TOP 4 Holiday spots to bring in the New Year
Confused about where you should be on December 31? Shifra Menezes draws up a list of places
Bringing in the New Year is a tradition that very few neglect. Even if it is just to hang out with friends at home, there's a special enthusiasm that just cannot be quelled.
This year, as you think of something new to do on New Year's, instead of staying in or hanging out at the local coffee shop, why not take a trip?
Our beautiful country has something for the party animals, the hopeless romantics, the adrenalin junkies and everyone in-between. And to help you narrow in on your destination, here are a few great spots that will not disappoint!
Image: Where will YOU spend your New Year's Eve
Photographs: Regis Matthey/Creative Commons
No list of New Year's destinations, or any list for that matter, is complete without this beach paradise. This town might be 'done to death' for some, but it still is one of the best places to party... in the world.
"Goa is an all-time Christmas and New Year favourite with Indian and foreign tourists alike," says Karan Anand, head – relationships & supplier management, Cox & Kings.
If you're looking to do some serious partying, try Anjuna, Baga and Colva. For a quieter celebration, there's Palolem, Varca and Bogmalo.
Image: Tourists walk on the Anjuna beach
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe / Reuters
All-night parties, beach-side buffets, beverages of every colour, flavour and design, and an energy that's simply electric. If you're looking for some good-natured (for the most part, anyway) revelry in the streets Goa's the place to be this New Year's Eve!
"Goa continues as top favourite!" says Deepraj Joshi, Associate Vice President -- Leisure Travel (Domestic) at Thomas Cook (India). However, "The trend of holidaying for this season has changed," he adds, "With customers now wanting shorter holidays (2 nights-3 days) in a single destination instead of a 5-day trip to multiple locations." And Goa fits the bill perfectly.
Image: Tourists relax at a cafe on Baga beach in Goa
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
Kerala is always a joy to visit and the fact that it offers up such a variety of experiences only enhances its appeal!
Says Neelu Singh, COO, Ezeego1.com: "Dotted with so many attractions like the backwaters, placid lakes, lush dense forest, alluring beaches and beautiful hill stations, Kerala continues to be the dream destination for most holiday seekers."
Kovalam, Munnar, Thekkady, and Kumarakom are some of the most popular destinations in Kerala.
Kovalam is a beautiful beach has plenty of resorts where you can just lay back and relax or get into party mode and bring in the New Year with a bang! Needless to mention, if you're a foodie, Kovalam will not disappoint -- delectable Malayalee cuisine and every kind of seafood you can think of!
Image: A houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala
Photographs: Christian Haugen/Creative Commons
Kumarakom is an enchanting backwater destination, where you can usher in the 2012 on the calm waters of Lake Vembanad, dining in quiet serenity on your own houseboat.
And if you're looking a bit of adventure coupled with breathtaking natural beauty, there's always for Munnar and Thekkady.
Munnar, one of the most popular hill-resort towns, has vast expanses of tea plantations, dotted with colonial bungalows and rivulets. If you're the outdoorsy type, what better way to usher in the New Year as you trek or ride your mountain bike taking in the crisp mountain air.
You could also take a walk on the wild side, with a visit to Thekkady, home of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Other highlights are the undulating hillsides of spice scented plantations. Needless to say, there is plenty of opportunity for treks and mountain walks.
Image: Munnar is home to some of the highest tea plantations in India. It lies on the state border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu and commands a panoramic view of rolling green hills
Photographs: Bimal K/Creative Commons
If you'd prefer cooler climes this New Year's Eve, Himachal Pradesh has its own getaways that will simply delight.
Shimla has been a tourist hotspot for years now, and continues to be so. Whether it's a romantic getaway or a thrill-seekers jaunt, the 'Queen of the Hills' has something for everyone. You can choose to stay in or venture out to take in the scenery.
There's also plenty of trekking, skiing, fishing and camping opportunities, so there's a lot to choose from.
Image: Mall Road Shimla, From a hotel window on the Mall Road, Shimla in Himachal Pradesh
Photographs: Mohib Ahmad/Creative Commons
Manali is very popular this time of year. "The landscape here is spectacular," says Neelu Singh. "There's snowcapped peaks, the Beas meandering through the town, beautiful deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards."
Plus there are adventure activities and winter sports to choose from. So if you're looking to bring in the New Year on a high... this is the place to be!
Image: Manali peaks
Photographs: Rediff Archives
The state has more than its fair share of stunning holiday spots, but Mussoorie and Nainital in Uttarakhand continue to be two of the most popular.
"These two hill stations have received strong demand this year," confirms Deepraj Joshi. This isn't surprising, considering the sheer natural beauty that is on display. Also there are mountains, lakes, waterfalls and plenty of day-excursions to choose from.
So if you're in the mood to spoil yourself with some natural beauty, head for the hills!
Photographs: Samamonin/Creative Commons
The Jim Corbett National Park is on most must-visit lists, and if you're looking for a 'wild' time this New Year's, what better place than this!
Says Karan Anand, "Corbett is a new addition to New Year destinations this year. It is ideal for those who want to bring in the New Year with family in an idyllic location surrounded by nature."
So spend your holiday enjoying nature at its best, in the company of tigers, elephants, deer and birds of every hue you can imagine. If that doesn't make for an unforgettable New Year's holiday, we don't know what does!
Image: The Corbett National Park is a reserved forest in the state of Uttarkhand, India., Holding in abundance a mindboggling variety of deer, antelopes, reptiles, birds, tigers. Named after the great hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett
Photographs: Rahul Ganguly/Creative Commons