In terms of Japan’s tourism in the winter months of December through to February, the main reason people make the trek here is to ski – during this time of year people flock to Niseko, Hakuba and Zao to enjoy the fresh powdery snow and clear blue skies. However if you’re chasing a little winter respite, it may be worth checking out the Okinawa Islands. As Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa is home to some incredible beaches and very pleasant weather. While the rest of the country is freezing, this pocket of Japan sits between the high teens to low twenties degrees celsius (65-70°F) throughout the winter season. If the weather permits, pay a visit to the popular Ishigaki beach, though if it’s too cold to swim, there’s always the world famous Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium to explore.
Luang Prabang Province, Laos
In the north of Laos is Luang Prabang Province, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site overflowing with unique culture and architecture, including the Haw Kham Royal Palace and the watermelon-shaped Wat Wisunarat temple. One of the other great reasons for visiting this undiscovered gem during January is the weather. The country is currently in the midst of dry season, meaning that there’s a very little chance that your travel plans will get washed or snowed out.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Vietnam
A visit to the breathtaking Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a sure fire way to forget all your winter blues as you’re swept up in the untouched beauty of Vietnam. Certified a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, this park features the oldest unique karst mountains in Asia, which are estimated to have formed around 400 million years ago. A lot quieter than the city hubs of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), a visit to this little hideout is all about leaving your worries behind and recharging mentally and physically by stepping into a completely new world for a few days.
Kanchanaburi, a pocket of western Thailand, has no end of things to see and do, including history museums, national parks and even an elephant sanctuary! With a bustling centre and secluded locations, Kanchanaburi is a picturesque spot where the past and present collide.
With temperatures between 15-24°C (59-75°F) throughout December and January, the capital of Taiwan is always a great place to visit for winter warmth. A fusion of Japanese, American, and Chinese culture this fascinating little city is not short on attractions and amazing food just begging to be uncovered. If you do find yourself in this vibrant city be sure to scale the 509-meter (1,670-feet) tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper to really get a bird’s eye glimpse of the metropolis below.
New Delhi, India
For ambitious travellers, New Delhi is not necessarily new, but given that there’s simply so much to see and explore, the city definitely warrants multiple visits. In January the city’s friendly climate provides an ideal backdrop to its colonial-era parliament buildings and Old Delhi market stalls, making it feel like you’ve stepped into a world where time and seasons outside of this fascinating pocket of India no longer exist.