Soon, people in the northern hemisphere will be revelling in the freezing temperatures and festive nightlife while taking in the beauty of stark white landscapes. Meanwhile here in the Philippines, we will get to enjoy a slightly cooler weather when December comes.
No matter what adventure you seek, there's a winter wonderland waiting for you. You can visit these destinations on your next getaway:
Geology: Sedona, Arizona
Winter is the least crowded season in Sedona, which presents you with a marvellous opportunity to explore the majestic red rocks dusted with snow. You can drive some 177 km to see the Grand Canyon, or go north to Flagstaff for some skiing action, or stay in Sedona proper and golf in the world-class course and participate in festive events such as the Red Rock Festival of Lights on December 9.
Wine: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
The best way to battle the cold is to warm the body with irresistible libations, and Niagara-on-the-Lake is the best place to do just that. You can time your stay to celebrate the Niagara Icewine Festival in January 2018 for endless vineyard tastings and wine pairings.
Road Trip: Reykjavik, Iceland
You’ve heard about how great Iceland is—for good reason. The capital, Reykjavik, is very laid-back because of its small population size (just about 150,000). It is also a convenient starting point for day tours and road trips via the Ring Road, which will take you through countless natural wonders like the Blue Lagoon, Geysir, Gulfoss, Diamond Beach, Dettifoss, Hvítserkur, Kirkjufell, and more, depending on which route you take. However, beware of treacherous roads during winter. It’s better to hire a skilled driver who can handle the slippery pavement professionally. Just don’t miss out on the chance to see the fading aurora borealis.
Festivities: Zagreb, Croatia
Dubrovnik’s growing popularity as a sunny tourist destination is most likely powered by Game of Thrones, but you can also marvel at Croatia’s beauty in winter. In Zagreb, the nighttime festivities and Christmas markets are comparable to those in Vienna and Prague, minus the massive crowd. Museum Night in January is also a much-awaited annual event where museums stay open to visitors and hold special events until the wee hours of the morning.
Hiking: Gangwon, South Korea
If your idea of a winter getaway is leaning towards the adventurous side, then you can pay South Korea a visit. Away from the bustling metropolis is Mount Taebaek. The mountain range is located in Gangwon-do, the province that will host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Hiking the trail takes around four hours to complete, and it's high but easy to hike because of the smooth path. Make sure to catch the sunrise that breaks through the clouds or peeks between the mountaintops—a truly breathtaking sight. You can also partake in the Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival in January to revel at large-scale snow sculptures, go snow sliding, and so much more.
R&R: Nagano, Japan
Get ready to be thoroughly delighted when you visit the Jigokudani Yaen-Koen wild snow monkey park. Here, you’ll find these adorable creatures leaping in the wild rapids, lounging in the soft bed of snow, and cuddling their young. The place also features an onsen (hot spring) where the monkeys try to escape the cold. No humans are allowed to bathe with the monkeys though. You’ll have to move to the nearby Korakukan Onsen.