January often brings post-Christmas blues and 'dry January' in the entire world, making it a somewhat dreary month to endure. But there's a secret: head eastward, and it transforms into one of the best months for a holiday escape. If you're seeking refuge from the chilly British weather and looking for great value in the sunshine, read on for our top January holiday destinations.
For those craving some sunshine, South India beckons as the perfect January getaway. Think tropical beaches in Goa and Kerala with warm, calm seas ideal for swimming, long stretches of pristine white sands, and up to 9 hours of sunshine daily - often with nary a cloud in sight. Whether you prefer beachfront hotels like Ahilya by the Sea or Taj Holiday Village, or cozy homestays like Fort Tiracol or Philip Kutty’s Farm, there are plenty of options for a fantastic stay.
The far-flung Andaman Islands offer a secluded island retreat, complete with refreshing sea breezes that keep nights comfortably cool. Consider boutique stays like Jalakara or Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans, for the ultimate island holiday. Pair your trip with explorations of South India's unique culture and ancient heritage, including visits to Chennai, Mahabalipuram, and Pondicherry for a quintessential South Indian adventure.
Sri Lanka's west coast, fringed with coconut palms, is at its prime in January. Clear, azure-blue waters invite you to swim, surf, snorkel, and even spot blue whales.
In North India, where temperatures hover around a pleasant 25°C, the possibilities are endless. It's an ideal time to visit the Royal Palaces of Rajasthan, explore the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur, and the Taj Mahal in Agra, or embark on a private tour of central India's wildlife, history, and culture.
Southeast Asia is calling too. January is the perfect month to delve into the history, culture, and mouthwatering cuisine of Vietnam or wander through the ancient temples of Cambodia's Angkor. Thailand is a perennial favorite, boasting picture-perfect weather. The beaches of Phuket, Krabi, and islands like Ko Phi Phi are simply perfect. However, do steer clear of the east coast beaches in January due to the rainy season. Bali, with its stunning beaches and rich local culture, is another top pick for winter sun. For an extraordinary dive into Indonesia's underwater wonders, venture to the breathtaking Raja Ampat, a paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.
Discuss your plans with our Asia experts.
Discuss your plans with our Asia experts.
January ushers in a chilly breeze in northern Japan, as Siberian winds bring heavy snowfall. In these regions, the legacy of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano lives on, with excellent ski facilities for those seeking snowy adventures. However, in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and the southern islands, the weather remains relatively mild.
The cool air, clear blue skies, and dry conditions make the crisp weather quite enjoyable for travelers. It's an ideal time to explore the Japanese Alps, where you'll encounter picturesque snowy castles, lantern-lit shrines, and the chance to warm up with cups of sake. When the snowflakes start to fall, there's nothing quite like retreating to a rotemburo, an alfresco hot-spring bath, where you can soak in steaming waters while surrounded by gently falling snowflakes.
January is also the prime season to savor snow crabs, a sought-after delicacy. These crabs are only caught for a few months each year to maintain a sustainable population. You'll find them available along the north coast, with some of the freshest catches in Kanazawa.
As the new year dawns, sunshine graces most of Southeast Asia, drawing travelers from all around. Some areas can get pretty crowded during this time. However, if you're on the lookout for a more off-the-beaten-path adventure, consider exploring Cambodia, a hidden gem often overlooked by many.
January in Cambodia brings comfortable temperatures, making it the perfect time to embark on your journey. You can explore the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, soak up the vibrant energy of Phnom Penh, and wander through the leafy boulevards of Battambang.
But what makes Cambodia truly special in January is the weather. It's the driest and sunniest month of the year, creating an ideal setting for a bit of relaxation. Picture yourself lounging on a pristine, secluded beach on the Koh Kong Archipelago and savoring delicious coastal cuisine in Kep's charming cafes. It's a tranquil escape that's often missed by the crowds.
After the festive excitement of Christmas, January offers a more peaceful time to explore India. It's a month of fewer tourists compared to the bustling crowds that arrive in February and March. In the early mornings and evenings, don't forget to layer up as it can get quite chilly. However, as the dawn mist clears, you'll be greeted by clear blue skies, making it all worthwhile.
This cooler weather is perfect for discovering the enchanting desert cities of Rajasthan, witnessing the Taj Mahal in all its morning glory as the sun rises in Agra, and indulging in shopping sprees at Jaipur's charming artisan markets, all without the sweltering summer heat.
If you're considering a different flavor of India, we also recommend exploring the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Here, you'll find sunny and warm beaches, serene backwaters, and picturesque colonial hill stations, making for a delightful getaway during the winter months.
In January, central Vietnam ushers in its summer season, bringing warm and dry weather to the heritage-rich towns of Hue and Hoi An. It's the perfect time to soak up the sun and enjoy these cultural gems. Plus, if you're a fan of stunning sunrises, Nha Trang's beaches offer some of the most breathtaking views in all of Asia during the early morning.
Down south in Saigon and the Mekong Delta, temperatures can climb to a comfortable 30°C, creating the ideal conditions for leisurely river cruises along the Mekong or the Red River. Meanwhile, in the northern mountain towns of Sapa and Ha Giang, you'll experience a dramatic drop in temperatures, often accompanied by a bit of haze. So, if you're planning to visit Halong Bay, it's worth noting that the views may not be at their best during this time.
Towards the end of January, the country gears up for Tet, the lunar new year celebration. It's a time of traditional shows, vibrant dragon dance performances, and a wonderful glimpse into Vietnamese culture and festivities.
Last Updated: 05/08/2023 11:21:27