1. Taipei, Taiwan
First up on our list of year-end holiday destinations – Taipei! During the year-end, the climate in Taipei is perfect: cold enough for you to feel like it’s winter, but not too cold that you can’t enjoy yourself. For the best panorama and photo op of the city, scale Taipei 101 and take in the views from the 6th tallest building in the world (tip: you can skip the queues by booking a priority pass online). Soak up some culture and history with a visit to the National Palace Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Warm yourself up from the winter chill with a dip in one of Beitou’s natural hot springs (approx. 30-minutes by MRT from Taipei). Whether you’re hungry for food, culture, nature, or a bargain, the variety of things to do makes Taipei one of the best winter destinations to spend the holiday season.
2. Seoul, South Korea
A winter wonderland in Asia! Jimjilbang, Korea’s traditional spa for soaking and grooming is a must-do activity in winter. Find the 24-hour ones and scrub the old year blues away. In October, you’ll experience autumn at full blast as the weather fights between warm to cold, and you’ll be able to see some fiery colours. From November, take in the vibrant Christmas trees, festive carolling and free concerts. The 20-metre Christmas tree at Seoul Plaza Hotel will give you serious Christmas feels too. No wonder so many people choose Seoul for their year-end holiday!
3. Hong Kong, China
The Pearl of the Orient calls out to those looking for a winter wonderland! During the year-end season, this bustling city of bright lights and warmth bursts into colour with Christmas decorations, laser light shows, and spectacular fireworks. Give the kids a treat this Christmas and head over to Disneyland to see the Magic Kingdom come alive with festive cheer. Countdown to the new year with fireworks on the water at Victoria Harbour, or get in the middle of the action on a harbour countdown cruise. For the shopaholics out there, you can snag some great bargains at the shopping malls’ year-end sales. Between shopping till you drop, filling up on delicious dim sum, visiting Christmas markets, and taking in the sights, a year-end holiday in Hong Kong will certainly be a memorable one.
4. Bali, Indonesia
If city life is getting you down, head to the placid island of Bali for some decompression during the holiday season. Perhaps you’d like to detox before ushering in the New Year. You can have a relaxing spa weekend or a spiritually-cleansing yoga retreat as well. Bali has beautiful beaches and quiet mountainside retreats, basically anything and everything you could possibly want from a holiday getaway. If you haven’t travelled to Bali before, come find out for yourself what others so often rave about: Bali truly has it all!
This exciting Asian capital is an up-and-coming destination for people looking for cosmopolitan thrills and chills at a very reasonable price. If you’re looking to spend your Christmas getting a tan, Manila is also the gateway to some of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. English is the medium of exchange, so communication will not be a problem. If you’re more in the mood for some shopping and bustling cityscapes this year, then consider the Philippines for your year-end holiday destination.
6. Tokyo, Japan
Looking for winter destinations that won’t bore you? Tokyo will keep you busy during your year-end holiday! If it’s tradition you want, Japan has Buddhist temples and boiling hot springs. The colours of autumn will take your breath away. If you crave something more modern, the fairy-lit lanes of Shinjuku and Shibuya will put you in a festive mood. Why not spend Japan’s biggest holiday, New Year’s Day, over there too? Enjoy counting down with friendly locals while listening to the temple bells ringing you into the New Year. You can also enjoy buying fukubukuro (lucky shopping bags) to treat yourself to a year-end gohobi (present).
7. London, UK
London is one of the greatest cities of the world, and now it’s time for you to discover some of its seasonal magic for yourself. Experience the hustle and bustle of shopping, festive displays and decorations in historical buildings and shops of this ancient city. In autumn, the streets are adorned with orange, yellow and gold leaves, and the air is crisp and fresh. If that’s not enough for you, try ice-skating with the Tower of London in sight in winter. There will even be free concerts by British musicians for you to soak up the festive season and traditional carollers singing Christmas anthems by decked-out Christmas trees.
8. Phuket, Thailand
For a year-end party, consider Phuket. Amazing options for accommodation abound; stay in a multi-star hotel, or even rent a villa. The seas are calm and the islands off the coast are gorgeous. Quiet options are available, but if you prefer something more raucous, there are a plethora of parties for dancing, drinking and general revelry.
9. Melbourne, Australia
For a balmy taste of Europe without the jet-lag, try Melbourne for your year-end holiday. Although it isn’t winter in Australia during the year-end months, Melbourne can still get pretty chilly with its winds from the South Pole. The city is friendly and active, and the extensive tram network makes getting around a cinch. Enjoy a European-style Christmas feast, or just meet up with some friends for a good old-fashioned Aussie barbecue, followed by a trip to the beach. If you go there in November, don’t miss the Melbourne Cup – a massive horse-race event that’s celebrated throughout the nation.
10. Sydney, Australia
Towards the end of the year, Sydney becomes a hub of energetic vibrancy. Many people gravitate towards this city to watch the iconic fireworks over Sydney Harbour to ring in New Year’s. Going there at the end of the year means the weather still isn’t at its hottest, even though December means the beginning of summer. From October on, you can soak up some of that Aussie sun at popular places like Bondi, Cronulla and Manly.
Ready to start planning your year-end holidays? Book cheap flights, hotels and car rental via Skyscanner today, or download our free mobile app for easy browsing and booking on the go.
Originally published on 26 August 2015 and updated in October 2018. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.