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Travel for 2011

Going places

BEFORE YOU DIE: Walk around the beautiful ruins of Mayan and see how cities were built before 950AD

Doomsday Tourism

A popular apocalypse theory is based on the Mayan calendar, which predicts that the world will end on December 21, 2012, which would be Mayan date 13. 0. 0. 0. 0. While doomsday theorists have started packing survival kits, tourists may want to pack their bags for Mexico to the heart of Maya territory. Fly into cheap and very crowded holiday hotspot Canc�n, then travel south through the Yucat�n peninsula. The Yucat�n was home to the Mayans, an extraordinarily advanced people who built city states in the middle of the jungle, devised glyphic writing, the calendar and understood the concept of zero. Yet by 950AD, its cities were abandoned and its vast temples swallowed by the jungle. No one knows why. But while leaving, the Mayans left mementoes of their achievements dotted over the peninsula. The greatest of these is Chichen Itza, which was even nominated as one of the new seven wonders of the world. If you want to avoid the hordes, head to places such as Tikal in nearby Guatemala (which George Lucas used as a location in the original Star Wars)

Getting there:

The best way is to fly in from the US. It is only a two-to four-hour flight from many southern US hubs, all of which send planeloads of sun-hungry revellers to soak up Mexico's charms and tequilalaced cocktails

Flower Power

A once-a-decade flower spectacle, a major dance festival, and the 25th anniversary of the world's leading art and antique fair put the Netherlands on the map in 2012. The country blooms during Floriade, the once-a-decade horticultural expo running from April to October 2012. Visitors can witness the splendour of more than a million tulips, bid on flowers at a simulated flower auction, or arrange a floral masterpiece. January has the Holland Dance Festival, a three-week series of more than 70 performances, 100 interactive workshops, and a massive dance parade. March 16 marks the opening of the 25th TEFAF art and antique fair. The event draws serious art buyers, but it's also great for non-collectors.

Getting there:

KLM and several other airlines have flights to Amsterdam

Getting Ship-shape

The most famous ship to sink is being used to refloat Belfast's flagging economy. The city plans to capitalise on the Titanic anniversary with a host of attractions - from Titanic tours to Titanic ale - 100 years after the liner sank with the loss of 1, 176 lives on its maiden crossing to New York on April 15, 1912.

The finishing touches are being put to the centrepiece, Titanic Belfast, overlooking a shipyard slipway where the liner and her sister ships the Olympic and the Britannic were launched. Nine interpretive galleries throughout its six floors will explore the sights and stories of the Titanic and the people of the city that built her. A live film feed of the liner will broadcast from her final resting place 3800 metres below the sea.

Getting there:

There are plenty of airlines which offer connections from the Middle East or fly to London and hop onto a low cost airline


Been there, done that but who can tire of London? The royal wedding made it one of the world's most talked about destinations this year, but it is about to get even hotter as it hosts the Olympics. The Olympics kick off on July 27 and run, jump, and pole-vault their way through August 12. While London is the hub of Olympic events, it's certainly not the only place to catch the fever. Soccer, sailing, mountain biking, and canoeing are among the events taking place beyond the capital.

Even before the Olympic is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Weekend (between June 2 and 5) marking her 60th year as monarch. Events include the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a procession of 1, 000 boats on June 3;and a formal carriage procession through London on June 5. And cities around England, as well as the world, will be celebrating Charles Dickens' 200th birthday. Events include festivals, traditional pantomimes and walking tours. Looking for more? There will be festivals, tours, performances and exhibitions revolving around the writer's life and work.

Getting there:

Easy peasy on a direct flight

Neighbour Calling

It's close but very few Indians venture there. But since the release of democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010, after almost 20 years in detention, Myanmar appears to be emerging as an attractive destination. What is sparking curiosity is the impending the release of Luc Besson's film The Lady, which stars Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi in a biopic of the politician's chequered life. Fly into Yangon and check out the city's best-known sight: the dazzling ancient temple of Shwedagon Paya, said to be built with 60 tons of gold. Take the train to Bagan from where the Orient-Express' Road to Mandalay cruise is the perfect introduction to Burma.

Getting there:

Thai Airways via Bangkok or Air Asia via Kuala Lumpur

Drink It In

South Africa has been at the top of luxury destinations to visit for years, but here a new twist to it: wine tours. While most people plan trips to Italy or France, few people consider South Africa for wine trips. In reality, South Africa has some of the greatest wineries in the world, and some of the most amazing resorts to sip wine under the night sky. Be prepared to spend as wine tours don't come cheap but along with the wine, you get delicious food and breath-taking scenery. And if you're lucky, a cheetah or two.

Getting there:

Etihad Airways offers connections to Johannesburg

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