Got some time off work this month and can’t think where to go? Well, take a look at our guide to EMFURN’s three top destinations for December! From warm climes packed with cultural gems to a trip to the great outdoors, our destinations are sure to appeal.
If you’ve seen the romantic comedy, The Proposal, starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, you’ll have heard of the idyllic Alaskan town, Sitka. This place oozes stunning scenery, and we can’t think of a more perfect place to spend time during the festive period. Whether you are looking for a place to take a romantic break, or want to see some beautiful winter wildlife, Sitka offers both!
So what can you do during your stay? A seaplane tour taking you over the gaping crater of a dormant volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe is a definite must. Followed by a wildlife boat cruise through the sensational Sitka Sound. Keep a lookout, as there’s a good chance that you’ll be riding alongside whales, eagles, and sea otters.
After a busy day hiking, and checking out the traditional totem poles that pop up in many trails around Sitka, you’ll need somewhere to rest. When it comes to Sitka there are very few hotels and motels to stay at. In this small town, you’ll need to seek out a B & B, like Hannah’s where you’ll find quaint Alaskan rooms and a wonderful homely feel. Alternatively, head slightly further out of town. We love the look of Dove Island Lodge. Situated on a private island of the same name, this lodge is luxurious yet rustic and surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Looking for a festive European break? Then why not choose Helsinki, Finland’s fabulous capital city. Truly beautiful, especially during winter, Helsinki hosts the St. Thomas Christmas Market in its central square. Two of Finland’s most recognizable buildings act as the backdrop to this special market – Helsinki Cathedral and the government palace. We can just imagine how beautiful it would be to wrap up warm, head to the center, and sip mulled wine in this stunning square!
When you’ve finished in the square, head over to Sibelius Park, where you’ll find a monument dedicated to Finland’s most famous composer. Unveiled in 1967 the Sibelius Monument features over 600 pipes, is 8.5 meters high, 10.5 meters wide, and 6.5 meters deep!
Another incredible sight to see during your visit to Helsinki is the Temppeliaukio Church. Completed in 1969, this distinctively designed church is covered with a huge dome lined with copper. The dome is then connected to rock and rubble interior walls by impressive concrete beams. Maybe it shouldn’t work aesthetically but we think that it is magnificent!
Need a place to rest your head? We would choose the stylish Glo Hotel Art. Located in the heart of the Helsinki Design District we’ve fallen head over heels for the fully renovated Art Noveau Chateau. Original features mix perfectly with cool designer furniture, such as colorful and mid-century accent chairs like Grande Papilio chairs by Naoto Fukasawa in the hotel lobby.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Last, but definitely not least, on our list of top destinations for December is Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. If you want to avoid the winter chill, then it’s an ideal place to visit to soak up the culture, sample the cuisine, and take a trip on some fascinating excursions. Despite being a Communist country, a relaxation of economic regulations has led to far more development within the city. Although it has experienced a lot of transformation recently, there is still evidence of past heritage. So hop on a scooter – the typical Vietnamese mode of transport – and get ready to explore!
If you find yourself tired of dodging the endless scooters as you take your chances crossing the road, then leave the city and head out on an excursion. The Cu Chi Tunnels aren’t too far from Ho Chi Minh City and served as a vital arena during the Vietnam War. This network of tunnels served as the Viet Cong base during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Rigged with booby traps they were vital to the Vietnamese to avoid losing ground to the US soldiers. Now a tourist attraction, some of the tunnels have been expanded slightly to fit western tourists, so even though you can get an idea of what it was like to be down there, you have to remember that they were once even smaller!
Don’t miss out on taking a day trip to the Mekong Delta. This stunning place is ideal for taking a boat trip and watching market vendors and rice workers carrying out their daily tasks. Providing more than a third of Vietnam’s annual food crop, the Delta is vast, so if you don’t have a lot of time we’d suggest you start at My Tho just 70km away from the city.
So where should you stay? If you are looking for a little bit of luxury, then we would say that the InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel, is a great choice. With incredible service, stylish furniture, and a central location, this is a lovely place to spend a few nights. Plus, if you are lucky enough to get a Deluxe Room, you’ll be able to enjoy the comfort of the Charles Eames White Classic Lounge Chair. The problem is, you may get so comfortable that you won’t want to leave the room!
So if you’ve got holiday time to take this December, why not choose one of these three lovely locations?