4 Long Haul Destinations to Beat the Winter Blues

4 Long Haul Destinations to Beat the Winter Blues

Beat the winter blues and head off for some sun or city sightseeing with one of these fabulous long-haul destinations direct from Birmingham Airport.

Phuket 

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, renowned for white sand beaches, mountainous landscapes and tropical rainforests.

Winter is the best time to visit with the weather still enjoying warm temperatures, low humidity and gentle breezes. The seas are particularly calmer at this time of year which is excellent for diving and snorkelling.

The beaches of Koh Samui and Bang Tao are popular for water activities such as water-skiing and windsurfing. For beach seclusion, relax on the golden sands at Mai Khao, also home to a turtle nesting reserve.

Take a boat trip to the idyllic Phang Nga Bay. Travel through caves and secret lagoons, where clusters of islands emerge from the jade sea. For lively bars and nightlife visit the nearby town of Patong, or attend the fun Patong Carnival in November.

Visit an animal sanctuary like the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, see tigers up close at the Phuket Tiger Kingdom or see wild macaques at Monkey Hill.

Marvel at the imposing marble landmark, The Phuket Big Buddha, which sits at the top of the mountain and overlooks the island below.

For breath-taking scenery, Karon View Point is a popular tourist spot for stunning views of the Andaman Sea.

Discover Phuket’s heritage at the 19th century Thai Hua Museum or see golden Buddha statues at the Chaithararam Temple. Be amazed at The Phuket Trickeye Museum, a fantastic exhibition of interactive 3D paintings that will certainly make you look twice.

Stop for lunch in the Old Town surrounded by ornate temples where Buddhists gather to perform ceremonies welcoming in the New Year.

Enjoy a traditional Thai massage at a spa before hitting the beach for celebrations and fireworks at a New Year’s Eve party.

You can fly direct to Phuket from Birmingham Airport with Thomson Airways. The airline will be operating fortnightly flights on Wednesdays from 8th November 2017 to 25th April 2018. Book via www.thomson.co.uk or via a Thomson travel agent.

Goa

Known for exquisite beaches and stunning coastline stretching along the Arabian Sea, Goa is a tropical paradise

Now that the monsoon season is over the climate is warm and dry, ideal for long days at the beach.

The Anjuna beach in the North is a popular spot for water activities like jet-skiing and scuba diving. Experience an exciting party at Baga beach famous for vibrant clubs and pumping nightlife. Beaches in the south like Agonda beach are quieter and less commercial with white sands surrounded by palm trees. The south is also a popular spot for dolphin watching.

Discover Goa’s history as a former Portuguese colony by taking a tour to see The Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site or the seventeenth-century lighthouse at Fort Aguada.

The Museum of Goa is a free cultural building exhibiting contemporary Indian art including paintings, sculptures and historic artefacts.

Awaken your senses at the Sahakari plantation, producing home grown natural spices, and then ride on an elephant at the nearby Sahakari elephant farm.

Climb the steps to the beautiful Dudhsagar waterfall, one of the highest waterfalls in India, with four cascading tiers and natural surroundings.

Explore more of Phuket with a spot of island hopping whilst passing local fishing villages or experience a sunset river cruise along the Mandovi River.

Christmas is widely celebrated in Goa due to its Christian heritage. Purchase traditional Portuguese Christmas cakes at a market store adorned with festive decorations. Attend a midnight Mass at the beautiful Se Cathedral or sing carols in the morning with the locals on the beach.

Don’t miss the spectacular Winter Carnival parade and the annual Sunburn Festival music festival held in December.

You can fly direct to Goa from Birmingham Airport with Thomson Airways. The airline operates fortnightly flights on Thursdays from 9th November 2017 to 12th April 2018.  Book via www.thomson.co.uk or via a Thomson travel agent.

 

AUSTRALIA

If you enjoyed this year’s summer so much, why not extend it into winter by taking a trip to one of four fabulous cities in Australia.

Perth is the perfect destination for those who love the outdoors. We recommend heading to the north during the dry season to make the most of what Perth has to offer. You’ll love the
laid back vibe mixed with the sophistication of this cosmopolitan city. Take a trip to Elizabeth Quay, a waterfront development, and enjoy a
pleasant stroll along the quayside, stopping off at bars and restaurants along the way.

Adelaide is the place to relax with its picturesque coastlines and an amazing dining offering. If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, Central Market is where you need to head – with over 200 food stalls, there is guaranteed to be something to tantalise your taste buds. If you’re into football, catch a game whilst you’re in the city at the Adelaide Oval. Recognised as one of the most attractive sports grounds in the world, if you’re not lucky enough to see a game, book a guided tour of the stadium on non-match days so not to miss out.

Melbourne is a lively city with bustling laneways housing beautiful boutiques, vibrant bars and quirky cafes and restaurants. Whilst you’re wandering, you’re sure to come across pieces of public art dotted around the streets. If you’re a music fan, the city is renowned for being home to some great live music venues, with a lively independent music scene.

Spend Christmas on the beach in Sydney – whether you’re a fan of hidden-away coves or dynamic surfing beaches, it’ll certainly be a Christmas you won’t forget in a hurry. When you’re not chilling on the beach, book in for a one-off experience and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or take a guided walking tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

You can fly to these four stunning Australian destinations with Qatar Airways, via Doha. The airline operates daily flights from Birmingham Airport with connections to onwards to over 150 destinations worldwide.

 

 

 

New York

Winter in New York is completely magical. Central Park becomes a wonderland with snow topped trees and fairy-tale horse drawn carriages. Practice your ice-skating at Wollman Rink or Lasker Rink or see the polar bears and penguins at Central Park Zoo.

Admire the gigantic twinkling Christmas tree below Rockefeller Center, then head to the Top of the Rock Observatory for the best panoramic views of the city’s landmarks including, the Empire State building.

Roam around The Metropolitan Museum of Art and discover an expansive collection of artwork spanning more than 5000 years from all over the world.

Dine at Kat’s Delicatessen for a traditional American hot dog or sample the best New York cheesecake at Eileen’s Special bake shop.

Hop on a ferry ride from Staten Island over to stylish Manhattan, with spectacular backdrop views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Nowhere does shopping quite like New York with famous department stores like Bloomingdales, brimming with designer brands and dazzling Christmas window displays.

Sip on a delicious Manhattan or Long Island cocktail at the amazing Ink 48 rooftop bar looking back at the city skyline.

Be dazzled by the bright lights of Broadway and watch a top live performance which will be a truly unforgettable experience for any theatregoer.

Start the New Year celebrations with a countdown at Times Square. Watch the ball drop and dance in confetti until the early hours.

You can fly to New York and Boston direct from Birmingham Airport with Primera Air operating year-round daily flights to New York and four weekly scheduled flights to Boston from May 2018. To book please visit www.primeraair.co.uk/.