January | Thailand
Let’s start the first month of the year somewhere warm and sunny: Thailand. In January temperatures linger around 20-30 degrees Celsius and the weather is perfect with sunny, clear skies. This makes exploring the country even more enjoyable, especially the beautiful, southern islands. Here you’ll find Koh Phi Phi – one of Thailand’s iconic islands. Its famous viewpoint is an absolute must-visit, especially in this season. With the clear weather, the view is a photographer’s dream and completely worth the 30 minute hike up.
Do you rather explore a new place below the surface? With visibility as good as 30 metres in January, the Thai waters are heaven on earth for scuba divers. Top diving spots include the Similan Islands, Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Richelieu Rock. Go here and let yourself be amazed by vibrant coral, whale sharks, silver tip sharks and manta rays.
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February | Mexico
February in Mexico is all about nature and food. From December till April you’ll be able to observe large populations of flamingos that are nesting and taking care of their chicks. Travel to Celestun Biosphere Reserve or Ria Lagartos, bring your camera and be amazed by the sea of pink. Do mind that these pink birds are really shy, so it’s better to keep a distance in order not to scare them off.
Mexico is famous for its impressive caves and there’s no better way to explore them then during the dry season. Caves like the beautiful Cave of Swallows and slightly creepy caves of Hanging Snakes are bustling with wildlife. From tropical birds including white-collared swifts and green parakeet parrots, till bats and snakes – when exploring these caves, you’ll see them all. Fun fact: the Cave of Swallows is as deep as the Eiffel Tower’s height! It used to be a secret location known only to the locals, until it was discovered in 1966.
During your trip to Mexico don’t forget to indulge in the sweet fruit called mamey sapote, which comes in season in February and can be counted as a great winter treat. It’s delicious when eaten raw, but the locals also make all kinds of treats out of it such as marmalade or the pre-Hispanic drink tejate.
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March | Taiwan
During Spring, Taiwan turns into a sea of pink caused by the annual blossom of its cherry trees. It’s a unique experience, especially at night when many of the trees get lit up by fairy lights. If you have the opportunity, visit the Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival where you can view over 19,000 blooming Yoshino trees. As it’s an extremely popular spot to enjoy the blossom, we recommend booking your trip well in advance.
Can’t get enough of Taiwan’s flowers? Stay a bit longer and visit the Calla Lily festival in Yangmingshan National Park. Enjoy the beautiful decorations and great concerts, while admiring the calla lily’s fields. During weekends you can even take a guided tour that will bring you along various scenic attractions, and includes flower picking and wonderful food.
If you’re a fan of Taiwanese food, you’ll be overindulging during the winter season. Special winter dishes are popping up everywhere, such as chicken soup with sesame oil and the pork rib soup with Chinese herbs. A must-try is the ginger duck soup, a dish that restaurants only serve during the three winter months.
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April | Cuba
If you plan a holiday in Cuba during spring, you’ll probably see the vast tobacco fields that are ready for harvesting. Cuba is one of the largest tobacco exporters across the world and has five main regions producing it. Corojo and Criollo are mostly grown in the Pinar del Rio Province (West), whereas the famous Habano cigars are produced in Semi Vuelta Abajo. Take a tour around the countryside and learn all about this characteristic Cuban trade.
The Trogon or “Tocororo” is Cuba’s national bird and its red, blue and white colours resemble the country’s flag. April announces the start of the tocororo breeding season, so get your binoculars and head out for some birdwatching. Fun fact: it is believed that the tocororos are a sign of good news. So keep your eyes open and perhaps you’ll get lucky!
Last but certainly not least, is the annual crab migration that is absolutely spectacular to behold. After a period of mating at the Bay of Pigs, millions of crabs head back to their home in the forest. A few weeks later, they are joined by their offspring who repeat their parent’s journey. As the crabs quite literally take over the island, be careful not to step on them, but instead take the time to admire this unique occurrence.
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May | Nepal
You can’t say Nepal without saying the Himalayas. And in May, you have wonderful weather conditions, which means great visibility of the white peaked Mt. Everest. Travel to the Gokyo lakes and enjoy being surrounded by various colours of green turquoise while admiring the highest mountains on earth. Do keep in mind that the temperature drops significantly at night, so make sure to prepare for that when packing.
Looking for a unique experience in Nepal? Go honey hunting! During late Spring and late Autumn you can see men climbing up the high cliffs to get to the wild bees’ nests and harvest the honey. You could say the hunters are among the most courageous people on earth, since they climb up using only traditional, handmade ropes as means of transportation – and they’ve gotten stung so many times, they hardly feel it anymore! The activity is not yet fully commercialised in Nepal, which means you will witness the traditional honey hunting, instead of it being staged for tourists.
If you’d like to combine some trekking in your Nepal-adventure, May is perfect – as it’s just before the monsoon starts. This means, good weather and no mushy roads. There are three popular trekking regions in Nepal: the Langtang region, the Solo Khumbu region and the Annapurna region. The last one is considered the most accessible and also offers to biggest change to spot some wildlife.
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June | Peru
When you travel to Peru, the Amazon river is probably near the top of your list. And June is a beautiful month to explore the vast mass of water, as it is the breeding season of pink river dolphins. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot one during your trip along the river, but if you want to be sure travel to lake Cocha El Dorado, which is located within Pacaya Samria reserve. Protected by the locals, the dolphins feel safe and usually give birth in the basin.
Peru is also famous for its salt terraces, which are placed high in the mountains in the Sacred Valley of Incas. The 5,000+ salt ponds have been providing the local communities with salt for centuries and are a sight to behold. Harvesting usually happens during the dry season, May to October, which gives you the opportunity to learn more about this trade. You can also buy some Peruvian salt to bring home!
If you’re a fan of the green gold, you’ve found the best month to visit Peru. The harvesting of the “hass” avocado happens between March and June, which allows you to try a super fresh and soft version of the fruit. Make sure to also try some signature dishes made with avocado, like tacu-tacu or lima causa.
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July | Canada
Let’s start right away with Canada Day on the 1st of July, the country’s most important holiday. Imagine colourful parades, live music concerts, people picnicking or barbecuing all around town, and an evening sky filled with fireworks. Sounds great right? All in all, a great time to explore Canada’s cities.
July is also the perfect time to embark on some whale watching, which is without a doubt an experience of a lifetime. From March to October, thousands of whales migrate through the waters of Vancouver. Although orcas are considered the main attraction, you’ll also have to opportunity to see humpback whales, grey whales and mink whales. Besides whales, keep your eyes open for other wildlife such as dolphins, otters, sea lions and a variety of sea birds.
If you’re travelling to Vancouver for whale watching, make sure to free up some of your time for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival – this year held from 19-21 July in Jericho Beach Park. Performers include international and local artists, who entertain the mass with their folk, but also hip-hop and pop music. Enjoy the music, the food from the many food stalls, and the many other festive activities.
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August | Bali
In August, many parts of Asia are experiencing the annual monsoon, but Bali is an exception. With pleasant, cooler weather, it’s a good time to visit this tropical island. One of the best ways to explore the area is to go sea kayaking. Paddle to coastal caves, find secluded beaches or try to spot wild animals like buffaloes, deer and monkeys.
With it being the dry season, it’s also the perfect time to visit Goa Gajah – or otherwise called the Elephant Cave. This UNESCO World Heritage site is located near Ubud, and is only accessible via a long walk down the stairs. The cave is decorated with both Hindu and Buddhist imagery and is mostly known for it’s angry faces carved into stone, which presumably ward off evil spirits. We recommend to go in the morning, to avoid the crowds of tourists.
An exciting annual event are the Makepung Buffalo Races that are held from mid-July till mid-November. Pairs of buffaloes, with jockeys in ornate carts, race each other in pursuit of winning the Jembrana Regent’s Cup. The event encourages local farmers to breed healthy buffaloes and draws out tourists to this remote area. A perfect opportunity to engage in the local culture we’d say!
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September | Scotland
If you’d like to experience Autumn at its best, travelling to Scotland is the way to go. Purple heather blooms on the Scottish fields and heathland, wetlands and in the many forests. The vibrant flower spreads its purple hues across around 5 million acres!
And don’t forget the Scottish castles, that are set against a beautiful backdrop of fall colours. With over 3,000 castles located around the country, you’ll only be a short drive away to admire the vast Scottish landscape and its old, traditional castles. A must-see is Eilean Donan Castle which is set on an island in the middle of Loch Duich.
Last but not least, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you cannot miss a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train. Also dubbed the Hogwarts Express, this train passes through the Scottish highlands and offers you a magical experience. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is featured in the first movies of the series. When on the train, try to get a seat on the left side, as this position offers you the best view of the incredible scenery outside.
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October | Kenya
There’s no better time to visit Africa than during the annual wildebeest migration. The entire Big Five (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhino) can be found on the wide, open plains of the Masaai Mara, and we haven’t even started on the thousands upon thousands of wildebeest. If you’re also in for some culture, visit the Masai tribes and learn about their way of living.
Besides the annual wildebeest migration, there’s another spectacular migration in Kenya that few people know of. Thousands of humpback whales travel from the Antarctic to Kenya to breed and have their calves in the safe tropical waters. And as if you’re not amazed enough – you’ll also have the opportunity to spot some whale sharks that are still migrating near the Kenyan coast.
The third reason to visit Kenya in October would be that it’s the coffee harvest season. Kenyan coffee is well-known for its intense flavour and pleasant aroma, and is one of the most sought-after coffees in the world. Visit one of the many small-scale farms spread across central Kenya and learn all about this liquid gold.
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November | New Zealand
With its incredible nature, travelling to New Zealand is a good idea all year round. However, November seems one of the best times to go. First of all, the weather is pleasant while the surrounding mountains still have their iconic white peaks. A beautiful time to discover the country by bike, following the many cycling trails. We’d recommend following the six-day, 300km long Alps 2 Ocean trail, which is the longest continuous ride in the country and brings you along some of the Southern Island’s most stunning scenery.
Late November is also the time for lupins. Every year, thousands of flowers with their iconic purple, pink, yellow and blue hues cover the countryside. Fun fact: the plant can grow up to 1.5 metres high! Some of the most scenic places for viewing Lupins include Lake Tekapo and Lake Wanaka.
As November is Springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll also be able to witness the kiwi breeding season. These small birds are native to New Zealand and are considered the national symbol. Nowadays, all five species of kiwi are endangered and their eggs are often gathered in the wild to be hatched in sanctuaries. Visit one of these nurseries and surround yourself with hatching eggs and cute baby kiwis!
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December | Finland
What’s a winter month without some snowy fun? So our recommendation for travelling in December is to go to northern Finland. Besides the thick pack of snow, huskies and reindeer, there’s plenty to see and do. One of the reasons people travel to Scandinavia in masses during winter, is the beautiful sight of the Aurora Borealis. Catching this iconic shimmering light is an experience of a lifetime, but is also very rare – some people travel here for weeks and don’t see it! Thus, make sure to check the aurora forecast every 30 minutes and be ready to run outside at the right moment.
Finland also boasts a very special kind of bloom that only occurs during wintertime and it’s called: Frost Flowers. Not being actual flowers, this flowers consist of ice, salt and chemicals and usually appear on thin, new ice. Stroll around lakes, and you’ll have a big chance of seeing this phenomenon. Fun fact: The number of bacteria living in the flowers can reach up to 2 million!
And when it comes to food, Finland has something very special – elk meat. Because the elk population gets out of hand due to the lack of predators, elk hunting is legal. Most meat is shared by the hunters and their family, but part of it goes to supermarkets and traditional Finnish restaurants. When it comes to taste, elk meat is very dark and flavourful, and is usually served as a stake or in stews. Take the opportunity to try some of these unique dishes while you’re there.
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Happy travel planning! Still looking for more information? Check out our recommendations for a weekend break in Morocco in this article.