Best places to travel in January 2021
As Christmas slopes into the distance and with cold weather still to come, travelling to find some sun is an appealing prospect for January. We recommend beach time in the west of Thailand in Krabi, Phuket and Koh Lanta. In Africa, the January rains break the Kalahari heat and the quenched plains spring to life. Journey to Botswana to watch the migration of wildebeest and zebra as they follow the scent of the fresh grazing. And January marks the start of another wildlife showpiece. It’s the whale watching season in Baja California on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and on a cruise you can sit alongside as hundreds of whales and dolphins leap, arch and twirl in and out of the ocean.
Popular countries to visit in January
Our specialists share their ideas, personal recommendations and inspiration about the best places to visit in January
If you’re looking for winter sun, January offers plenty of options. It’s a great time to drive South Africa’s Garden Route or visit characterful old Galle in Sri Lanka, both of which can be combined with time on the beach. New Zealand is at the height of summer and the southern USA is pleasantly warm and sunny.
Tours we recommend in January
Trip suggestions that we know capture a route at its best if you’re planning to travel in January.
Stay within the Dutch fort at Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore the various boutiques within the fort walls.
Take time out to relax on the beautiful southwest coast.
Visit architect Geoffrey Bawa's Brief Garden.
Explore Arenal Volcano, a spectacular setting for some of the country's best activities.
Visit the Monteverde Cloudforest: a cool, lush climate with excellent birdwatching.
Try zip-lining or tackle the Cloudforest canopy walkways.
Relax on the beaches of Manuel Antonio.
Enjoy the museums, restaurants and shops of Cape Town.
Take a cable car up to the top of Table Mountain for incredible views of the city below.
Visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during apartheid.
Enjoy a full day guided tour of the Cape Point and Peninsula and see the jackass penguin colony on Boulders Beach.
Indulge in fine food to accompany the great wines of Franschhoek and the surrounding vineyards.
Enjoy a shared tour of the magnificent Cape Point and Cape Peninsula.
Take a private tour of Robben Island to learn about South Africa’s apartheid history.
Go wine tasting at the various estates in and around Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Enjoy game drives in a private nature reserve, looking for zebra, wildebeest and antelope.
Relax and stroll on the beach in the laid-back coastal town of Paternoster.
Experience the contrast between Old and New Delhi.
Enjoy the breath taking views of the Taj Mahal.
Take a guided tour of Gwalior's little-visited Fort.
Explore Khajuraho's quirky temples.
See the evening pooja (prayers) in Varanasi.
Explore the historic fortified centre of Manila on board a unique bamboo bike.
Spot the endangered Tarsier on the exotic island of Bohol.
Go dolphin and whale watching around Pamilcan Island.
Take a scenic Cessna flight over Cebu.
Explore the historic streets of Old Havana in Cuba's pulsing capital.
Visit a traditional Cuban music hall in Trinidad.
Admire the views in the peaceful valley of Viñales.
Experience life in the artistic rural community of Las Terrazas.
See a different side of Mumbai at dawn as the city wakes.
Visit the bustling, entrepreneurial Dharavi slum with a local.
Relax on the palm-fringed beaches of Goa.
Sample freshly-caught seafood in Goa's old town.
Soak up the art and culture of Durban and sample local Afro-Indian delicacies.
Relax at a countryside retreat in the Midlands, taking leisurely strolls along the river.
Find out about the history of the Battlefields, touring the sites with a knowledgeable guide.
Go hiking, horse riding or mountain biking in the Drakensberg Mountains.
Visit the most sacred of all Buddha relics at the Temple of the Tooth.
Take a train journey through the tea country.
Explore the Dutch fort at Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
An afternoon walking in Colombo.
Spend a few days navigating the mesmerising city of Saigon.
Explore the kingdom of coconuts, Ben Tre.
Enjoy two nights at a charming riverside lodge in Vinh Long province.
Discover the hidden charm and culture of one of the few remaining Khmer communities in Vietnam.
Journey along the Mekong and Bassac River on board a traditionally styled sampan.
End the trip in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh.
Visit the Golden Temple for the nightly religious ceremony.
Experience the Closing the Border ceremony between India and Pakistan.
Visit the Dalai Lama's residence.
Ride on the 'Toy Train' to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shimla.
Get a taste of British Raj in Shimla.
Get to know Cuba’s vibrant and historic capital, Havana.
Visit the colonial city of Trinidad and its surrounding sugar cane plantations.
Go walking and explore caves in the valley of Viñales.
Relax on one of Cuba's beaches in the northern cayes.
Salt cathedral of Zipaquira.
Historical centre of Bogota.
Fortified city of Cartagena.
The lush countryside in the coffee region.
Explore the canal networks of Tortuguero National Park.
Zip line through the cloudforest and relax in a natural hot spring.
See a huge array of wildlife from tiny frogs to sloths and tropical birds.
Trek in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano.
Relax on the beach, or take a surf lesson instead.
Comprehensive tours of Uxmal and Kabah Mayan ruins.
Staying in the heart of the beautiful colonial city of Merida.
Staying a night near Chichen Itza - the most famous of Mexico's Mayan ruins.
Mayan Riviera - long stretches of soft sandy beach.
Enjoy the vibrancy and buzz of Rio de Janeiro.
Step back in time amongst the whitewashed buildings and coloured shutters of colonial Paraty.
Enjoy relaxing days on Ilha Grande's many beaches.
Explore the monasteries around Leh, and admire their stunning locations.
Drive to the top of Khardung La, one of the world's highest driveable passes.
Ride a camel through the high altitude dunes of the Nubra Valley.
See the life of the monks who live at 4,000m.
Enjoy a ride on a 'Toy Train' to the colonial hill station of Shimla.
Visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Enjoy the spectacular 'Closing the Border Ceremony' at Waga border.
Explore Tibetan culture at Dharamsala.
Witness an evening aarti ceremony in Rishikesh.
Four full days to explore the iconic temples of Angkor and some time to enjoy the town of Siem Reap.
Head out to the Tonle Sap lake and explore the floating village of Kompong Khleang.
Explore Cambodia's turbulent history and haggle at the Russian market in Phnom Penh.
Take a boat trip from Kep to the idyllic Rabbit Island where you can relax on the beautiful beach.