Few of us can relish the festive come down and arrival of January, so how about a spot of sun? We scoured the globe for some of the best winter escapes.
Words: David Leck
Sri Lanka – the ‘Teardrop Island’ – has much to recommend it, from spectacular tea country to idyllic beaches and wonderful culture to captivating wildlife. Pettitts (www.pettitts.co.uk) has a 14-day journey combining Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle with the beautiful lakeside town of Kandy and the old colonial hill station of Nuwara Eliya before ending beside the Indian Ocean. The trip costs from £2,620, including flights. And if you want to raid the savings and do it all in the lap of luxury then Selective Asia (www.selectiveasia.com) has an 11-day Sri Lanka in Style from £5,154, excluding international flights.
To The Land Of The Gods
Bali has enjoyed something of a resurgence in popularity recently and Dari Indera Villas and Spa (www.dariindera.com) has two luxury properties on the Indonesian island. Dari Indera is located in the heart of Tabanan countryside just 10 minutes away from the iconic Tanah Lot temple and set in spacious grounds with private gardens and pools, while Muse is perfect for those wanting to experience Balinese nightlife and boasts all the comforts expected of a luxury getaway. Prices start from £200 per night for a villa sleeping eight. Flights are from £600 through (www.westeasttravel.com).
Diverse and fascinating, Cambodia is progressing apace but is still a developing country. So how about doing it in style? InsideAsia Tours (www.insideasiatours.com) has a 10-day journey from £3,170, excluding flights, starting at the magnificent temples of the Khmer Empire and travelling through the bustling capital of Phnom Penh to stunning coastal areas where you’ll stay in a private villa on the island of Koh Rong. Or combine Cambodia with Vietnam on the 14-day Mekong Connection with Selective Asia. You’ll experience Angkor, wildlife-rich Tonle Sap Lake and Phnom Penh and then take a cruise through the maze of waterways that make up the Mekong Delta before a well-deserved break on the stunning beaches of Phu Quoc island and ending in eclectic Ho Chi Minh City. From £2,015, excluding international flights.
The Land Of Smiles
What’s there to be said about Thailand that hasn’t been said many times over? Friendly people, fabulous food, great culture and top-notch hotels that do “service” as good as anywhere in the world. You can spend seven nights at the three-star Krabi Thai Village Resort in February and March from £849, including flights, with
Thai Airways. Visit www.trailfinders.com.
An injection of Caribbean laid-back style – not to mention average winter temperatures of 26 degrees – is more than enough to lift even the worst dose of seasonal blues, so why not decamp to the three-star Coconut Court Beach Hotel in Barbados for a week? Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com) has packages that include flights with British Airways from £1,059 for departures in February and March.
“God’s Own Country”
Kerala, in the southern corner of India, is an all-together more tranquil offering than the frenetic pace of the north. The 15-day Rural Images of Kerala is a relaxed itinerary in which you journey from home stays in a century-old mansion and the charming Philipkutty’s Farm and onto a 1920s plantation bungalow. A spot of relaxing by the sea follows before boarding your own private houseboat and ending in the historic spice-market town of Kochi. The trip costs from £2,950, including flights, with Pettitts (www.pettitts.co.uk).
Body & Soul
If that yearning for winter sun comes hand-in-hand with a desire to kick-start healthier living then The Body Holiday (www.thebodyholiday.com) on St Lucia does the combined job beautifully. Its tag line is “give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind” and, from the setting of a secluded bay, you’ll get a combination of five-star all-inclusive indulgence mixed with a whole range of sports and exercise classes and plenty of spa pampering. Virgin Holidays (www.virginholidays.com) has seven nights in February from £3,005.
Images: Pettitts, Selective Asia & BlueCreative Photography