Best places to go over Christmas break

A couple of years ago I planned a month long trip in Jan/Feb. This led to my heading off to the Indian sub-continent for 30 days as after all was said and done it was exotic enough and so very cost effective that it made it kind of a no-brainer decision.

While India might have won the competition back then I am again faced with the same dilemma as I plan on taking a 3-week holiday over the Christmas beak.

The same candidates have come up minus one which I undertook last year; Dubai et al.

So at about 5 months out here are the contenders:
  • India – looks good again as there are many parts of the country still to see
  • Brazil – Rio is a “bucket list” destination for me but is 3 weeks seems too long
  • Thailand – Bangkok, beaches and nearby Angkor Wat
  • Australia – so much to see and do but far away and expensive
  • Ethiopia – exotic but I’m not quite ready yet

All 5 destinations have a lot going for them but I have to make a choice fairly soon so I can make an itinerary, travel preparations, get visas etc.

First things first: Cost. 

I need to know the cost and time of flights from around Dec 23, 2017 to Jan 14, 2018

As of July 31, 2017 utilizing flighthub.com costs are as follows:

  • Rio $1592 Flights 1 stop each 17hrs, 14hrs Dec 24 – Jan 14
  • Madras $1769 Flights 1 stop each 21hrs, 23hrs Dec 24 – Jan 14
  • Bangkok $1553 Flights 1 stop each 21hrs, 22hrs Dec 24 – Jan 14
  • Sydney $1316 Flights 1 stop each 22hrs, 26hrs Dec 25 – Jan 15
  • Melbourne $1296 Flights 2 stop each 26hrs, 31hrs Dec 25 – Jan 15
  • Brisbane $1303 Flights 1 stop each 26hrs, 32hrs Dec 25 – Jan 15
  • Addis Abbaba $1553 Flights 1 stop each 24hrs, 18hrs Dec 24 – Jan 14

On cheapflights.ca I found some cheaper flights:

  • Madras $1664 Flights 1 stop each 21hrs, 23hrs Dec 24 – Jan 14
  • Sydney $1282 Flights 1 stop each 22hrs, 26hrs Dec 25 – Jan 15
  • Melbourne $1268 Flights 2 stop each 25hrs, 25hrs Dec 25 – Jan 15
  • Brisbane $1278 Flights 1 stop each 26hrs, 24hrs Dec 25 – Jan 15

Hotels were: 

  • Super expensive in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro
  • Expensive: Brisbane and Melbourne
  • Cheap: India, Thailand and Ethiopia

I checked out what were the main attractions in each destination and narrowed it down to a choice between Thailand and Australia.

While Australia is a “bucket list” destination for me at this time of year it is the worst time to visit the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru (Ayers Rock), two of its main attractions.

This meant that an Australian Xmas itinerary would most likely end up like this:

  • Fly into Sydney and spend only 2 or 3-days as the hotel prices for the New Years celebration are astronomical, even on AirBnb.
  • Fly to Hobart and do a 7 or 8-day tour of Tasmania
  • Fly to Melbourne and spend a week touring the city and the Great Ocean Road from the city towards Adelaide.
  • Fly back to Sydney spend the rest of my vacation before flying home.

Sounds good but very costly.

Looking into Thailand an itinerary over the holidays would in the early planning stages look like this.

  • Fly into Phuket spend a week exploring the various islands and beaches in the area
  • Fly into Bangkok spend 4-5 days exploring the city with a side trip to Ayutthaya
  • Head to Siem Riap the gateway Angkor Wat and spend 3 days in area
  • Travel to Phnom-Penh and spend a couple of days before flying home.

Blend of Beaches, history and culture and relatively inexpensive minus the initial high flight cost.

After browsing around for an hour or so I came across this combination:

  • Dec 25 Fly into Phuket 1 stop 23 hours
  • Jan 15 fly home to Toronto from Phnom Penh
  • $ 1360 1 stop 25 hours

Seems like the winner is Thailand. Hoping once all is said and done the total cost for 3 weeks will be around $7000. Once I have my final itinerary set, I’ll make a new post.

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