Skip to content
Please select your location:
Travel Ideas in January

Best places to travel in January 2023

As Christmas slopes into the distance, journeying to find some sun is an appealing prospect for January. We recommend beach time on a secluded Cambodian archipelago or Vietnam’s sandy shores. It’s also summer in Australia, a season celebrated with outdoor cinema screenings, festivals and sporting events.

In Africa, the January rains break the Kalahari heat and the quenched plains spring to life. Journey to Botswana to watch new-born zebra take their first steps, as migratory birds feast on the fresh grasses. If you’re after cooler climes, temperatures in India have cooled enough to make exploring its fortress cities comfortable. Or, embrace winter in Paris, where crisp, clear skies showcase the monument-filled skyline and fewer visitors make for an ideal Louvre museum experience.

Festivals and events around the world in January

Speak to someone
who's been there

Audley Travel Specialist Niall

Start planning your tailor-made trip by contacting one of our destination specialists

1. India

After the Christmas buzz, January is a quieter time to visit India, before visitor numbers climb in February and March. You’ll need extra layers in early mornings and evenings, but after the dawn mist has cleared, you’re usually rewarded with crisp blue skies.

These cooler climes are ideal for exploring the fortified desert cities of Rajasthan, watching an atmospheric sunrise over the Taj Mahal in Agra and shopping in Jaipur’s artisanal markets without the summer heat. We also recommend the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where the beaches, backwaters and colonial hill stations are sunny and warm.

Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters

2. South Africa

If you’ve got your eye on a tour of Cape Town and the Winelands, now is the time. January sees warm temperatures and clear skies across the Cape, which is ideal for alfresco wine tours and self-drive routes around the region’s ocean-cut coastline.

It’s not the ideal time to safari in the Kruger National Park, which tends to get occasional tropical rainstorms, but this does mean that the Cape region is a little quieter and you can still enjoy a safari in the drier Eastern Cape reserves.

January also marks the anniversaries of the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, so the Battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal can be busy.

  • Don't miss: Cape Town
  • Flight time: 16 hours upwards dependent on airline (Toronto to Cape Town)
  • Time difference: UTC +2
  • January Temperature (Day): 17 to 30°C, depending on region
  • January rainfall: 3 to 146mm, varies by region
Franschhoek vineyards
Franschhoek vineyards

3. Australia

January is high summer in Australia, with warm and sunny days, unless you’re in the humid north which is prone to tropical showers. An alternative to seeing New Year fireworks around Sydney Harbour is to visit in late January around Australia Day. Lively festivals and sporting events take place during the day and fireworks light up the sky at night, with the Sydney Opera House standing proud in the background.

You can also experience the many other outdoor events running throughout the month as Australians make the most of the warm summer weather, including outdoor cinema screenings and theater.

Sydney
Sydney

4. Vietnam

January is the start of central Vietnam’s summer season, when the weather in the heritage-rich towns of Hue and Hoi An is warm and dry. This is a good time to relax by some of Vietnam’s best beaches around Nha Trang, where the early morning light offers up some of Asia’s best sunrises.

Temperatures around Saigon and the Mekong Delta can reach 30°C, which is ideal for lazy river cruises along the Mekong or the Red River. In contrast, temperatures drop dramatically in the mountain towns of Sapa and Ha Giang north of the country, and the air can become quite hazy, so views in Halong Bay are not at their best.

Tet, the lunar new year, is usually celebrated at the end of the month, with traditional shows and dragon dance performances.

  • Don't miss: Bassac
  • Flight time: 15 hours 30 upwards dependent on airline (Toronto to Hanoi)
  • Time difference: UTC +7
  • January Temperature (Day): 26 to 32°C, depending on region
  • January rainfall: 31 to 142mm, varies by region
Ninh Van Bay near Nah Trang, Vietnam
Ninh Van Bay near Nah Trang, Vietnam

5. Cambodia

As the sun shines across most of Southeast Asia in the new year, many visitors arrive across the region and some areas can get busy. With great swathes of jungle, little-visited sleepy coastal towns and remote, unspoiled beaches, we suggest opting for often-overlooked Cambodia.

Temperatures are still comfortable enough to explore Angkor Wat, the modern buzz of Phnom Penh and the Battambang’s wide, leafy boulevards. But, as it’s also the driest and sunniest month of the year, it’s an ideal time to laze on a secluded beach on the Koh Kong Archipelago and dine in Kep’s coastal cafés.

Battambang
Battambang

6. Botswana

January is the green season in Botswana, with long sunny days punctuated by short, sharp showers. If you don’t mind the occasional spot of rain, this is an excellent time to visit as animals give birth to their young and the scenery is bright with verdant foliage and flowers. There are also fewer visitors, making this a good-value period to travel.

You’ll see plenty of migratory birds during January — many species flock here to breed in large numbers, and you’ll see them flitting to and from their nests to feed their young. The dramatic weather creates impressive cloud formations and bright colors across the sky, creating plenty of opportunities for photographers.

Swimming lion cubs in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Swimming lion cubs in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

7. France

While January is one of France’s coldest months, it’s one of the best times to explore Paris. There’s very little rainfall and the city skyline stands proud against clear, crisp winter skies. You’ll also find far fewer visitors, so exploring the city’s galleries, museums and monuments is particularly rewarding, with less time spent waiting in line and more space to admire the collections.

January is also the peak of the truffle hunting season, so you’ll find restaurants across the country serving truffle-infused specialties. Elsewhere, snow coats the Alps and Pyrenees as the French ski season gets underway.

Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

8. Chile

January is arguably the best time to travel to Chile, with warm, dry weather across the country and music, food and dance festivals popping up everywhere, from large cities to rural towns. It’s a particularly good time to explore the capital, Santiago, as many residents travel out of the city for their own summer trips, reducing congestion.

Torres del Paine National Park is very popular at this time of year, so you’ll need to book well ahead. But, once you arrive, it’s large enough to find your own slice of wilderness. If you do want to eschew fellow visitors, this is a good time to take a self-drive trip to some of the country’s quieter regions.

Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine, Chile

9. The Galapagos Islands

The best time to go to the Galapagos depends on what you particularly want to see and experience. In January, temperatures both on land and at sea are warm, and while short periods of rain occur, it’s also one of the sunniest months to visit.

January is also one of the best months to go diving as calmer waters make for clearer visibility. At this time of year, you might see sea turtles nesting on the islands’ beaches, marine iguanas become brightly colored to attract a mate, and you can watch various land birds undertake their unusual courtship rituals.

Marine Iguana, Galapagos
Marine Iguana, Galapagos
Last Updated: 19/11/2021 09:19:13