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Get away from grey skies during the month of November and discover a world of inspiring landscapes and cultural festivals.
Experience the exciting masquerades in vibrant Mexico, or the tropical vistas of Thailand during the Festival of Light. This is the month when you can witness the changing foliage on the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Tropical islands are transformed as shifting monsoons sweep across verdant rice terraces leaving landscapes watered and rainforests blushing with exotic blooms. Before December’s Festive Season, get out and get active in the sun and race for life among the marathon runners in New York. Or get the fitness buzz in the ultramodern metropolis, Dubai.
A time to explore, and a time to refresh your outlook, to wander through breath-taking scenery – November is the perfect escape.
Best holiday destinations in November
As the southwest monsoon ends so the northwest monsoon continues to offer changeable weather in Sri Lanka, particularly to the north of the country. This is an important time of rainfall for the tea plantations for which Sri Lanka is renowned. Therefore, a walking tour of the hill country of Nuwara Eliya in the south, though fascinating, might include the packing of a light waterproof during this time but it won’t hamper enjoyment levels. Also in the south, there’s plenty of opportunity for sunshine in mid-to-late November and lazy days on the sun lounger as average temperatures hover around 29°C. Explore the old Dutch-influenced city of Galle, and a few miles east of here wildlife spotting opportunities will take your breath away at Yala National Park. After your animal encounters discover the laidback resorts of Tangalle and Bentota located close by for combining adventure with rest and rejuvenation on palm-clad beaches in luxury resorts.
Summer arrives on this slender western strip of South America, bringing with it warmer climes that are best-suited for exploring those glaciers, mountain peaks and tundra landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park and Tierra del Fuego. The pleasant temperatures will also see an increase in visitor numbers – but Chile is much too big a country to be overly concerned with a few extra mini-buses on the road. Use the beautiful city of Valparaiso as your base and explore its steep funiculars and multi-coloured clifftop homes. Plus, with average temperatures of 25°C this is a very agreeable time of year to wander through this historic port city. Out in the countryside summer ushers in flowering blooms, and while you may experience a few overcast skies and chill winds late in the evening, the spectacular landscape will more than make up for any extra layers you may have to wear.
Love coffee? Then prepare to sip your favourite beverage amid the orchids, palms and stunning landscapes of the Pacific when you head to Hawaii for the Kona Coffee Festival held during November, celebrating all things artisanal coffee production in Hawaii. And while other islands might experience drops in temperature as winter creeps into northern climes, nestling near the equator, Hawaii basks in averages of +30°C so you’re pretty much guaranteed t-shirt weather. While the odd rain shower might come your way at this time of year, particularly if you find yourself on the rainier side of the island, you can visit at any particular time but generally speaking, if you’re seeking warm weather head to the Kohala Coast of Big Island. It’s also worth remembering, with the exception of Thanksgiving, November is one of the quietest months to visit these beautiful islands.
November marks the end of the wet season and welcomes in hotter drier conditions across the country. So a visit to the land of the ancient Khmer Empire is perfect: your travel plans will not be so easily disrupted by the downpours that can sometimes hamper the progress of cross-country tours. Many who visit Cambodia during November will want to wander through the temple complex of Angkor Wat; it’s much easier to navigate this UNESCO World Heritage site during the dry season. Combine this with rejuvenating beach stays at the coastal resorts of Sihanoukville Province and you’ll find the weather accommodating too. River cruises on the Mekong benefit from the passing wet season and visits to the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake are also perfect at this time of year. Combine with this cultural tours of Phnom Penh and take the opportunity to explore the city when temperatures are cooler to wander through the grounds of the Royal Palace and admire the beauty of the Silver Pagoda.
The end of the monsoon season sees temperatures average a sultry 32°C – this is possibly when Goa is at its best. Expect many invigorating hours of sunshine along the palm-clad shoreline of this idyllic Indian province. If you like to go swimming and snorkelling you’ll find water temperatures at a bath-like 29°C. Plus, as peak season gets underway, although numbers will steadily climb the further into November you travel, the marketplaces and street and beach vendors will gradually transform this coastal haven into a foodie’s paradise with many bars and cafes enjoying a thriving trade. Confirming this as a great time to visit Goa is Diwali – festival of light, during the early part of this month, marking the triumph of good over evil (when Lord Krishna conquered the demon Narkasur). Expect fireworks and parades and a coastline lit up in celebration. If this is your first taste of Goa – consider November.
November in the Big Apple begins with the New York Marathon, has Thanksgiving celebrations at its peak and closes with a Christmas tree illuminated for all to see. It is an activity-rich month to visit the world’s most iconic city. At the early onset of the month the weather makes for pleasant exploration of fascinating neighbourhoods, with daytime highs a moderate 12-15°C encouraging you to get out into the cities green spaces too, including Central Park to witness the last colours of autumn, or Battery Park to get that all-important view of the Statue of Liberty. If it gets a little too chilly during your adventure in the city, head inside and book tickets for the New York Comedy Festival which is held every year. Or wrap up and enjoy the festivities of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and watch those giant inflatables bob up and down Midtown. To catch an early glimpse of the Festive Season head over to Fifth Avenue to peek at the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Tiffany & Co for their official Christmas displays. If that doesn’t make you feel all rosy watch the Christmas tree being lit on the 28th at the Rockefeller Center.
There is no doubting that November is a fascinating and colourful time to visit Mexico. The hurricane season has dispersed, leaving stunning Los Cabos on the Pacific coast, its marina, spectacular arched-rock formations and romantic beaches and shoreline the perfect place host to the Los Cabos International Film Festival. On the Caribbean coast in Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya Jazz Fest takes place in late November, bringing together some of the world’s greatest talents of the musical genre. Being low season, prices are also better value than at other times of year. Don’t forget to get out into the countryside to celebrate Revolution Day with locals who mark the occasion with food and festivities. For the largest celebrations, it could be that Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) will leave a lasting impression on you. This is not Mexico’s version of Halloween, but their way of avoiding the second death (it’s a reminder for friends and families not to forget about them after their first death). An ancient Aztec tradition, we suggest visiting the smaller towns where people will often open their doors to you, and tell you fascinating stories about their departed.
Temperatures in Dubai during November hover around the late 20s and early 30°C mark. The bright sunshine and blue skies afford travellers from the UK a healthy dose of vitamin D. Pack your sun cream and relax poolside in one of Dubai’s stunning hotels, gazing out over the Persian Gulf. For those who prefer a more active holiday experience November is the month when Dubai encourages its citizens to keep fit, with 1500 free classes and a host of sporting events, including the XDubai Spartan Race, the Dubai Fitness Challenge and the vibrant Color Run. The city-wide keep fit initiative runs for 30 days and includes family classes. Designers, architects, creative studios, galleries and cultural institutions also arrive this month for Dubai Design week.
If you’re an admirer of autumn’s colourful display and have dreamt of experiencing the landscape of Japan then this should be your ideal opportunity to watch the leaves take their final bow amid the national parks of this enchanting country. The weather may not be especially warm but a well-lined jacket should suffice to take care of any chillier moments. We recommend cruising on Lake Ashi to witness Mount Fuji against a backdrop of clear blue skies and richly-forested valleys. Stay in Tokyo and witness autumns’ stunning foliage in the manicured gardens of Rikugien Metropolitan Park. If you plan to visit the northerly island of Hokkaido for wildlife-spotting then expect temperatures to fall below double digits rate, but this will only add to the enchanting nature of the scenery. The red-crowned cranes should be visible all year round – caught on camera rising from the lakes in the early morning mist. Kyoto is also full of natural treasures, a vision of temples and wooden castles set against a backdrop of red and gold foliage.
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