Best places to go for a holiday in November

COUNTRIES

OMAN

Why you should go: The temperature is bearable, and Oman tugs at the imagination with a nuggety landscape and a male population that still regards a dagger in the waistband as an essential item of daily attire. One of the few Gulf States not soggy with oil wealth and blighted by shopping malls, Oman remains a traditional and welcoming Arab nation, and only recently opened to the wider world.

Don't miss: The inland city of Nizwa, a photogenic tangle of knotted alleys rising to a mud-walled fort surrounded by date palms. At its heart is a souk with an antiques market stuffed with copper plates, Bedouin chests and heirloom jewellery. A lively cattle fair takes place each Friday morning, the owners parading their goats and cows along a catwalk while the boisterous crowd discusses the finer points of hoof and horn like the audience at a fashion show. See experienceoman.om

See also: Twenty reasons to love Oman

SEYCHELLES

Why you should go: The natural ingredients of the Seychelles – sand like raw silk, teeming coral reefs, tropical greenery that sprouts and clings if you stand in one place for too long and a balmy climate – come topped off with a clutch of ultra-luxe resorts. Once tagged as five-star islands with three-star resorts, the Seychelles is now on the radar of the rich and gorgeous. November marks the transition between hot and cool weather.

Don't miss: The aquatic life. Step off just about any beach in these 115 islands and you're in an underwater wonderland surrounded by teeming marine life and a stunning topography of coral reefs. For more vigorous appetites there are several professional dive centres and the bottom depth of 15-30 metres offers outstanding diving, warm water and generally good visibility without extended decompression times. Expect calm seas in November. See seychelles.travel

See also: At ease in the lack of luxury

INDIA

The Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph located in Jodhpur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was used for the cremation of the royal family of Marwar. Jodhpur Rajasthan India.
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CREDIT: Shutterstock

The Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph in Jodhpur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was used for the cremation of the royal family of Marwar. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Temperatures throughout India are falling, the monsoon season is over and it's party time. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is one of the major events in India's calendar, scheduled from November 6-10. Don't hang around in Delhi, the winter air is noxious, but this is an ideal time to experience the desert state of Rajasthan, one of India's most colourful and romantic corners.

Don't miss: Pushkar Fair, which draws a human tide to this remote desert town to celebrate the return of Brahma, Lord of Creation, to the town's sacred lake. Pushkar also brings together some of the most photogenic elements of the Indian subcontinent – sacred cows, camels, temple monkeys, dreadlocked saddhus and the Rajasthani villagers themselves, whose everyday costume still lives up to their state's title – "Land of Kings". November 15-23. See incredibleindia.org

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See also: India for beginners: what you need to know

CAMBODIA

Why you should go: The wet season has tapered off in Cambodia yet the countryside is still fresh and green, humidity is bearable and you're ahead of the main tourist season. The most compelling reason to visit is Angkor Wat. Within the moats and walls of Angkor, "The City", a holy estate arose to satisfy the devotional urges of a metropolis that might have numbered several hundred thousand. Mix up the temple city with a couple of nights in Phnom Penh and some chill time on the coast.

Don't miss: Kep, a former French resort slowly returning to life. The bay at its feet is a flashing sheet of turquoise, the jungle steals into the town's back streets, many of the best beaches are occupied by ramshackle fishermen's huts and its charm is beyond question. The condos and resorts will come but for the moment it's bamboo huts on stilts or little guesthouses with – possibly – running water, although not necessarily hot running water. See tourismcambodia.com

NEPAL

SatSep29nepal Cho La Base Camp trek Nepal ; text by Andrew Bain
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*** REUSE PERMITTED ***Dudh Pokhari Tso or Gokyo lake, Gokyo village, Ngozumba glacier, Arakam tse peak and chola tse peak from Gokyo Ri - trek to Cho Oyu base camp, Khumbu valley, Sagarmatha national park, Nepal

Gokyo lake and Ngozumba glacier in Khumbu Valley, Sagarmatha national park, Nepal. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: November is prime-time for trekking in Nepal. Temperatures are mild, the monsoon is over, the views are crystal and the high passes are still snow free. Take a stroll to Annapurna Base Camp or go for wild on the Tsum Valley Trek, a traditional trade route between Nepal and Tibet, and one that has barely felt the imprint of trekking poles – or go all the way to the once-shuttered mini-kingdom of Mustang.

Don't miss: Bhaktapur, just east of Kathmandu, an intact medieval city and seat of power of the Malla dynasty, whose wealth created a city of sophistication and splendour. Its multi-roofed temples soar from their pedestals, as graceful as egrets leaping skyward. The city lost some of its architectural heritage in the 2015 earthquake but it remains the place to see some of Nepal's finest examples of decorative woodcarving, stonework and metalwork. See welcomenepal.com

CITIES

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Aerial photo of Cape Town South Africa, overlooking Table Mountain and Lions Head SunAug26CruiseArrive - GLOBAL CRUISE - Sally Macmillan CREDIT: Shutterstock

An aerial photo of Cape Town, South Africa, overlooking Table Mountain and Lions Head. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Cape Town's weather is glorious and you're ahead of the peak-season crowds. Take a sunset ride on the Table Mountain Arial Cableway then dine on the V&A Waterfront. Bo-Kaap was once home to Indonesian slaves imported by the Dutch East India Company, now one of the city's cool zones, while Woodstock is known for its artsy atmosphere and foodie haunts. Take a tour out to Robben Island, once used to detain political prisoners, the most famous of whom was Nelson Mandela.

Don't miss: The Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden (sanbi.org) is one of the world's botanical wonderlands. Set dramatically at the base of Table Mountain, the five-square-kilometre garden showcases some of the most extravagant examples of southern Africa's flora. Pick a cool time of day and pop into the Kirstenbosch Tea Room for scones, cake and cucumber sandwiches. The Summer Sunset concerts held here every Sunday kick off in November. See capetown.travel

See also: Twenty reasons to visit Cape Town

SANTIAGO, CHILE

Why you should go: Safe, lively and wallet friendly, Santiago is one South American gateway city well worth a stopover. Along with its distinguished heritage of Spanish colonial churches and neo-renaissance banks, Santiago brings an artsy vibrancy to the traveller's table. Bellavista is hipster Santiago, a colourful collage of boutiques, cool cafes, sassy bars and galleries of avant-garde artworks, and Barrio Lastarria is an emergent cool zone, home to some of the city's grandest public art galleries, with a sprinkling of boutique hotels.

Don't miss: A visit to nearby Valparaiso. Sprawled across a half-Colosseum of leaping hills, frisked by a sea breeze, Valparaiso is Chile's cultural cauldron, a hubble-bubble of creative energy and itchy spirits out to bend the rules. It feels like a Latino Berlin, with sunshine. Highlight is the spiralling streets of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion, furnished with a mad tangle of Frenchified manor houses, Swiss-style cottages, turreted mansions and creaking iron shanties with Romeo-and-Juliet balconies. See chile.travel

See also: Twenty reasons to visit Santiago

NELSON, NEW ZEALAND

Why you should go: Set deep in the cup of New Zealand's South Island's Tasman Bay, Nelson comes with the works – poise, style, cultivated tastes and seafood restaurants that hit all the right notes. The surroundings throw down a challenge to legs and lungs. Instead of icons, it has a treasury of lesser glories that don't quite make the headlines – rainforest, mountains, trout streams, a serene coastline and backwater wonders along its slowly winding roads.

Don't miss: Abel Tasman National Park, a pocket-sized paradise about an hour from Nelson, a series of sandy bays separated by forested granite headlands, rising steeply from the coast to over 1000 metres. Take a day walk along the Abel Tasman Track with speedboat transfers from Kaiteriteri, or paddle a sea kayak around the bays, beaches and headlands of this scalloped coast with seals and dolphins for company. See nelsontasman.nz

See also: Twenty things that will surprise first-time visitors to NZ

SHANGHAI, CHINA

*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** SunNov19covernew ;?Stopover Cities ; copy by Brian Johnston credit: Shutterstock Shanghai skyline with historical Waibaidu bridge, China

Shanghai skyline with historical Waibaidu bridge. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Autumn weather in Shanghai generally means cool, sunny and dry days and it's low season for tourism, which brings cheaper hotel prices. The dynamo of Chinese entrepreneurial capitalism, Shanghai comes straight from the future with architecture from sci-fi, yet the leafy streets of the former French concession endow it with a time-warped melancholy. This is also one of the world's great dining cities, and November is the time for eating crabs.

Don't miss: Virtually a suburb of Shanghai, Suzhou was made rich by its strategic position on the Grand Canal. Its wealthy merchant families built gardens with strategically placed rocks, hillocks and waterscapes that laid down the template for the Chinese garden. Some 19 gardens are open for public viewing, each with ponds and streams, rippling, cascading and reflecting, adding their own music and providing the garden's architects with opportunities for humpback bridges. See meet-in-shanghai.net

See also: A three-minute guide to Shanghai

BANGKOK, THAILAND

Bangkok, Thailand - Aug. 18, 2017: Shoppers visit Siam Paragon mall in Siam Square mall on in Bangkok, Thailand. With 300,000 m 2 of retail space Siam Paragon is one of the largest malls in the world. SunAug26Trav10 - TRAVELLER 10 Fashion cities with a difference - Brian Johnston CREDIT: Shutterstock

Shoppers visit Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok. Siam Paragon is one of the largest malls in the world. Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: It's the start of the cool season in Bangkok, the fierce humidity has loosened its grip, the rain tapers off and skies are typically clear and bright. Manic and dynamic at one moment, serene the next, Bangkok's shopping scene is beyond fantastic, its hotels are numbered among Asia's finest and rates are a steal and the city has some of the best dining scenes of any Asian city. If street food is your thing, you're in heaven.

Don't miss: Baan Silapin is an arts community located in a creaking teak house on a klong on the Thonburi side and a hidden gem. The creation of a prominent Bangkok-based artist, centrepiece of the house is a 600-year-old stone chedi, the backdrop for a puppet show that takes place daily except for Wednesdays at 2pm. This is also a great spot for souvenirs – masks, postcards and other paper products you won't find anywhere else – and several funky cafes have sprung up nearby. See tourismthailand.org

See also: Best destinations to visit in August

See also: Best places to visit in July

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See also: Best places to go in April

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