Wondering where to go in January? The festive season is over and the holiday crowds have thinned. Fewer tourists, lower prices and greater choice make January a great month for travel. Here are a few suggestions of where to go in January to help you beat the winter blues.
Every January the frozen city of Harbin in China’s northeastern province hosts one of the world’s largest ice festivals – The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Towering ice sculptures, frozen castles and vertiginous ice slides are illuminated with dazzling lighting effects and fireworks. The exhibits become more elaborate as ice sculptures from all over the world compete in the annual competition.
Warm up frozen bones with a dish of Harbin’s famous braised pork in the cities ‘old quarter’. Take a dog or horse sled ride down Central Street, Harbin’s prettiest street’. Stop off to explore the Chinese Russian market area and admire the eclectic architecture that includes buildings in Russian, Baroque and European styles. Don’t miss the B0yzantine style St Sophia Cathedral in Harbin’s central district.
To experience a more natural winter phenomenon travel to Jilin, 4 hours train ride from Harbin. This area is famous for ‘rime’, a picturesque freezing fog that crystallises on the landscape transforming trees and rocks into ice treasures touched by a snow queen. This natural wonder is celebrated in January with the Jilin Rime Ice and Snow Festival. Admire the phenomenon at sunrise from one of Jilin’s many hot springs, such as the popular Shennong Hot Springs.
Why not contact us at Curious Travel to help you decide where to go in January or design your perfect China get-away?
Community Trekking in Ethiopia – Copyright Becky Harris
Maybe it can’t be Christmas every day but taking a trip to Ethiopia in January means you get to celebrate a second time. Ethiopia’s Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. People throng the streets in traditional white robes carrying colourful umbrellas on their way to church. The most exuberant celebrations take place in the ancient city of Lalibela, “Ethiopia’s Jerusalem”, as pilgrims chant amongst the rock-hewn, world heritage site churches.
The 19th of January is another major holiday, Timkat, celebrating the baptism of Christ. Although it is celebrated across the country, the ancient capital of Gondor is particularly famed for its celebrations. Thousands of pilgrims descend on the city to take part in a colourful procession to the 17th Century Fasiladas bath for a sunset ritual. Whilst in Gondor visit the ancient Royal Enclosure and explore the famous frescos of the Debre Berhan Selassie church.
Interested in Ethiopia? Check out our “Faces of Northern Ethiopia” photo collection from Becky and her daughter’s latest trip.
At this time of year, the weather is warm and sunny, the landscape is lush and blooming with wildflowers making it an ideal month to visit jagged peaks and canyons of the Unesco world heritage listed, Simien Mountains National Park. Resident wildlife includes endemic ibex, gelada monkeys and bearded vultures. Enjoy panoramic views from the Gidir Got and Imet Gogo summit.
Why not contact us at Curious Travel to help you decide where to go in January or design your perfect Ethiopia get-away – or anywhere in Africa?
For winter sports enthusiasts the French Alps offer the widest variety of quality ski resorts and January is a great time to explore them. The peak festive season is over so the slopes are less crowded whilst the chance of great quality, abundant snow is at its peak.
Alpine powerhouse Chamonix offers world-class runs, white knuckle descents and epic mountain scenery but is almost as famous for its exuberant apres-ski scene. Kick off your skis and put on your dancing shoes at the popular Chambre Neuf in the Hotel Langley Gustavia. Live music, great beer and a party atmosphere. Or head to the sophisticated, family friendly Pointe Isabelle for a steaming hot chocolate or glass of Vin de Savoie.
Clear your head with a trip on the Aiguille du Midi, Europes highest cable car. Starting at Chamonix town the first stage takes you soaring 3488m up the mountain valleys with a 360-degree view over the Swiss, French and Italian Alps to High Mountain gateway.
Chamonix offers plenty of activities for non-skiers including mountaineering, husky sledding, snowshoeing or even paragliding. Pamper sore muscles at one of Chamonix’s many spas. At Pré Saint Didier spa you can soak in outdoor thermal baths amongst Alpine scenery.
Why not contact us at Curious Travel to help design your perfect January Alpine Winter get-away?
For shopaholics looking for some winter sun, January is the perfect month to visit Dubai. This world-renowned luxury shopping mecca hosts the Dubai Shopping Festival. Get inspired at the fashion shows and events that take place around the city before taking advantage of the huge discounts and promotions in the stores. Don’t miss the Market OTB, an eclectic pop-up market featuring food and fashion against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa.
Sports enthusiasts are in for a treat as Dubai hosts both the Omega Dubai Golfing Classic, (a three-day golf tournament packed with events and entertainment for spectators) and the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.
Although it’s never really cool in Dubai, January is the coldest month with temperatures around the mid 20c. It’s warm, pleasant and a great time to explore Dubai’s attractions. Ride the Jumeirah Sceirah, the tallest and fastest free-fall water slide outside America at the Wild Wadi water park desert safari. Take a camel safari through the Arabian desert or try you hand at 4×4 dune bashing.
Why not contact us at Curious Travel to help you decide where to go in January and design your perfect Dubai get-away?
Still wondering where to go in January? Colombia is rapidly emerging as one of South America’s most up-and-coming tourist destinations as visitors realise there is much more to this country than its notorious narcotic past. The dry season is in full swing and the holiday season is tapering off. The first half of January is still bustling with holidaymakers enjoying the tail-end of Colombia’s’ exuberant festive season so booking in advance is advised.
Join in the party at the Carnival de Pasto. Floats and procession throng the streets as participants paint their faces with black grease and white flour to signify emancipation from slavery.
Take a trip to zona cafetera (coffee country) to experience Colombia’s famous coffee. Stay on a working Finca, hike in Los Nevado National Park or Valle de Cocora to visit the world’s tallest palm trees, sample the coffee amongst the colourful colonial towns Silento and Filandia. Manizales city celebrates the new year with a fair that includes traditional craft shows, orchestral concerts and colourful parades. The festivities culminate in the annual coffee carnival, the highlight being the crowning of the coffee king and queen.
Visit the colourful UNESCO world heritage town of Cartagena to enjoy quaint cobbled streets, pretty colonial architecture, vibrant street art, and beautiful beaches.
Why not contact us at Curious Travel to help you choose where to go in January or design your perfect Latin America get-away?
Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A)
January’s MLK day is a national holiday in the U.S.A and where better to celebrate the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr than his home city of Atlanta. Commemorative events include the MLK 5k drum race around Piedmont Park, parades, floats and peace marches. On MLK Park day admission to National Parks is free. Take the opportunity to explore civil war battlefields at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park or hike in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Visit early in the month to enjoy the dazzling festive light arrays without the holiday crowds. The Atlanta Botanic Gardens transforms into an illuminated wonderland with themed displays. Lanier Island, 45 minutes north of Atlanta, has its Magical Nights of Lights in a tranquil lakeside setting.
Warm your cockles at Atalanta’s Winter Wine Festival. Visitors can sample over 50 types of American wine, beer and cider accompanied by live music and DJs.
Soft drink lovers can immerse themselves in the World of Coca Cola which showcases the history of the world’s most popular fizzy drink.
Why not contact us at Curious Travel to help design your perfect USA North America get-away?
Looking for more inspiration on where to go at other times of the year why not check out our other articles or Contact Us for more information and a free consultation?
Sam Roberts is a creative content writer, web designer and travel enthusiast currently based in Malaysia.