As September bids us a fond farewell, we have November just around the corner bringing its own unique promise to different parts of the world. For some, it is the gift of a bountiful harvest, of greens turning to swirls of reds and golds, of balmy days giving way to cool crisp air. For others, it is the very opposite.
November is a great off-peak month to travel, with many flight and hotel deals abound. Right before the December holiday season and after the crowds of summer tourists have abated, you are more likely to be able to enjoy a place in relative peace.
Got some free time on your hands and find yourself browsing through travel guides? Well, check out this list of 5 awesome places to travel to in November to boost your wanderlust!
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1. South Korea
The land of Kimchi gets a vibrant makeover in the fall and has one of the most stunning fall foliage in Asia. Nature lovers are in for a visual treat when they take a hike up the mountains, or stroll through the Seoul Forest.
You don’t even have to break a sweat to participate in this feast for the eyes. Just wander down the streets of Seoul, tour the palaces or cycle around Nami Island, the trees will magnanimously bestow their fiery beauty upon you.
Foodies will fall hard for the autumnal specialties here. Blue crabs, jumbo shrimps and Gizzard Shad (a type of fish) are all in season, flavourful and nutritious. For dessert, the vitamin-packed persimmons are abundant in the fall and are enjoyed ripe, dried or in a fruit punch called Sujeonghwa.
November is an exciting time to be in Seoul. On the first Friday of November to the third Sunday of November, the annual Seoul Lantern Festival is held along the Cheonggyecheon Stream, lighting up the night with a rainbow of colours.
When: 4 November – 20 November
Where: Cheonggyecheon Stream
Addicts of the fermented national dish Kimchi should make it a point to attend the Seoul Kimchi Festival where one can register to sign up for events such as kimchi making.
When: 4 November – 6 November
Where: Gwanghwamun Square, City Hall (Seoul Plaza) and Sejongno Park, Taepyeongno, Cheonggye Plaza
While Thailand does not have 4 seasons, November is notably cooler and the peak holiday crowds have not hit yet. Most people probably head to Thailand for the delicious food and amazing shopping. In November, however, Thailand shines a little brighter than usual during the festival of lights.
Celebrated on the evening of the full moon on the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar, Loi Krathong, which translates to “float a basket,” pays respects to the water spirits. During the festival, the waterways in Bangkok are illuminated with pinpoints of lights, dancing and flickering down the water. The Thais make a wish and float their krathongs made with banana leaves, candles and incense sticks, down the river or canal.
You can easily join in the fun and purchase a krathong from any roadside stall.
Chiang Mai celebrates the festival of lights slightly differently. Coinciding with Loi Krathong, the Yi Peng festival is celebrated there. Instead of floating lights down the water, candlelit sky lanterns are launched into the air, creating an enchanting fairytale spectacle.
What: Loi Krathong / Yi Peng
When: 14 November 2016 / 13 – 15 November 2016
Where: Nationwide / Chiang Mai
3. Tokyo, Japan
Pink cherry blossoms in spring, spiraling powder white snowflakes in winter, dazzling sunshine in summer and reddish gold foliage in autumn – Japan is beautiful through the seasons. Besides April (cherry blossom season), November is one of the best times to visit the land of the rising sun. The weather is lovely, the scenery splendid and the food irresistible (it’s snow-crab season!).
If you’re visiting Tokyo, don’t miss the Tori-No-Ichi, or Day of the Rooster, an annual traditional festival and fair held in shrines around Tokyo. The most famous fair is held at the Temple of Tori in Asakusa. It is held once every 12 days in November.
Experience the unique atmosphere of the fair and fill up on delicious Japanese street food as well. The streets come alive with open-air stalls selling lucky bamboo rakes, or kumade, decorated in items such as gold coins, silver and lucky cats. Kumades are seen as lucky charms for life and business, raking in good fortune and wealth for the owner.
What: Tori-No-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)
When: Nov 11 and Nov 23 2016
Thinking of leaving grey skies behind and spending your November someplace warmer? Australia is as good a place as any, with spring slowly making way for summer. Don’t bother wearing a belt, it’s Good Food Month in Australia, the country’s largest food festival. It is a national celebration of food where a host of food-related events take place.
Don’t miss the signature Night Noodle Market in Sydney and Melbourne where crowd-favourite restaurants take to the streets to form an Asian-style hawker night market. Ditch the wooly jumpers and pack in a good appetite!
What: Good Food Month
When: 1 – 30 Nov 2016
Where: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide
Savour the taste of la dolce vita (the sweet life) in Italy, the country who has bestowed the precious gift of its delectable cuisine upon the world. Apart from the usual staples of pasta, pizza and wine, bring your taste buds for a gastronomic adventure this November. Fall in Italy is the season of white truffle, olives and chestnuts.
Foodies visiting Italy in November should make it a point to visit a truffle fair in Northern Italy. The Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, or International Alba White Truffle Fair, is one of the biggest truffle fairs in Italy is held in Alba, the gourmet capital of the lush Langhe Valley. The aromatic heady scent of truffles will intoxicate you as you stroll around the fair, loading up with free samples of food and wine.
Truffles are expensive but bargains can be found at the fair with the right combination of a keen eye and patience.
When: 8 October – 27 November 2016, Saturdays and Sundays 9am – 8pm
Admission: 3 Euros
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