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Ring in a relaxing 2019 with a stay at one of these zen destinations

The whole world comes together on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the past and the future. However, as more and more travelers look for unique experiences, they are also looking for alternative ways to ring in the new year. With 2019 just around the corner,, the global leader in connecting travelers with incredible places to stay, reveals some of the top travel destinations for those hoping to avoid the crowds and swap the hustle and bustle for a relaxing and low-key destination to ring in the New Year.

Big Sur, USA

Explore California’s spectacular Big Sur and experience one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. Big Sur is a nature lover’s heaven and is the perfect retreat to recharge your batteries in time for the New Year ahead. During your stay venture to McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall onto a scenic beach, Point Lobos, a scenic, oceanfront nature preserve and the beautiful Pfeiffer Beach.

Where to stay: Nestled in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is the charming Big Sur Lodge, the perfect retreat for you and your loved ones this New Year’s Eve, especially if in the mood to swap the NYE parties and fireworks for hiking, whale watching and smores around the campfire.

Panaji, India

Panaji is one of India’s most relaxed state capitals, and the perfect spot to effortlessly ease into 2019. Travelers flock to the city to experience a kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. Top sightseeing spots include the Mandovi River and an iconic whitewashed church that overlooks the main square, known as Praça da Igreja, but the city is also known for its art. Soak in all its fabulous culture with a relaxed, New Year’s Day walk – the best way to explore this magical city. According to travelers' top endorsements for Panaji include sightseeing, food and relaxation. Top nationalities that booked Panaji during the past year include American, British and German.

Where to stay: Homestay Casa Menezes is just five miles from Panaji. A family run business, this home away from home offers beautiful views of the garden and an onsite restaurant. Make the most of the sights by bike – Casa Menezes has a number available to hire.

Pontresina, Switzerland

If your New Year’s resolution is to improve your health and wellness, start 2019 off right in Pontresina, the perfect alpine retreat for New Year’s Eve. The mountain village in eastern Switzerland is surrounded by a forest of fragrant pine trees – a hiker’s paradise, but with so many other activities offered, such as skiing, fishing, ice skating, canoeing, mountain biking and horse riding, visitors will have plenty of options to recharge their batteries for the new year ahead. According to travelers, top endorsements for Pontresina include mountains, scenery and hiking. Top nationalities that booked Pontresina during the past year include Italian, Austrian and British.

Where to stay: The Aladin Appartments St. Moritz are just a couple of miles from Pontresina and offer cozy amenities that make it the perfect home away from home, not to mention balconies with breathtaking views. The apartments come with a fully-equipped kitchenette and separate living room, and several restaurants and Lake Moritz are just a short walk away.

Kyoto, Japan

If more of a culture vulture than party goer, Kyoto in Japan has a lot to offer during New Year. A time when families gather to feast and visit their local temples and shrines to pray for good fortune, New Year is the most important festival of the Japanese year. Enjoy a ‘o-sechi ryori,' special New Year’s Eve cuisine, before heading to a temple to perform ‘joya-no-kane’ – a sacred bell ringing ceremony. After ringing the bell at the local temple, join the Kyotoites by heading to a local shrine to perform ‘hatsu-mode’ – a very important first shrine visit of the New Year. According to travelers, top endorsements for Kyoto include temples, history and food.

Where to stay: The Besso Soso Kyoto holiday home boasts garden views and is situated just over a mile from the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kyoto International Manga Museum. Guests appreciate the separate living room, bathroom and kitchenette, as well as the location – it’s right in the heart of Kyoto.

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Find balance in the New Year by heading to the mystical sanctuary of Kandy, Sri Lanka. Home to famous and sacred Buddhist sites including the Temple of the Tooth shrine and the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue, learn all about the tradition that focuses on personal, spiritual development…the perfect, calming start to the New Year. According to travelers, top endorsements for Kandy include culture, nature and temples. Top nationalities that booked Kandy during the past year include Chinese, French and Dutch.

Where to stay: A five-star hotel located in the Ampitya neighborhood of Kandy The Golden Crown Hotel is set amongst lush paddy fields and just a 10 minute drive from the famous Temple of Tooth Relic. The hotel boasts a swimming pool, infinity pool bar, fitness center, three restaurants and spa.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

The northern city of Chiang Mai hosts some of the country’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations – one of the most notable being the spectacular candle-lit lantern ceremony. Every year, thousands of Thais and travelers alike gather to release paper lanterns into the sky to bring about good luck for the year ahead. While notably more relaxed than other party destinations in Thailand and across the world, there is plenty of live music and Thai dancing to celebrate the year ahead.

Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Chiang Mai at the beautiful 99 The Heritage Hotel. After a night of celebrating the New Year, wake up to a hearty continental breakfast and go for a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool.