The Best August Destinations
It’s that time of year where the weather hasn’t quite cooled down yet and it’s still warm enough to head to the music festivals in the UK before the rain and wind start up again, also known as pre-autumn. You may still have a week or two left to take leave from work and now starting to wonder where on Earth you can go to let some off steam.
Yet, August is when many places are crowded, filled with tourists and the prices seem to almost triple which leaves you feeling super frustrated and figuring you may as well have gone to Mexico instead. Well, why not? Here are my top 8 destinations to check out for this month:
1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
One of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef is renowned for being one of the great natural wonders of the world and for good reason too. The sheer amount of wild and marine life that can be seen here is incredible – from dwarf minke whales, manta rays, humpback whales, turtles, dolphins and any number of fish. It is also home to the world’s only known all-white humpback whale on their annual migration to Antarctica and is utterly breath-taking to witness.
August in Australia also brings beautiful blue skies, hot weather, and fantastic visibility for divers and snorkelers who head under the waves to explore the underwater world. For a change of scenery, hop in a small charter plane and witness the reefs grandness from above.
2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
If this isn’t on your bucket list, then you are missing out. Angkor Wat is one of those places you have to experience at least once in your lifetime, and with thousands of temples around the site, it will certainly fill a few days with adventure. The best time to visit is in the morning for sunrise when the colours are utterly spectacular and provide a magical element to what you are witnessing. It is also a lot cooler at this time of the day so you will enjoy the site a lot more comfortable, especially as there are fewer crowds too.
If you want the ultimate experience, then check out Reap_a_safari on Instagram for the best tour guide and to explore the temples in a retro Jeep. You will learn so much mythology and history you will be able to keep your friends back home entertained for hours. My favourite being how Rahu drinks the elixir of life but is decapitated, yet his head remains alive and so he eats the sun causing the eclipse.
3. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Instead of paying triple the price of ice cream in Spain, why not enjoy that same ice cream looking up at Christ the Redeemer while exploring Rio De Janeiro. August is technically Brazil's winter; however, it is still extremely warm where the temperature doesn’t drop below 24 Celsius and it is also the driest period. There is plenty do here, whether you want to chill out on a white sandy beach, party the night away in one of the many clubs, explore the local history or head to an off-season festival.
Make sure you head to Sugarloaf Mountain for some panoramic views, after reaching it via cable car. It rises 396 m over the Rio Harbour and contributes to the aesthetic of the city's spectacular skyline. It is named so because it resembles a Sugarloaf which is a hard-packed bunch of sugar that looks like a cone. Yummy!
4. Tulum, Mexico
With so many things to do in Tulum, it’s no wonder that this former sleepy fishing village has recently become of the most popular destinations on the planet. It is most famous for its incredible white sand beaches, but there are a ton of awesome places to visit beyond the shore. One of my favourites was the Tulum ruins which may not be the largest Mayan ruins in Mexico, but their spectacular location on a cliff overlooking the beach makes the Tulum ruins a marvellous sight to behold.
If ruins aren’t your thing, then maybe a visit to the lagoon for a lovely relaxing mud bath might be. This is one of the best-kept secrets in Tulum and is the Laguna de Kaan Luum, which sits just 9 kilometres south of Tulum town. It is a magical lagoon which hosts a huge underground spring in its centre, which imbues the lagoon’s water with a spectacular array of colours and has healing properties.
5. Vancouver, British Columbia
This is often mistaken for the provincial capital (which is Victoria) and is the best-known and most populous city in British Columbia. Vancouver is a physically beautiful city, surrounded by water and mountains. Its proximity to nature is highly appealing, especially with Vancouver Island only a short ferry ride away. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground, with three world-class mountains all within a 15-minute drive from downtown, hundreds of parks and campsites, thousands of hiking trails, one of the world’s longest seawalls and countless rivers and lakes to explore.
For those willing to jump across the pond it is well worth checking out the Sea-to-Sky highway which is rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. With waterfalls, jaw-dropping vistas, a stunning cultural centre and a suspension bridge along the way, you’ll want to pack a lunch, your camera, and gas up the rental car, because this journey is one you won’t want to miss.
6. Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi is the vibrant and lively hub of Vietnam and it is also one of the bright lights of cities in Asia. In addition to its gorgeous architecture, much of which dates from the colonial period, you will also find an engaging clutch of museums that will fill you in on all the history of this part of the country. You can also visit traditional Vietnamese monuments such as temples and pagodas, and if you like photography then you will be spoiled for choice here.
Hanoi is also known for its delicious food scene and you can linger over a bowl of noodles, or chew on a tasty sandwich like Banh Mi. In addition to the food, Hanoi still retains lovely traditional parts of the city like the Old Quarter, or you can stroll around pretty lakes and past lush parks. Be sure to check out a water puppet show for something rather unusual to see.
7. Langkawi, Malaysia
August is the perfect time to visit this beautiful city of Langkawi, as it is the end of the busy season and the start of the monsoon season making it super cheap and more often than not the ideal weather temperatures. Not to mention all the tourists are leaving in hordes leaving just the locals and you to explore its wonderful beaches and attractions.
Even though Langkawi is small, there is a huge amount to do here, and you will find some engaging museums, shopping outlets, and other spots like aquariums and craft villages. The island also has duty-free status, so if you want to go shopping and snap up a few bargains then this is the place to do it.
8. Koh Tao, Thailand
This island is one of the best places to visit in Thailand if you’re looking for a diving destination, but there’s much more going on here. Water sports, beach bumming, hiking, wild nightlife, and so much more await when you travel to Koh Tao. If you want to get your PADI certificate then this is the place as it is super cheap, safe and some of the best diving Thailand has to offer.
Luckily everything is fairly central so you haven’t got to go too far to find a restaurant, bar, club, hotel, hostel or supermarkets. I would highly recommend renting a bike to explore the rest of the island where you can find cliffs and rocks to jump into the sea, watch the sunset from the viewpoint or unleash your inner yogi.
Be sure to check out my website for more information and travel advice as well as my Twitter @TakeLeapTravel and Instagram @taketheleaptravel.
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