccracken09.wordpress.com

The continent nation, the land of kangaroos and coral reefs, Australia is truly a family destination for holidays. It comes alive during its summer season. Since it falls in the southern hemisphere, summer comes to Australia in December and reaches peak by January. In January, the temperature averages at around 23°C with highs going as up as 26°C in the most significant city of Australia - Sydney. The temperatures may vary in different cities depending on their landscape and proximity to the sea. But this is by far the best time to enjoy the beaches of Australia, go sightseeing, pursue outdoor activities and water sports.


Things to Do:

When in Australia, prepare for a long itinerary and make it a point to explore cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast and Brisbane. Next comes the Great Barrier Reef, which is great for swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling and exploration of breath-taking multicoloured corals. The marine life and rock formations are also lovely. In Sydney, wear your best beach gear and chill at Bondi Beach, tour the Sydney Opera House and enjoy the amazing restaurants around. Other tourist places to visit include Warner Bros Movie World, Twelve Apostles, Philip Island and Whitsunday Islands. Go for wine tastings to Hunter Valley, for kangaroo spotting to Murramarang National Park. Kangaroo Island and Lucky Bay are also great for the same.


How to Reach:

Australia has 5 major International airports, namely, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Direct and connecting flights both take off from Indian cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi etc. You can also take a cruise from New Zealand if you want to experience sea travel. There is no rail connectivity from outside to Australia because this is a continent, but the country boasts of a good rail network internally.


Maldives:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://traveltriangle.com

Cool winds billowing over endless coasts of white sands, azure blue water kissing your feet and the sun dipping in the distance. Maldives is that kind of a holiday. It is especially a thing for the honeymooning couples looking for some quiet, private time. This ring-shaped collection of atolls is a beautiful paradise with unlimited luxury and lots of exploration and sightseeing. In January, Maldives is at its coldest, as well as driest. The average daytime temperature remains at 27°C and makes for some great weather for you to enjoy your trip. All your water sports like swimming, snorkelling, diving etc are at their best in this weather.


Things to Do:

Visit Male, which is the capital of Maldives. It makes for a throbbing town, almost as the heart of this country. It is always filled with all kinds of tourists, leading to nightlife that is alive and kicking. It hosts some great sights as well, like the National Museum, Grand Friday Mosque, white sand beaches and fish markets selling the freshest produce. The Meera Island nearby is also a great beach retreat and boasts of ultramarine tinted lagoons, bright coloured corals and white sands. For water sports like snorkelling and swimming, head to Biyadhoo Island. And for luxurious resorts, head to Kaafu Atoll which is managed by the Taj Group of India. Raa Atoll is very famous for its glowing waters because of phytoplanktons. This produces a phenomenon known as bioluminescence. We also recommend the Dhoni Cruise and the Whale Submarine to explore the seas of Maldives. 


How to Reach:

You will land at Malé International Airport when you travel to Maldives from abroad. Indian cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore are connected to Male, with aircraft carriers including Air India, Indigo, Jet Airways, Spice Jet and Sri Lankan Airlines. Cruise ships also depart from Mumbai and Kochi for Maldives.The Costa neoClassica takes 3 nights from Kochi and 7 from Mumbai.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://adventuresofagoodman.com

Sri Lanka is that country which is fabled to be the city of Raavan, which was once made up of gold. The gold doesn’t remain now but the stories and historic artefacts do remind the world what an ancient township Sri Lanka was. Today it is the exporter of some fo the best tea in the world, as well as a Buddhist retreat and travel destination for backpackers as well as luxury seekers. In the month of January, temperature of around 30°C prevails with loads of sunshine. Rain is minimal and makes for great time to explore outdoor activities, beaches, trekking etc. Some of the best spots to explore in January here are Galle, Tangalle, Bentota, Colombo and Weligama.


Things to Do:

Make an itinerary with the above mentioned cities in mind. Or you also have more options, like the tea-tours of tea gardens in Ceylon and Nuwara Eliya. Go surfing and kite surfing at Weligama Beach, Midigama, Mirissa and Hikkaduwa. Trekking at this time is one of the most coveted activity here so head to conquer the Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock and Horton Plains. Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, Dambulla Cave Temple, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple etc. Wildlife lovers can head to Udawalawe or Yala National Parks for elephants and leopards in their natural habitat. Also visit Galle Fort, Sigiriya Fortress, and the Star Fort near Colombo. National Museum of Galle is also an interesting stop for history nerds.


How to Reach: 

Bandaranaike International Airport is the main International airport of Sri Lanka, situated in Colombo. It receives regular direct as well as stopover flights from Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi etc. Sri Lankan Airlines serves majority of these routes, aided by Jet and Air India. By water, you can take a cruise ship from Mumbai but it will take about a week to reach and is very expensive. In Sri Lanka, you can travel by hiring cars, taking tuk tuks or buses. Trains are also great for inter-city travel and very picturesque.


Thailand:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by http://onebigphoto.com

Thailand is home to massages, shopping, beaches and lots of great holiday opportunities. This country has become synonymous to Asian paradise with so much on offer, especially in the peak tourist season. January is one of those months that fall in the peak time, with its dry weather and temperatures averaging to a pleasant 27°C. From Bangkok’s shopping and city love to the beaches of Phuket, night life of Krabi and Phi Phi Islands, to massages of Pattaya; Thailand should become your next stop for a holiday. January also brings the Chinese New Year and is an occasion of great celebration in the China Town of Bangkok by the Chinese community. 


Things to Do:

Visit Thailand for many things, temples and monasteries foremost among them, including the Tiger Temple, Wat Arun, Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and Wat Pho. Bangkok makes for an amazing shopping destination, from malls (Terminal 21, MBK, Siam) to streets (Chatuchak weekend market, bustling night markets). Also explore the Golden Triangle, which is the confluence of Mekong River and Ruak River, the place where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand landscapes meet. There is also the Grand Palace. Visit Elephant Nature Park too if you want to get lost in the wildlife here. For island hopping, you have Phang Nga Bay (limestone rocks), Phuket (beaches, water sports and nightlife) and Krabi. If you are interested in history and the tribal culture of Thailand then head to the tribals in North (Akha, Lisu, Karen etc).


How to Reach: 

The Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport of Bangkok get flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai everyday. You can also drive to Thailand from Manipur in India, via India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. When in Thailand, you can take tuk-tuks, metro trains (in Bangkok) or hire bikes and cycles. Taxis are also available.


Kenya:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://www.skymotionvideo.com

Kenya is a wild country in East Africa, and is home to a plethora of wildlife, from beautiful beasts to the tall grasses of the Savannah to the Great Rift Valley. Kenya has become a safari destination for wildlife enthusiasts and is famous for the annual wildebeest migration. In January, although it is the wet season for Kenya, most days are hot, clear and sunny to accommodate your outdoor activities. The rates also drop because this is the low season and you are not hounded by too much touristy crowd. Because the breeding season has just ended you also get to see young ones in their full spirit. 


Things to Do:

Masai Mara, Amboseli and Lake Nakuru may get a little crowded at this time but not as bad as the high season. Masai Mara is home to some great beasts, including the wildebeests, zebras and cheetahs. Amboseli National Park is home to elephants and also shares the mighty views of Mount Kilimanjaro. You will also find here zebras, giraffes, cheetahs and some other bird species. Samburu National Park, Tsavo East National park, and Aberdare National Park also offer wildlife safaris. Other activities here include exploring the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru, Diani Beach, Fort Jesus (Mombasa) and Manda Island. Nairobi, the capital of Kenya offers some great hotels, luxury getaways and souks or markets for shopping local wares and souvenirs. Maasai beads, hand carved wooden sculptures, beaded bowls, blankets, baskets and coffees are some famous takeaways. 


How to Reach: 

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kisumu International Airport, Moi International Airport, Eldoret International Airport and Wilson Airport are some of the main International airports in Kenya. Kenya Airways plies a non-stop flight to Nairobi from Mumbai. Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, Air India and Etihad are some other carriers operating on this route. You can also come here sailing by taking the Mombasa-Zanzibar cruise.

South Africa

South Africa:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://traveltriangle.com

For the longest time South Africa has come to mean safari. But that is not the case at all, as this country is also a great adventurer’s paradise. From the Cape of Good Hope to Table Mountain, it has a lot on offer aside from the wildlife safaris and national parks. January is South Africa’s summer month and hence the weather is hot and humid with a bit of rainfall. The downpour usually is only confined to the afternoons and leaves the rest of the day for you to enjoy. Usually morning and evening safaris are the norm of the land in January if weather permits. 


Things to Do:

For safaris, Kruger is one of the best parks here and has a few self-drive and budget options too. You will find the ‘big five’ here, i.e. lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo, along with antelopes, hippos and giraffes. Other parks like Hluhluwe & Imfolozi National Park are also great for zebras, black and white rhinos etc. Go kayaking at St. Lucias in a waterbody full of crocodiles, explore the Cango caves, hike up the Table Mountain and spend some quiet time by the Cape of Good Hope. Robben Island is full of historic sightseeing, while Boulders Beach is a colony of free roaming African Penguins. Visit the Stellenbosch region for wines and tastings, visit Durban and take a tour of the Cango Ostrich Farm. Also, while you are here, visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, to see what the freedom movement in South Africa looked like.


How to Reach:

Cape Town International Airport and Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg are two main International Airports in South Africa. Kenya Airways, British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Jet Airways and Turkish Airlines connect India to South Africa. By sea, you can take the Princess Cruise or RMS St. Helena that dock at Cape Town. For internal travel, you can commute by the Greyhound Bus or Baz Bus, trains or hired cars.

New Zealand

New Zealand:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://www.wildernessshots.com

New Zealand is said to be the country of kiwis, a breath-taking piece of paradise island in southwest Pacific. It is filled with volcanoes and glaciers, a real paradox of fire and ice. Being located in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand is warm, even hot in January as this is the summer season here. In fact, it is the middle of summer and has the highest temperature of the year, with a daily high of 25°C in the North Island. This month is also filled with writing, music and arts festivals all across the country.


Things to Do:

Auckland, Wellington, Gisborne and Christchurch make for some of the most significant cities of New Zealand, business-wise as well as tourism-wise. New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington is home to the Wellington Botanic Garden, Zealandia, National Museum (Te Papa Tongarewa) and Weta Cave (props from ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie shoot). Auckland flaunts its sky-touching towers with pride, with Sky Tower, Auckland War Memorial and SkyCity Auckland. Queenstown is renowned for adventure. You can also go bungee jumping to Kawarau Bridge, cruise down Milford, taste wines at Amisfield Bistro and tour Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka. Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua is great to get more information on the tribes of New Zealand. Wai-O-Tapu is a Thermal Wonderland and great relaxation spot. Bay Island is great to swim with the dolphins while Fox Glacier for trekking. 


How to Reach:

Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad operate regular stop-over flights to New Zealand, the majority of which land in Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city). You can also catch a connecting domestic flight to any other city of New Zealand or take a hired car. If you want to try the sea route, there are quite a few luxury cruises departing Australia for New Zealand which are worth the time. But they are quite expensive and take longer.


Dubai:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://iso.500px.com

From shopping to desert safaris, sight seeing to plush restaurants, Dubai is the paradise where you can live life king size. It is one of the most significantly coveted tourist destinations in the world and becomes even more exciting through the months when the weather is at its best. January is technically an out and out winter month in Dubai and feels a lot like the British summer, as the coldest it can get out here is about 19°C. The humidity is at its lowest and the dry weather makes for some great opportunities to enjoy your time outdoors. One of the highlights of this month is the Dubai Motorbike Festival between 11th and 12th Jan at the Dubai World Trade Centre.


Things to Do:

The first thing you notice about Dubai is the Bhurj Khalifa, the tallest structures of the world. It hosts business complexes as well as uptown cafes and restaurants. The Dubai Fountain nearby is another great tourist attraction, the world's largest choreographed fountain show that puts up grand spectacles of light and sound every evening. For shoppers, January is the golden time as this is the shopping festival time here. You find great deals on clothes, gold jewellery, perfumes, gadgets and much more. The great Dubai Mall should be your first stop. You could also visit the Palm Jumeirah island to experience luxury at its best, from high-end hotels, to expensive shopping and relaxation. There are also other tourist attractions here like the JBR beach, Dubai Creek, Kite Beach (for water sports) and Dubai Marina. Finally, do pay a visit to the Arabian desert for a desert safari, followed by quad biking, sand-boarding and camel rides.


How to Reach:

Regular direct flights take off from Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Goa etc for Dubai; the destination being Dubai International Airport which is the busiest in UAE. Air India, Etihad, Jet Airways and Emirates are some major players on these routes. You can also board a coach to Dubai from other UAE cities (Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajmah). Or drive up from Oman.


Seychelles:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by http://theafricanphotographer.com

A tropical collection of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a country that is known world over for its leisure beach holidays. The coral reefs, mountainous rainforests and loads of natural beauty only add to its charm. January is one of the wettest month in Seychelles and rains are common. But the good part is that they come in short spells and make the land only more lush, leaving you to explore the islands at your pleasure. With 32°C highs, an average temperature of 27°C prevails at this time.


Things to Do:

There are a few islands on Seychelles that area lacking any real infrastructure. This makes them extra special and coveting as they become a quaint, scenic getaway for people seeking some nature for their vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the world. La Digue is one of these islands, preserved quietly in time. It barely has any vehicles or even paved roadways. Other islands include the Curieuse Island which is known for its giant tortoises, while Praslin Island houses Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). You can choose to spend a day or two island-hopping from North Island to Frégate to Félicité Islands. There is also the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens in Mahé to adore the natural flora of this region. You can also snorkel in Anse Lazio, chill in the palm forests of Vallée de Mai explore the rock formations of Anse Source d’Argent.


How to Reach:

Seychelles International in Victoria is the major international airport in the country. You can take a direct flight from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi or Bengaluru. The aircraft carriers operating are Emirates, British Airways, Jet and Sri Lankan Airlines. While in Seychelles, you can get around by using the local bus services (on Mahe and Praslin), cabs, hired bicycles or use ox-cart (on La Digue). Ferries and domestic flights are also available for island hopping.


Cambodia-Laos:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://onlineonly.christies.com

Cambodia and Laos, two of the untouched jewels of Southeast Asia are usually traversed in a pair. People like to club these two destinations as they are nearby and make for one group of tourism genre, from history and heritage in ancient buildings to Buddhist monasteries, beaches of Cambodia to the French colonial architecture of Laos, cosmopolitan charm of Cambodian cities to the tribes settled deep inside Laos; the complimentary nature brings out something beautiful in your holiday across these two countries. January is one of the driest and coldest month in both these countries and makes for the best time to visit. While Cambodia’s temperature averages at 26°C, Laos’s is at around 17°C.


Things to Do:

In Cambodia, explore the ruins of the ancient city of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap and tour the Bayon which is at the centre of Angkor Thom or the great city. These places hold rich history and grandeur from an era bygone. Also worth a visit is the monastery of Ta Promh, Tonlé Sap Lake, Phnom Penh Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Do not miss the famous Apsara Dance performances here, inspired by the mythological court of the gods and their celestial dancers or Apsaras. Visit Koh Rong for white-sand beaches and the azure sea.


In Laos, visit the Golden City Temple (Wat Xieng Thong) which is located in the old quarter of Luang Prabang. Head to Viewpoint Nong Khiaw for spectacular views, shop for local wares at the Luang Prabang Night Market and eat local food. Some amazing adventure here comes at the Underground River Caves or Kong Lor Cave, Mount Phousi and Luang Prabang (for cycling, hiking and kayaking).  


How to Reach:

Cambodia’s Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport are major destinations when coming in from abroad. Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia Philippines etc fly from India to Cambodia, none of them without a stopover. Malaysian Airlines usually is the cheapest flight on this route. Buses from Bangkok and Vietnam travel to Cambodia, while the Trans-Siberian railway gets to Cambodia from Europe. You can take a bus from Cambodia to Laos; Phnom Penh to Stung Streng takes around 10 hours. Flights are also available.


Morocco:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by http://www.hartmanoutdoorphotography.com

Morocco is country of varied cultures come to blend into one, located in Northern Africa. With the influence of Arabian, European and Berber ways of life, Morocco today looks like an ancient melted pot. From its diverse landscape of deserts and snow-capped hills, adventure is endless here, as is sightseeing and history. January is the perfect time to be in Morocco as the weather is cool and relatively wet, both boons for this hot dry land. With a temperature range of 10°C to 20°C, the days are perfect to indulge in outdoor activities. This, being the winter and a low tourist season, makes for lots of discounts and very few tourists. 


Things to Do:

Start with the big city of Marrakech and its many medinas (markets). Dine at Djemaa el Fna in the heart of medina. Then make your way to the imperial city of Fez, famous for its leather tanneries. Another marvellous sight is that of Chefchaouen, known for its beautiful blue houses, streets, walls and everything. The street-side cafes serve Moroccan cuisine that is to die for. You must also take your turn at one of the hammams or the traditional public baths. Sahara Desert should be on your list next, because it brings to life all those long lost Arabian Nights’ tales you heard at your bedside. Merzouga town becomes your opening into the desert and you can either hire a 4X4 and tour the sands or take a camel safari to the old, Bedouin settlements deep in the desert. If there are deserts here, there are also fishing villages like Taghazout, high mountains like Atlas and snowy slopes like Oukaïmeden (they are best visited for skiing in December and January). Also, do visit Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca for its beautiful architecture.


How to Reach:

Mohammed V International Airport of Nouaceur and Marrakesh Menara Airport are two major airports of Morocco. Air India, Air France, Qatar Airways, Egypt Air, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa and Jet Airways ply one-stop and two-stop flights from Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi to Morocco. Once in the country, you can use domestic flights and hired cars to travel cross-country.


Barbados:  Best Countries To Visit In January
Photograph by https://barbados.org

The land of coasts and historic homes, golf courses and sports, Barbados is an ideal tourist holiday destination in the month of January. There are shipwrecks and wildlife and marine life making the underwater here all the more lucrative for divers. While the lush flora is breath-taking for land explorers. Their famous Rum though, is available for all. January here is the start of a warm dry season and hence makes for a great winter escapade. With temperature between 26 and 28°C, your holiday dreams are all set for fruition.


Things to Do:

There are many beaches here but the Bathsheba Beach on west coast is special and is a paradise for surfers and photographers. Dover Beach and Carlisle Bay's beaches make for great escapades to swim and chill. Carlisle Bay is also famous for its marine bay park and the lighthouse. Other attractions here include Barbados Boardwalk, Harrison’s Cave (limestone formations), Rum distilleries like Mount Gay Rum and West Indies Rum etc. Payne’s Bay is known for its clear waters, turtles and fishes that wash ashore and Hunter’s Garden for its Carribean rainforests. There is also the Animal Flower Cave, the island’s only accessible cave. It is situated in St. Lucy parish and is named after sea anemones.


How to Reach:

All flights that come into Barbados land at the Grantley Adams International Airport, located in Christ Church parish. One stop flights from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad are available regularly and carriers like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airways, Jet Airways etc ply this route. Internally, you can take hired cars to commute across parishes in Barbados. Local buses are also good and quite reasonably priced.

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