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CULTURAL

Looking for a sign? Let the Chinese zodiac choose your next holiday

The Chinese zodiac is intrinsically woven throughout Chinese culture, having existed for more than 2,000 years since the Qin dynasty. It is based on a 12 year cycle, with 12 Chinese zodiac animals used to represent the years, with meanings assigned to each animal.

It is said that the Buddha called upon these animals to bid him farewell before he left Earth, and the animals arrived in the order that is now the zodiac system.

According to the zodiac, the day you were born offers a window into your fortune, personality, career prospects, relationship compatibility, health, lifestyle and even travel.

Whether you find the zodiac to be a bit of fun, or use it seriously to gauge your life choices, it can be a great way to choose your next holiday destination.

To celebrate the Chinese New New Year (Year of the Pig) on 5 February 2019, we’ve chosen the best travel destinations for each zodiac sign, based on their common traits and characteristics.

Whether you’re a daring tiger, a fun-loving monkey, a free-roaming horse or a luxury-loving snake, we’ve got the ‘sign’ you’ve been waiting for to book your next holiday.

Year of the Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008)

Clever and quick-witted, rats are naturally inquisitive and highly adaptable. Their resourceful, innovative nature makes them well-suited to entrepreneurship, however rats also crave the same variety and energy in their holidays.

Where to go: Argentina

streets of buenos aires argentina

Rats are social and charming, with a great sense of humour, so we’re sending you to Argentina. You’ll adore the seductive capital of Buenos Aires, one of the top hot-list cities in the world, known for its stylish porteños (residents) and trendy barrios (neighbourhoods). Learn to dance the sensual tango or head to a stadium to watch a football game with some of the most passionate fans in the world.

You can branch out to Mendoza for sun-drenched wineries, head north to the jungle to see the mighty Iguazú Falls, then venture south to Patagonia, where you can trek some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. Argentina is non-stop action, with something different every day.

Alternative holiday: South Africa or Thailand

Equally as diverse and action-packed, we recommend lively Cape Town in South Africa, brimming with rich culture, exciting nightlife, epic scenery and adrenaline-pumping activities like swimming with sharks. Similarly, Bangkok in Thailand offers bright lights, bustling streets, high rise buildings and hidden alleyways filled with smiling locals and tasty food.

Year of the Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)

The ox is calm, resolute, persistent and independent. They are hard workers and prefer longer, slow travel, to spend time observing and reflecting. They can be stubborn and strong-willed by nature, but are also loyal and dependable, making them perfect for adventures off the beaten track.

Where to go: India

indian street artists

Outdoor action is a great way to spend some time in solitary contemplation, and India is filled with breathtaking landscapes, from dense forests to rocky peaks.

It’s also a great destination for a spiritual adventure; you can attend a colourful festival like Holi, visit sacred temples in the ancient holy city of Varanasi, embark on a silent retreat in Bangalore or spend time practising yoga by the beach in Goa.

Alternative holiday: Indonesia or Laos

Southeast Asia is the perfect destination for the quiet, diligent ox looking for a relaxing and unique holiday. You’ll find solace in the enchanting waterfalls of Luang Prabang in Laos, and the lush rice paddies and friendly locals of Bali in Indonesia.

Year of the Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)

 Those born in the year of the Tiger are known to be passionate, confident and resilient. You’re highly ambitious, a risk-taker and a natural leader. Tigers are independent yet makes friends easily, making them well-suited to unconventional holiday.

Where to go: Antarctica

traveller kayaking at sunrise near icebergs in antarctica

To awaken you’re daring nature, we’re sending you on the ultimate intrepid adventure - Antarctica, the last great unexplored wilderness. Tigers will revel in the chance to make the infamous Drake Passage crossing and see the remote icy plains of the Antarctica Peninsula.

You’ll also likely be excited at the thought of camping in the Antarctica wilderness, kayaking through the freezing waters with seals and penguins, or taking the icy polar plunge.

Alternative holiday: Chile or Argentina

If you can’t make it to Antarctica, head to Chile or Argentina. The spectacular landscapes of Patagonia at the southern tip of both countries will satiate your desire for action and adventure.

Go trekking through the Andes, see giant cracking glaciers, and kayak through dazzling lakes. If you do decide to venture to Antarctica, you can get there from Punta Arenas in Chile or Ushuaia in Argentina, the southernmost city in the world.

Year of the Rabbit (927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)

Those born in the year of the Rabbit are known to be gentle, compassionate, and intelligent. Rabbits may appear to be soft-spoken and sensitive, however their sincere, patient nature makes them wonderful travellers. Elegant and graceful, rabbits enjoy welcoming destinations with a rich tapestry of history, art and culture.

Where to go: Peru

machu picchu rising through the misty clouds

We think rabbits will adore the dynamic culture and history of Peru, from the vibrant cities of Lima, Arequipa and Cusco, to the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu, an incredible wonder of the world.

The plunging valley of Colca Canyon is a wonderful place to contemplate the beauty of the world as you watch for the flying condor, and you’ll pick up some gorgeous souvenirs at the colourful markets.

Alternative holiday: Vietnam or Myanmar

You can soak up more treasures in Vietnam, where you’ll find the enchanting Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural wonder of the world. Continue your journey of ancient relics to Bagan in Myanmar, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and an archaeological trove of beautiful temples.

Year of the Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)

As the only mystical creature in the Chinese zodiac, those born in the year of the Dragon are known to be strong, passionate and adventurous people. Intelligent and ambitious, dragons are energetic natural leaders and like to achieve big things.

Where to go: New Zealand

blue water and lush greenery of the bay of islands new zealand

Dragons need a holiday destination that will ignite their senses and cater to their romantic nature. We recommend New Zealand, the ultimate adrenaline destination, full of epic landscapes, dynamic culture and world-class food and wine.

You can drive from the north island to the south island, taking in the snow-capped mountains, brilliant blue lakes, magical forests, bubbling geysers, and golden beaches as you go.

Try ‘glamping’ at a luxury campsite in the gorgeous forest of Hokitika, get your heart pumping with bungy jumping, white water rafting or skydiving, and even see the southern lights blazing through the night sky. New Zealand is an otherworldly destination, perfect for the mystical dragon.

Alternative holiday: Namibia or Zambia

Dragons will relish the wild adventure of Zambia, where you can venture on a thrilling walking safari through the African bush or even canoe down the Zambezi river, floating past hippos and crocodiles.

You’ll also love Namibia, an ethereal country full of towering orange sand dunes, strange desert plants and vast wildlife reserves. You can camp under the stars, go dune-boarding down the Sossusvlei, or spot an elephant roaming beneath your tree-top camp in Caprivi.

Year of the Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)

Beautiful, wise and intuitive, snakes are often portrayed as cold creatures, but actually have a warm, graceful appeal. Those born in the year of the Snake are known for trusting their instincts and being introverted yet charming.

Where to go: Sri Lanka

sigiriya lion rock rising through the lush forest in sri lanka

Elegant snakes prefer the finer things in life, and they need a peaceful, luxurious place to unwind and reflect. We recommend Sri Lanka, a relatively under-the-radar destination where you’ll find plenty of luxurious retreats nestled in the lush jungle or by the pristine beaches.

You can trying surfing on the east coast, practice yoga by the beach, visit colourful temples and ancient sites, see the incredible wildlife, or simply relax in an opulent resort on the tranquil coastline of Tangalle.

Alternative: Thailand or Cambodia

Both renowned as luxurious beach destinations, Thailand and Cambodia serve up some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, along with the most lavish retreats.

Head to Phuket or Koh Samui in Thailand for luxurious resorts complete with private beaches and impeccable service. For the height of opulence, stay at Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia, a highly exclusive resort strewn across a gorgeous, remote island near Koh Rong.

Year of the Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)

Wild and spirited, horses are highly independent and love their freedom. Those born in the year of the Horse are known to be easygoing, warm and positive, making them quite popular and charming. They are hard workers and often deserve a break to stretch their legs and run free.

Where to go: Ecuador

snow-capped mountain overlooking farmlands in ecuador

Their zesty energy can make horses impatient, so we’re sending you to Ecuador, a fascinating country with plenty of wide open spaces and unspoiled landscapes. Your courageous nature and love for travelling means you will happily explore faraway lands such as the enchanting Galápagos Islands.

This volcanic archipelago has a diversity of animals and plants found nowhere else in the world, and inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. You can also roam through the Amazon, where you’ll find one of the world’s largest rivers, under the canopy of the vast rainforest.

Alternative holiday: Tanzania & Zanzibar

Tanzania is another great option for horses, with wide open plains and soaring valleys. Head to the Serengeti over June and July to witness the Great Migration, an incredible parade of wildebeest, zebra and other wildlife making their way from Tanzania to Kenya in search of greener pastures. You’ll feel right at home watching the wildebeest bounding and leaping through the plains.

This is also a great time to head to Zanzibar, and this island paradise is just a short flight from mainland Tanzania. Here, you can roam through the jungle, enjoy the bustling markets of Stone Town, explore the coral gardens of the sea, and soak up the cool ocean breeze on the white sandy shores.

Year of the Goat (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)

Gentle goats are compassionate and sweet-natured. They are sensitive, creative and intelligent, and as profound philosophers, they tend to deeply think things through. Goats are also social creatures and others are drawn to their kind-hearted nature.

Where to go: Kenya

giraffe walking through golden plains of Kenya with hot air balloons in the background

We recommend Kenya as the perfect destination for people born in the year of the goat. Your patience will reward you on safari, and you’ll likely spot all the iconic animals in the Masai Mara, from lions and elephants to leopards and giraffes.

Your compassionate character will also serve you well here, and you may feel inspired by the country's many fantastic social and conservation programs, including banning plastic bags, protecting elephant corridors and preserving the Samburu culture. Goats will adore getting out of the busy cities and into the peaceful safari lodges, where you can soak up the stunning landscapes and learn about the country.

Alternative holiday: Costa Rica

Another fitting destination is Costa Rica, a scenic playground of jungle, volcanoes and beaches. You’ll find diverse wildlife (think sloths and toucans), eco-friendly lodges, thriving natural scenery and a strong focus on sustainability throughout the country.  

The country abolished their military over 70 years ago, instead focusing on peaceful initiatives. The government uses the money saved from the former military budget to spend more on education and health, offering universal health care, and also funding social and environmental conservation programs. 

Year of the Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)

Fun-loving monkeys are the natural explorers of the zodiac. Their quick wit and curiosity attracts them to travel, while their confidence and sense of humour means they feel comfortable wherever they go. Known to be clever and playful, monkeys are high energy and know how to have a good time.

Where to go: Colombia

colourful buildings lining the cobblestone streets of colombia

For the child at heart, we recommend heading to Colombia. Monkeys will feel right at home with the friendly, passionate Colombians, and their energy will match the upbeat vibe of the country.

Everywhere you go, you’ll find music and dance, and you can even learn to salsa. From Cartagena to Medellin, monkeys will revel in the colourful culture and laidback lifestyle, not to mention the spectacular landscapes and outdoor adventure.

Alternative holiday: Spain or Portugal

The Spaniards know how to party, and monkeys will love the balmy nights in Spain, spent eating delicious tapas, drinking sangria, and enjoying the famed Flamenco music and dance.

You’ll be drawn to the buzzing streets of Barcelona and Madrid, and will adore the romantic atmosphere of Seville. Portugal has a similar vibe and Lisbon is famed for its stunning architecture, sunny beaches and its thumping nightlife.

Year of the Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)

The intelligent and hard-working rooster is the perfectionists of the zodiac. They are very observant and progressive thinkers, prone to deep analysis. Their self-assured nature means they are brave and adventurous, although they prefer to maintain efficiency when they travel.

Where to go: Japan

japanese temple overlooking a serene garden and pond in Japan

Just like the rooster, the Japanese are renowned for their hard-working nature and orderly society. Roosters will relish the immaculate train system, with high-speed trains running like clockwork all over the beautiful places of Japan. 

You’ll also enjoy the traditional Japanese way of life, from the ancient tea ceremonies, to the gorgeous gardens, impeccably designed for tranquility. You may like to take a dip in an onsen pool or stay in a traditional ryokan, where you can spend some time in peaceful contemplation.

Alternative holiday: Singapore

The slick efficiency of Singapore will delight the rooster, and you’ll be impressed with the sparkling streets and systematic nature of the country.

The delights of Singapore begin at the incredible Changi Airport (renowned as the best airport in the world), and you’ll find it a breeze to move around the city on the superb public transport. Head to the magical Gardens by the Bay or the botanical gardens, to reflect in a space of divine natural beauty.

Year of the Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)

The loveable dog is loyal and honest, and often puts others needs above their own. Sensitive, sweet and intelligent, those born in the year of the Dog are typically the justice seekers of the zodiac. They’re also playful and active and love getting out into the wild.

Where to go: Rwanda

silverback mountain gorilla in the jungle of Rwanda

For the ideal combination of philanthropy and outdoor adventure, we’re sending you to Rwanda on a mountain gorilla trek. As one of the top wildlife encounters in the world and an often life-changing experience, trekking through the lush mountains of Rwanda to see the rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is truly extraordinary.

Profits from your trekking permit go directly back into conservation initiatives and your visit benefits the local communities who rely on the tourism industry for income.

Besides the gorillas, Rwanda is full of natural wonders and is a land of staggering beauty. You can also head to the capital, Kigali, to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a moving commemoration and the chance to learn about the country’s tragic past.

Alternative holiday: Fiji

Warm, welcoming Fiji offers the perfect beach escape for the friendly dog. You’ll adore the friendly Fijians and can spend your time roaming the stunning islands and underwater worlds. There’s also plenty of opportunity to get involved with the dynamic culture, from sharing kava in a traditional ceremony, to teaching English in the villages.

Year of the Pig (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)

2019 is the Year of the Pig! Those born under this sign are known to be honest, kind, trustworthy and incredibly generous. They bring joy and optimism wherever they go, and are quite easygoing. Their harmonious, spiritual nature makes them feel at home almost anywhere.

Where to go: Australia

sunshine lighting up the orange rock of the twelve apostles in Vic

Those born in the year of the pig are typically very trusting, so we recommend heading to Australia, where you’ll be warmly welcomed. Pigs will fit right in with the friendly, laidback culture and their fortune will flourish in the ‘Lucky Country’.

Whether you head for the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the beaches of Western Australia, the trendy bar scene of Melbourne, or the wineries of South Australia, you’ll find joy and wonder in every corner.

Alternative holiday: Thailand

Known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, pigs will fit right in with the fun-loving Thais. We recommend heading to relaxed Chiang Mai or tranquil Chiang Rai in the north, where you’ll be surrounded by rolling mountains, lush jungle, dazzling temples and magical waterfalls. Be sure to get up early one morning to observe the call to alms, where Buddhist monks stream into the city to receive food and offer blessings to the locals.

If you've found the destination that suits you, get in touch with our Luxury Travel Specialists to chat about your ideas, or fill out our enquiry form with details on your dream holiday.

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