It’s not easy to decide where to go next, but there’s a better way than spinning a big globe, closing your eyes, and slamming your finger down
(you’ll probably end up in the middle of the Atlantic, and wifi there is, to say the least, patchy). Introducing our ultimate month-by-month destination guide: A no-fuss list of places to visit, things to see, and good weather to chase all over the world. Here’s a look at January, a month full of exciting travel possibilities and newfound optimism. And so it should be; after all, you did make it through another year at work, the mayhem of the silly season, and New Year’s Eve celebrations in (mostly) one piece – and you’re only a couple of days into a brand new year! Give yourself a pat on the back that kind of dedication deserves a break. From the jungles of Central America to the beaches of Southeast Asia, here is your January travel guide.

Top Holiday destinations for January 2023 

01: Costa Rica:

We love any place that combines lush tropical jungles, pristine
beaches, abundant wildlife (sloths! ), and a thriving eco-tourism and adventure scene. Costa Rica puts on a spectacular natural show, and you’ll quickly become an expert at spotting toucans in the Monteverde cloud forest or listening for the call of capuchins while
relaxing in your hammock. The mild and dry early months of January and February are considered the best time to visit Costa Rica, but keep in mind that this is also peak season, so plan ahead of time to make the most of your time there. Change up the hustle and bustle for something purer Vida to kick off the new year right.  

02: Belize: 

This lush Central American jewel is full of natural wonders and has a rich cultural history (Mayan archaeological sites, anyone? ), but many people don’t realize it also has the world’s second-largest barrier reef. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to hundreds of sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons, and numerous endangered species (marine turtles and manatees to name a few). Why don’t you Belize us? Check it out for yourself! While there is almost no bad time to visit this tropical paradise, January has the best weather. Again, it is peak season, but if you plan ahead, you will be fine.

03: Thailand

Yes, it is peak season in Thailand in January, but for good reason: the weather is p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Temperatures will range between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius (68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit), and sunny days with clear skies will be the norm. The beaches in the country’s southwest are at their best between November and April, so spending your day beach-hopping from the turquoise waters of Krabi to Ao Nang to Phuket and back is a perfectly viable option. Or for a true island adventure, sail away on your own private yacht; snorkelling and chilling out by day, and sleeping beneath the stars at night. 

04: Tanzania 

Tanzania may appear to be an unusual choice for January: it’s low season, and being sandwiched between two wetter months increases the likelihood of rain. However, rains bring fertile plains, and the Serengeti is benefiting from both right now. To the south, the migration and calving season for Wildebeest is well underway, and the Ndutu plains are teeming with new life – approximately 8,000 Wildebeest are born every day during the peak! All of this new life attracts predators, and in January, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater have the highest concentration of Lions, Cheetahs, and Hyenas in Africa, stalking through the grass and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. This is an excellent time to see exciting predator action without being surrounded by crowds. 

05: Laos

Laos is one of Southeast Asia's best, with a million elephants, cascading milky blue waterfalls, shining temples, gentle smiling Buddhist monks, and picturesque towns. The slower pace feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of Thailand, Vietnam, or Cambodia. Laos will make you weak at the knees, from the sleepy capital of Vientiane to the breathtaking scenery of activity-friendly Vang Vieng and the colonial beauty of Heritage Listed Luang Prabang. Laos will leave you a little bit weak in the knees. In January, average temperatures in Vientiane and Luang Prabang are a very pleasant 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit), while the 4,000 islands in the south can reach highs of 30 degrees Celsius (86F). At the end of the month, locals celebrate the Wat Phou festival (also known as Makhaboucha) at the Wat Phou ruins. Religious chanting, candle lighting, and performances of Lao music and culture are all part of the festivities. In 2018, the festivities will begin on January 28 and last three days.

06: Ethiopia

The best time to visit Ethiopia is from October to June when the skies are clear and dry and the temperatures are generally mild. However, if you plan on hiking in the highlands, bring some thermals and a good down jacket to keep warm. While January is still on the tail end of cooler weather, the annual Timket Festival is worth making the trip to the cradle of humanity now. During the three-day Christian festival commemorating Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, replicas of the Ark of the Covenant are carried to the rivers and baptized. The procession, which is accompanied by thousands of locals dressed in traditional white attire and priests carrying sequined velvet umbrellas is a heady mix of incense, prayer, and celebration, and is a once-in-a-lifetime festive experience. 

07: Vietnam

Vietnam, like the rest of Southeast Asia, has dry winter weather at the start of the year, making it ideal for exploring without becoming a muggy, sweaty mess. Head to Hoi An and Nha Trang for sun and sand, or take it easy as you slowly drift along the Mekong Delta. The Delta, known as Vietnam’s Rice Bowl due to its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards, and flower gardens, offers an authentic glimpse into daily agricultural Vietnamese life. If you’ve recovered from eating too many mince pies during the silly season, why not try your hand at Vietnam’s gourmet scene? From banh xeo to pho, the cuisine here is some of the most fragrant and fresh on the planet.

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