The Best Places to Travel in December
Run a half marathon around the Angkor Wat! This internationally recognised half marathon raises relief for victims of antipersonnel mines in Cambodia. Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor Wat and has reinvented itself as the epicentre of chic, with hip hotels, world-class wining and dining and sumptuous spas. The Angkor Temple Complex (UN Heritage Site) consists of hundreds of structures from the 9th to the 14th century. They tell the story of the rise and fall of the Khmer empire, an archaeological history of an empire, that ruled much of southeast Asia for five centuries.
If a relaxing beach break is what you look for then Turks and Caicos offers a perfect Christmas getaway with its powdered sandy beaches and azure waters of the Caribbean. On Boxing Day there is a lively street parade in the tourist area of Providenciales called Maskanoo. Live music, great food, arts, and entertainment are what to expect on this day and it is a good way for locals and tourists to interact.
Alternatively venture to Manila for the San Fernando Giant Lantern Festival which is a fiesta in honour of one of the oldest Marian images in the country, the La Nuestra Señora de Guia, patroness of seafarers and also known as Our Lady of Expectations. The main event Bota de Flores, is a reenactment of a select group of young ladies and their escorts in sailor costumes, of the procession returning the image to its reconstructed shrine. Manila is a high-speed city, a gateway to the stunning islands that the Philippines is famed for. Take a trip to the Salcedo food market open each Saturday from dawn until 2:00pm, this is a foodies haven with a wide choice of local cuisine to choose from.
An ancient civilisation imbues this country, which for centuries was the heart of the Khmer Empire, an empire which ruled much of south-east Asia. Relics of this powerful rule abound throughout the land, from the magical and mysterious Angkor Wat to the walled city of Angkor Thom. Alongside such man-made miracles is the birding paradise of Tonle Sap Lake, the tigers and elephants of the Cardamom Mountains, the beaches of Sihanoukville and Kep, and of course the fascinating capital Phnom Penh.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos is located at the end of the Bahamas chain of islands and with only eight of the forty islands inhabited, this is a place that allows you to truly escape. Stretches of pristine uncrowded beaches, secluded bays, inviting calm turquoise waters populated by glorious coral reefs teeming with colourful underwater life create the perfect environment for diving, snorkelling and fishing. Explore the historic towns and villages where life creeps along at its own pace, experience the excitement of whale watching at Salt Cay, watch a glorious sunset at Grace Bay, or enjoy kayaking in lush North Caicos.
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.