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Best places to visit for festivals and art, winter sports, wellness breaks, winter breaks or simply finding solace.

What could be a better way to begin your New Year than by engaging in adventure-filled activities and travelling to the most exotic places around the world while complying with the current travel restrictions.

To enhance your experience amidst these challenging times, we bring you the best, remote places of interest, ranging from festivals, winter sports to warm escapades, you can visit in January.

Best Places to Visit in January 2022

Festivals and Art in January 2022

Are you a Literature fan and museum lover? This is for those who love to engage in local festivities and learn about different cultures. Here is a list of places you can visit and festivals that you can attend scheduled for January 2022.

1. Jaipur Literature Festival 2022

Jaipur Literature Festival, India (JLF) is all set to return with its insightful discussions from the 5th to 14th March (previously 28th of January to the 1st of February). Post the pandemic, this year, the event will be accessible in-person while at the same time several online activities are to take place as well.

Notable figures and authors from all around the world such as Manu S. Pillai, Robert Macfarlane, Akhil Katyal, Kei Miller will be present at what is one of the most famous literary fests of Asia.

Jaipur, photo by Pooja Saini Rajoriya Pexels

Jaipur, photo by Pooja Saini Rajoriya Pexels

The literary sessions will be hosted at Clarks Amer, Jaipur, while the usual venue, Diggi Palace, will be hosting musical events. This will be a ticketed event for those who wish to attend the sessions in person, with prices starting from Rs. 200 (US$ 2.70).

Read More: Here’s Why Rajasthan Needs To Be On Your Radar This Winter

Jaipur is one of the most exotic cities in Asia, owing to its rich cultural heritage, arts and architecture. Apart from visiting numerous forts and palaces such as Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal, you can also visit an Elephant farm where you get to feed and bathe elephants and also enjoy the pleasure of home-cooked food. Check out the Anokhi Museum of Handblock Printing exhibitions, showcasing works by traditional block printing methods.

Location: Hotel Clarks Amer, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, Lal Bahadur Nagar, Chandrakala Colony, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302018, India

www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

Where to Stay in Jaipur: Rajmahal Palace, Rambagh Palace, Samode Palace, Samode Haveli.

2. Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2022

The 38th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival will be open from the 5th of January. This happens to be one of the most celebrated and biggest winter festivals of all time, surpassing the Quebec Festival and is a top place to visit in China during January.

The city of Harbin is known for its cold weather and as the ‘Ice City’ of China. Snow statues, figurines, castles and even a statue of Buddha are amongst the many delightful and surprising sculptures that dress the grounds of the festival. Several activities have been planned for the celebration this year based on the themes of snow. These include snow tourism, snow trade, snow fashion and every kind of art that you can imagine being carved out of ice and snow.

The main events include Harbin Ice and Snow World, Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, Ice Lantern Show and several other activities that will make your snow-fairy tale come true.

Harbin’s Ice and Snow World, the Zhaolin Park and Yabuli Ski Resort are a few landmarks that one must visit when in Harbin. In addition, the Sun Island, Volga Manor, The Maoer Mountains and a range of Shangzhi Monuments will undoubtedly make your trip to Harbin delightful.

Location: Harbin Ice & Snow World, Zhaolin Park, Heilongjiang, Harbin, Daoli District,150036, China

www.hrbicesnow.com

Where to stay in Harbin: Shangri-la Hotel Harbin, Kempinski Hotel Harbin

3. Rann Utsav 2022

In the winter season, January is the desirable month to visit the famous Rann of Kutch festival, despite its continuity until the 23rd of February, 2022. This tent city is best known for its handicrafts and the artistic styles of embroidery and is popularly referred to as the ‘Cradle for Craftsmanship’.

The annual festival is hosted to popularise the distinct village culture of the ancient lands of Kutch and is one of the top places to visit for culture connoisseurs. The White Desert takes you through all kinds of traditional artisanal works, Gujarati celebrations with dance, music and an array of activities to delve into, such as camel cart rides, live concerts, cultural dance performances along with several adventurous activities.

The White Desert is an interesting sight to behold and seems far from reality. In addition, several places of interest nearby are worth visiting, including the Kala Dungar, also known as the Black Hill. It is the highest point in Kutch and provides a panoramic view of the entire district.

The Kutch Museum, Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal at Bhuj and the remains of Dholavira, the ancient Harappan city of the Indus civilisation settled during the third millennium BCE, give us a glimpse into the rich heritage of the area that traces its roots back to the cradle of civilisation.

 

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Location: Rann Utsav, Dhordo, Kutch, Gujarat 370510, India

www.rannutsav.com

Where to Stay in Kutch: Rann Village Resort; White Rann Resort

4. Ice Castles in Utah, 2022

Ice castles in Utah happen to be one of the best sites one can visit during the winter season when in the United States. This is an annual event hosted in Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire and Wisconsin as well. These awe-inspiring castles consist of tunnels, fountains, slides and caverns built by sculptors using thousands of icicles, all grown on-site and a must-visit destination during January.

This year, a horse-drawn sleigh has been added as a new attraction. Fans of the ‘Frozen’ movie series and families with young kids looking for a great winter holiday site should head to Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, the place that hosts this event.

For all mountain lovers, Midway is a breathtaking city for you to venture into the remote Wasatch wilderness. Apart from the festival, you can also visit the various national and state parks, making Utah the perfect spot for outdoor adventure. Some parks include the Bryce Canyon National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, the hidden treasure – Snow Canyon State Park and Arches National Park.

The Narrows and Angel’s Landing are the city’s best hiking trails for an unforgettable experience, while winter activity lovers should head to the Deer Valley Resort for skiing and snowboarding.

 

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Location: Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, 2002 Soldier Hollow Ln, Midway, UT 84049, United States

www.icecastles.com

Where to Stay at Midway, Utah: The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection, Montage Deer Valley

Winter Sports in January 2022

What could be a better way to make the best out of the winter season than by visiting places that are big on winter sports? Here are a few places for adventure-loving souls to add to their holiday season travel list..

5. Asahidake Ski Resort in Hokkaido

As a popular skiing and hiking destination, Mt. Asahi Dake, near the town of Higashi Kawa in Hokkaido, lives up to the expectations of a perfect spot for winter sports and is one of the best places to visit in Japan during January. This place is meant for all the adrenaline junkies out there looking for adventure and travel.

The ski resort town of Asahi-Dake is well connected to the rest of Hokkaido by trains and buses. While trekking across this alpine wonderland, come across the Suribachi Pond and Kagami Pond, known as the Meoto Pond.

The nearby Daisetsuzan National Park also offers a range of winter activities. Apart from skiing and trekking, you can always try your hands on snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and climbing up frozen waterfalls. After a day out in the snow, soothe the sour muscles with a dip in one of the many hot spring Onsen in the area.

 

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Location: Asahidake, Hokkaido, Japan

www.visit-hokkaido.jp

Where to stay in Asahidake: Portom International Hokkaido; The Windsor Hotel Toya Resort & Spa

6. Northern Lights in Finnmark, Norway

Despite being one of the most remote locations in Europe, Finnmark manages to impress travel enthusiasts worldwide. Being within the Arctic Circle during winter promises to be an epic adventure and a place that’s on almost everyone’s must-visit list during winter. This entire section of Northern Norway is fjord country, with a coastline that is a rugged and a haven for trekking enthusiasts.

Under the Northern lights in FInnmark, image by Anne Olsen Ryum, Nord Norge

Under the Northern lights in FInnmark, image by Anne Olsen Ryum, Nord Norge

The night sky here lights up with the brilliant display of aurora borealis, making the whole experience magical and out of this world. Outdoor activities at night such as dog sledging and snowshoeing ensure your nights are just as exciting as your day.

This northern destination, away from most human settlements, offers an easy escapade into the wilderness. Watch reindeers from a distance as you cross-country ski with your local guide. With frozen fjords and lakes on hand, do give ice fishing, or better yet, ice bathing a go.

Location: Vadsø, Finnmark, Northern Norway

www.nordnorge.com

Where to Stay in Finnmark: Clarion Hotel The Edge; By The Sea Luxury Villa in Lenvik

7. Mountains of Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg, Austria

The valleys and peaks of the mountainous Bregenzerwald are an abode of winter and snow activities and are a must-visit during January. The region offers different skiing facilities that you can enjoy with your family. All you need to do this January is to get a 3Valley ski pass for the area, and that’s about it. You will be able to access all the different ski areas daily for the duration of your trip.

In case you are not in the mood to ski, do try out other winter activities, such as lounging by the snow with a hot cup of cocoa or visiting a husky ranch. On the other hand, suppose you aspire to be a little more active, hike and explore the charming town centre. Try out the horse carriage ride in Sankt Johann, or get on a toboggan run down the many slopes around the valley.

www.bregenzerwald.at

Where to Stay at Bregenzerwald: Hotel Arlberg Lech; Hotel Zurserhof

8. Skiing in Turkey’s Ulu Dag, the mountain of the Gods

If you’re looking for paradise on earth, then take time out to visit Ulu Dağ in Bursa this January. This high mountain in north-western Anatolia is covered entirely by snow. The local ski resort 30 minutes away from town offers comfortable, overnight stays. This also happens to be Turkey’s most popular winter sports centre.

Ulu Dağ is also known as ‘The Mountain of Gods’, a once sacred site. It’s said that Zeus lived here with all his fellow gods, and hence this place has been known as ‘the mountain where they live’ or ‘heavenly home’.

You’ll find five different forest species here, perfect for forestbathing while enjoying nature at its finest. And if not enough time or energy remains after all these activities, then take in this beautiful mountainside via a cable car ride with 360-degree views of this Turkish resort.

As you drive towards Mount Oldag, the scenery becomes more and more magnificent. You can take a break and have a hot meal at one of the cafes on your way up. There are many lounges, restaurants and tea houses throughout this region where travellers rest before reaching the top. These breaks allow for some peace before beginning another adventure – hiking through the rugged forestry trails.

 

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Location: Uludag Ski resort, Bursa, Marmara, Turkey

www.gobursaturkiye.com

Where to Stay in Uludag: Sheraton Bursa Hotel; Hilton Bursa Convention Centre and Spa, Kardanadam, Bursa Parasut & Uludag Ski Resort.

9. Sermilik Fjord in Greenland

Sermilik Fjord is one of the best places to visit in January. No matter what winter activity you are interested in, Sermilik Fjord offers it all. Sermilik Fjord is located on the eastern coast of Greenland and has a spectacular coastline with majestic mountains that rise straight up from the seawater, forming part of a greater fjord system.

Getting to Sermilik fjord is an adventure in itself. You need to first travel from Kangerlussuaq to Nuuk and on to Kulusuk. From here, it’s a simple matter of taking a helicopter that flies the route twice a week. Dogsleds or fishing boats are also common transport options here!

If you like winter sports, Sermilik Fjord is the place to be. If you want more winter sports than just skiing, Sermilik Fjord has that as well. The region’s wilderness and sheets of snow offer winter activities to suit every taste. Sermilik Fjord is a good place for winter camping. The wildlife of Sermilik Fjord offers an excellent opportunity for photographing animals in their natural environment.

Even though dog sledging is accessible in other parts of the world, the ‘sledge dogs’ in Greenland come from the original Greenlandic pedigree, making the experience unique. You can even spend your time hiking, kayaking among the icebergs whilst exploring the coastline.

The concept of ice diving under a Glacier gets real here, and divers can go underwater and swim next to, or under, slabs of ice and glaciers. In addition, divers can encounter minke whales, narwhals and other marine creatures unique to the arctic.

 

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Location: Tiniteqilaaq, Ammassalik, East Greenland

www.visitgreenland.com

Where to Stay in Sermilik: Hotel Arctic; Hotel Sisimiut

Spirituality and Wellness in January 2022

If you wish to take a break from the monotonous routine of the last two years and look forward to rejuvenating yourselves, here are the best places to visit for a wellness retreat this January.

10. Wellness break in Sri Lanka

In January, plenty of sunshine right at the beginning of the monsoon season makes Sri Lanka an ideal place to visit during January. As a land soaked in cultural practices, head to any part of the island and witness the Thai Pongal celebrations with much grandeur.

Sri Lanka has many meditation centres outside Colombo, making it an ideal country for spiritual & wellness tourism. The objective of a wellness escape is to nourish a positive outlook in oneself, enhance mental wellbeing and rejuvenate. The Buddhist meditation activities here mainly deal with right mindfulness, right concentration and right view, three of the Noble eightfold path.

Some of the popular meditation centres in Sri Lanka include Ridee Vihara, Rockhill Hermitage, Kanduboda Meditation Center, Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Centre, Paramita International Meditation Center, Sri Subodharama international Meditation Center, Dhamma Kuta and Amawathura Meditation Center.

The search for wellness does not end with meditation and mental wellbeing. There is an entire segment of cuisine under the umbrella of Ayurveda that focuses on balance in the body through food. Almost all good wellness centres in Sri Lanka incorporate Ayurveda inspired food in their menu.

In between the wellness journey, take time to visit the well-preserved ruins near Anuradhapura, a magnificent city established around Buddha’s Fig Tree. Also, visit the country’s tea production capital Nuwara Eliya, also known as ‘Little England’ within the central highlands.

 

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www.srilanka.travel

Where to Stay in Sri Lanka: Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala; Santani Wellness Resort near Kandy, Sen Wellness Sanctuary, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

11. A well-deserved break in Bali

Bali is an epicentre of all tourist destinations with its culture, beaches, nature and excellent hospitality in Asia. In addition, the comfortable weather of the region all through the year adds to its popularity amongst the travellers.

The Balinese are known for their love of the outdoors, and there is always something new to discover in central Bali. You can go on hikes up in altitude, view sunsets or try biking around town – all while experiencing new cultures. If you want to indulge in water sports within your comfort zone, then sea walking at Nusa Dua will get that adrenaline pumping one step at a time.

The best way to experience Bali is by taking advantage of its coastline. You can either head out into the sea or explore the nearby reefs, just a short boat ride away from Benoa Harbor. Bali is a traditional, cultural island. From its temples and paddy fields, you can explore Bali’s rich past while marvelling at how modern it looks today with rugged cliffs, serene beaches, lush forests, and not forgetting those fantastic sunsets.

There are plenty of luxury resorts to stay for tourists, but when in need of something rustic, then head just outside the towns where villages still exist from days gone by, offering visitors a chance to discover authentic Balinese culture first hand.

 

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Where to Stay in Bali: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Capella Ubud, Soori Bali, COMO Uma Canggu.

Warm Escapades and Water Sports in January 2022

Prone to feeling the cold or just want an escape from it for a little while? Here are some great places with water sports and summer centric activities that will keep you warm in these winter months without compromising on the adventure!

12. Retreat to pristine nature in Puerto Princesa

If you’re looking for an escape from the cold winter season, Puerto Princesa: one of the 7 Wonder of Nature should be on your list. Nothing could make the warm and pleasant weather more enjoyable than spots like Sabang Beach and Pristine Beach.

Visit the Subterranean River National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the longest navigable underground waterway on earth. The site houses another level inside the cave with beautiful small waterfalls cascading into the quiet rivers. The site is also home to a diverse range of wildlife.

Read More: Unravelling The Giant Pieces Of The Philippine Puzzle

Don’t forget to explore the caves when sailing through these subterranean rivers and be prepared to get glimpses of sleeping bats and marine creatures. This spot’s location makes it favourable for island hopping, and you can get the best views of the sea from Honda Bay and Cowrie Island.

 

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Location: Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Island, 5300, Philippines

www.whc.unesco.org

Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa: Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa; Astoria Palawan

13. Explore Africa’s Big 5 in Tanzania

Africa is home to several natural wonders of the world and a perfect example of cultural diversity. Tanzania is one such location that showcases the best that East Africa has to offer. The short dry season is majorly cool during January, right after the rain ends, making it an ideal time to visit this region.

With majestic landscape views and desert activities in store, you need to add Tanzania to your list for a warm escape. It is needless to say that a Safari ride is a must as you get to discover Africa’s Big 5 – the African Lion, African Leopard, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo and Rhinoceros.

If you show up in January, you’ll be right in the middle of the calving season. Selous Game Reserve houses elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles. For all the wildlife enthusiasts, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Location: Selous Game Reserve, 2G22+225, Mkangira, Tanzania

www.tanzaniatourism.go.tz

Where to Stay in Tanzania: Jabali Ridge; Little Chem Chem

14. Warming up the days in the Maldives

The Maldives is known as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’ for its crystal clear warm waters and blue skies. The weather in January has been reported to be perfect, making it an ideal destination during wintertime when you want some sun with warmth. The Maldives, where beaches are lined with palm trees on white sand, makes this country a perfect getaway from harsh winters in the north.

Read More: Ithaafushi The Private Island, New Getaway In Maldives For A Select Few

Suppose you are looking to try your hands on a new water sports for the first time. Head over to the Banana Reef in North Male Atoll. This isle has all your needs for an underwater adventure taken care of. From fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling or surfing with plenty of time left before the night falls on this paradise for a sunset cruises – the Maldives guarantees you have an amazing time. The island’s slogan sums it up – it’s the sunny side of life.

Location: Banana Reef, North Male Atoll, 20195, Maldives

www.visitmaldives.com

Where to Stay in the Maldives: Gili Lankanfushi, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, Baros Maldives, Lux* North Male Atoll.

15. Epic getaway to Lima

If you’re looking for a break from the winter doldrums, Peru is your answer. As January brings warmer weather and colourful sights to South America – head straight to Lima without a second thought.

Lima is a place of culture and tradition, with museums that proudly house its history. You can get on the Mirabus for an educational ride around town while learning about Lima’s past through photo opportunities at various sites including the clay pyramid ruins in Huaca Pucllana.

Lima’s Foundation Day is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the festivities and learn about local customs. As you tour around this Peruvian city, don’t miss out on witnessing sea lions or Humboldt penguins in their natural habitat at Palomino Island.

When night falls over Lima’s famous Magic Circuit of Light, it will be like walking through an outdoor light show as colourful fountains dance before your eyes under starry skies while music plays overhead. Experience one-of-a-kind celebrations throughout January in Lima.

 

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Where to Stay in Lima: Belmond Miraflores Park; Country Club Lima Hotel.

16. Awaken yourself at Playa del Carmen this January

What Playa del Carmen lacks in snow it makes up for with sunshine and adventure. Playa is a world-class party destination, so don’t miss out on the wildest month of the year. Playa del Carmen is most famous for its white-sand beaches that run the length of the coastline. It is an excellent place to come in January if you’re looking for adventure and fun.

Playa del Carmen has plenty of activities no matter what your interests. Playa is a party paradise with stunning Caribbean views, and a fun-loving atmosphere of the Yucatan peninsula. Cross the thin line between greenery and beach zone, and you come across a wide range of water activities such as snorkelling trips to the Great Maya Reef, parasailing, kayaking and jet skiing, to name a few.

For some, Playa del Carmen is a land of opportunity and promise. For others, it’s an adventure in the sun with many spiritual retreats on offer to help you recharge for the new year. This destination offers you the perfect spot in Mexico where your mind can explore its depth while enjoying all that Playa del Carmen has available.

There is something for every adventure seeker, from yoga or meditation sessions to exploring the region led by local guides who are experts in the, cenotes, archaeology and culture of the Mayans. Hiking trips through secluded mountainous areas filled with nature’s beauty lead to secret spots to watch sunsets overlooking clear blue waters.

Where to Stay at Playa del Carmen: Palmaïa, The House Of Aïa

For Solace and Nature’s Beauty in January 2022

There is something about being far away from crowds and commotion that can make you feel at peace with your surroundings. So if isolating yourself from society sounds appealing but don’t know what would be a good place, look no further than these vacation spots.

17. Finding a secluded spot is easy in Kirkjufell, Iceland

The beauty of the landscape in Iceland can be witnessed at its most pristine during January. The island is home to many geysers and hot springs that offer solace for those who need it. Nature lovers will enjoy observing this rugged terrain up high on one hill or another while trekking in this winter haven.

Driving around the winding roads of Iceland’s mountains in January is an experience like no other as well. The snow-capped scenery and cold make for breathtaking views while you’re bundled up to perfection. But it doesn’t stop here – if nature isn’t high enough on your list of things to do during this time, then take advantage by checking out some incredible restaurants with seafood specials running through the winter months.

You can also visit small towns nearby that only have a population of about 900 people, perfect if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure while visiting this fantastic country. The best part about visiting Iceland during winters is that you get a glimpse into nature’s spectacular gift – Auroral Boreas. It shines brightly in all her glory and dances high above our heads, giving us one last show for the season.

www.visiticeland.com

Where to Stay in Iceland: The Old Post Office Guesthouse; Grund i Grundarfirdi

18. Visit Santa Claus’s home in Finland

Finland’s Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is the gateway to the Arctic and Santa Claus’s hometown. It thus easily qualifies as one of the best places to visit during this winter season. Lit up for festivities and celebrations, the place becomes a marvellous sight to behold, surrounded by a blanket of white.

You can spend nights in the famous glass-covered igloo hotels set on permafrost surrounded by pine trees under a veil of stars. Witness the celestial phenomenon called the Northern Lights or get on a husky ride out in the countryside. If you’re in Santa’s hometown, well, you’d most certainly get to see reindeers and visit an Elf School in Santa Park. So how do you heat up in Finland? That’s easy – head to a nearby sauna.

 

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Where to Stay in Finland: Arctic Treehouse Hotel, Nova Skyland Hotel and Glass Resorts & Igloos.

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© This article was first published online in Jan 2022 – World Travel Magazine.

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