Do you have time to Travel from Edmonton in October – Ask the experts: where to go in October – Lonely Planet

by LONELY PLANET· 02 September 2014

October has a shoulder season feel in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, which makes this month a favourite of travellers who prefer to have a place all to themselves.

The time is ripe for a road trip through the autumnal splendour of North America’s forests, and the heat of summer lingers in parts of the eastern Med far longer than the crowds.

The end of the dry season in Zambia means this is a prime time for a walking safari; it’s damp in Myanmar, but that ensures you’ll have the run of historic sites such as Bagan; meanwhile, South Korea’s second largest city, along with Uruguay’s oldest, and the always effervescent island of Bali make compelling cases for consideration with a range of festivals and celebrations.

Survey the options this October with Lonely Planet’s destination experts.

Bali, Indonesia

A surfer catches an evening wave off Bali. Image by Andrey Artykov / Vetta / Getty Images
A surfer catches an evening wave off Bali. Image by Andrey Artykov / Vetta / Getty Images
A surfer catches an evening wave off Bali. Image by Andrey Artykov / Vetta / Getty Images

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Some would argue there’s never a bad time to visit tropical Bali, but if you must play favourites, October is one of the better months. While technically the beginning of monsoon season, the rains don’t usually start this early, so you can enjoy balmy average temperatures of 27C, cheaper rooms and fewer crowds. Surfers can still catch the end of the big winter swells, and if you’re in a festive mood you’re sorted, as the annual anniversaries of the Bali bombings of 12 October, 2002, and 1 October, 2005, have been transformed into a time for celebration.

Conceived to heal the community and boost the economy, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (1-5 Oct – ubudwritersfestival.com) has become one of the world’s most respected literary fests; this year more than 150 writers from over 25 countries will attend. Then it’s down to the island’s premier party town from 7-12 Oct for the Kuta Karnival, which coincides conveniently with the Bali Food Festival. Kick back afterwards at the Balinale (Bali International Film Festival – balinale.com) from 12-18 Oct, or simply sit by the pool with an ice-cold Bintang.

Sarah Reid – Destination Editor for Southeast Asia. Follow her tweets @sarahtrvls.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Tourists on a walking safari in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. Image by John Warburton-Lee / AWL Images / Getty Images
Tourists on a walking safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Image by John Warburton-Lee / AWL Images / Getty Images
Tourists on a walking safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Image by John Warburton-Lee / AWL Images / Getty Images

The tail end of Zambia’s dry season is a great time to sink your teeth into the ultimate safari experience. Months of unbroken blue skies over South Luangwa National Park – one of Africa’s most wildlife-packed parks – have reduced water sources to a minimum, forcing great numbers of animals to congregate around the Luangwa River.

And there is no better way to observe the ensuing dramas along the dwindling ribbon of the river than on foot. Legendary guide Norman Carr pioneered walking safaris here in the 1950s, and South Luangwa is still renowned for them. Guides now spend years learning the intricacies of every species, large and small, to keep you safe and entertained. Daytime temperatures are at their peak (a degree or two above 30C), but evenings are pleasant.

Matt Phillips – Destination Editor for sub-Saharan Africa. Follow his tweets @Go2MattPhillips.

Virginia, USA

Autumn colours on Virginia's spectacular Skyline Drive. Image by Cameron Whitman / E+ / Getty Images
Autumn colours on Virginia’s spectacular Skyline Drive. Image by Cameron Whitman / E+ / Getty Images
Autumn colours on Virginia’s spectacular Skyline Drive. Image by Cameron Whitman / E+ / Getty Images

North America seems to go through a personality transplant in October, when its forests turn fierce shades of red and yellow. In Virginia, you can experience the splendour of fall on one of the nation’s most spectacular road trips – the Skyline Drive – which runs for 105 jaw-dropping miles along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The whole route only takes a few hours, but don’t miss out on a chance to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail or spot Whitetail deer and wild turkeys on a pony trek.

After all that fresh air, it’s time for some soul-warming mountain music. Virginia is at the heart of the bluegrass and country music region, and at the newly opened Birthplace of Country Music Museum (birthplaceofcountrymusic.org) in Bristol, you can visit the place where the likes of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers first recorded their ‘old-time’ music. Next stop, the music bars of Floyd and Galax, for a jig with the locals to the sound of frenetic fiddles and banjo-players. Just don’t forget your tap shoes.

Dora Whitaker – Destination Editor for Eastern USA. Follow her tweets @dorawhit.

Istanbul, Turkey

Al fresco dining beneath the Galata Tower, Istanbul. Image by Jon Arnold / AWL Images / Getty Images

Al fresco dining beneath the Galata Tower, Istanbul. Image by Jon Arnold / AWL Images / Getty Images
Al fresco dining beneath the Galata Tower, Istanbul. Image by Jon Arnold / AWL Images / Getty Images

The busy summer season of this perennially popular city has tailed off by October. You’ll still share top sights like the Topkapı Palace and Aya Sofya with other tourists, but queues are shorter and accommodation cheaper. But why not take advantage of the quiet to get to know modern Istanbul, exploring neighbourhoods beyond Sultanahmet?

Head to Beyoğlu, the city’s eating, drinking and entertainment hub, to socialise, see and be seen. For top people-watching, the route from Taksim Meydanı (Taksim Sq) along İstiklal Caddesi is a popular promenade for young İstanbullus, with plenty of eating and drinking options in the surrounding streets. A short walk away, Karaköy, and specifically the streets between the Galata Bridge and Tophane, is undergoing a rapid revitalisation, with hipster hangouts such as Karabatak and Unter at the forefront. Alternatively, Beyoğlu is also home to some of the city’s most adventurous art spaces, including the İstanbul Modern, SALT Beyoğlu and SALT Galata, which is worth visiting just for the fantastic views from its rooftop restaurant.

Jo Cooke – Destination Editor for Iberian Europe and Turkey. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaCooke1.

Bagan, Myanmar

Morning mist rising over the stupas of Bagan. Image by SEUX Paule / hemis.fr / Getty Images
Morning mist rising over the stupas of Bagan. Image by SEUX Paule / hemis.fr / Getty Images
Morning mist rising over the stupas of Bagan. Image by SEUX Paule / hemis.fr / Getty Images

Monsoon season in Myanmar (Burma) typically keeps the crowds at bay, but this is one of the best times to be in Bagan. October sees the end of the heaviest rains so, while you’re still likely to get damp, you’ll see more lush greenery and much less dust – perfect for exploring the 3000 plus Buddhist temples scattered across the Bagan plains.

Wander around the 9th-century city wall of Old Bagan, then venture into the surrounding areas by bicycle to marvel at the temples and remains – most dating from between the 11th and 13th centuries. Don’t miss Ananda Pahto and its shimmering 51m-high stupa pinnacle, or beautiful Shwezigon Paya, lit up as daylight fades. Relax on a boat trip down the Ayeyarwady River. Or, for the most unforgettable views without the legwork, take a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise.

Laura Crawford – Destination Editor for Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines. Follow her on Twitter @crawfplanet.

Malta

Malta's Blue Lagoon / Image by Kurt Paris / E+ / Getty Images
Malta’s Blue Lagoon / Image by Kurt Paris / E+ / Getty Images
Malta’s Blue Lagoon. Image by Kurt Paris / E+ / Getty Images

If you fear a winter chill this October, head for the sunny Mediterranean island of Malta, where temperatures average 24C, the crowds have melted away, and accommodation prices have started to fall. The mild weather is ideal for walking the cliff-top paths or climbing on the rocks below – Dingli Cliffs is a great spot for either. The sea is still warm and the island has excellent swimming beaches, including gently sloping Mellieħa Bay, and the lovely sandy Golden and Għajn Tuffieħa bays. Two top dive sites – the Blue Lagoon, a beautiful white-sand cove, and the Blue Hole, a dramatic limestone chimney – are also much quieter at this time of year.

If you’re after something cultural, the month is peppered with festivals. The capital Valletta stays up late for live music and performing arts on Notte Bianca and in Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu) three days of music, food and pageantry culminate in Birgu by Candlelight, when the town’s historic streets are lit up by the glow of thousands of candles.

Anna Tyler – Destination Editor for Southern Europe. Follow her tweets @go_AnnaT.

Busan, South Korea

Fireworks exploding above Busan's Gwangan Bridge. Image by JS`s favorite things / Moment / Getty Images
Fireworks exploding above Busan’s Gwangan Bridge. Image by JS`s favorite things / Moment / Getty Images
Fireworks exploding above Busan’s Gwangan Bridge. Image by JS`s favorite things / Moment / Getty Images

October is arguably the best month to visit South Korea’s second largest city, Busan. The highlight of the monthly calendar is the Busan Fireworks Festival, which features K-pop (Korean pop) concerts and fireworks set off over the harbour from Gwangan Bridge.

Also in October, Busan hosts its annual international film festival (biff.kr) – a great excuse to rub elbows with Korean film stars and hobnob with movie directors on Haeundae Beach, where the fest is held. Or eat yourself silly at the Jagalchi Festival, the country’s largest seafood festival. Chow down on Korean seafood dishes or just gawk at the unusual creatures for sale at the market.

The huge Busan Biennale (busanbiennale.org) arts festival also runs throughout the month, and while you’re here, make time for a day trip to Beomeosa Temple. Set in richly forested hills northwest of Busan, it looks spectacular amid the autumn colours.

Megan Eaves – Destination Editor for North Asia. Follow her tweets @megoizzy.

Colonia, Uruguay

The sun sets on Colonia del Sacramento's historic lighthouse / Image by David Sanger / The Image Bank / Getty Images
The sun sets on Colonia del Sacramento’s historic lighthouse / Image by David Sanger / The Image Bank / Getty Images
The sun sets on Colonia del Sacramento’s historic lighthouse. Image by David Sanger / The Image Bank / Getty Images

As the Southern Hemisphere enters spring, head to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Settled by the Portuguese in the late 1600s, Colonia is the country’s oldest city; life there moves at a slower pace compared to its neighbors Montevideo, further down the coast, and Buenos Aires, which is just a 45-minute ferry ride away.

For one weekend every October, Uruguay celebrates its cultural heritage on the Días del Patrimonio, granting free admission to churches, museums, historic homes, and other sites throughout the country. In Colonia, you can amble down the narrow cobblestone streets of Barrio Histórico, a Unesco World Heritage site, and admire the 17th- and 18th-century architecture. Pay visits to Portón de Campo, the city gate and wooden drawbridge, and Uruguay’s oldest church, Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento. Finish with a hike up the stairs to the top of Faro de Colonia del Sacramento, the historic lighthouse, and enjoy a spectacular view of the sunset.

If you’re after a beachfront getaway but not up to battling the crowds in Punta del Este, you’ll enjoy the low-key atmosphere of Colonia’s shores. The vast Río de la Plata prompts the same sensations as an ocean, and the limited number of services make for a more rugged, secluded experience.

MaSovaida Morgan – Destination Editor for South America. Follow her on Twitter @masovaida.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/ask-the-experts-where-to-go-in-october#ixzz3DaRGtviK

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