6 Places for an Unforgettable Tropical Christmas

By Derrick Tan, 26 October 2016 680


Forgo those chilly snow activities! Get a sun-kissed tan instead with a tropical Christmas getaway. But don't forget to pack some turkey and mistletoes for the trip ahead.

Here are some ideas for planning a dreamy tropical Christmas this year.

1. The Cloistered Thai Islands

Ko Phi Phi Island - Clear sea, sand and sky


Contributed by feezabdul

Off the coast of Southern Thailand, in the Gulf of Sian and the Andaman Sea, lies some of the best beaches for unwinding and recreation.

First up is Ko Phi Phi, a small isle in the Krabi Province. Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest island of the group, is the only island with permanent inhabitants while the smaller Ko Phi Phi Leh is known as the filming location (Maya Bay) for the Leonardo DiCaprio starred-movie, The Beach.

In 2004, Ko Phi Phi was wrecked by the Indian Ocean tsunami, destroying most of the islands infrastructure. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Pileh Lagoon and visit Monkey Island for its famed cheeky macaques. Try not to get teased by them!

The recreational favourite, Ko Tao, caters to enthusiasts of scuba diving, rock climbing, and hiking. In contrast with its increasing popularity and the spawn of touristy watering holes, the island still provides remote corners for a relaxed vibe. Head to the nearby tiny twin islands of Koh Nangyua, which has a sand bar dividing the islands at low tide, and snorkel in the gorgeous waters surrounding it.

2. Mi N (Vietnam)

A taste of the Vietnamese countryside


Contributed by passport_travel

Once a deserted long strip of beach that is now filled with coastal resorts, Mi N harbor still has traces of traditional fishing villages that provide fresh seafood directly off the boat.

Located at the south of Vietnam in Phan Theit, near Ho Chi Minh City, this 12-kilometre long sweeping bay is an excellent beach getaway and ideal water sports paradise, like kitesurfing. Not into extreme water sports? Take your pick from a wide selection of cosy to mega-resorts.

Avoid the touristy stretch dubbed as Russia Town by local expats, as the retail and FB establishments there cater to packaged tour groups. Instead, go quad biking at the white sand dunes of Mi N for a taste of Vietnamese countryside, or visit the red sand dunes nearer to the city centre and next to the beach.

3. Panglao Island, Bohol (Philippines)


Contributed by pearlmr

Move over, Boracay. Panglao Island is set to be the upcoming tropical beach escape selection from the Philippines. And the most popular spot on the island is Alona Beach.

Beyond the overpriced tourist amenities, the pristine sand and clear seas are exceptionally attractive. Diving enthusiasts can obtain special dive packages if their accommodation offers such services. Those who wish to have a relaxing holiday can choose to dolphin watch by booking a boat that leaves from Alona Beach a day ahead.

Do also explore the scenic village of Dauis and marvel at the impressive architectural designs of the 19th century Lady of Assumption Cathedral. You can also chalk up a healthy tan by strolling along the 3km long Dumaluan white beach, under the basking sun.

4. Cancun, Mexicos Caribbean Coast



Contributed by learntotravel

Dubbed as the 21st century Mexico and located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, Cancun is a remarkable territory thats home to exotic wildlife and the mystical ancient Mayan ruins. As a well-known hub for adventure and fine beaches, the mash of aged remnants and stylish resorts gives Cancun an individuality thats unlike any other city.

Skip the bare El Rey and head to both the Coba and Tulum archaeological sites instead. The location on the shore of the Caribbean makes it a picturesque sight to behold. Tulum is one of the last cities to be built and inhabited by the Mayan people. For Coba, don a pair of cushy shoes as the main buildings are spread out over 70 square kilometres.

Explore the fascinating cenotes, which are natural sinkholes formed after the collapsing of the porous limestone cavern roof. The exposed groundwater of the sinkholes serves as an entrance for divers to delve in and examine the exquisite construction of the stalagmites and stalactites. Diving into cenotes differs from the typical sea dive as the former is in total silence with clear visibility compared to the latter.

5. Morocco, North Africa

The Sahara


Contributed by acacialeroy

An hours ferry ride down south from Spain will lead you to one of the worlds most exotic destinations, Morocco. This North African countrys scenic landscape consists of craggy mountains, lush valleys, and the renowned Sahara desert, backed by the vast Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. The myriad of colours influenced by Arab, European and African culture provides an allure to the city.

Navigate through the maze-like alleys of the souk in the medieval city of Fez and discover polished products done by a master craftsman, ranging from woven ethnic textiles and pottery.

A journey to Morocco isnt complete without the trip to the bazaars and hammams in Marrakesh. This city is an ideal starting point for novice visitors of the country. For a maximum experience, ride a camel on the golden sand dunes of Erg Chebbi and stroll along the blue walls of Chefchaouen.

6. Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour - Opera House


Contributed by acacialeroy

Experiencing tropical weather in Oceania is inevitable in the month of December. Being the most populous city, Sydneys way of celebrating the Christmas month is to have beach barbecues and strolling by the festive lightings in town.

The revelry starts a month before Christmas day, bearing a packed calendar of performances and activities for all ages. Marvel at the magical illuminations at Sydney Town Hall and leap onto the joy wagon of family-friendly concerts in Martin Place, Hyde Park.

Here's an earnest suggestion: extend your stay till after the start of the New Year to join in the countdown and celebrate the new year's arrival under the gorgeous firework pyrotechnics at the Sydney Harbour. Sydney is one of the first cities to usher in the New Year, so take this opportunity to experience it directly. With the iconic Sydney Opera House as part of the backdrop, enjoy the magnificent show at Circular Quay!