The team from Jacada Travel presents an A-list of destinations for maximising the Chinese New Year holiday and starting the Year of the Dog in style. Here are 10 great Chinese New Year getaways for you and the family to consider.
#1. South Africa & Zimbabwe
South Africa’s oldest city Cape Town is surrounded by lush mountains that give it a calming effect. Highlights include recently opened Zeitz MOCAA, Africa’s biggest contemporary art museum, and – a Jacada exclusive – a Harley Davidson ride to enjoy fine wine and cuisine in the Winelands. Then, tick off your bucket list by spotting the “Big Five” at Kruger, and visiting Zimbabwe’s mighty Victoria Falls. In February, the falls are at their fullest, and you can soar above the spray in a helicopter or micro-light.
Sample itinerary: Safari, Wine & Waterfalls (10 days)
Among the best places to see the Northern Lights is Norway, especially in winter’s clear, dark skies. Jacada’s eight-day Norway tour takes in wild Lofoten and Svalbard Islands, and a stay in the “Arctic Capital”, Tromso. Enjoy husky sledding, a polar bear snowmobiling expedition, and witnessing astonishing wildlife. Whether exploring by foot, snowmobile, husky or ship, it’s a brilliant destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Sample itinerary: Luxury Adventure to a Winter Wonderland: Norway’s Arctic Islands (8 days)
#3. French Polynesia
Perfect for couples and newly-weds, French Polynesia in the middle of the South Pacific consists of 118 islands, with deep turquoise lagoons, stunning beaches and dramatic green volcanoes – everything desired from a far-flung tropical destination. There’s a rich cultural wealth here too, with everything from dancing and cooking to ancestral arts and rites on display. Make it an extra-romantic Valentine’s Day with a sunset cruise in Bora Bora or Tahiti.
Sample itinerary: Ultimate Luxury in French Polynesia (10 days)
Vast Australia boasts a huge array of landscapes, from coastal waters to fertile valleys and endless deserts. In particular, don’t miss the Field of Light exhibition at Uluru, where more than 50,000 frosted-glass flowers bloom each night as darkness falls over the giant rock and Australia’s spiritual heartland. Tip: Chinese New Year is one of the last opportunities to experience this amazing sight (ending March), and spaces are limited, so get in early with a reservation with Jacada.
Sample itinerary: Sydney, Uluru & The Great Barrier Reef
A classic 10-day Myanmar itinerary takes in the archaeological treasures of Bagan, untouched beauty at Ngapali Beach, tranquil Inle Lake, spiritual Mandalay and more. For something different, Jacada recommends a morning food tour in Yangon, for noodles, sticky rice with beans, fried donuts and samosas. Quench your thirst with a cup of sweet Burmese tea at Maung Aye Tea Shop, and sample an array of local curries. It’s the ideal mix of culture and cuisine.
Sample itinerary: Classic Myanmar Explorer (10 days)
Traditional Buddhist culture thrives in this serene country. Yet, while it visibly protects its religious traditions, Bhutan is no museum; the Bhutanese are fun-loving and well-informed about the world. A privately guided Jacada tour starts in the capital Thimphu, and takes in visits to ancient dzongs (temple forts) and local village festivals. Then it’s off to Punakha and the Paro Valley to find hidden farmhouses and stunning temples, before ending with a hike to the spectacular Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Consider for Chinese New Year getaways with a difference.
Sample itinerary: Cultural Bhutan: Hidden Festivals & Local Life (9 days)
#7. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has much to offer travellers, from the tranquil rolling hills of the tea country, to the abundant wildlife (including the highest density of leopards in the world), seafood cuisine heaven in Colombo and Galle, and adventures galore in the Cultural Triangle. You can relax on the unspoiled pristine beaches along the south coast; throw in a hot-air balloon ride over remarkable scenery and Sri Lanka has everything you need for the perfect vacation.
Sample itinerary: A Family Wildlife Adventure to Sri Lanka (13 days)
You’re in safe hands on Jacada’s classic 10-day India itinerary, which is perfect for families. Among the highlights are the bustling cities of Delhi and Jaipur with fun block-printing workshops for creating your own colourful textiles, seeing the incomparable Tai Mahal in Agra and going on a wonderful tiger safari and elephant camp. For something truly unforgettable, a luxury private dinner at Jaipur’s city palace is a must.
Sample itinerary: A Family Adventure in India (10 days)
For CNY travellers, the Rio Carnival is perfectly timed for Chinese New Year getaways, with the city coming alive from 9 to 14 February and two million revellers filling the streets to dance and party. Jacada has an office in Latin America and first-hand knowledge of Rio’s best beaches and beyond. There’s the Amazon, of course, and the Iguazu Falls is another must, as you jump on board a high-powered Zodiac boat and come into direct contact with the magnificent falls. Tip: Hotels are filling up already for Carnival, so book soon!
Sample itinerary: Beaches & Waterfalls (13 days)
#10. Costa Rica
Jacada’s range of tours in Costa Rica include visits to the magnificent Arenal volcano, with its sky trams and canopy walkways, the coffee plantations and cloud forests of the Central Highlands, and the unspoiled beaches of Puerto Viejo. Take a private transfer to Tortuguero and its nature reserve, with excellent guides and exclusive tours of the parkland and waterways. Specially catered family trips for all ages are available, making it perfect for Chinese New Year getaways.
Sample itinerary: Hidden Costa Rica (13 days)
For more information on these itineraries, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacada trips are 100 percent carbon offset. jacadatravel.com
This article first appeared in the December/January 2017 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.