Where to go 2012

| January 23, 2012

Cox & Kings’ team of experts have come up with their predictions of the places likely to capture travellers’ attention in 2012. There is the tranquility of Sri Lanka; the unique fauna of Madagascar; the temples of Burma; the historic coast of Croatia; the Islamic wonders of Uzbekistan; and Central America, focus of a Mayan mystery.

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Now that Aung San Suu Kyi has been released and the government appears to be relaxing its attitude to opposition, visitors are returning to Burma (Myanmar) and beginning to embrace this beautiful country once more. The Burmese people’s deep-rooted belief in Buddhism and spiritual worship is reflected in the thousands of magnificent pagodas in ancient Pagan and the monasteries of Mandalay. Burma’s colourful culture, ancient temples, golden pagodas, remote villages and charming people offer a beguiling mix in a country which remains  relatively untouched by mass tourism. View our luxury holidays to Burma.

Sri Lanka is set to be back on the map this year. Part of its growing popularity can be attributed to pent up demand from the recent years of unrest. There is also now an excellent choice of boutique hotels for tailor-made options, and for a small country it offers enormous diversity in terms of culture, landscapes and wildlife. From the ancient sites of the cultural triangle, tropical interior and perfect beaches, to the picturesque “tea country”. Sri Lanka looks set to be a favourite for 2012. View our luxury holidays to Sri Lanka.

Now is a great time to visit Croatia. The country’s 1,788km of coastline, Mediterranean climate and over a thousand islands dotted along the Dalmatian coast make it a sensational European destination. Another bonus is that being a non-Euro country, your pound should stretch that little bit further. Roman ruins, Renaissance palaces, medieval towns with atmospheric squares and pristine beaches await visitors. View our luxury holidays to Croatia.

Madagascar had a great 2011 and we expect that to continue, largely thanks to the publicity off the back of the BBC's David Attenborough series at the start of 2011, as well as glowing word-of-mouth tributes from returning visitors. The island features every kind of environment from dry desert to dense mountain forest and is home to over 70 varieties of lemur, over 120 endemic bird species and the distinctive baobab trees. It has the greatest diversity of chameleons in the world, including the world's smallest and largest. An added attraction is that the accommodation has improved in recent years. How many other islands can boast all this? View our holidays to Madagascar.

For a long time now Uzbekistan has remained off the beaten track, but there are signs that word of its wonders is beginning to reach a wider audience. This land-locked country is a mixture of desert, steppe, oasis and river valley, which contrasts with the soaring Islamic architecture, in some of Central Asia’s most stupendous ancient cities; Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Recent investment has also improved the standard of accommodation and there are now a number of good quality hotels for the visitor to enjoy. View our cultural holidays to Uzbekistan.

Our in-house experts at Cox & Kings predict that Central America, in particular, Guatemala, Mexico and Belize, are going to be big in 2012. There will be celebrations throughout these countries to mark the end of the Mayan calendar, when it will complete a 5,125-year cycle. The calendar is believed to have prophesised many events up until recent times. However, no more dates were created after 21st December 2012. While many believe something catastrophic will occur, a New Age interpretation of this transition predicts that, at this time the Earth and its inhabitants will experience a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 could well mark the beginning of a new era. View our luxury tours to Central America.

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