10 Best Places in Asia to Beat the January Blues

Luang-Prabang | © Xiquinho Silva/ Flickr
Lucy Dayman

Now that the festive season is coming to an end, the dreaded January blues are fast approaching. As everyone knows, one of the best ways to distract yourself or get motivated for the new year ahead is to plan a vacation. To help inspire you, we’ve picked out the best spots in Asia guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Gansu, China

When it comes to vacation hideouts China may not be the first place that comes to mind – however, Gansu Province in northwestern China features some of the most stunning landscapes you’ve probably never heard of. Located near Tibet, the area is home to the Gobi Desert, the Yellow River, numerous mountain formations, and some remains of the Silk Road, China’s famous ancient network of trade routes as well as the Great Wall of China. Even though like the rest of China winters can be rather cold, there’s so much to explore here that you’ll forget all about the temperatures.

Gansu, China

Gansu, China | © gill_penney / Flickr

Okinawa, Japan

In terms of Japan’s tourism in the winter months of December through to February, the main reason people make the trek here is to ski – during this time of year people flock to Niseko, Hakuba and Zao to enjoy the fresh powdery snow and clear blue skies. However if you’re chasing a little winter respite, it may be worth checking out the Okinawa Islands. As Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa is home to some incredible beaches and very pleasant weather. While the rest of the country is freezing, this pocket of Japan sits between the high teens to low twenties degrees celsius (65-70°F) throughout the winter season. If the weather permits, pay a visit to the popular Ishigaki beach, though if it’s too cold to swim, there’s always the world famous Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium to explore.

Okinawa, Japan

Sunset | © Jonathan Leung / Flickr

Canggu, Bali

Planning to get ahead of your work over the January break, but want to enjoy a holiday at the same time? Then consider a visit to Bali’s coastal village of Canggu. Quickly gaining traction as a go-to for digital nomads, the area has everything you need, including amazing food markets, beautiful beaches, and an abundance of co-working spaces and cheap accommodation. For some inspiration pay a visit to the stunning Oceanside Batu Bolong Temple, and to work check out Hubud in Ubud, a co-working space filled with passionate travel-hungry creatives.

Canggu, Bali

Bali | © jennifer gergen / Flickr

Luang Prabang Province, Laos

Buddhist Temple, Forest, Hiking Trail, Massage Parlour

Pak Ou or Buddha Caves, Luang Prabang province, Laos
© Realimage / Alamy Stock Photo
In the north of Laos is Luang Prabang Province, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site overflowing with unique culture and architecture, including the Haw Kham Royal Palace and the watermelon-shaped Wat Wisunarat temple. One of the other great reasons for visiting this undiscovered gem during January is the weather. The country is currently in the midst of dry season, meaning that there’s a very little chance that your travel plans will get washed or snowed out.

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka


If you’ve considering a beach vacation and haven’t thought about Sri Lanka yet, be prepared to re-organise your travel priorities. The country is home to some of clearest blue waters and palm-lined beaches in all of Asia. Unawatuna resort is one of the best places to base yourself as you explore everything this underrated country has to offer. Because it is gaining traction as a holiday destination, there are a number of accommodation options to suit all types of travellers, no matter your budget.

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Unawatuna | © Indi Samarajiva / Flickr

Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Vietnam


© ePi.Longo/ Flickr

A visit to the breathtaking Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a sure fire way to forget all your winter blues as you’re swept up in the untouched beauty of Vietnam. Certified a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, this park features the oldest unique karst mountains in Asia, which are estimated to have formed around 400 million years ago. A lot quieter than the city hubs of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), a visit to this little hideout is all about leaving your worries behind and recharging mentally and physically by stepping into a completely new world for a few days.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Vietnam

Outside the Phong Nha – Ke Bang cave | © ePi.Longo / Flickr

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, a pocket of western Thailand, has no end of things to see and do, including history museums, national parks and even an elephant sanctuary! With a bustling centre and secluded locations, Kanchanaburi is a picturesque spot where the past and present collide.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Thailand: bridge on the River Kwai | © Eli Duke / Flickr

Taipei, Taiwan

With temperatures between 15-24°C (59-75°F) throughout December and January, the capital of Taiwan is always a great place to visit for winter warmth. A fusion of Japanese, American, and Chinese culture this fascinating little city is not short on attractions and amazing food just begging to be uncovered. If you do find yourself in this vibrant city be sure to scale the 509-meter (1,670-feet) tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper to really get a bird’s eye glimpse of the metropolis below.

Taipei, Taiwan

Chinese gods | © 白士 李 / Flickr

Kep, Cambodia


© James Antrobus/ Flickr

Originally founded in 1908 as a seaside retreat for the French elite, this laid-back beachside city has lived many lives. From attracting French society of the 1900s to being the home of Cambodian luxury lovers of the 1960s, it’s now a tourist and backpacker haven that has a lot to offer year-round. In January the town sits at a very comfortable 30°C (86°F), making it beach time all the time. To dig a little deeper than the shoreline, check out Kep National Park.

Kep, Cambodia

Kep, Cambodia | © James Antrobus / Flickr | © James Antrobus/ Flickr

New Delhi, India


© PIVISO/ Flickr

For ambitious travellers, New Delhi is not necessarily new, but given that there’s simply so much to see and explore, the city definitely warrants multiple visits. In January the city’s friendly climate provides an ideal backdrop to its colonial-era parliament buildings and Old Delhi market stalls, making it feel like you’ve stepped into a world where time and seasons outside of this fascinating pocket of India no longer exist.

New Delhi, India

Laxminarayan Temple, New Delhi, India | © PIVISO / Flickr

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