Escaping the January blues and going off in search of the sun is appealing at the start of the year. We recommend bringing in the New Year in style at Aguman Sanduk festival in the Philippines, during which Manila’s men will sport ladies dresses and prance around in a huge cross-dressing parade, which is a fun event with an exuberant atmosphere. The Philippines also offers magical mountains and rice terraces which are designated one of the natural wonders of the world. Some of the best beaches on earth are also found here, add to that magnificent scuba diving, swimming with whale sharks and mixing with the friendliest locals on the planet and you have a destination like no other.
Alternatively, you can visit the magnificent and still largely undiscovered country of Myanmar. This glorious country is slowly revealing its secrets – its ancient palaces, elegant pagodas, legendary rivers, tranquil lakes and pristine beaches which open out onto either the Bay of Bengal or the Andaman Sea. Its landscapes, colourful cultures and strong beliefs all remain refreshingly unspoilt. Ananda Temple Festival in the wonderful archaeological site of Bagan is a colourful celebration where alms bowls are filled with crops, offered to monks who wait in long lines. The setting of Bagan is sublime – a verdant 26 square-mile plain, part-covered in stands of palm and tamarind caught in a bend of the lazy-flowing Irrawaddy river and framed by the hazy silver-grey of distant mountains.
If you want to start the year feeling relaxed and rejuvenated then head to the Maldives. With shallow turquoise waters melting into endless sandy beaches, and some of the world’s most luxurious island accommodation, Maldives is the ultimate desert island experience. Enjoy diving at the Manta Reef, at the end of a channel where powerful currents carry plankton out of the atoll during the northeast monsoon (December-April) – fast food for manta rays. Reef fish include Napoleon wrasse, snapper and parrotfish, while pelagics such as turtles, tuna and sharks visit the outer reef slope.
Magnificent and still largely undiscovered, this glorious country is slowly unfolding its secrets – its ancient palaces, elegant pagodas, legendary rivers, tranquil lakes and pristine beaches which open out onto either the Bay of Bengal or the Andaman Sea. Wonder at the floating villages and gardens as well as the golden stupas and Buddha's, and fall under the spell of some of the gentlest people. It’s a country which seduces all who visit.
Apart from magical mountains and rice terraces designated one of the natural wonders of the world, there are some of the best beaches on earth in the Philippines. Add to that magnificent scuba diving, swimming with whale sharks and mixing with the friendliest locals on the planet - for an ideal holiday.
Exclusive and exquisite, this group of atolls and islands strung like pearls across the Indian Ocean are everybody's dream of what paradise is like. Remote and sumptuous, unspoilt and unhurried, this picture-perfect destination offers something for everyone.
With perfect shallow turquoise waters melting into endless sandy beaches, and some of the world’s most luxurious island accommodation, the Maldives really is the absolute desert island experience. They are renowned for over 200 species of coral, and 300 specifies of multi-coloured fish, so it’s a perfect place to hone your diving skills, or just snorkel in the crystal clear waters, with a parrotfish or colourful ray for company. You can expect to find top-notch accommodation, with attentive staff that cater for every wish and whim, and the most tantalizing delicious food imaginable.
Honeymooners could want for nothing more, yet families are equally besotted, with several resorts having some of the best facilities on the planet for children, and the most imaginative activities. It may feel quite daunting to make a choice from all the amazing hotels on offer, but we know all the subtle differences between them so we can ensure that you choose the right hotel. The Maldives combines beautifully with Sri Lanka, India, Dubai and Oman.