New Year’s Bucket List: Places to Visit in the First Half of 2020

Happy New Year, everyone!

As you might probably notice already, it’s my first post this year… And this time, I don’t wanna lose the momentum as I’ve collaborated with some fellow bloggers to serve you a list of places recommendations to visit this year.

Starting in this post, I’ll share with you the recommended places to visit in the first half of 2020. So, if you’re planning for a trip some time around January and June this year… It’s not too late for you to decide where you’re gonna go for your next trip.

So, what do we have here? Please check this out!

New Year's Bucket List: Places to Visit in the First Half of 2020 - The BeauTraveler

Traveling in the First Half of the Year

I don’t know about you, but I often travel in the first half of the year for some reason. First of all, my birthday is in February and I often merge my trip and turn it into a birthday trip. That’s exactly what I’m going to do this year as I’ll finally have my Indochina trip later this month.

Not to mention that there are so many kinds of celebration during this time of the year. Apart from New Year’s Eve, there are some other special days like Valentine’s day or Chinese New Year in the first half of the year.

Places to Visit in the First Half of 2020

So in this post, I’m collaborating with other fellow bloggers… I’ve listed the place recommendations according to each month.

Have you decided when you’re going to start your trip this year, but you’re not sure where to go? Well, don’t worry cause this list might give you some ideas about your next destination! 😉

January

Bagan (Myanmar)

Bagan, Myanmar (Source: Pexels)

Make sure Myanmar (Burma) is at the top of your travel list this January!

January is the perfect time to visit as the weather is dry but temperatures are still bearable. The days are warm but the nights are cool so bring layers, especially if you plan to visit The Ancient City of Bagan, which for many people is the highlight of Myanmar and the main reason they visit.

Bagan has over 2,000 beautiful temples that are over 800 years old, and at sunrise, during the cooler months many hot air balloons glide across the sky past the temples and pagodas: it’s pure magic.

As Myanmar only opened its doors to tourism in the last few years, it is South-East Asia’s least traveled country. And it feels different to the rest of South-East Asia: you won’t see scores of tourists and it feels like a completely untouched paradise.

Recommended by Catrina of 24 Hours Layover.

Cairo (Egypt)

The Great Pyramid of Giza (Source: Pexels)

I visited Cairo in January 2019 and it’s the best time to see Cairo – all 5,000 years of them. The weather is pleasant and the temperature is much cooler. Check out the Egyptian Museum, where you could have a preview of the ancient Egyptian treasure from statues, papyrus, Tutankhamen’s golden mask and mummies of pharaohs.

Then, venture out and take a walk around the Great Pyramid of Giza. They are the only Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that left standing. Together with the Sphinx, they look the best in January under a blue clear sky.

Don’t forget to get a taste of the city’s biggest Islamic monument at the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, you will also get the best panoramic view of Cairo’s skyline at the terrace. Check out “Exploring Cairo: 4-day Itinerary and City Walk” for an itinerary to explore the best of Cairo has to offer.

Recommended by Kenny of Knycx Journeying.

Mexican Coastline (Mexico)

Riviera Maya, Mexico (Source: Pxhere)

January is a prime time to visit Mexico, especially if you’re headed to the popular beach towns that dot both the Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit! The holiday crowds wane, each day is characterized by crisp, fresh mornings and hot, sunny afternoons, and it’s the best time to grab a superb deal on activities or hotels.

Having lived in Mexico through both the wet (June-November) and dry seasons (December-May) in 2018-2019, I can vouch for the temperate and tropical climate of a January trip to Mexico’s picturesque coastlines.

Besides, a getaway trip to Mexico – jumping in cenotes, lounging under palm trees, and chowing down on authentic tacos – seems like an unforgettable way to kickstart the New Year 2020!

Recommended by Brittany of Bucketlist Bri.

Rajashtan (India)

A trip to rural Rajashtan (Source: A Soul Window)

January is the best time to visit Rajasthan which is the most colorful and culturally vibrant state of India.

During January, you can enjoy local Kalbeliya dance over a bonfire and good food in the sand dunes of Jaisalmer or watch thousands of migratory demoiselle cranes congregate in a nondescript village called Khichan.

January is also the time when the food of Rajasthan tastes its best. Be it the spicy ‘Gatte Ki Sabzi’, Daal Bati Churma, Bajre ki roti or even a simple cup of tea, it tastes better in the cold month of January.

Some other charming places to visit in Rajasthan in January are Bundi, Chittorgarh, Ranthambore National Park, Tal Chappar Blackbuck Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh, Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner. After March it starts to get very hot in Rajasthan.

Recommended by Abhinav of A Soul Window.

Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi (Source: Pxhere)

While you can visit Abu Dhabi year-round, it is best to avoid the extremely hot and humid summer.

January is one of the best months to visit Abu Dhabi as the temperatures in the winter are more moderate making it more pleasant to walk around and enjoy any outdoor activities.

The must-see attraction in Abu Dhabi is the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is famous for its sparkling white marble exterior as well as its ornate and intricate interior including several large chandeliers and the largest hand-woven carpet in the world.

Other attractions worth-visiting in Abu Dhabi include its beaches, the Louvre Museum, the luxurious golden Emirates Palace Hotel, the ornate Presidential Palace and the Observation Deck at Etihad Towers that offers 360-degree views of the city.

Recommended by Matilda of The Travel Sisters.

Koh Lipe (Thailand)

Koh Lipe, Thailand (Source: Pxhere)

We spent over a year living in Thailand, so it’s definitely one of our favorite places to travel to. January is a wonderful time to visit during peak season, as the weather is incredible. Tons of sunshine and very little rain!

Since the country is made up of so many islands, we highly recommend island hopping to a few of your first picks of islands. There are tons to do and see in Thailand. We love renting a longtail boat for the day to take us from place to place. Our favorite island is Koh Lipe – it’s an absolute slice of paradise!

When you find yourself in the bustling cities of Thailand, make sure to ride a Tuk Tuk to see the attractions and eat the street food. Make sure to also experience a floating market and watch the sunset at a sky bar in Bangkok!

Recommended by Hannah and Adam of Getting Stamped.

February

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Credit: Boogie the Pug)

If you visit Rio de Janeiro during the month of February, you’ll experience the city at its best.

It’s summertime, and temperatures are high. In February, the city comes alive with activity and excitement in anticipation of Carnaval. There’s live music, cold beer, and perfect beach days, with Cariocas (locals) spending much of the day and night outside in the hot weather.

Be prepared for sunny beach days, great hikes (Rio is home to the largest metropolitan rainforest in the world!), and endless music and fun.

Recommended by Candy of Boogie the Pug.

Bhutan

Bhutan (Credit: Budget Travel Buff)

Bhutan is a small southeast Asian country surrounded by majestic Himalayan mountains. I visited this Carbon Negative country in the month of February in 2019 with three of my friends. Bhutan is also known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Being an Indian, it was easy for us to get into Bhutan without any visa. The country is blessed with beautiful Himalayan mountains, stunning landscapes, countless monasteries, lively rivers and many more. We had a total of 8 days trip and stayed in three major cities of Bhutan- Thimpu, Punakha and Paro.

We started our budget Bhutan trip by exploring Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan. Here you can see one of the largest seated Buddha statue(50 meters tall) in the world. The Buddha Point offers an amazing panoramic view of the entire Thimpu city. You can explore the various museums in Thimpu from where you can learn the cultural heritage of Bhutan.

You will find many Dzong in Bhutan that is basically administrative building made with stone. I will recommend visiting Punakha Dzong that is the second-largest and second oldest Dzong in Bhutan. Take some picture-postcard photos of Punakha Dzong along with Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers.

Our last destination was Paro which is one of the most scenic mountain cities in Asia. The mesmerizing landscapes and the lively Paro rivers make a perfect blend to cherish the beauty of Paro. We ended our Bhutan trip with the most popular Tiger’s Nest Monastery trek.

Recommended by Trijit of Budget Travel Buff.

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Spain)

Gran Canaria, Spain (Source: Pxhere)

The Canary Islands have a reputation for having the best weather year-round of anywhere on the planet. The combination of warm Atlantic breezes and the warm air coming from the northeast African coast contribute to perfect, pleasant weather especially in February.

When many parts of the world like Europe and the USA are encased in a freezer, the Canary Islands are warm and inviting.

These spectacular islands consist of inviting beaches and history. Some of the finest museums in Spain can be found here on the island, and you can find more Michelin restaurants than you thought possible.

This cluster of strategically important islands is where Christopher Columbus stopped on his way to the Americas, and it is still important today. A nightlife, like no other, warm beaches, culture and UNESCO World Heritage sites are also some of what you can expect on the islands.

Recommended by Talek of Travels with Talek.

Maui, Hawaii (USA)

Maui, Hawaii (Source: Pxhere)

I have lived on Maui for almost 10 years and I can attest that Maui is truly a paradise on Earth. People ask me all the time when the best time to visit the island is and my favorite month to be here is in February.

Every winter, 10,000 humpbacks migrate to the warm, tropical, shallow waters of Hawaii to give birth to their young and February is peak whale season!

Being able to see these majestic creatures up close is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.

Although February is one of the coldest months for Hawaii standards, the average temperature sits around 75°-80°F degrees which is still pretty warm. Winter months also mean big surf which is an extraordinary sight to see.

Watching the powerful ocean in her glory always has a way to re-center oneself and is part of Maui’s magic.

Recommended by Jess of I’m Jess Traveling.

March

The Himalayas (Nepal)

The Himalayas, Nepal (Source: Pxhere)

March is one of the most popular months to visit Nepal and for good reason. The weather is perfect for trekking at high altitudes in the Himalaya mountains.

Little rain, limited snow, and good visibility make it a wonderful time to embark on a scenic trek. Not to mention, it’s spring. Those who do visit Nepal in March will be treated to beautiful rhododendron forests that look like they came straight out of a fairytale.

In addition to the wonderful climate, the Holi festival typically falls in March. Holi is the popular Hindu festival of color, light, and love. You can join the festivities by purchasing colorful powder, a white t-shirt and water balloons.

Recommended by Michelle of Full Time Explorer.

Baja California (Mexico)

Baja California (Credit: Boundless Roads)

After 8 years of living in Mexico, I have finally managed to visit Baja California, which many people get confused about and attribute it to the US. In reality, it is another Mexican State that just happens to look like an extension of California in the US.

It’s quite an Americanized version of Mexico if I may say so, for the high number of North American expatriates that live there, but still, you can experience the Mexican feel.

I spent about 2 months in Baja California, living in La Paz but I have traveled around by car. It was March 2018 and although I didn’t plan it, it turned out to be the perfect time to be there. That’s when the whales travel by the pacific southern coast in the protected bays to have their babies and that’s exactly when you can see them so close and even pet them.

They are graceful gentle creatures despite their giant size so beautiful to watch also from a distance, but it’s very emotional to get that close. There are many tours organized in Baja California from December through April, but March is the best month and also the most expensive.

The local fishermen take you out in the bays and after a few minutes waiting the whales just come close by as if they wanted to show off their newly born. It’s one of the memory that I cherish the most among my trip and I will go back this year to see more.

The ideal way to visit is by renting a car and driving on your own directly to the few places from where the boat tours start. I explain more in my Baja California travel itinerary. Enjoy Baja!

Recommended by Isabella of Boundless Roads.

Dubai (UAE)

Dubai Miracle Garden (Credit: Dubai Travel Planner)

Dubai, the modern mega city sitting on the Arabian Gulf doesn’t really experience true seasons. However, if you had a narrow window you could describe as perfect spring weather, it’s March.

Day time temperatures significantly rise over the month, but it is still cool enough that you can enjoy both the best of the beaches and the plethora of outdoor activities the city has to offer.

It’s a superb time of year to head beyond the city on day trips to the desert dunes that surround Dubai, as well as the nearby mountains that are packed full of adventures from kayaking Hatta Dam in the south to the country’s tallest peak and world’s longest zip line at Jebel Jais in neighboring Emirate RAK.

Closer to the city, we love Dubai in March for outdoor cruising from Dubai Marina or along the Dubai Canal, and enjoying the outdoor theme Parks at Dubai Parks & Resorts.

Recommended by Keri of Dubai Travel Planner.

Valencia (Spain)

Valencia, Spain (Source: Pxhere)

The Spaniard sure knows how to throw a party, and one of their biggest festivals, Las Fallas, is an event you don’t want to miss. Taking place every year between March 15th and March 19th in the city of Valencia, it celebrates the beginning of spring along with Saint Joseph’s day.

It started out as a simple tradition of burning the pieces of wood that had been left at the end of the winter, yet now, everything is much more evolved. The entire city is filled with big, intricate, and colorful displays that get burnt on the last day of the festival.

That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg, as the festival also includes parades, illuminated streets, firework shows, and so much more.

Recommended by Or of My Path in the World.

April

Dead Sea and Red Sea Resorts (Jordan)

Dead Sea, Jordan (Source: Pxhere)

The mid-Spring weather of April is the perfect time for exploring Jordan. A country filled with history and outdoor adventures, and with very unique geography including the lowest point on earth.

April lets you enjoy the best of both the delights of the Dead Sea and Red Sea Resorts on the coast, as well as explore the ancient past of the country without the scorching desert heat.

Wadi Rum Desert is an outdoor adventure favorite that shines at its best during the spring with warm days and crisp evenings. April is also the perfect time to explore the Lost City of Petra and the ancient Roman city of Jerash. These sites involve a lot of walking, so they are best tackled before the peak heat of the Middle East summer.

Across the country, you should expect average day time highs around 25°C. The resort towns will be a little warmer around 29°C in April, whilst Amman in the north is always a couple of degrees cooler. Anyone who loves to mix exploration with relaxation will find April in Jordan the perfect combination.

Recommended by Keri of Family Travel Middle East.

Singapore

Singapore Flyer (Source: Pxhere)

It was in April 2014 when I traveled to Singapore for the first time. It’s a little too late for most Indonesians like me usually had the city-state in their first international travel destination, but hey… It’s better later than never, right?

Singapore is hot and sunny most of the time, but in April the weather is usually a bit chill than the rest of the year.

Some of you might be considered yourself as city strollers, and Singapore is perfect with its modernity and sophisticated architecture as well as way to travel. It’s clean and safe to travel around, and they have a lot of advanced transportation options that fit all the budgets.

If you’re getting bored with city life, then maybe have a little fun and go to Sentosa Island to go to places like the Universal Studio Singapore, Madame Tussauds or Spirit of Singapore to learn more about the history of this little country.

Recommended by me.

May

St. Lucia (The Caribbean)

St. Lucia in May (Credit: Darek and Gosia)

If you are planning holiday in May, you are a double winner! Typically, May is a perfect time to enjoy trip without summer crowds, and the weather is already great. In May 2019, we went to a stunning Caribbean island – St Lucia.

Its landscape is dominated by mountains, deep valleys and lush equatorial forests. St Lucia is also full of beautiful sandy beaches, surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean along with a rich offer of underwater coral life and marine fauna. A perfect place for all who love diving.

It is also worth visiting the active volcano crater, hot springs and banana plantations. Take a ride around the island to admire the tropical landscapes and end your trip at the mini-factory of the most popular local drink – rum. There is no better place to visit in May than St Lucia!

Recommended by Darek and Gosia.

Okinawa (Japan)

Okinawa, Japan (Source: Pxhere)

Okinawa is one of my all-time FAVORITE places in the entire world, and there’s a large chance that you’ve never even heard of it. So pull up a chair, and allow me to let you in on a little travel secret: Japan’s UNBEATABLE off-the-beaten-path destination.

Picture this: steaming bowls of ramen, powdery, white sand beaches, blankets of lush green palms, some of the clearest water in the world, and zero foreign tourists. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?

Okinawa is known for being the Hawai’i of Japan and with its perfect mix of a tropical dream world and Japanese culture, you can’t help but book a flight, then another, then another… At least that’s what I did in 2016, then again in 2018!

If you’re searching for a perfect place for a trip in May, then Okinawa is the TOP option. Visit this island in May and you’ll get perfect weather, cheap prices, and easy access to the other islands in the prefecture! (Psst! Miyako Island is on the list of clearest waters in the world!)

Recommended by Aaren of What Do You Sea Travel Blog.

Crete (Greece)

Loutro, a beautiful village on the southern coast of Crete. (Credit: The Tiny Book)

May is an ideal month to visit Crete. The biggest of the Greek islands is located in the southern portion of the Mediterranean and its enjoyable warm temperatures during most of the year. In May, it already feels like summer.

If you choose to visit Crete during May you will be able to avoid the crowds of the high season, the torrid temperatures of August and will certainly find better prices for accommodation, car rental, and dinners out.

Spring in Crete is all about color, the mountain fields are filled up with blossomed wildflowers and everything turns green. Renting a car and reaching the southern coast of the area is a great idea. The south of Crete is a rather off-the-beaten-track spot, home to some of the most stunning beaches of Greece, and ideal to escape from those parts of the world that are still battling the final cold days of winter.

But Crete is more than gorgeous shores and great weather. A visit to Crete is also about impressive archaeological sites, monasteries and museums. But that’s not all, Crete is the cradle of civilization but also of the Mediterranean diet, dishes are simple and delicious, abundant in healthy olive oil and seasonal produce.

Many years ago I visited the island for the first time and it was love at first sight. I kept coming back trying to discover new things to see and do every year. I fell so much in love with Crete that I made up my mind to move over. Now I live on Crete and I couldn’t be any happier.

To enjoy the pleasant spring weather, discover unique sights and culture, explore pristine beaches and taste the local cuisine, all that avoiding the touristic season, there’s no better idea than booking a trip to Crete in May!

Recommended by Gabi of The Tiny Book.

Cabo de Gata (Spain)

Cala de San Pedro castillo (Credit: Brainy Backpacker)

May is the perfect time to visit Cabo de Gata, a true hidden gem in the south of Spain where dry desert landscape meets rugged cliffs and hidden golden beaches. I usually go there every year at this time to take advantage before it gets crowded.

The weather is not yet too hot so you can go hiking along the coastline to hidden beaches you can only reach by foot or by boat. At the same time the more popular, long stunning beaches like Los Muertos beach, Monsul beach, and Los Genoveses beach will be pretty much empty and parking is still free.

If you like to experience one of the only beaches in Spain where you are actually “allowed” to camp, take the one-hour walk from Las Negras over to Cala de San Pedro.

Recommended by Linn of Brainy Backpackers.

June

Berlin (Germany)

Berlin, Germany (Source: Pexels)

Teeming with world-class museums, art galleries, creative outlets, trendy bars, turbulent history, and a vibrant nightlife, Berlin is a city celebrated for its freedom, creativity, and remarkable cultural achievements. Berlin is a sprawling city that has something for everyone. Especially if you visit for hotter weather and longer stretches of daylight.

Celebrate the beginning of summer in Berlin with the Fete de la Musique, listening to all styles of music all over Berlin, without spending a fortune. Each year on June 21, musicians, performers and a veritable horde of musicians play on the streets of Berlin in concerts that are free for everyone!

Berlin offers top-notch event venues, and most performances are free and do not require a ticket. The Fête de la Musique begins with a major show at the Theater an der Parkaue, in Friedrichshain. This is where you can enjoy various stages in the theatre, including a busking space outside, which is a reflection of the street music culture that’s made Berlin incredibly famous.

For all you science buffs out there, scientific institutions, laboratories, and libraries, showcase their achievements in early June so you can easily spend hours attending lectures and demonstrations. Berlin’s popular hotspots include the gleaming Alexanderplatz, Berliner Fernsehturm and the Brandenburg Gate.

In June, Berlin genuinely wakes up. The crowds start to get very large in the early summer as Berliners and tourists fill the lanes to appreciate the warmth while it keeps going. Daytime temperatures hover around 22ºC making Berlin a perfect city break. The city boasts plenty of outdoor space, and a sightseeing cruise on the Spree River is particularly pleasant on a warm afternoon or evening.

Recommended by Ivan of Mind The Travel.

Algarve (Portugal)

Algarve (Credit: CosmopoliClan)

No better month than June to enjoy some of Europe’s most renowned beach destinations without the crowds and the summer heat. Visiting the Portuguese Algarve in June allows you to explore more of this natural gem than just its golden beaches. Travel deeper by adding some outdoor activities to your itinerary.

In the late spring of 2019, I had a fabulous time in the Algarve. The mild temperatures really allowed me to see so much more of this scenic region than I would have during the peak summer season.

I got to kayak along the limestone cliffs and hidden caves such as the Algar de Benagil, hike on a carpet of colorful wildflowers, explore many of the Algarve’s cultural highlights and party with the locals during Portugal Day.

Visiting the Algarve in June guarantees that perfect blend of adventure, culture and relaxation. And thanks to the affordable accommodation rates, it’s the perfect time to add some glamour to your stay in the Algarve as well.

Recommended by Sarah of CosmopoliClan.

Anything that Caught Your Interest to Travel in the First Half of 2020?

Well, those are the list of destinations that you may want to consider in your travel for the first half of this year. Have you been to any of these places around the recommended month? Or, have you been there in a different time of the year?

Share your experience below, and feel free to recommend someplace that you’ve been in the comment section and cheerio! 😉


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