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Audley Traveller

Thailand or Oman

We are looking to take a family holiday over Christmas for 10 or 12 days. The children are 17, 20 and 21, so we don't need kiddy type activities. We all need a good balance between rest and activity. We would like to be in the sun, and 'A' level re-sits happen in the first week of January, so study time and not too much jet lag are important! Help!

Lauren Clancy, 27 September 2011
Beach at Adang Island

Answer

For good weather and also within easy reach of the UK and suitable for a mix in age ranges, I would suggest Thailand as the best option for you. Thailand is often referred to as a golden land, with an amazing variety of beautiful scenery, wonderful culture and the warm hospitality of its people. Start in Bangkok and then split your time between the cultural north and relaxing on the beaches in the south.

You can fly to Bangkok on any day of the week, the flight would be 11-12 hours but it is direct. Spend a day or two acclimatising and enjoying the buzz of this modern city. Learn about the Buddhist culture and visit some of the hugely impressive temples as well as enjoying the markets, bars and restaurants and lively party scene.

Then head to Chiang Mai in the north, the country's bohemian centre and if you climb into the mountain ranges around Mae Hong Son you'll find stupa-studded peaks and villages of post-Stone Age cultures. You could make a base for yourself in one area and head out for daily excursions visiting the local villages, enjoying the scenery and even elephant trekking or river rafting for the more adventurous.

Finally a week on one of Thailand’s beaches at a lovely spoiling hotel would be a brilliant finale to an amazing family vacation. Many of the islands are still relatively undeveloped and the crystal clear water and abundance of marine life make for some stunning diving and snorkelling. The west coast will offer the better weather over Christmas so head to Phuket and take your pick from a number of wonderful areas around there.

For somewhere a little closer to home you could also look at Oman which is only 7-8 hours away and should also have good weather at this time of year. Oman is suitable for a variety of trips including self-drive adventures in a rented 4WD. You can do a circuit starting in the capital Muscat, then heading inland to Nizwa and the surrounding mountains, the Wahiba Sands in the desert, and back to the coast at Ras Al Jinz to see the turtles before heading back to Muscat for some down time in one of the luxurious hotels here. Muscat is the perfect base from which to enjoy the spectacular coastline, boasting beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters and excellent diving.

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