Are you keen on cities? Do you dream of taking turns between museums, shopping and natural parks? How about celebrating the silver jubilee of Singapore’s independence? Or do white sand, diving and cultural visits strike your fancy? Then welcome to the Philippines! Unless your wandering soul leads you to Peru to (re)discover Incan temples on your trek. But you could also let Madagascar’s enchanting lemurs or Lithuania’s amber road tempt you. Find out what your 2015 holidays have in store!
Singapore: celebrate the “Garden City’s” 50th anniversary
After British rule and Japanese occupation during the Second World War, the Republic of Singapore broke away from the Malaysian Federation to become an independent city-state on 9 August 1965.
The island of Singapore, nicknamed the Switzerland of Asia because of its economic prosperity, is strategically located off the Malaysian peninsula’s southern tip. It boasts the world’s second-busiest port after Shanghai and one of the planet’s highest concentrations of millionaires.
Despite its very high population density, Singapore is called the “Garden City”. Thanks to its equatorial climate and environment-friendly urban planning, parks account for 50% of the island’s area. Go to Singapore for the Independence Day festivities on 9 August and celebrate the jubilee by taking in a military parade, a fireworks display and spectacular performances.
Sofitel So Singapour
The Philippines await you
“Visit the Philippines 2015!” is the name of a Tourism Ministry campaign starring you as the hero.
Unlike neighbouring Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the Philippines are not one of Asia’s flagship destinations for seaside resorts. That is probably because of the natural disasters that have devastated the country and hurt its image. Yet the 7,000-island archipelago boasts plenty of tourist attractions.
You can explore white sand beaches, magnificent diving spots and the legacy of Spanish colonisation in Asia’s only Christian country. The rice paddies on Luzon Island, where the capital, Manila, is located, are a must. The sight of the mountainside terraces is worth the trip in a jeepney — jeeps left behind by the US Army after the Second World War that Filipinos have turned into colourful mini-buses.
Peru: take a break, go on a trek
Adventurous travellers will enjoy trekking the Andes in southwestern Peru, where Machu Picchu, a major pre-Columbian site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, is a must. Whether you hike or take a minivan, you won’t regret seeing this amazing sight!
Cuzco, the Incas’ ancient capital 3,400 metres above sea level, is another must. Lima, the capital of modern-day Peru, and the Miraflores Cliffs, where the city gives way to splendid views of the Costa Verde, with its beaches and romantic sunsets, are in the north. Peru has something for everyone!
Madagascar: explore the wonders of the Red Island
Madagascar, which lies off the coast of Mozambique, boasts idyllic beaches and many national parks, each one as beautiful as the next. Above all, the island is the only place in the world where you can see lemurs in the wild: all lemurs are endemic to Madagascar. Tourists fall in love with these wide-eyed animals!
The Avenue of the Baobabs is another good reason to make the trip: the majesty of these 30-metre-tall, 300-year-old trees commands respect and admiration. Madagascar is also the world’s only “Afro-Asian” island: it broke away from Africa, accounting for why the soil has the same red colour it does on the continent — but the largest of its eighteen ethnic groups, the Merina, originated in Asia. Passionate travellers and insatiable explorers will enjoy the diversity of the island-continent’s people, plants and wildlife.
ibis Antananarivo Ankorondrano
Lithuania: never thought of it? Now’s the time!
Lithuania, independent since May 1990 after Polish, German and Soviet rule, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. And yet the country, which joined the Euro Zone this year, is overflowing with attractions, starting with 2,800 lakes. But its real treasure is amber: precious conifer resin fossils also known asBaltic gold. You can travel across the country on the ancient amber road — and bring back amber treatments, foodstuffs and jewellery. But that’s not all.
The Courland Isthmus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a particularly beautiful, pleasant holiday spot famous for having hosted the French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre during the Soviet occupation. Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is also worth a look: its astonishingly well-preserved historic centre is entirely listed. Uzupis, a neighbourhood of artists and bohemians nicknamed “Little Montmartre”, is ideal for strolling. Its charming little wooden houses will take you back in time.
Did these destinations convince you?
NB: Article on hotel industry treds drafted by the Accor Group’s communication department.