Where am I going? Feasibly you could travel to any continent but Antarctica. Like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Qatar has been positioning itself as a global aviation hub – with flights in every direction.
Airline: Qatar Airways (0330 024 0127; qatarairways.com) flies to Doha from Birmingham, Cardiff,
Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester, and continues on to Auckland in each case. Return flights from Cardiff to New Zealand’s biggest city, departing on Dec 1 in time for the start of high summer “Down Under” – factoring in two full days in Doha on the way using the multi-city booking function – cost from £998. Reasons to linger: Qatar is trying to improve its image as a destination as it prepares to host the football World Cup in 2022 – albeit amid huge controversy about conditions for the workers constructing the stadiums. In August last year, it loosened entry requirements, announcing visa waivers, valid for at least 30 days, for 80 countries, including the UK. This is long enough to see Doha highlight the Museum of Islamic Art (mia.org.qa; free) – which, designed by the architect I M Pei, illuminates the Corniche.
Stay: The stylish W Doha (marriott. com) has doubles in December from 679 Riyal (£142).
Further information: visitqatar.qa April, with TUI Airways (0871 231 4787; tui.co.uk/flight) – there is every reason to seek out Bangkok with Thai
Airways (0330 400 4022; thaiairways. com), from Heathrow. Return flights to Phuket, leaving London on Dec 1, and filtering in three whole days in the Thai capital on the way east via the multi-city option, cost from £1,340. Reasons to linger: Numerous. Bangkok is a swirling sensation – veering from Buddhist serenity at the Wat Arun temple (watarun.net; 50 Baht/£1.20) to the street-food frenzy of Khao San Road and the bars of Sukhumvit. The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (bacc.or.th; free) is a blur of the modern, showcasing all the arts from music to literature.
Stay: The Mandarin Oriental (telegraph.co.uk/tt-mandarinbangkok) is one of the city’s most sophisticated retreats, dating back to 1876. Doubles in December from £420 – room only. Further information: tourismthailand.org
SPECTACULARThe Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s largest, above; Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, above left