Take an international trip this New Year’s

Sigiriya rock is a major tourist landmark in Sri Lanka
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If you are keen on making this New Year extra special, why not fly to a new country with friends, family or even solo. Take a pick from the following list of places listed by Lonely Planet among the best ones to travel in 2019.

Sri Lanka

Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food make Sri Lanka irresistible.

Sri Lanka is like a hidden gem. The country’s 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites where legendary temples boast beautiful details even as they shelter in caves or perch on prominent peaks. Safari tours of Sri Lanka’s pleasantly relaxed national parks encounter leopards, water buffaloes, all manner of birds and a passel of primates.

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Germany

Prepare for a roller-coaster ride of feasts, treats and temptations experiencing Germany’s soul-stirring scenery, spirit-lifting culture, big-city beauties, romantic palaces and half-timbered towns.

 

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There’s something undeniably artistic in the way Germany’s scenery unfolds. Get off the highway and into the great outdoors to soak up the epic landscapes that make each delicious, slow, winding mile so precious. You’ll encounter history in towns where streets were laid out long before Columbus set sail. It is also a gastro delight. Experiencing Germany through its food and drink will add a rich layer to your memories (and possibly to your belly!). Sample not only the famous beer but also world-class wines, most notably the noble Riesling.

Panama

From clear turquoise seas to the coffee farms and cloud forests of Chiriquí, Panama can be as chilled out or as thrilling as you wish.

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With a spate of deserted islands, chilled Caribbean vibes on one side and monster Pacific swells on the other, Panama sits poised to deliver the best of beach life. In Panama, nature is all about discovery. Explore the ruins of Spanish forts on the Caribbean coast or boat deep into indigenous territories in a dugout canoe. Adventure tourism means zipping through rainforest canopies, swimming alongside sea turtles or trekking to sublime cloud-forest vistas. One small tropical country with two long coasts makes for a pretty big playground.

Jordan

A safe haven in a region of conflict, Jordan has delighted visitors for centuries with its World Heritage Sites, friendly towns and inspiring desert landscapes.

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Jordan has a tradition of welcoming visitors. Petra, the ancient Nabataean city locked in the heart of Jordan’s sandstone escarpments, is the jewel in the crown of the country’s many antiquities. Take a ride through Wadi Rum at sunset, and it’s easy to see why TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was so drawn to this land of weathered sandstone and reddened dunes. Despite contending with the large numbers of tourists, rural life in particular has managed to keep continuity with the traditions of the past. While Jordan faces the challenges of modernisation and growing urbanisation, it remains one of the safest countries in which to gain an impression of the quintessential Middle East.

Indonesia

This beguiling nation of over 17,000 islands has massive potential for adventures. It’s hard to beat Indonesia for the sheer range of experiences on offer.

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Indonesia is a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, art and foods that it defies homogenisation. Venturing across Indonesia you’ll see a wonderfully dramatic landscape as diverse as anywhere on the planet. This intoxicating land offers some of the last great adventures on earth. Sitting in the open door of a train whizzing across Java, hanging on to the back of a scooter on Flores, rounding the mystifying corner of an ancient West Timor village or simply trekking through wilderness you’re sure no one has seen before. The great thing about adventure in Indonesia is that it happens when you least expect it.

Belarus

Long regarded by travellers as little more than a curiosity, Belarus has suddenly emerged as one of Europe’s ‘it’ destinations.

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Minsk is where you must arrive and depart to take advantage of a new visa regime. The capital has a seething nightlife, excellent museums and an impressive ensemble of Stalin-era architecture. Minsk has also become a hub for global summits and sporting events such as the 2019 European Games. Elsewhere, the western cities of Brest and Hrodna are Europeanised nooks, while around the Belarusian heartland you’ll turn up ancient castles and national parks where rare European bison roam.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is south Asia’s greenest jewel – a country braided with rivers, with a rich culture waiting to be explored by pioneering travellers.

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Bangladesh is braided together by more than 700 rivers, producing a deliciously lush landscape with more shades of green than you ever imagined. Travelling by boat is a way of life here, and provides a fabulous opportunity to see the country from a more unusual angle. The mangrove forests and tigers of the Sundarbans National Park are Bangladesh’s most famous attraction, but the country has a host of lesser-known attractions that are waiting to be discovered. Highlights include the Buddhist remains at Paharpur and the 15th-century mosques and mausoleums of Bagerhat, both of which are Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Maldives

Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime.

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Maldives is home to perhaps the best beaches in the world; they’re on almost every one of the country’s nearly 1200 islands and are so consistently perfect that it’s hard not to become blasé about them. Island hopping by public ferry, speedboat and domestic flights has opened up this incredible country to visitors on almost all budgets. A number of islands in Male and Ari atolls are now big centres for a booming guesthouse industry, with dozens of options on each. With some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, the clear waters of Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life.