2014 is already history and 2015 is our fresh new beginning. For a start of the year, many people might ask you, what’s your travel plan for this year? If you are seriously unsure about where to go, this article might just be right for you.
Based on the 57 countries I have visited before, I will recommend some cool places to visit in 2015, according to months. In fact, if there is an option for me, I will recommend all 57! haha But let’s not be too ambitious about it. Let’s see where are my personal recommendations for you in 2015 Travel Destinations:
#1 January: Myanmar
January is a great month to travel because many people are going back to work or school after festive December. Generally, prices will begin to dip as there will be lesser tourist in all parts of the world. For Americans, Europeans, or East Asians who wish to escape the harsh winter, Myanmar could be a place to go. During January it rains the least and it is not so hot and humid than the rest of the year. March to May usually will bring intense heat and is not so comfortable for visitors.
Till now, Myanmar remained a MacDonald or Starbucks free nation. As the country is making small progressive steps towards democracy, sanctions were dropped and the rest of the curious world is rushing to do business in Myanmar. In recent years convenient services such as mobile phone coverage, internet and ATMs have all improved or made their entries into the country. Relaxing of censorship has led to an evolution in new media and an openness in public discussions of once-taboo topics, including politics are now more relax. Swathes of the county, off-limits for years, can now be freely visited by many nationalities. Thankfully, the pace of change is not overwhelming at the moment, leaving the simple pleasures of travel in Myanmar intact. So, if you wish to see the real Myanmar, you gotta be really fast.
I always tell people, you need to visit Myanmar if you wish to know how our (Singapore) forefathers led their lives in the past – 1940s. They basically “preserved” the living standard or some say they remain stagnant since 1940s. In my opinion, that’s the true beauty of Myanmar. The human nature and cultures are also well-preserved, people are warm, genuine, helpful, gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate, inquisitive and passionate. The best place where you can make that level of genuine human connection with people. You can’t find scam, jacked up prices or petty crime in this considerably a poor nation in the South East Asia. Isn’t these beautiful enough for a visit?
You can still sail across the Irrawaddy River in an old river steamer, or enjoy the beach on the beautiful Bay of Bengal, or perhaps trek through the pine forests to minority villages scattered across the Shan region without jostling with scores of fellow travellers.
#2 February: Siem Reap, Cambodia
February is a great month for searching or chasing after the sun which is starting to be missed by those in the far northern countries. Perhaps a good idea for sun seeker travellers in February to visit Cambodia, also to avoid the ski resorts which are often crowded with many people during this time.
The best months to visit Siem Reap or in general all South East Asia countries are November till February, so this is your last chance until late in the year to visit Cambodia. Do visit the Angkor Wat temples just north of Siem Reap itself, and February is still very dry and not yet insanely hot to melt you , so a long day outdoors can still be pleasant than draining or melting.
Even though is part of high season it’s the later part so you can find good deals. There are plenty of cheap guesthouses for the backpacker crowd, even if you arrive without a reservation, but all the best places are booked well in advance this time of year. Food and drinks are very cheap here all times of year. Isn’t it awesome? haha
Read more at the article of Tonle Sap Floating Village, Cambodia
*Note: Avoid China if you do not want a “squeezy” holiday. depending on the lunar calendar, the Lunar New Year mostly fall in February every year and millions of Chinese population commute across the country to return home for one of their biggest festive event in the year – Family Reunion Dinner. Hence, transportation is a major problem plus many shops will shut for at least 15 days. Not a very good idea for travellers. 🙂
#3 March: Cape Town, South Africa
March is a dry month in Cape Town, and temperatures tend to be pretty much perfect all day and all night as well, even for the beach. The high season hotel prices have dip a bit so this is a perfect time to enjoy the best possible weather without having to pay the highest prices for it.
Cape Town is relatively cheap, so the main problem for many people is that it’s quite expensive to fly into Cape Town, most of the time you will need to transit via Johannesburg. Since many people are coming from further distance, hence travellers tend to combine Cape Town with a safari or other activities, so the airfare can still be worthwhile for a longer visit. It can be a little too expensive to just pop by for just a few days. Ultimately, it’s about variable and fixed cost. When your fixed cost is high (air tickets), you need to fill it with more activities (variable cost) to make your overall spending worthwhile. 🙂
#4 April: Bali, Indonesia
April is the first dry month of the year in Bali, in any way, Bali is near to the equator so if any storms should strike, it will come and go quickly, even when they hit it’s not going to be a major problem or destruction. This is also the time of year between the dual high seasons, so hotel prices are at or near their all year low.
The hotels, resorts or villas at the famous Kuta area in Bali are the most expensive and crowded area in Bali. Fortunately, almost the entire island is cheap in price (base on the exchange rate of a strong Singapore dollar), except for the purposely-built resort area of Nusa Dua. My personal recommendation is to rent a car (or with a driver), and stay elsewhere on the island. It’s a good idea to stay in several different parts of Bali on the same trip if you can.
#5 May: Iceland
May is springtime in Iceland while June is considered a summer month, both are fairly dry but weather can never really be predicted in Iceland. When I visited Iceland last year in 2014, the locals educated me about their 10 minutes weather. Snow –> Sleek –> Storm –> Sunshine –> Snow on and on. Refer to Iceland Article.
Some of the highland tracks open during June or July but all roads are open by May. Attractions (if by that you mean glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, and hot springs) never close.
Even though you missed the winter’s Northern Aurora Borealis, but what you can get in return is a milder weather, thanks to the warm current from Mexico, and the amazing unique landscape where you can’t find in anywhere else in the world! That’s how amazing Iceland is! 🙂
Read more at my articles from Iceland
#6 June: Greece
The end June can begin to get sweltering, and you probably don’t even want to think about visiting during later in July or August. Visiting Greece, the romantic Agean Sea especially as a 3-day stop on the way to a Greek Island for the balance of a trip is a good idea in June. This isn’t exactly a cheap country (well, maybe cheaper than other major European countries), but it’s very much worth seeing at least once in the lifetime, with some of the world’s finest sights. Warning: It’s extremely romantic in my opinion, so choose your travel partner wisely! haha
For history lovers, you may be drawn into the Greek history. The land that has given us the Acropolis, Delphi and Olympia which brought us back to 200 years ago to the time of Lord Elgin.
Alternatively, you can cool yourself in the chillax Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Paros, Naxos and Rhodes with their beautiful beaches, restaurants, nightlife and archaeological sites have been popular for decades. Maybe it is the allure of the Peloponessos with its high mountains and beautiful coast, its rich history and the seaports of Gythion and Napflion which have seen sailors from all over the world for centuries. In all, these are fascinating islands that will lure your heart away in Greece! 🙂
Greece will not fail to give you a trip of a lifetime! 🙂
Check out article on Santorini.
#7 July: Grand Canyon, USA
Summer is peak season in Grand Canyon, and it’s understandably why. From mid-May to mid-September, the park enjoys long, sunny days with temperature hovering between 11 to 29 degree celsius. Just be aware, the breeze at the canyon can sort of distract you from knowing that you are suffering a sunburn from the sun. Make sure you wear a hat and have plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn.
Temperatures can also vary throughout the park. Heavy rainstorms are common throughout July, but they never last long. This is also the time when both park’s facilities on both South and North Rim are open for business. If you plan on staying in the park, book in advance since rooms and campgrounds tend to fill up very quickly.
As one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon certainly can inspire you to visit. 🙂
Read more at Grand Canyon article!
#8 August: Singapore (My Home Country)
Singapore has a good reason to party hard in 2015, it’s our Golden Jubilee year, celebrating our 50th birthday! Yay! 🙂 Since our independence in 1965, Singapore’s heritage buildings, the luring gourmet hawker centres, and fascinating theme shopping malls have lured many travellers around the world, but now, the new developments have elevated the whole new experience. The brand new Singapore introduced the beautified Marina Bay area, a new entertainment precinct, then the new batch of swanky hotels i.e. the Infinity Pool from Marina Bay Sands, new attractions i.e. Sentosa Island, Universal Studio, South East Asia Sea Aquarium, Adventure Cove, Night Safari, World Renowned Singapore Zoological Gardens, River Safari, the National Art Gallery, Singapore Flyer, Gardens By The Bay, and the Singapore Sports Hub etc… with the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) train extensions to enhance and beef up the already effective transport network. It’s definitely worth more than a short stopover. 🙂
Some people ask “Why why why? Why did Lonely Planet ranked Singapore as top number 1 destination to visit in 2015?” Being a Singaporean, I definitely know where Lonely Planet is coming from, however, you may not understand why. Hopefully I am able to explain and convince you that 2015, is indeed our year! 🙂
We Singaporeans can look forward to an exciting year in 2015 to celebrate our nation’s 50th year of independence. Throughout the year in 2015, there will be many programme line up under the Singapore50 (SG50) tag. Not only Singaporeans can enjoy these celebrations, promotions and events, but visitors can also benefit as well. Basically, it’s a whole year of celebration for our 50th birthday! A 365 days of hype up celebration, parties and events. Bound to be many promotions, sales, and interesting giveaways. Doesn’t it sound great already? 🙂
So, come visit Singapore this year, our SG50. Well, it represents the little red dot that we’ve come so far from a small fishing village to an economic powerhouse in South East Asia. A good mix and bridge between the East and West, be it culturally or language wise. It celebrates the Singaporean spirit, signifying our dreams which are not limited by the physical size of our island nation. Yes we are a small nation, but we’ve work hard to achieve happiness, prosperity, harmony and peace across all religious and races. These are what every Singaporeans are proud of. These values have passed down from generation to generations, from our pioneer and to our future.
What’s more, the 9th of August is our national day (independence day), there will bound to be a massive celebration in the country. Long endless fireworks and many more fascinating events definitely a BIG WOW of the year! Do not miss it and do visit Singapore in August if you are in Asia! 🙂 It’s always very easy to fly here. Furthermore, there will be many exciting events i.e Hosting of South East Asia games and Formula One etc… It’s gonna be an exciting year for everyone in Singapore. 🙂
#9 September: Masai Mara, Kenya or Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The main reason you visit East Africa is not because of anything but the amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery in the wild of Kenya and Tanzania. If you are on a safari you can usually see more animals during the dry season as they congregate around the waterholes. If you wish to plan your trip around the annual migration of the wildebeest you should go between the end of July – September. That’s when 1.4 millions of wildebeest migrates from Tanzania to Kenya.
Visiting the safari in Masai Mara, Kenya or Ngorongoro, Tanzania makes spotting for wildlife easier because the bush is less dense and animals gather around waterholes and rivers. Because it’s unlikely to rain, the days are sunny with clear skies and there are less mosquitoes. Perfect time to visit especially you are living in the wild most of the time and camping at night. Good photographs and good sight of animals with lesser mosquitoes. It’s definitely the best time indeed.
July to October are the best months to see the wildebeest migration between the river border of Kenya and Tanzania. It’s truly an amazing natural phenomenal to see the migration taking place right in front of you. Imagine you are navigating through 1.4 millions of wildebeest, across one of the most amazing Savannah terrain and spot plentiful amazing wildlife animals that most people could only see on television. I think, just the thought of it can instigate you to immediate book a trip to Africa now! haha 🙂
Read more at article category for Kenya!
#10 October: Oman
October is a nice time for weather in most of the Middle East. Some areas do get an early winter starting in November, so this is really ideal for Oman! 🙂
October is definitely one of the best few months for a visit Oman in general. Daytime temperatures are guaranteed to be reasonably dry and not so hot as compared to “summer months”, while nights are still warm enough to really enjoy yourself. There’s pretty much zero chance of any rain this month, so it’s an ideal balance before the slightly chilly months in winter and extreme hot and brain burning weather in summer. Good in between season to visit and swim with the Dolphins. 🙂
Read more at swimming with the dolphins at Khasab, Oman!
#11 November: Brazil
The truth is, Rio de Janeiro’s weather is pretty good all year round and the prices are still reasonably cheap as compare to other continents Europe, North America or developed Asia. November is still in the sweet spot, as the high season for hotels doesn’t begin only until December. This means good bargains are often available from hotel stay which will keep your traveling budget down. 🙂
The Brazilian currency is coming down a bit recently, and if this continues, visiting Rio de Janeiro will be a great budget deal. You need to be a little more cautious especially when you are traveling alone in Brazil. The amazing beaches and scenery it’s easily worth it as long as you plan well and stay safe.
Read more at the article 3 beaches of Ceara, Brazil
#12 December: Tropical Beaches (Philippines or Thailand)
December has excellent weather and is incredibly popular in Phuket & Boracay for Europeans in particular. The weather for South East Asia’s beaches in December is perhaps the best of the whole year, as the evenings are reasonably cool and it’s less humid that other times. Thailand and Philippines are also the emerging party countries, so it attract many levels of budget tourist or backpacker for daytime island hopping and party crazy after nightfall.
Thailand and Philippines in general are inexpensive. You can enjoy good quality resort/hotels at fairly reasonable prices and food and drinks are the least to worry about. This applies across South East Asia, except Singapore.
December is also a very good month to visit both Thailand and Philippines especially for party or festival goers, as both countries pride themselves for hosting mega party scenes in Asia! I’m sure many people do heard of the Full Moon Party is an all night long beach party that originated in Haad Rin on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand on the night or sometimes before or after every full moon. It is very popular among local Thais and foreigners. On the other side, Christmas in the Philippines, one of the predominantly Christian countries in Asia, celebrates one of the biggest holidays in the archipelago. The country is renowned of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season up to 3 months long of celebrations. Christmas decorations in the public and individual homes would have been set up and Christmas jingles could be heard as early as September to December. I personally felt the Christmas mood way before 25th December when I was in Boracay and El Nido on two separate occasions. So, remember to book early for the best prices since they usually keep rising as the dates approach. 🙂
Think about this, when everyone is hiding at home avoiding the harsh weather in the Northern Countries, you are enjoying a nice delightful drinks in a beautiful tropical beach, looking cool, fit, tanned, happy and most importantly, staying WARM! Don’t you think you have an edge over your friends on your Facebook, tweeters or Instagram posts? LOL
Read more at the article of my recent trip to El Nido, Palawan, Philippines!
So, I have provided some heads up for those who are actively looking for a place to visit in 2015. There are truly a LOT of countries I didn’t manage to state all of them here under 2015 recommendations. I only have 12 months and I can only randomly pick these! haha Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination, that really matters! Hope everyone travel well and safe in 2015! 🙂
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” – Anita Desai