Singapore Tatler Best of Singapore
AROUND THE WORLD IN FOUR SEASONS
Travel insiders pick the best destinations for spring, summer, autumn and winter in 2018—and then some
From bucket-list adventures to journeys off the beaten path, there’s lots of inspiration here to send you packing, no matter the weather. Our travel experts give their take on where you should be travelling to from January to December.
From March to May, when the northern hemisphere marks spring, sojourn to the legendary cities of the Middle East and North Africa, before the summer Mediterranean crowd arrives. Chang Theng Hwee, managing director of Country Holidays, says, “Lose yourself in the medinas of Morocco, relax by desert oases where Star Wars was filmed in Tunisia, retreat to the palm-shaded villas of Musandam Peninsula in Oman, follow the ancient Nabatean path to rarely-visited Petra monuments and take in intricate Iranian architecture.”
Also putting Morocco high up on her list of places to visit in spring is Lim Hui Juan, co-founder and chief operating officer of Quotient Travelplanner.
“The weather in Morocco from April is perfectly pleasant, with few rain showers. Enthusiasts can visit the newly-opened Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakesh. For a more exclusive experience, Quotient can arrange visits to Yves Saint Laurent’s house and lunch in a private riad that was designed by his head seamstress,” she says.
Northern France shines in summer when the weather is sunny and warm. Lim suggests this itinerary to get the most of the multifaceted country during this time: “From June, visit the beaches of Normandy, tour the island of Mont Saint-michel and stop by Honfleur, which is famous for having inspired many Impressionist artists. Also, catch the Fete de la Musique festival, a vibrant celebration that is the country’s biggest street music party,” she says.
While the rest of the world is unbearably hot, summer is the best time to visit Ladakh in north India
as the roads finally open, says
Lim Huiting, director-travel designer at Uniq Luxe. “Stay in a luxury camp and join their specially-curated activities such as archery, cycling or hiking.”
To witness a stunning natural phenomenon, Chang suggests heading further north, to the Arctic circle. “The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon where the sun never sets in the Arctic circle between May and July, creating a stunning panorama of colours,” he says. He recommends spending the long summer days savouring some spectacular experiences, such as witnessing icebergs calving in Greenland, descending through a volcanic magma chamber or snorkelling between two continental plates in Iceland.
With the temperature cooling off from the summer heat, September to November is an ideal time to explore the ancient Silk Road, in the footsteps of Marco Polo, Alexander the Great and Zhang Qian, suggests Chang. “Unearth the spectacular grottoes of Gansu, cross the treacherous Xinjiang desert, wander the fabled lands of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, discover the heart of Persia in Iran, and marvel at quaint monasteries in the remote foothills of the Caucasus.”
For breathtaking scenery during this time of year, Lim Hui Juan from Quotient Travelplanner proposes a trip to Chile. While you’re there, she offers a few must-dos: visit key landmarks such as the Atacama Desert or Torres del Paine. “As it will be wine harvest season in the country, take some time to enjoy fine Chilean wine,” she adds.
For something closer to home, the colourful autumn leaves (or koyo) in Japan are stunning, but the crowds in popular cities like Tokyo and Kyoto can be overwhelming. “Head south to less touristy Kyushu and explore some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. Row a boat in Takachiho Gorge or cross the highest pedestrian suspension bridge in Kokonoe with breathtaking views of the valleys and waterfalls around it,” says Lim Huiting from Uniq Luxe.
If you’ve missed your chance for a white holiday during the December to February months, there’s always the southern hemisphere winter to look forward to. “The Southern Lights in New Zealand from July to August is a mesmerising sight,” says Lim Hui Juan from Quotient Travelplanner. “This is an under-theradar alternative to the Northern Lights.” The experiences available in New Zealand are very different to those on a Northern Lights adventure—you can take a helicopter to a glacier, visit sites where Lord of the Rings was filmed and soak in a natural hot pool while stargazing. The tranquillity of Bhutan is best appreciated outside of its peak travel season. “In winter, the endangered blacknecked cranes return to roost in the Phobjikha Valley. It’s a sacred experience to witness the migration of these majestic birds,” says Lim Huiting from Uniq Luxe.
For something off the beaten path, consider a winter holiday in Africa. “Many travellers have the misconception that Africa is only good to visit during the dry, summer season, but winter in Africa offers little-known bucket-list experiences,” says Chang. “In Tanzania, for instance, he says you can witness the fantastic calving migration, with baby wildebeest born daily even as predators prepare to pounce. In Botswana, receding flood waters reveal a tapestry of fresh grass and lush green delta, attracting migratory birds and baby antelopes. This is also a time for the Great Zebra Migration.”
GOOD FOR ANY SEASON, RIGHT HERE AT HOME
You don’t need to get on a plane to do a little exploring. Hit the local streets with an experienced guide and you may discover things you hadn’t known. Experts on all things local at inbound travel operator The Traveller DMC will tailor exclusive, premium itineraries that holidaymakers would not be able to create on their own. Whether you want authentic local food or world-class cuisine, an island retreat or a weekend of arts and culture, you can trust the knowledgeable team to make the experience unforgettable.
Over at Tour East, Chris Bailey, senior vice president of sales and marketing, recommends the Heritage Foodelicious tour, where you can sample famous foods of Geylang, Joo Chiat and Katong, such as prata and thosai, ondeh ondeh and laksa. Or, feed your curiosity with the Footsteps of Our Colonial Past tour, where you can hear stories about the early immigrants and colonial rulers who shaped Singapore, before indulging in an afternoon tea spread.