When we plan a trip, we should keep in mind what is the best time to visit the place in order to gain a holistic experience and enjoy it at the most. As we run January, the month opens with a bang for much of the world and the excitement of New Year helps soften the fact that much of the nothern hemisphere is shrouded in cold, damp cloud. New Year’s resolutions can be started by ski trips to Europe or North America. While southern’s Europe temperate climate is also ideal for tennis or a few rounds of golf. The natural world is also sensitive to the seasons, whether cold as in the forests of Poland or warm as in the waters around Indonesia. Below you will find the best destinations during the month of January for inspiration: FOR FESTIVALS AND CULTURE: 1. LALIBELA, ETHIOPIA, AFRICA: Highlights: Amazing churches hewn directly into solid rock. See the wonders of the man-made castles of Gondar, the natural beauty of the Simien Mts, and the spiritual faith that build the rock-cut churches. 2. BANGKOK, THAILAND, ASIA: Highlights: Busy city dotted with beautiful temples. Marvel at the huge, golden buddhas, bustling colorful floating market, and the splendid Grand Palace-Wat Phra Keow. 3. ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, EUROPE: Highlights: Imperial city of the Tsars filled with great art and architecture. The city is set on a network of pretty canals and it is one of the world’s most cultured cities. It is also home to the peerless Hermitage Museum. 4. SHETLAND ISLES, SCOTLAND, EUROPE. Highlights: Up Helly Aa is a fiery and spectacular extravaganza. Midwinter at Lerwick sees torch-lit processions and a Viking ship being burned in this lively festival in the usually peaceful Scottish isles. 5. MONTE CARLO, MONACO, EUROPE. Highlights: See the famous car rally or try your luck at the casino. Elegant Riviera destination with a year -round mild climate. If you are not a petrolhead, enjoy the opera, ballet, or simply go to the roulette. FOR UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEYS: 1. PATAGONIAN CRUISE, ARGENTINA, SOUTH AMERICA: Highlights: Take a voyage of discovery “at the end of the world”. Follow legendary seafarers through the Magellan Strait and Beagle Channel to see whales, elephant seals, icebergs and mighty glaciers. 2. AVIEMORE, SCOTLAND, EUROPE. Highlights: Not quite the Iditarod, but it is the place to dogsled in the UK. The UK dog-sled rally lasts a week and you can intersperse the dog fun with some wild trekking highland dancing for Burn’s night. 3. SIWA OASIS, EGYPT, AFRICA. Highlights: Camels, dates and mirages on a tour of western oases. Take the historical journey through he heart of tHe north African desert, amid sand dunes and plateaus, hoe to Bedouin tribes. 4. THE GHAN RAILWAY, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALASIA. Highlights: From the top of the country to the bottom by rail. Crossing the continent as large as Australia is not to be taken lightly. The Ghan I the ultimate railway journey from Darwin to Adeilaide. NATURAL WONDERS: COSTA RICA, CENTRAL AMERICA: Highlights: An exquisite pocketof natural beauty and coastal rainforest. Manuel Antonio National Park combines palm- fringed beaches with mangrove swamps and a forest ecosystem full of wildlife. LUXURY AND ROMANCE: 1. MALDIVES, INDIAN OCEAN: Highlights: Over a thousand sunny islands lapped by turquoise waters. Cruise the quiet atolls in a luxury sailboat, snorkel through crystal waters over sparkling coral reefs and wind down at a relaxing spa. 2. JAMAICA, CARIBBEAN: Highlights: Thre is more than just parties! Try snorkeling, or hiking in the Blue Mountains before soaking up the sun in a fabulous beach.