New Years is exciting wherever you are. Traveling to Asia, though, is a completely incredible experience that can open your eyes to how people celebrate in a different part of the world. These are our four favorite places in Asia to spend New Years. Enjoy the combination of natural beauty, friendly locals, and a relaxing atmosphere in these places.
Spend Christmas In These Beautiful Places In Asia
1. Paro, Bhutan
Take a visit to Paro and you’ll be situated right in between China and India. Your Christmas vacation will be highlighted with a splash of Bhutan culture when you head to Paro Taktsang, a Buddhist temple situated on a cliff with an elevation of over 10,000 feet! You’re sure to have a memorable experience in Bhutan when you visit this isolated monastery complex positioned high in the majestic Himalayan Mountains with the emerald green valleys below. Discover the architectural beauty of the Buddhist monastery, and enjoy the breathtaking view from its balcony. Inside the complex, you’ll see the gold-plated dome and large statues. Don’t forget to check out a few of the 8 total caves inside the monastery, where monks are supposed to live and meditate in for 3 years while at the complex. Do something different this Christmas and visit the Paro Taktsang.
2. Ko Lipe Island, Thailand
Escape the cold of winter and travel to Ko Lipe Island in Thailand. Located in the Malacca Strait, this island can be explored entirely by foot. The clear, blue waters and lush greenery will have you forgetting about that cold winter back home. The island has some great snorkeling opportunities, including companies offering boat trips to surrounding islands for even more snorkeling. Since Koh Lipe is also located in the Tarutao National Marine Park, it has some of the best diving sites in Thailand. Take advantage of your surroundings and explore the 20 islands, submerged pinnacles, and underwater reefs for a perfect Christmas vacation. Don’t miss out on Stone Henge, a premier diving site in Thailand. After all your adventures, head over to a local bar or restaurant and enjoy a drink and some dinner overlooking the water. Happy Vibe Bar is known for holding a Full Moon Party, a big celebration in many of Thailand’s islands. Lay out on the beach and get a tan before heading back from your Christmas vacation.
3. Sapporo, Japan
Commonly known for its beer, Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and the 5th largest city in Japan. In 1972, the city hosted the Winter Olympics, and now hosts the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, which attracts over 2 million visitors every February. With an annual snowfall of about 20 feet, Sapporo is a great place to do some winter skiing. There are 5 ski resorts within 2 hours of Sapporo, many of them within just over an hour. Take your Christmas vacation here and hit the slopes at all 5 of them, each offering different trails for the beginner and expert skier. Check out Sapporo Teine, just a 45-minute drive from Sapporo, where beginners and kids will have plenty of runs to ski on and more advanced skiers will find some great steep slopes. Asari Ski Resort is a great place for a day trip. It is at a lower elevation than the other ski resorts, so it’s a good option on days where the weather isn’t playing nice. If your Christmas vacation extends into February, be sure to check out the Sapporo Snow Festival. It’s known for its snow sculpture exhibits, some measuring nearly 50 feet tall and 80 feet wide. The festival even boasts a family-friendly area known as Tsu Dome Site. You’ll find snow slides, snow rafting and even more snow sculptures, not to mention food stands and live music inside a heated dome. Shopping, restaurants, and bars can all be found in Sapporo. You’ll find yourself in a winter wonderland this Christmas when you visit Sapporo.
4. Pokhara, Nepal
If you’re up for an adventure this Christmas, do yourself a favor and visit Pokhara, Nepal. It’s the second-largest city in Nepal and home to 3 of the 10 highest mountains in the world. Paragliding over Nepal’s lush valley and the rocky terrain of the Himalayas is one of the coolest ways to spend your Christmas vacation. Fly in tandem with a guide or take a course to become your own tour guide. The weather during the day in December usually hovers around 65 degrees, so you won’t be too hot or too cold while you’re up in the clouds. See the city (and country) from above and give yourself a completely different perspective this Christmas. When you’re done zipping around the sky, head into Pokhara where you can mingle at bars and restaurants with other trekkers and travelers. Enjoy the evening at Mike’s Restaurant where you can sit at their lakeside tables and enjoy dinner and a drink while taking in the view. You won’t regret exploring Pokhara on your vacation!
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.