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What's hot right now: December's Top 10

From cycling in the Wadi Rum Desert and meeting locals that live and work on the rice terraces of Jiabang, to following the light-trail to the summit of Adam's Peak and walking through Spain's winding gorges, here are ten adventures to book this December.
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1. Cycle Saigon to Hanoi

Travelling through Vietnam is always a rewarding experience, but exploring by bicycle adds a new, more intimate dimension, bringing you closer to the landscapes and people. After the reward and satisfaction of cycling through the verdant hill-country and over the magnificent Hon Giao Pass, the views of the dramatic mountain scenery are breathtaking. The descent is spectacular: about 30km of virtually uninterrupted downhill, taking you from the cool, mist-swathed mountains to the sultry tropical heat in no time all.
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2. Treasures of Central India

Central India is a treasure trove of historical riches, juxtaposed against the glittering skyline of modern Mumbai. On this trip you’ll see both sides, from the Dharavi slums featured in Slumdog Millionaire to the jaw-dropping ruins of the Deccan Plateau. Here you’ll find some of India’s lesser-known – but no less important – archaeological gems, including the rocky and ethereal remnants of Hampi, the capital of the former Vijayanagar Empire.
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3. Walking in Spain – White Villages of Andalucía

Walking through Andalucía offers a privileged vantage point over its ancient trails and whitewashed Moorish villages. On this trip, you’ll find yourself immersed in the picturesque scenery, with few modern additions to mar the views. Emerge from the steep-sided El Chorro gorge to look down over the jewel-green landscape flanking the Guadalhorce River from the Caminito del Rey, the famous snaking path that clings to the limestone cliffs.
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4. Family Turkey Coastal Active Adventure

Spend cherished family time exploring the stunning coastline, sparkling sea and rich history of ancient Lycia. Canoe from the historic city of Xanthos to the beach at Patara, kayak over the sunken ruins of Kekova and explore the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, enjoying a delicious lunch with a local family.
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5. Cycle Jordan

Cycling through Jordan takes the breath away in more ways than one, but the journey through Wadi Rum is an unexpected highlight. Here the desert is far from desolate – the Mars-like landscape contrasts with the deep blue of the sky, and is littered with outcrops of sandstone in shades of pink, tawny orange and white. Amid this open space, nothing captures your attention more than a lone camel crossing your path by chance.
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6. Active Sri Lanka!

The clue is in the title, but this active holiday to Sri Lanka provides much more than just beach lazing – though there’s a good dose of this too. Test your legs on a spiritual overnight hike up to Adam’s Peak, joining scores of pilgrims along the candle-lit path to the top of what is believed to be the footprint of Buddha. Arriving at sunrise is a memorable experience; you’ll have time to sit and take it all in before heading back down.
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7. Family South Africa’s Garden Route and Safari

Spend an afternoon in the company of an experienced guide as you discover the coastline of Plettenberg Bay in the best possible way – by kayak. Starting at Central Beach you’ll head out to sea, gliding across the bay with stupendous views of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Keep your eyes peeled for Cape fur seals and bottlenose and humpback dolphins.
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8. Walking in Portugal – Eastern Algarve

After long, sunny days walking the scenic footpaths of the Eastern Algarve, you’ll be in need of a good meal. Savour the piquant flavours of the local dish, Cataplana, a deliciously aromatic seafood stew cooked in a copper clam-shaped pot. It’s perfect for refuelling after a day of walking, and best served with a glass of crisp white wine.
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9. The Mahouts Elephant Extension

Add this three-day extension onto our Thailand holidays for a chance to watch elephants in their natural habitat. Spend your days enraptured by these gentle giants – once held captive, they have now been returned to the remote forests of north-eastern Thailand, thanks to a UK charity supported by Explore. As well as elephant watching you can try fishing, bushcraft skills and foraging with the help of skilled mahouts.
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10. Kunming to Hong Kong and Buffalo God Festival

Travel overland through China, discovering the ethnic minority villages and ancient cities. As you walk through the 1,000-year-old rice terraces of Jiabang, stop to observe the residents working the land as they have for centuries, using hand tools and lumbering oxen. You will have the chance to stop at a village house to meet the local people, who wear colourful traditional dress just to sit outside and watch the world go by; with so few visitors, they welcome travellers with effusive warmth.
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