Fancy escaping a conventional Christmas this year? Lauren Williams showcases the top 6 places in the world to take flight from the festivities
Stuffing yourself with mince pies and gallons of mulled wine isn’t for us all, and not everyone gets excited by the first sighting of that Coca-Cola advert. So for all the Ebenezer Scrooge’s out there, say bah humbug to the festive season and hop on a plane to one of our top places to avoid Christmas.
Marrakech is just a quick three and a half hour hop, skip and jump from London and is one of the closest get-aways from the festive fuss. Wander the souks in the calm knowledge that you’ll not see a single Santa or window covered in cotton wool, but instead, hundreds of brightly coloured scarves, mountains of spices and little wooden camels.
If you fancy doing something daring this Christmas, instead of sitting in front of the fire feeling too full to talk – let alone move – head to the High Atlas Mountains for a spot of paragliding or trekking. Expect no electricity, dusty roads and cold-running water. You couldn’t be further from Christmas if you tried, while camped out in a simple guesthouse where the Sahara and Atlas Mountains meet.
Spending Christmas surrounded by snow may be a bit too festive for some but remember, the Himalayas are not just any mountain range, but the mountain range. A force to be reckoned with, if you’ve got the will power to do so. Known as a Mecca for hikers and climbers, this is the perfect destination for any true Grinch out there who loves a bit of an adrenaline rush.
Nepal isn’t just for adventure junkies, take the opportunity to ride elephants before hopping in a canoe and drifting to small Nepalese villages. Or for more wildlife sightings, head to the unmissable Chitwan National Park for some breathtaking sights of tigers and rhino.
As well as being free from relentless Christmas cheer, this is the perfect time to visit Thailand for some winter sun. This is the country’s ‘cool’ period, when the humidity drops but the sun still shines. Stay away from the turkey and stuffing by sampling some of the local cuisine or bask in blissful isolation on one of Thailand’s many uninhabited islands.
Bangkok is a city of contrasts: from peaceful temples to bustling night markets and street-food stalls. You’ll soon forget your loved ones are enduring the wet and windy British winter while you immerse yourself in the city's fascinating culture.
While heading to unforgettable Petra is a must for any visitor to Jordan, there are many other attractions for the dedicated Xmas-avoiders to enjoy. Head to the Dead Sea for magnificent sunsets at the lowest point on earth, enjoy traditional Bedouin hospitality and delectable desert food, or come nose-to-nose with turtles in the Red Sea.
If you want to see Petra at its most magical, and with the least amount of tourists in cringe-worthy socks and sandals, take a night-time tour to a candlelit treasury for hot mint tea and story telling. Remember to wrap up warm – the temperature drops severely at night.
If you decide to head to Japan this winter to drown out the Christmas carols, make a point of steering clear of the hum-drum of Tokyo. Although Christmas is not traditionally celebrated in Japan, the city is over-run with robotic Santas and other such mechanic Christmas oddities.
Head to Kyoto for some traditional culture. Don't miss geisha peeking from hidden doorways, glittering temples floating on water, bamboo groves around every corner and unexpected spots of tranquility just waiting to be discovered.
The island of Zanzibar conjures many an exotic image – its blend of African, Indian and Arabic cultures have mixed so well you’ll likely never want to come back from this paradise on earth. The small island has an eventful history, from invasions, slavery and revolutions to the birth of Freddie Mercury. Yet an atmosphere of calm sweeps in waves over the sandy beaches and chilled-out markets.
Spend Christmas Day snorkelling in turquoise waters or wandering the souks through merchants selling fresh seafood, hand picked mangoes and headless chickens. For a more extensive break, twin a trip to Zanzibar with the beginning of the Serengeti wildebeest migration in Tanzania.
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