It’s that time of year when we make a few predictions about places we think could go off in the new year. Here’s a few places to consider during your travels in 2011. All are VIP destinations so that means you’ll have a fine choice of accommodation and tour/packages when you get there. Enjoy!
These summaries have been lifted from our current newsletter:
1. Alice Springs, Australia
Thanks to Oprah Winfrey’s visit late in 2010, we think outback Australia is going to take off this year. The US talk show host didn’t get to Alice, but she did get to Uluru and Alice is your stepping stone to the rock. So get to Alice and learn all about desert environments, Aboriginal people, colonial history in the region and then head out into the wilderness around – there are plenty of canyons, chasms, gorges and odd formations before you even get to Uluru. A fun itinerary would be heading through the West MacDonnell ranges, down past Kings Canyon and onto Uluru and back to Alice. Click here for VIP Hostels.
2. Beijing, China
What better place to celebrate Chinese New Year then in the Chinese capital itself? On February 3 the excitement will take place here in this grandest of Chinese cities. Otherwise the perennial tourist favourites, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City won’t disappoint at all other times. Beijing is big and busy, but people are very friendly, there’s wonderful Peking duck to try and other local specialities, the shopping is fun and there are plenty of green spaces and parks to make up for the concrete jungle.
Or if you go a little earlier you could also include the annual ice festival in Harbin on your itinerary, an event that starts on January 5 and lasts for about a month. Click here for VIP Hostels.
3. Dunedin, New Zealand
Little known Dunedin is possibly one of Kiwiland’s best located cities. Although you could probably hardly call it a city with just 124,000 people. Still its geography sets the scene for some pretty amazing things to see and do – the urban area surrounds the amazing Otago Harbour which itelf is part of an extinct volcano. The beautiful shores of the Otago Harbour and Pacific Ocean play host to albatross, penguins, seals and all manor of fish and birds. The city itself is packed with young people thanks to the Univeristy of Otago, meaning there’s plenty of nightlife, live music, theatre and dance to enjoy.
If you’re in country from September 9 – October 23, New Zealand will host the 2011 Rugby World Cup and matches will be played in Dunedin. Click here for VIP Hostels.
4. Melbourne, Australia
Australia’s garden city, festival city and food city, Melbourne is always hugely popular and it’s time you found out why. There’s always an event or three going on in Melbourne be it sporting of the Australian Open Tennis type or theatrical such as the International Comedy Festival. The city brims with shopping, art and eating opportunities – go to eclectic St Kilda, hang out in Federation Square or eat on Lygon Street. And there are plenty of wonderful regions to see nearby such as the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, the Dandenongs or Hanging Rock. Click here for VIP Hostels.
5. Madrid, Spain
The focus will turn to Spain’s capital next August for World Youth Day. This will be one of the major events of 2011 and well worth getting to – be you neither Catholic or young, all are welcome. It will be held from August 15–21. Madrid should need little introduction – it’s actually been voted as the 10th most livable city in the world thanks to Monocole magazine. Why is that? Well it has a lot of historic neighbourhoods with landmarks such as Royal Palace, historic theatres, amazing art museums where you can get to know Picasso and Dali, an incredible array of churches and some pretty happening nightlife. There are plenty of local festivals, both popular and classical music scenes, bullfighting and all that colourful Spanish spirit you’d love to see – come over and say ‘ole to Madrid. Click here for VIP Hostels.
6. Koh Samui, Thailand
We’re doing our bit to help Thailand recover from the tourism whitewash of last year after the violence in Bangkok. Not that Koh Samui needs much help, but still a lot of people didn’t go to the island even though it is a long, long way from Bangkok. And if you are still concerned, do note that it’s almost as far south as you can get in Thailand. Koh Samui is one of those places tourists dream about getting to – fringed with beautiful beaches, a colourful fishing culture, pleasant Buddhist locals, lots of coconuts, great forests and some fun local events – try to time your visit for the Buffalo Fighting Festival held at Songkran – Thailand’s traditional New Year’s Day from April 13-15. Click here for VIP Hostels.
7. Tallinn, Estonia
Hardly a secret anymore, this north European Baltic state is renowned for its lovely seaside towns, quaint countryside, beautiful forests, castles, islands and cosmopolitan towns. Estonia will adopt the euro in January and your visit could be timely for the country as they seek to recover from the GFC – they were one of the worst hit in Europe. There are just 1.34 million people in Estonia and they are closely related to the Finns. The capital is Tallinn and a good place to start your sojourn with 14th century houses, excellent nightlife and plenty of good food. Click here for VIP Hostels.
8. Kandy, Sri Lanka
The cricket world cup (Feb-April) was supposed to be co-hosted with Pakistan this year, but due to violence there it will now be hosted between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Kandy will be one of the venues in sri Lanka, the others being the capital Colombo and Hambantota. Located in hill country and tropical plantations where tea plantations dot the area, Kandy is also the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka and very beautiful. Noted for its Temple of the Tooth Relic (where a tooth of the Buddha is said to lie), it has a high Buddhist community, a number of colonial buildings and the old Royal Palace, a beautiful artificial lake, wonderful parks and an elephant orphanage nearby. The perfect place to catch a bit of sporting action, relax and soak in the local culture. Click here for VIP Hostels.
The Hindu festival of Holi is celebrated on March 20 around Sri Lanka.
9. Montreal, Canada
For our VIP Backpackers in Northern America, your dollar just ain’t getting any stronger so why not stay close to home and a taste of European culture by simply heading to Montreal? And for those not from North America, well this city surely does rock anyway. You might want to brush up on your French of course, 56.9 percent of the population speak this compared to 12.8 percent who speak English.
Montreal has a number of strings to its bow – it’s been called Canada’s Cultural Capital (Monocle Magazine), has been rated as one of the world’s most livable cities, was named a UNESCO City of Design and is also Canada’s second biggest city. You could check out the architecture and cobbled streets of Old Montreal, the greenspaces of Mount Royal Park, the many recognized cultural, film and music festivals and the professional ice hockey league. Plus don’t forget to get your fill of baguettes and croissants. Click here for VIP Hostels.
10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere. And that could be you if you follow our top 10 list this year. You should know plenty about Rio before you even get here – the famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, the colourful carnival celebrations, the enormous Christ the Redeemer statue, Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains and the incredible football mad population who regularly head to Maracana stadium. In fact Rio will host the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup so why not come a few years early and see what the fuss will all be about? Click here for VIP Hostels.
Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at firstname.lastname@example.org