The 10 least Christmassy places on the world
Bah Humbug! you say? For all you Ebenezers out there, here are the 10 least Christmassy places on the planet Earth.
If the idea of Christmas fills you with dread, there are a number of countries around the world where December 25th is not even a public holiday. You can hop on a plane, and in a matter of hours, the horrors of present buying, TV specials and the Queen’s speech, can all be left behind.
In the true spirit of the festive season, we bring you the top ten anti-Christmas getaways. Read on >
Japan > Although you might see giant robotic Santas in Tokyo, Christmas is not traditionally celebrated in Japan. Instead, you can visit cities like Kyoto and Nara to sample traditional culture, head to Tokyo for cutting edge electronics or go to Hokkaido to sample some of the best powder snow in the world. And all this whilst enjoying the friendly and gracious hospitality of your Japanese hosts.
Saudi Arabia > During the last few years, the last great Kingdom in the world has begun to allow visitors, albeit with fairly strict provisos. Those furnished with a visa can marvel at Madain Saleh (Saudi Arabia’s Petra), or visit The Empty Quarter (the largest sea of sand in the world) and home to the Arabian oryx. The country also boasts some of the most pristine reefs in the world and is a scuba diver’s paradise.
Algeria > Algeria is a country with a rich history as well as natural beauty. The busy city of Algiers will be many people’s first ports of call, and a visit to the nearby ruins at Djemila, Tipasa and Timgad should be on the to-do list. Other worthwhile destinations include the holy town of Beni-Isguen and the town of Ouargla known as “the golden key to the desert” with its unique architecture.
Iran > Whilst the political situation in Iran makes it a more challenging place to visit, it remains a fascinating country with warm and friendly people. Visit the ancient ruin of Persepolis, or the cultured and sophisticated city of Shiraz, before heading to Esfahan, regarded as one of the finest Islamic cities in the world. Afterwards relax in the Alborz mountains and enjoy some skiing or walk the trails round the legendary Castles of the Assassins.
Thailand > From November to February is Thailand’s “cool” period when the humidity drops, and it makes it the perfect winter sun destination, and it also has the added bonus of being Christmas free. Choose your accommodation from world class resorts to more basic dwellings, whilst sampling traditional Thai food which is surely one of the favourites of anyone with an interest in international cuisine.
Nepal > Whilst snowy mountains might sound a bit too Christmassy for the true avoider of the season, the Himalayas are not just any mountains. Nepal has become a Mecca for mountaineers, trekkers and enthusiasts of the outdoors with world-class white-water rafting and kayaking as well as mountain biking in some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.
Turkey > Turkey represents an alluring destination for a winter getaway from the seasonal revelries of the West. The town of Istanbul, combines traditional architecture with a growing reputation as one of the hippest towns around. Apart from anything else, the thought of Christmas in Turkey offers a bewildering array of poultry based jokes which will keep you busy till New Year.
Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea > Not only does North Korea not celebrate Christmas, but they are so unfestive, that their borders are closed to all tourists from November 2009 to mid January 2010. As such, you cannot even go there, and enjoy the Day of the Promulgation of the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK on 27th December. Worth a mention though as one of the least festive places in the world, 365 days a year.
China > It is a tough task to summarise the attractions of the most populous country on earth in just four lines so a list seems appropriate: bicycles, rice, Great Wall, Terracotta Army, more bicycles, Beijing, pandas, Ming Dynasty, Mao Tse Tung, Communist things (the author accepts this is not a very good profile).
And finally… > With a large bank balance and a really serious case of anti-Christmasness, why not purchase your own private island and escape from everyone. A nice little number in the Carribean can be had for $25,000,000 whilst if you’re on a tighter budget, Musha Cay in the Bahamas is yours for just $37,500 per day.