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Ten unusual trips to book in December

From ancient rice terraces in the Philippines to high mountain villages in the Caucasus, here are some unusual adventures to experience on your next trip.
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1. Antarctic Circle - Expedition

Enjoy crisp, cold days in the Southern Hemisphere: travelling through the Antarctic Circle, head south as far as the ice will allow to find yourself among the vast rookeries of chinstrap, Adélie and Gentoo penguins, with icebergs towering above you.
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2. Azerbaijan Caucasus Walking

Discover the wild landscapes and contemporary culture of Azerbaijan, on the easternmost edge of Europe. Discover what life is like for those in the Caucasus Mountains, stopping for lunch with a family in Xinaliq, the highest permanently inhabited village where they speak their own language and celebrate unique traditions. You may hear some fascinating tales, as many believe themselves to be the direct descendants of Noah.
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3. The Ivory Coast

Be among the first to venture to the Ivory Coast in West Africa, a once-isolated country now opening up to travellers again. It’s a chance to explore an ancient, spiritual land virtually untouched by western technology and culture: discover remote villages to a soundtrack of beating drums and local songs during mask ceremonies, when stilt dancers from the hill communities put on a mesmerising display.
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4. Cycle Bosnia and Montenegro

The peak of this cycling holiday through the Balkans comes on day four, when you’re spoilt with incredible scenery. After cycling through the scenic Drina Valley gorges, you’ll say farewell to Bosnia as you cross the border by bicycle into Montenegro. The superb landscapes continue here, as the road turns towards the Durmitor Massif en route to Piva Canyon; here you’ll spend a night in a wooden chalet overlooking the lake below.
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5. Cycle Lebanon

Lebanon’s magnificent scenery is perhaps surprising, from the Chouf Mountains to fertile winelands. An early start sees you rise with the dawn to watch the first golden rays of sunlight illuminate the Qadisha Valley – you’ll see for yourself exactly why the Maronite hermit monks chose this secluded spot to build the Monastery of Saint Antoine in the 4th century.
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6. Family Borneo Wildlife Adventure

While cruising the backwaters of the Kinabatangan River, work together as a team to scout out crocodiles warming themselves on the banks in the sun. It’s also the perfect time to spot the distinctive long-nosed proboscis monkey in the treetops, and a variety of birdlife along the fertile floodplains: you might even see egret, storm’s stork, oriental darter and oriole.
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7. Highlights of El Salvador

Discover the little-visited sights of El Salvador. Spend time exploring the minute, meandering villages of the Ruta de las Flores, where cobbled streets and colonial buildings provide distractions at every bend in the road. In Juayua the weekend food festival is packed with street food stalls: try barbecued meat and huge prawns from the grill or pupusas – the big parcels of corn dough are stuffed with a mixture of black beans, vegetables, meat and cheese and heated on a hot plate until melted. Delicious.
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8. Explore Jamaica

Get to know the ‘real’ Jamaica as the locals do with a trip to Rick’s Café. Set high on the cliffs above the endless, immaculate beaches of Negril, the west-facing institution of Jamaican nightlife affords the finest sunset views on the island. Sit back with a chilled Red Stripe or rum punch to watch the daredevil cliff jumpers who gather here to practice to the sound of chilled reggae beats.
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9. North Philippines Explorer

The vast amphitheatre of the Banaue rice terraces always elicits a gasp of awe as it comes into view – the steep 2,000-year-old paddies are as lush and green as in photographs and are protected by UNESCO for their cultural significance. The terraces were built by the Ifugao people and have been harvested for millenia; as you walk among the paddies you’ll get to view the complex and advanced engineering that is employed to irrigate the rice.
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10. NEW Family Iceland Yurt Adventure

As we approach the Solheimajokull glacier, the rugged wall of ice looms into view, in stark contrast to the black volcanic rock either side. After a full safety briefing, we head out onto the glacier's terminal moraine with a set of crampons and a ice axe to explore the dazzling landscape of ice sculptures, ridges and deep crevasses made by the glacial melt water. An experience the whole family will remember.
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