Where to travel in December?
Where to travel in December?
My favorite destinations in December
Siem Reap in Cambodia
Siem Reap is the capital of the province of Siem Reap in the northwest of Cambodia. This city is the ideal gateway to visit the majestic ruins of Angkor, seat of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. In fact, less than 10 km north of Siem Reap is the Angkor archaeological complex, listed since 1992 as World Heritage by UNESCO, and composed of numerous archaeological sites. We can mention among others, the largest of the temples, Angkor Wat , or Bayon with its famous statues of smiling faces of Buddha. Also, do not miss Ta Prohm temple, left in a state close to its discovery, and which seems to be colonized by hundred-year-old trees whose roots fully integrate into the walls of the temple.
On the other side of Siem Reap, 15 km south, is Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. You can visit on long local boats three “floating” fishing villages: Chong Khneas, Kampong Phluk and Kampong Khleang. Chong Khneas is the busiest because it is the closest to Siem Reap, while Kampong Phluk is larger and includes three smaller villages. Finally, in Siem Reap itself, you will find all the amenities for good accommodation, eat, shopping at the old market, as well as entertainment like taking a drink on the lively “Pub Street”.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber or simply Rothenburg, is a charming Bavarian city of Germany. By visiting it, it is like making a jump in the Middle Ages, although it was largely destroyed at the time of the Second World War. The center of Rothenburg, with Neuschwanstein Castle, bears the titles of the most magical places in Bavaria.
The Schmiedgasse is the main street in Rothenburg, connecting the two central attractions of the city: Marktplatz and Plönlein. The Marktplatz (market square) is characterized among other things by the presence of superb colorful houses, the beautiful Gothic and Renaissance town hall, the fountain with the statue of St. George killing a dragon and the pretty facade of the Ratsherren Trinkstube. The most important church in the city is the one of Jakobskirche. This Gothic Lutheran church is a stop for pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela. Plönlein is also a very pretty little square, very picturesque with its facades and its fountain, that should not be missed when you visit this city.
Another thing to do in Rothenburg is to walk on the city walls that surround the town center. Accessible from different places, the walls of Rothenburg are about 3.5 km long and are mainly accessible on foot. I visited this city during Christmas period and I strongly advise you to go there at this time of the year because the city is really beautifully decorated for this occasion.
Miami in the United states
Miami is a coastal city located in the southeast of Florida in the United States. The city is renowned for its beautiful white sand beaches, its cosmopolitan neighborhoods, its Art Deco architecture and its festive atmosphere. Latin American culture is well established in Miami in general and more particularly in the district of Little Havana, where you can have lunch of typical Cuban dishes and buy the famous Cuban cigars. Another district to discover, Little Haiti and its Caribbean style, its streets with colorful murals and fruit stalls.
To discover Miami’s Art Deco architecture, head to South Beach and Ocean Drive, with its lively cafes all day, and clubs open all night. For shopping, stroll through the old quarter of Coconut Grove and Bayside, where you will find a huge shopping center on the water. Finally, for Street art lovers, do not miss the trendy Wynwood district known for its mural works. You can visit Wynwood Walls, an open-air museum that displays large-scale works from some of the most famous street artists in the world.
Pattaya in Thailand
Pattaya is a seaside resort located on the east coast of the Thailand Gulf. This town offers multiple options (sometimes antagonistic) depending on what you’re looking for: beaches, “parties”, or cultural visits. I went there because I won this trip and a week’s training at Venum Thai boxing camp in Pattaya 🤩. So I didn’t have much free time to visit but still managed to see the main attractions in the city.
I advise you to climb Phra Tamnak hill, and discover the Wat Phra Yai temple with its long dragon-shaped staircase, its 18 meters high golden statue of Buddha, and its panoramic view of Pattaya. Do not miss the Sanctuary of Truth, a magnificent wooden building, hybrid between a temple and a castle. Also discover the touristy floating village of Pattaya which, despite its lack of authenticity, allows you to spend a good time and discover local culinary specialties. For a full floating market experience, take a boat ride to navigate the canals and admire the charm of Thai architecture.
As for the beaches, take advantage of the busy Pattaya waterfront which offers many activities such as jet skiing or parasailing. Further south, you can relax on the slightly quieter beaches of Jomtien or Dongtan. Do not also hesitate to spend a day on Koh Larn island located in the bay of Bangkok. By renting a scooter, you will surely spend a very nice day there. Finally, for parties, Pattaya also has a lot to offer and will delight the most active revelers, especially on Walking Street, the nightlife center, and the busiest pedestrian street with lots of entertainment. Thailand in general is a good country where to travel in December.
Zakopane in Poland
Zakopane, located in southern Poland, is a picturesque valley surrounded by the Tatras, the highest mountain range in the Carpathians. The Tatra National Park was founded in the 1950s, and has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993. Winter sports enthusiasts can spend great holiday in the ski resorts and enjoy the numerous ski slopes, then warm up in one of the taverns and drink hot beer, mulled wine or mead. Krupówki is the main street of Zakopane, it is a very lively street with many shops and restaurants, which ends at the foot of Gubałówka hill. Gubałówka is one of the most famous hills and is accessible by funicular. From up there, you will enjoy a superb view over the valley.
Kasprowy Wierch is another of the most important peaks of the Tatras and can be reached on foot (in summer) or by cable car (in summer and winter). For those who decide to come to Zakopane, the Tatras offer a wide variety of hiking routes in the mountains, with different levels of difficulty, on which you can walk and admire the scenic beauty of the national park.
Doha in Qatar
Doha is the capital of Qatar, a small peninsular country located in the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. It is a modern city with many cultural points of interest that have been built over the past decades. You will find there for example the recent National Museum of Qatar, in the shape of pink crystal of the desert, designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. Other interesting museums are the Arab Museum of Modern Art Mathaf and the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by IM Pei, which houses a large collection from the Muslim world. The promenade on the Corniche along the seafront is also a walk to do if it is not too hot. From here you can board one of the typical wooden boats to enjoy a beautiful view of the magnificent skyscrapers of the city center.
Do not miss the Souq Waqif, a traditional market where merchants offer all types of products such as handicrafts and spices. Not far from there, I also recommend that you visit the Doha Fort (Fort Al Koot), with its towers built in the 1920s, and which now houses a small museum. Finally, to do shopping, you will have plenty of choices with the multitude of huge shopping centers such as Villaggio Mall for example, which is designed in the style of Venice and where you can even take a ride in a gondola inside.
I went a few times to Doha for work, but without time to take pictures during the day, that’s why I have only photos of Doha by night. 😅
Hong Kong in China
Hong Kong is an independent territory located in the south-east of China, whose charm lies in its contrast between modernity and traditions. You will of course find very modern buildings with breathtaking views, as well as huge shopping malls, as in the financial heart which is called Central. You can also have fun in huge theme parks like Disneyland or Ocean Park for instance. To enjoy the best panoramic view of Hong Kong, do not forget to climb to the top of Victoria Peak, the view is as beautiful by day as by night. Do not miss the Kowloon promenade which offers a beautiful panorama on the bay and the skyscrapers of the City. You will also discover among other things the impressive statue of Bruce Lee, a “place of pilgrimage” for martial arts lovers! It was for me one of the highlights of my trip. 😍
I also advise you to go to Lantao Island, which is the largest island of Hong Kong. Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, half of its surface is a national park, with many hiking trails. The main tourist attraction not to be missed is the Po Lin Monastery. After a very practical and pleasant transport by cable car, you will discover the imposing Tian Tan Buddha which overlooks Lantau Island. The statue is a 34 meter high mausoleum and is only accessible after climbing a staircase of 268 steps. For another relaxing walk closer to Hong Kong city center, i recommend the beautiful Nan Lian Garden. Finally for entertainment, stroll Lan Kwai Fong with its set of busy streets with dozens of bars and nightclubs.
Strasbourg in France
Strasbourg is a beautiful city in eastern France, at the crossroads of Europe, a nice mix between German and French cultures. One of the emblems of the city is the extraordinary Notre-Dame cathedral in Strasbourg. The interior of the cathedral is worth visiting to discover in particular its stained glass windows, the astronomical clock and the pillar of angels. There are many other points of interest in Strasbourg, including the Place du “Marché aux Cochons-de-Lait”, which is one of the most pleasant and lively in the city. We can also cite the “Petite France” district with its cobbled streets, canals and well-preserved half-timbered houses. And there are still many other places to discover such as the Rohan palace, the Vauban dam, Kléber Place or the Orangery Park for example.
Strasbourg will also offer you a unique experience in terms of cuisine and bars. Beers, wines, flammekueche, sauerkraut and Alsatian sausages are just a few of the things Strasbourg’s bars and restaurants have to offer. Finally, Strasbourg is a very good place where to travel in December thanks to its beautifully decorated streets and its multiple Christmas markets that will certainly make you spend a great time.