As we inch closer to 2018, you’re probably revving up for something new and exciting, be it a new career, a financial goal, or a personal milestone.
But before you roll up your sleeves, we all need that occasional adventure to break out from the mundane, a breather to gain fresh perspectives, or simply a getaway to spend quality time with our loved ones before hectic schedules take over again. So, fuel up for the coming year with a vacation that will leave you refreshed and ready for action!
Check out these fantastic travel destinations for 2018 – from exotic nature escapades and wintry adventures to laid-back retreats, an awesome vacation is one more reason to look forward to the new year. Best of all, discover a trip of a lifetime to Croatia, where Star Wars: The Last Jedi was shot at and find out how you can win a trip for two there!
1. Rome, Italy
Already planning for that grand European tour? Make sure you don’t skip the incredible Italian capital. Iconic for its ancient architecture and ruins, Rome is every history geek’s fantasy come alive. Step foot into the Coliseum, the symbolic amphitheatre built in AD80, and marvel at how the former arena for gladiator fights and execution grounds encompasses beauty and terror all at once. Even if you’re not big on history, architectural feats such as the Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum and Pantheon will enchant you, as diverse art and gastronomical delights capture your heart at every corner of the cobblestoned streets!
Tip: Enjoy comfortably cool weather of about 10 to 14 degree Celsius and fewer crowds in mid-January.
2. South Korea
Snowy South Korean landscapes are not only settings for sappy love stories. In fact, early 2018’s wintry months will be the most action-packed because of the Winter Olympics from 9 to 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang. It’s not every year where you can witness the coolest, most intriguing sports such as curling, luge and alpine skating – all happening spectacularly on ice! And don’t just be a spectator, be your own winter athlete and try out night skiing at Yangji Pine Resort ski valley, or hike up the snow-capped Bukhansan mountain in Seoul. South Korea also offers other picturesque places if you prefer to stay away from the hype. Check out Windy Hill in Geoje island or the vivid Santorini-esque Gamcheon village. Just be sure to bundle up and stay snug!
3. Gili Islands, Indonesia
Beach buffs, skip your yearly seaside pilgrimage to Phuket or Bali and check out Gili Islands instead. These three islets off the north-western shore of Lombok feature distinct characteristics but share a well-preserved, pristine sanctity. Gili Trawagan is one of the world’s safest and most affordable spots to learn diving with fun party vibes, while Gili Meno has gorgeous and quiet beaches – perfect if you’re with a special someone, and Gili Air is a laid-back place to immerse in local culture. So, whether you’re on a honeymoon, with a gang of best buds, or a water sports enthusiast looking to find your crowd, you can let your hair down right here at Gili Islands.
Tip: For an Insta-worthy moment, don’t miss the chance to sit on the Ocean Swing that stands right in the middle of clear, azure waves.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
If you are a nature lover who also enjoys urban comforts, this slow-paced coastal city is paradise on earth. Hike through rugged, untouched nature at Table Mountain Park, soak in the scenic Kristenbosch Gardens, get up-close with lions, zebras and rhinos at Kruger National Park, hang out with penguins along Boulders Beach and explore expansive wineries. Best of all, these are family-friendly tours so your mini outdoor adventurers can tag along! The city also features charming enclaves such as Bo-Kaap’s cheery streets and Woodstock’s edgy, artistic vibes.
Tip: If you plan on going between January to April, expect dry weather and less crowds.
Many of us may be familiar with this ever-popular destination. Still, Japan constantly has us bowled over by its modern eccentricities, pastoral nature spots, historic temples and zen-inspired monuments. And, one word – sakura. Spring, which falls between March to May, is a favourite time to visit as cherry blossoms wash the nation in an ethereal glow. So, if it’s your first time here, visit sakura hot spots like Mt. Fuji, Shinjuku Gyeon in Tokyo or Mt. Yoshino in the Nara Prefecture.
Already ticked these off your travel list? Go off-the-beaten track and uncover quaint gems near popular cities. Make a pit stop at Ohara, a rural town about an hour away from Kyoto station, best known for its Sanzenin Temple. Or check out Awaji, an island about two hours away from Osaka that is brimming with cultural gems. If you’re up to venture further, the Kenrokuen Garden in the Ishikawa Prefecture and Nachi Falls in the Wakayama Prefecture will leave you spellbound.
6. Sapa, Vietnam
Looking for somewhere closer to home without the familiar tropical heat? Here’s a Southeast Asian neighbour that has winter. In January, temperatures can hit as low as 0 degrees Celsius at night, with occasional snow. The adventurous ones would gladly take on a chilly, challenging trekking expedition up Fansipan Mountain, being the highest summit in Indochina at a little over 3000m above sea level. Muong Hua Valley is also a must-see, with its sprawling, luxuriant terraced fields and quintessential hill-tribe communities. But if you prefer more sunshine, March to May would be an ideal time to visit. The weather remains comfortably cool, so you can still slurp up warm bowls of pho and sip tasty Vietnamese coffee in crisp mountain air.
7. Palm Springs, California
Step foot in this luxurious desert resort and you will understand why singers croon endlessly about California. Lined with palm trees, swanky villas, mid-century modern architecture, Palm Springs is an oasis dense with 1950s Hollywood glamour. Discover sunny hiking trails together with museums, art galleries, antique shops and up-market fashion stores – all while basking in cool January sunshine. Expect single-digit temperatures in the morning, to about 18 degrees in the day. Along with the hottest music parties and a hip vintage market, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is also happening from 2 to 15 January 2018, so this is the perfect place to soak in a vibrant arts scene.
8. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The best is always saved for last. Jet off on a trip of a lifetime to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed! Explore Dubrovnik’s ancient regality at Old Town, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and be awe-struck by majestic gates and castle-like monuments. Indulge in the city’s luxurious dining offerings and satisfy your adventure-seeking soul among untouched nature.
Win a Trip to Croatia
Score this awesome adventure for free! Stand to win a trip for two and go on an amazing Star Wars: The Last Jedi Croatian otherworldly adventure, when you complete exciting missions in the Frasers Galactic Passport on your Frasers Rewards App, from 17 November to 24 December 2017. Keep a lookout on our Pluspoint blog or Facebook Page for details on how to join this lucky draw!
What to Expect
Enjoy an all-expense-paid* 5D4N stay at the five-star Hotel Debrovnik Palace, nestled between an ethereal pine forest and the lush Lapad peninsula coast. Wake up to idyllic Adriatic Sea scenery, while being a few minutes’ drive from Old Town. Ride on a cable car for breathtaking views of the city, and savour the finest seafood at the exquisite Nautika restaurant with a view overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
And just when you think the action cannot get any better, hop on an exclusive movie tour where you’ll walk the paths of your favourite STAR WARSTM characters, beginning from Old Town and ending at the iconic Minceta Tower. Then, get your adventure amped up at a rugged Kayak Tour, where you’ll paddle along the Old Town’s Walls to Betina, a quaint and secluded beach cave.
If this list has sparked an insatiable wanderlust in you, get your suitcases ready and start packing! And don’t forget that you have the chance to score an adventure of a lifetime, so let the Frasers Galactic Passport take you there!