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Experience the most magical Christmas
Despite being a predominantly Buddhist country, the Vietnamese are extremely fond of Christmas. This is a time of great celebration with locals gathering for festivities and beautiful lights, decorations and trees abundant in the cities. This is also an ideal place to go to escape the cold of the UK, with southern Vietnam in particular very warm and dry this time of year.
Our Christmas in Vietnam tour will see you exploring the full length of this spectacular country, from the Mekong Delta in the south all the way up to Hanoi in the north. Along the way, you’ll explore the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An and imperial treasures of Hue, as well as the many highlights of Saigon.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are spent cruising the pictureperfect waters of Halong Bay and, its lesser-known but equally spectacular twin, Lan Ha Bay. On Christmas Eve enjoy an exclusive drinks reception and barbecue Christmas Dinner on deck. A magical Christmas Day is spent cruising on tranquil Lan Ha bay before a special drinks reception and delicious dinner.
Departs 15 December
December is one of the finest months to visit India with temperatures warm, minimal rainfall and low humidity – the perfect conditions for exploring!
The perfect way to spend the festive season by experiencing the best of what India has to offer. From the classic sights of India's Golden Triangle, searching for the tigers in Ranthambore, discovering delightful Udaipur and participating in the festivities of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
After attending Midnight Mass in Agra on Christmas Eve, you’ll awake on Christmas Day to explore India’s most famous monument, the magnificent Taj Mahal. Enjoy a delicious Christmas feast and sip champagne at a rooftop restaurant accompanied by amazing views of the Taj Mahal at sunset. You’ll even be treated to a fantastic musical show telling the story of Emperor Shahjahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (for whom the Taj Mahal was built) – a true Bollywood experience!
Departs 13 December
Although not a national holiday in Japan, Christmas is a wonderful time to explore this diverse destination. In the cities you’ll find gorgeous illuminations marking the festive period (and of course, no one does it quite like Japan), and the cold, dry weather means the countryside is often blanketed with fresh snow – the white Christmas we all dream of!
Based on our extremely popular Jewels of Japan itinerary, our Christmas in Japan tour showcases the bright lights of Tokyo and Osaka, magnificent Mount uji and the beautiful Himeji Castle including many immersive experiences such soba noodle making, origami classes and a Geisha encounter. Christmas Eve is spent in historic Kyoto with a traditional tea ceremony and very special dinner.
On Christmas Day you may be lucky enough to see a dusting of snow on the iconic Golden Temple, Kinkakuji, before riding the iconic bullet train to Hiroshima where you’ll enjoy a scenic Christmas dinner cruise on Hiroshima Bay.
Departs 18 December
Christmas is widely celebrated in Sri Lanka with festivities beginning at dawn on the 1st December where locals will let off fireworks to mark the start of the season. There is plenty going on leading up to Christmas Day, with families gathering, preparation of Christmas cake and mince pies, and decorations hung – much like the UK except the weather is far more pleasant with warm, sunny days and balmy nights.
Witness the many highlights of Sri Lanka on this extra special December departure, including the Rock Fortress at Sigiriya, the ruined cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura and the UNESCO-listed Dambulla Cave Temple with its abundance of Buddhist mural paintings and Buddha statues. Meet the elephants of Udawalawe and spot leopards in Yala National Park with two safari experiences.
Spend Christmas in Sri Lanka’s gorgeous tea country, Nuwara Eliya. On Christmas Eve you'll enjoy a special dinner before attending a moving midnight mass . On Christmas Day you’ll take part in an exclusive tea plantation experience, receive the gift of a handmade silk saree dress and enjoy High Tea at the iconic colonial era Grand Hotel.
Departs 17 December
Although Christmas isn’t widely recognised as a religious holiday in China, you’ll still see plenty of illuminations in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai and may even pay witness to the new trend in China of gifting friends with elaborately-boxed apples on Christmas Eve.
The weather is cool this time of year, particularly in the north where you’ll find the Great Wall which means you may get to experience it surrounded by snow-covered peaks and valleys.
You’ll soak up all of China’s most famous attractions on this tour; the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven, the Grand Buddha of Leshan, and the adorable giant pandas of course!
You’ll enjoy a Christmas Day like no other – spent on China’s iconic Great Wall before swapping traditional turkey for an authentic Peking duck feast!
Departs 23 December
In Thailand, Christmas is celebrated with a unique blend of traditional Thai customs and festive Western influences. While not a public holiday, the season is embraced by locals and expatriates alike. Streets and shopping centres sparkle with colourful lights, and ornate decorations adorn public spaces. Thai families often exchange gifts and gather for special meals, incorporating local flavors into the festive feasts. December of course is one of the best times to visit Thailand with warm dry days and beautiful blue skies norm.
A two-week journey from south to north, Our Christmas in Thailand tour encompasses all the top sights as well as venturing into less-explored areas. Explore pristine nature, learn to cook like a Thai, and immerse yourself local culture with a stay at a beautiful eco-lodge run by a local hill tribe community.
Enjoy a wonderful start to Christmas Day – a visit to an elephant sanctuary! The centre is located in the beautiful Mesa valley and offers a peaceful retirement home for elephants rescued from illegal logging camps and elephant shows. Return to Chiang Mai and freshen up at the hotel before this afternoon's Thai Christmas dinner at the lovely House by Ginger. This 1930s colonial mansion has been preserved as a stylish restaurant with a luxurious yet homely atmosphere. Boxing Day will see you enjoying a delicious Thai cooking class...that beats leftover Turkey!
Departs 15 December
Escape to the magic of China this Christmas, where every city transforms into a winter wonderland. Marvel at the sparkling lights of Shanghai's skyline, relish the warmth of spicy Chengdu cuisine, uncover the ancient secrets of Xian, stand in awe of Beijing's imperial grandeur, and step into the fantastical world of the Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin.
Christmas Day is spent in sensational Shanghai. Explorations start with the peaceful Yu Gardens and then the atmospheric alleys of the old town before lunch at the renowned Lost Heaven, one of Shanghai's must-try restaurants. Later, wander through one of the city's festive Christmas markets, then cruise on the mighty Huangpu River for stunning views of the Shanghai skyline. On Christmas Day evening a German style feast awaits including a drink to toast with your newfound travel companions.
Wrap up the year in the picturesque Gubei Watertown, nestled against the backdrop of the Great Wall. Welcome the New Year with a walk and glass of champagne on a secluded section of the Great Wall.
Departs 23 December
Embark on the enchanting “Christmas in Kerala” tour, immersing yourself in the cultural richness and lush landscapes of southern India. Kerala, a cultural melting pot, provides the perfect backdrop for a captivating Christmas experience. To get you into the Christmas spirit,
On Christmas Eve indulge in a festive dinner at the hotel, savouring the flavours of Kerala's culinary delights as you celebrate the season with your travel companions. Later, immerse yourself in the vibrant and unique Christmas traditions of Kerala by attending a traditional midnight mass at an Oriental Orthodox Church. The midnight mass in Kerala is a special occasion marked by cultural richness, religious fervor, and a sense of togetherness.
On Christmas Day Dress up in traditional Keralan attire and attend the Christmas Mass at St. Francis Church before a city tour of Kochi, visiting the Santa Cruz Basilica, a beautiful church with Portuguese origins. Explore the Jewish Synagogue, Chinese fishing nets along the waterfront and take a stroll through nearby markets. For a particular fun Christmas evening, later you will proceed to the Kathakali Dance auditorium for an enriching cultural experience.
Departs 13 December
Christmas in South Africa is a vibrant fusion of cultural diversity and festive traditions. Celebrated during the Southern Hemisphere's summer, it's a season of outdoor activities, beach outings, and braais (barbecues).
Enjoy Christmas at the height of summer with a once-in-a-lifetime journey through South Africa's highlights! Witness the incredible wildlife of the Kruger, traverse the scenic Garden Route with its picturesque coastline and charming towns, to finally immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan allure of Cape Town. This unforgettable adventure showcases the best of South Africa’s diverse landscapes and experiences with a festive twist.
Christmas Day is spent in the heart of The Greater Kruger National Park. You’ll spend Christmas Day on thrilling game drives, the primary means of exploring the park, providing a close encounter with the animals. Christmas dinner promises to be a joyous event, served under the stars in the boma. Engage in an African drumming class where you'll not only master traditional beats but also delve into the rich cultural history, discovering how stories, songs, and traditions have been passed down through the universal language of rhythm and dance.
Departs 21 December
Christmas in Turkey carries a distinctive blend of modern festivities and ancient traditions. While not a national holiday, cities like Istanbul embrace the season with dazzling lights and decorations. Markets offer festive treats, and many Turks exchange gifts.
Our Christmas in Turkey tour explores a treasure trove of fascinating history, from Istanbul's iconic landmarks and Gallipoli's bloody battlegrounds to the Greco-Roman majesty of ancient Ephesus and so much more. A Christmas adventure that encompasses the very best of Turkey.
Enjoy a Christmas Eve with a difference, at the beautifully restored Seljuk-built caravanserai of Saruhan. Here witness the mesmeric and mysterious ritual dance of the Whirling Dervishes, before continuing to dinner at a local restaurant.
Spend a memorable Christmas morning among the wonderfully preserved rock-hewn churches of Goreme, a UNESCO-protected site and home to one of the very earliest Christian communities in the world. Continue to the amazing rock formations of Pasabag Valley, take in the magnificent views of Cappadocia from Uchisar citadel, and in Avanos watch potters create masterpieces from local clay from the Halys River. Finally, celebrate Christmas with a special dinner at an atmospheric local restaurant.
Departing 15 December 2024 & 2025