The 10 Best Beaches in Thailand

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Thailand’s a tropical paradise with breathtaking landscapes but the best vacation spots are surely the beautiful beaches. Scattered around the south of the country on the amazing islands, these waters come in 50 shades of blue. They never fail to be inviting and picturesque with sculpted cliffs and soft sandy shores. They’re also hosts to a jaw-dropping array of activities: from the legendary Full Moon parties to seaside massages, from jet skiing to surfing and sailing to rock climbing. These are the best beaches in Thailand: sit back and relax, there’s a stunning Thai beach for everyone.

Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach, Koh Phangan

thong nai pan noi beach
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Fine white sands lapped by crystalline blue waters, surrounded by lush greenery make the Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach one of the best beaches in Thailand. It’s got a secluded, hipster feel to it that makes those in the know seek it out.

Location

You’ll find this tropical beach on Koh Phangan, an island 12 kilometers from Koh Samui Island. To get here from Thongsala, the main port on the islet, it’s either a taxi or speedboat ride. The latter is the more expensive option but avoids the 45 minute drive over the bumpy, unpaved road.

Useful Information

There are enough bars and restaurants along the beach to shelter in. For those staying over: keeping with the hippie-atmosphere, there are cheap bungalow accommodation options and mid-range hotel resorts.

Maya Beach, Koh Phi Phi Leh

thailand maya bay islands snorkeling

Serene Maya Bay is dominated by the mossy cliffs towering above the shallow cerulean sea. It’s instantly recognisable as the setting for Hollywood film ‘The Beach’ which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. This beautiful beach is part of a national park and boasts unbelievable reefs for diving and snorkelling.

Location

Maya Bay is located on Koh Phi Phi Leh but most tourists come as part of a daytrip from the larger Koh Phi Phi Don. The Phi Phi Islands are easily accessible from Phuket; it’s about a 2 hour ferry ride.

Useful Information

Take advantage of all this tranquil Thai beach offers with a tour of the reefs or an overnight experience on the waters. Don’t forget that there’s a 200 Baht entrance fee for the beach as it’s part of a national park.

Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

phra nang beach
By kallerna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Phra Nang fits the image of a tropical beach paradise but there’s also a mystical aspect to this shoreline. The Phra Nang Cave is the setting of a shrine to the mythical Phra Nang: according to legend, she was either an Indian princess or a fisherman’s wife. Regardless of her origins, locals venerate her with by erecting phallic structures in the cave to appease and honour the goddess.

Location

Ao Nang is the main tourist base, located on the Railway Peninsula in Krabi province. Phra Nang Beach itself is accessible only by boat. From one of the nearby local beaches, it’s around 100 Baht and takes just 10 minutes.

Useful Information

The impressive rock formations encircling the beach also play host to rock climbers. Locals often show up on long boats, selling fresh fruit juices and Thai snacks for reasonable prices to help tourists keep cool on this Thai paradise.

Patong Beach, Phuket

patong beach
By jbremer57 [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Patong doesn’t disappoint when it comes to powdery sand and blue waters but its real gem is the endless catalogue of activities on Phuket’s busiest beach. The 3,5 km-long beach is host to vendors selling cool drinks and Thai meals, companies offering jet ski and parasailing equipment hire during the day and party goers spilling over from lively Bangla Road at night. The most popular beach in Thailand is a feel-good place for the easy-going traveller.

Location

Patong is situated on Phuket Island and is at its heart in Patong Town, one of the best places to travel in Thailand. This Thai vacation spot is a 1 hour 25 minute flight from Bangkok or a 12 hour journey by land over the causeway.

Useful Information

Recently, there have been a spat of scams at Patong Beach, generally involving jet ski hire. It’s important to check the equipment for damages before hiring so that you are not liable for them afterwards.

Donald Duck Bay, Similian Islands

donald duck bay similian island thailand

This blissful beach gets its name from the flattened rock formation on its far right side that resembles the cartoon character. These huge stones are iconic of the area and many visitors to the beach enjoy climbing up and around them. The shimmering pale waters are simply divine. This seaside cove is part of a national park; beneath the waves grow amazing coral reefs, home to diverse species.

Location

Donald Duck Bay can be found in the Similian Islands on the west coast of Thailand. The nearest mainland port to launch from is Thap Lamu Pier with journeys taking about 3 hours. It’s possible to reach the islands from Phuket by boat, too. Travel time is then between 45 minutes and 3 hours.

Useful Information

Accessing this stunning beach is dependent on ferries and the weather. Therefore, the islands are only available to tourists from around mid-October to mid-May.

Sailing around the Similians is becoming very popular, alongside diving and snorkelling.

Kata Beach

kata beach phuket
By ADwarf (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Kata Bay is another popular beach in Phuket, considered second to Patong. It’s large enough to be divided into two sections: Kata Centre and Kata South. Kata Centre is characterised by lively bars and fine dining day and night along the road, while Kata South is the playground for the hotel resorts and the busiest part of the actual beach. On the far south side, there are local restaurants: ignoring the unappealing plastic chairs and tables, they’re laid back places where you can keep your feet in the sand and taste Thai cuisine.

Location

Kata Bay is Phuket’s second beach. There are regular buses between Patong and Kata at cheap prices. For drivers, the road is unattractive with numerous potholes. It’s better to park halfway down and walk, though it is a hike back up.

Useful Information

Kata Bay is only good for swimming in high season; during low season it becomes rocky and dangerous, better for surfers than swimmers. While parasailing is offered on the beachfront, it’s not considered the safest location.

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

chaweng beach koh samui

Chaweng’s often crowded and for good reason: 6km of palm-fringed soft sand give way to the powder blue ocean. There’s a fun, resort feel to the entire beach and everything you could ever need is in easy reach. The beachfront is dotted with hotels and restaurants, while hawkers selling drinks and snacks wander the shoreline. Although it’s big, the beautiful beach is more or less the same across the board. Just hire a sunbed and lay back for some of the best fun in the sun in Thailand.

Location

This Thai beach is located in Chaweng Town, the main hub of Koh Samui. Koh Samui is a 1 hour and 10 minute flight from Bangkok. Although there is an option of travelling overland to Chumphon and then sailing by catamaran to Koh Samui, it’s time-consuming, taking around 11 hours, and often uncomfortable if using public transport.

Useful Information

It gets hot on Chaweng Beach and there’s little shade so hire an umbrella and bring plenty of sunblock. Happily, there are also pedicures, hair braiding and henna tattoos to distract you.

Lamai Beach, Koh Samui

lamai beach koh samui

Lamai is Chaweng’s quieter neighbour but every bit as beautiful and an even more tropical beach. It’s less crowded and more tranquil but there’s no shortage of options when it comes to activities or mealtimes. The water is shallow and calm, making it ideal for children or floating. With palm trees leaning over the pristine shore and rock pools on one end, Lamai looks like a postcard. Without a doubt, this is Koh Samui’s best beach.

Location

Lamai is in Koh Samui which is accessible by plane or boat from the Thai mainland. It’s a 30 minute car drive from Chaweng Town.

Useful Information

The vendors on Lamai Beach are helpful and friendly, without being overly persistent. There are always ice creams, fruit salads, fresh smoothies and grilled sweet corn up for sale, as well as souvenir items like jewellery and sarongs.

Lamai used to be a backpacker’s haven but in the last few decades it’s become decidedly swankier with boutique hotels and pricey resorts.

White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

white sands beach thailand

The name ‘White Sand’ was never better given to a beach. The sand here really is a pure, snowy white and the waters are an attractive hue of tropical blue. Scenery aside, there’s not much to do in the water besides swimming: no jetskiing or parasailing, White Sand is for the tranquil traveller.

Unlike most Thai beaches, White Sand isn’t known for hosting food-selling vendors. Instead, the hawkers sell accessories and other knick-knacks. You’re better off getting off your sunbed and heading to one of the bars or restaurants along the street, though there are some beachside set-ups. The fresh seafood completes the beachside experience.

Location

White Sand is on Koh Chang, the third-largest island in Thailand. Getting there, it’s a 6 hour drive away from Bangkok, including time on a car-ferry, and there are regular buses that way.

Useful Information

Deck chairs can be hired from the resorts on the beach. Along the beach are huts where local women offer actual Thai massages for around 200 or 200 Baht.

Bare in mind, that Koh Chang isn’t as developed as Phuket or Koh Samui so don’t expect as convenient facilities on the islet. There’s a mixture of accommodation choices, though the resorts remain old-fashioned in comparison to those in other parts of Thailand

Paradise Beach, Phuket

paradise beach phuket
Roberto.Trombetta full moon party via photopin (license)

Just beside Patong Beach, Paradise Beach is smaller and more exclusive. It’s shaded by large palm trees and travellers enjoy swinging off the trees into the cool waters. The coral reef off the shore is good for a spot of snorkeling or scuba diving.

Paradise Beach Club also offers kayaking and bodyboarding but it’s best known for hosting the world famous Full Moon Parties. Once a month, famous international and local DJs congregate with guests under the full moon, transforming the beautiful Thai beach into a club. There are also Half Moon and other parties that occur regularly on Paradise Beach.

Location

The secluded cove is on Phuket Island, about five kilometers from Patong Beach by road. There is a car park but the road is winding and steep.

Useful Information

Paradise Beach only opens to the public from 9:30 as visitors enter through the beach club. Entrance is charged at 100 Baht.

While there are no vendors wandering the beach, there are a good selection of restaurants, bars and shops selling food and souvenirs. Drinks can often be ordered directly from your sunbed.

In Conclusion

From partying Patong to tranquil White Sand, Thailand’s beaches offer something for every kind of traveller. They’re laid back and fabulous with a variety of watersports and seasonal events, as well as fresh cuisine and activities like massages and tattoos. And if you’re looking for a tropical setting, the teal waters of the Andaman and South China Seas, the spectacular rock formations and the lush vegetation won’t disappoint. The best beaches in Thailand are fun, picturesque and absolutely unmissable.

Ski Slope Ratings

Ski run ratings are used across the globe to denominate the difficulty of a particular run. Rating systems are different in different parts of the world, but they do represent the same basic idea.

The one thing to keep in mind though, runs are rated in relative to other runs or paths within the same resort, meaning a Beginner run at one resort, won’t necessarily be a Beginners run at another resort.

The ratings don’t vary so much that a Beginner run will be qualified as an Expert run somewhere else, but it is important to keep in mind that it isn’t a standardised system.

ski slope ratings

Although the gradient of the slope is the primary factor in determining difficulty, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Trails are rated off of their most difficult part, meaning a slope can be grade as Black, even if there is only a small section that is difficult.

Ski resorts will rank their trails based off of their own attributes, rating trails compared only to the other trails at the resort. The width of the trail, the sharpest turns, terrain roughness, and how often the resort can groom the trail, all plays a role in the difficulty rankings.

North America, Australia and New Zealand

north america australia new zealand ski slope ratings

These countries use a color and shape rating system. Ski trail difficulties are measured by percent slope, and not degree angle.

Beginner slopes : 6% to 25%
Intermediate slopes : 25% to 40%
Expert slopes : 40% and up

Green Circle

Usually the easiest slopes on the mountain, runs are very wide and well groomed, making them very smooth and great for kids and beginners.

Blue Square

Intermediate slopes, these slopes usually make up the majority of the slopes at a resort.

Black Diamond

Black Diamond slopes are usually the most difficult slopes on the mountain. They are usually the steepest and are also not as groomed as the intermediate and beginner slopes.

Double Black Diamond

These slopes are even more dangerous than the black diamond paths and are usually comprised of narrow paths, many obstacles, and are most definitely for experienced skiers only.

Variations

Many resorts and parks will have variations, usually meaning a trail won’t fit into one particular category. These variations can indicate a run that is a mixture between beginner or intermediate, or expert with more obstacles than usual.

Terrain Parks

A terrain park is a run that will have ramps, half-pipes, rails, and many other things for skiers and snowboarders to do tricks are extreme skiing and boarding, they are indicated with a orange rectangle with rounded corners.

European POU

european ski slope ratings matterhorn switzerland

In Europe, slopes are classified using a color coded system. Different countries have variations of difficulty, but Blue for easy, Red for intermediate, and Black for expert, or all used everywhere.

Slopes marked Green, Blue or Red are runs that are groomed at all resorts and ski areas. Black slopes are groomed in Switzerland, Austria and Italy. In France, not all Black slopes are groomed.

Green

(Spain, Scandinavia, France, Poland and the U.K). These slopes are easy slopes and are for beginners and younger skiers and snowboarders. Ideal for learning, as they are wider and well groomed.

Blue

Blue slopes are easy slopes. These slopes won’t have a gradient of more than 25%. Blue slopes in Europe are very similar to the Green slopes in the U.S, Australia and New Zealand.

Red

Red slopes in Europe are intermediate slopes, and are similar to the blue square in North America. Steeper, and sometimes narrower than a Blue Square run, these runs are usually groomed, but sometimes aren’t completely groomed depending on the path of the run.

Black

Black slopes are expert slopes, which are the equivalent to the Black Diamond or Double Black Diamond slopes in the United States. Like mentioned above, in Austria, Italy and Switzerland, these runs are groomed.

In France, some of the Black slopes are groomed and some aren’t. The variation between Black slopes is sometimes pretty large as they are sometimes slightly steeper than red slopes, or much steeper than red slopes.

Double Black or Triple Black

In Scandinavia, these are very or extremely difficult runs.

Orange

In Austria, Switzerland, and a few other areas, this color indicates an extremely difficult slope.

Yellow, Orange Square, Red Diamond

Recently, many resorts reclassified Black routes to Yellow routes. This signifies and ungroomed and unpatrolled route that is usually off-piste but in a marked skiing area.

Japan

japanese ski slope ratings

Japan uses a color coded system much like the one used in Europe. Some resorts use the same systems as either the United States or Europe, this can sometimes be very confusing. If you are ever in doubt, the the resort map legend.

Green

These slopes are usually found at the bottom of the mountain are are for beginners and kids, very useful when learning to ski or snowboard. They can also be found of switchback paths.

Red

Red slopes are intermediate slopes. These slopes make up the vast majority of Japanese skiing resorts, usually between 40%-60%, depending on resort to resort classification.

Black

Black slopes are expert slopes and are almost always the steepest. They aren’t always as steep as equivalent Black slopes in the United States, New Zealand, Australia or Europe, but their difficulty is dependent on the target audience.

These ratings are designed to ensure the safety and well-being of the skiers and snowboarders who use the slopes. It is also a way to keep track of your own abilities. If you are wanting to up the level of slope you want to run, taking a look at it and all of its intricacies will ensure you keep yourself out of danger.

Romantic Ski Resorts

Snowy landscapes tend to lead to hot baths, fireside chats and intimate dinners. Is it any wonder then that a ski break is the perfect romantic vacation? With a host of daytime slope adventures and après-ski options, and surrounded by stunning scenery, these romantic ski resorts redefine romance.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

cortina romantic ski resort
photo credit: tomkellyphoto Snow Pillows via photopin (license)

Nestled in the Italian Dolomites, Cortina is home to some spectacular scenery. Couples love the sunset here which turns the white snows into romantic shades of pink and orange, perfect for an evening aperitif. Cortina’s slopes offer dramatic encounters with craggy mountain formations.

Once you reach the bottom, there’s a horse-drawn cart to whisk you up to the resort for a relaxing massage treatment or one of the gourmet Italian meals. It’s easy to see why Cortina tops the list for skiing couples.

St Moritz, Switzerland

st moritz switzerland

St Moritz sets the standards for a romantic ski getaway pretty high. Its plush chalets are luxurious settings for steamy nights in. Beyond the door, a world awaits. There are spas with original St Moritz springwater, numerous art galleries, drives in classic cars across the mountain passes, a casino, and ice skating on the black ice. But no worries, the slopes are still the crown jewels.

3. Morzine, France

morzine france ski resort

A dream for the less serious skiers, Morzine offers ice-diving beneath the frozen lake, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice skiing, nature tours and shopping. The town itself is loved for its friendliness and charm. Not to mention Morzine is a sojourn in the land of love- have you heard a French accent? It’s as romantic as a candle-lit dinner.

Zermatt, Switzerland

zermatt matterhorn switzerland

Zermatt’s iconic for the Matterhorn, the snow-capped peak that towers over the area, but that’s not the only reason couples come here. The village oozes typical Alpine charm with wooden chalets and stores teeming with chocolatey delights.

For the days, there are lots of sports on offer besides skiing, although the off piste skiing is world-renowned. Chocolate, cosy chalets and wonderful views, as well as skiing…Zermatt is always going to be a favourite.

Lech, Austria

lech river mountain switzerland

There are two unmissable romantic experiences at Lech. A wander by the river at sunset is as atmospheric as it gets and when the pinks skies fade into midnight blue, it’s time for stargazing.

The ski runs are best for intermediate skiers, although it does cater to those going at an easy pace. Back at the resort, fine dining is the name of the game at restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Gourmethotel Brunnenhof.

Val d’Isere, France

Val d isere ski resort
chisloup [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pistes and excellent après-ski options make Val d’Isere a romantic ski holiday for couples. There’s 300 km of ski runs and located 1850 m above sea level, snow is pretty much guaranteed and the season lasts long here.

Plenty of bars and music keep the night atmosphere lively, while the upscale shops give the centre an exclusive feel. Val d’Isere isn’t for those on a budget but those prepared to spend a bit more and who have ski experience will find this resort the perfect vacation.

Courmayeur, Italy

courmayeur ski resort italy

Located on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is a stylish resort. It has a superb gourmet scene with a Michelin star chef preparing fresh meals daily in season. The snow-capped wooden chalets create an aura of village charm.

The skiing is best for intermediates and the off piste skiing is particularly good. As for the views: they’re the stuff of romantic proposals.

Wengen, Switzerland

wengen ski resort

A car-free Alpine village, Wengen seems trapped in time. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The Jungfrau area is incredibly scenic and Wengen is located at its centre. The resort is reached only by cog-railway, a romantic start to a perfect romantic ski getaway. The ski runs are vast and gentle, perfect for an easy break with your partner.

Four Seasons Resort Whistler, Canada

Four Seasons Whistler Ski Resort
photo credit: James Wheeler Before the Lifts Start via photopin (license)

The top resort in North America, Whistler also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. With such credentials, skiers won’t be disappointed with 200 downhill ski trails. If you’re looking for alternative sports, there’s also ice skating, snowboarding and heli-skiing at this impressive resort.

Lovebirds will have lots to do after a busy day, such as snuggling up in a dog-sled and making a stop at an atmospheric bonfire. The dining is also world-class with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and stellar venues. A special offering is the ability to create your own personalised spices to enjoy at the resort and take back home.

An in-house spa has two couples’ rooms for side by side massage with your better half. Alpine, Swedish, aromatic…it’s all possible.

For the most romantic skiers, Whistler’s also made a reputation for itself for destination weddings.

Kitzbühel, Austria

kitzbuhel austria ski resort

The daring come to Kitzbühel for the legendary Hahnenkamm (the world’s most dangerous downhill race) but couples love the resort for its relaxed, inviting feel. The village is charming and full of colour: cobbled streets, medieval buildings and horse-drawn carriages are all part of the picture-perfect package.

The bustling bars and the rooftop swimming pool at the Schwarzer Adler is a dreamy viewpoint that completes the picture of an ideal romantic resort.

Alpbach, Austria

alpback ski resort
photo credit: DrQ_Emilian Zugspitze, Lermoos via photopin (license)

This resort is one for the photobooks: Alpbach has been called Austria’s prettiest village. With traditional wooden structures, the rolling Tyrolean mountains and large green spruces, it won’t disappoint on its reputation.

The skiing is laidback, too: perfect for loved-up couples. There are amazing panoramic walking trails and a lively après-ski scene. The cuisine is rustic Austrian-: think spit-roasted chicken ordered 24 hours in advance and dumplings of sweet yeast or spinach. An idyllic ski resort for romantic getaways.

Zell am See, Austria

zell am see austria

Skiing-wise, Zell am See caters best for intermediates and experts with several black runs and weather-dependent slope conditions.

Where the resort really excels is as a romantic resort. At Zell am See, triangular peaks are dusted with snow and rise out of deep blue lake waters. That same lake is often available for ice skating and the promenade along the water’s edge makes for a scenic, romantic idyll.

Can’t get enough? Book a room at the Grand Hotel with its lakeside location and luxurious rooms. Zell am See’s a romantic ski resort that’ll probably have you back for more.

With indulgent spas, gourmet dining and a range of shops and cafes, these resorts provide all you need for a cosy retreat from the elements after a day’s superb skiing. No wonder they’re the best romantic ski resorts.

 

Featured Image Credit: twiga269 ॐ FEMEN Le Mont-Blanc et sa face italienne en toile de fond via photopin (license)

Best Things To Do In Thailand

Thailand is one of the best places to travel to and should be a destination that makes it onto everybody’s travel bucket list. From the incredibly friendly people, the delicious food, and incredible food, Thailand is a must.

Visit the Grand Palace

thailand grand palace

The first thing you should do once you’re in Bangkok is take a trip to the Grand Palace. Home to Thai Royalty, and the government, the Grand Palace is a collection of beautifully designed temples, paintings, and architecture.

It does get very busy as it is one of the most famous complexes in the whole of Thailand, but it is an attraction not to be missed.

Thai Massage

thai massage thailand

You can’t go to Thailand and not experience one of the most famous things they are known for, a Thai Massage. On almost every street and in every market, there are massage parlors offering quick, or full body massages.

Exploring one of the many massive markets Thailand can take a toll on your feet, and a quick 20 minute foot massage will get you back on your feet in no time at all.

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay in Phuket is one of one of the most famous beach destinations in all of Thailand. With many limestone cliffs standing high above the water, it is a very unique and beautiful sight.

You can even see the famous James Bond Island, named after the character when part of the film The Man With The Golden Gun was filmed there.

Floating Market

Thailand Floating Markets

The Floating Market in Bangkok is another must see hotspot. Spend the morning traveling up and down the river, eating, buying whatever your heart desires, and experiencing the city in an incredibly unique way.

The wooden boats will take you wherever you want to go and this is a perfect time to pick up some great souvenirs and gifts.

Wat Pho

Thailand Wat Pho

Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of the biggest temple complexes in Thailand. Home to the biggest collections of images of Buddha, the temple also houses the enormous Reclining Buddha.

The Reclining Buddha is 15m high and 46m long, and is one of the most exquisite statues in the country, the soles of the 3m high feet are adorned with mother-of-pearl.

Street Food

Thailand Street Food Market

Thailand is regarded as having some of the best street food in the world. No matter where you go or where you are, there are hordes of vendors selling anything your stomach desires. Frozen fruit and skewers of meat are common and absolutely delicious.

Even if you are stuck in traffic on one of the many highways and busy roads, there will still be vendors traveling up and down the street ready to offer you some refreshing pineapple or a hearty bowl of noodles.

Khao San Road

Khao San Road Thailand

Khao San Road, located in central Bangkok, is party central. The many clubs, bars, restaurants and Ping Pong Show clubs turns this street into a hub for tourists and locals alike.

You can enjoy some local delicacies such as fried insects, or something more to your taste such as Pad Thai. Relax in one of the many bars and have a local beer or two, before going to a Ping Pong Show, a truly one of a kind show that you will need to see to believe it (not for the kids).

Full Moon Party

Thailand Full Moon Party

Koh Pangan island is home to the world renowned Full Moon Party. Locals and tourists flock to the island every full moon to celebrate all day and all night. It is a full day and night rave that only stops when you leave.

Fish Spa

Thailand Fish Spa

In many of the markets, streets and hotels, you can experience a fish spa. All you have to do is sit for half an hour and the hundreds of small fish will eat any dead and dry skin off your feet.

It may sound a bit gross, but your feet will be left feeling brand new. If you can withstand the constant tickling, it can be an extremely relaxing experience.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai

Thailand is famous for Muay Thai, a full combat sport. There are stadiums dotted all across the country, and for a very decent price, you can experience a night of this ancient martial art.

Asiatique Market in Bangkok also has a Muay Thai production, taking you on a journey through the history of Muay Thai and usually ends it off with a fight. A must see for martial artists or combat sport enthusiasts.

Snorkel in Kho Phi Phi

thailand maya bay islands snorkeling

The island of Kho Phi Phi is known for its beautiful beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. The crystal clear water is also the ideal spot for snorkeling. Explore the waters and the wildlife with any one of the snorkelling excursions available to you.

Since you don’t need any qualifications or experience to snorkel, this family-friendly activity is a brilliant way to see all the beautiful wildlife hiding under the surface.

Temple Tours

temple tours thailand

There are so many temples to see in Thailand that you may feel like you are going to miss out on some of the best ones. This is where a temple tour comes in handy. At many of the hotels and across the major cities, you can find busses and guides to take you around the many temples.

Not only is this a great way to explore the city, the guided tours will give you the full temple experience, and will also ensure you don’t miss any of the small details and sites that you may have normally missed.

 

Thailand is an incredible place that offers visitors a unique taste of everything, from the food to the architecture, and the people to the many markets that fill the streets. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, or to experience the unforgettable nightlife, Thailand has it all.

Thailand is also relatively cheap, and unlike most other popular tourist destinations, you don’t need a lot of money to experience everything you want to experience, making Thailand a go-to for many tourists worldwide.

Tropical Vacations on a Budget

 

There are two ingredients you need to concoct a tropical getaway: lots of turquoise seas and swaying palm trees. Luckily, these Equator countries also prove that looking good doesn’t need to break the bank. From popular Thailand to its quiet neighbour Vietnam and fabulous Mexico to balmy Tanzania, there are plenty of spectacular tropical vacations to be had on a budget.

Thailand

thailand maya bay islands

Thailand’s been headlining the cheapies for years and remains excellent value for money. The lush jungles of the north give way to the teal seas of the Andaman on Phuket Island and the South China Sea on Koh Samui.

Phuket is so beloved you can often fly directly in, bypassing Bangkok altogether. Once on the island, head to Patong Beach. It’s a long, crowded beach that draws the sporty during the day while moonlighting as a party venue at night. The second beach that’s a must-see is Paradise Beach, the setting of the famed Full Moon Parties.

If you’re looking for a wilder, more isolated feel, you’ll want to take a day trip to the nearby Phi Phi Islands where you can take in Maya Bay, instantly recognisable from The Beach which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

On the other side of the mainland, Koh Samui is sun-kissed, a bit more relaxed than Phuket, and full of yummy goodies. There’s lovely Chaweng Beach and secluded Lamai Beach for chilled days on the seaside.

According to a Travel Bird study, a day on Patong Beach works out to around $20. That includes ice cream, suntan lotion, lunch, a beer, ice cream and another drink.

 

Vietnam

vietnam tropical beach

Vietnam’s on the rise: lush jungles, ancient traditions and stunning shorelines, not to mention affordability, make the country a sought-after destination. With the world’s cheapest beaches, it’s a top budget tropical vacation.

One of the best beach locations is Hoi An. It’s one of the cheapest coastal cities to live in and the beaches near Danang are the least expensive. This shoreline has a reputation as a great surfing spot. Look into the country’s past at Tan Ky House, a family home built two centuries ago in Japanese and Chinese styles.

  • Excluding your hotel costs, daily expenses amount to around $13 per day.
  • A day at a Vietnamese beach can be had for as little as $13 (for all the beach necessities).

 

Jamaica

jamaica tropical beach

Jamaica’s a laid-back tropical vacation that’s also very budget-friendly. The country grooves happily in a setting that’s both watery and forestry.

Negril comes highly recommended. It has an appropriately named Seven Mile Beach which leads into one of the Caribbean’s wonderful diving reefs. Smelling jasmine amongst the sea salt? That’s perfectly normal in paradise; Seven Mile Beach is framed by the pretty flowers.

In the north-west of the island, near Falmouth, lies Silver Sands Beach. It’s the cheapest seaside haunt on the islet; with clean waters and lush sandy shores it’s also one of the better ones in the area.

  • A day on Silver Sands Beach comes to around $29.

 

Cuba

cuba havana street

Another Caribbean jewel, Cuba’s got a lot to offer. A fiercely independent country, Cuba’s 20th-century history is unique in the region. Time stands still in many ways.

The best place to experience this is in colourful Havana of the classic cars and swanky bars. Get serious in the Museum of the Revolution before chilling in the Old Quarter.

Out in nature, start with the beaches. Playa Paraiso lives up to its name: consider it a peek into paradise. It’s secluded, away from the hotels but not isolated, and quiet with simple stores instead of fawning resorts. If you need more encouragement to visit: it was voted the third best beach in the world in 2016.

Other shorelines to try include the 25 km long Varadero Beach and Playa les Flamencos. Both are decidedly more touristy with a beachfront packed with all-inclusive resorts.

Roll a cigar or pour a mojito, things are inexpensive and the tourist party is just getting started in Cuba.

  • You can get by in good style on $26 for all expenses except accommodation.

 

Puerto Rico, United States

puerto rico tropical jungle
By Jami430 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Puerto Rico’s got something for everyone: a past full of adventurers, lush forests inland and big waves for the surfers.

Lie back in Playa Flamenco, one of the island’s best beaches. Uniquely, the shoreline also hosts a collection of old army tanks found around the country.

In capital San Juan the Playa Condado awaits. Backed by skyscrapers, this is the city’s most iconic piece of coastline.

Leaving the waves behind, there’s El Yunque National Forest. The highlight for many is a taking in the gushing La Mina Falls. Visitors also enjoy kayaking along the shaded streams.

  • You can get a normal main meal for around $8.
  • There are lots of budget accommodation options and you can get by on about $76 per person per day.

 

Zanzibar, Tanzania

zanzibar stone town tropical beach

Off the Tanzanian coast lies Zanzibar, an ancient multicultural melting pot that’s become a major tourist destination that’s also budget-friendly. The main drawcard, the ocean that laps at Zanzibar is as blue, rare and treasured as the country’s eponymous Tanzanite gems.

The first beach you want to try is Nungwi Beach. The shore is long and golden and you’ll find a spectacular sunset here when fishermen sail in on their dhows, traditional Arab boats. Kendwa Beach, smaller and quieter, is another good option.

Back in town, head to Stone Town, the ancient heart of Zanzibar. Between the historic buildings, you can still catch the master craftsmen shaping leather and selling Tanzanite stones.

  • Chilling on Nungwi Beach costs about $31 for all the goodies you’ll need for the day.

 

Belize

belize hole tropic ocean
Image by Belize Hub

Belize is as rich and fun as the reefs beneath the sea. On land, there’s Xunantunich, a 1300 year old Mayan settlement with impressive ruins. However, it’s underwater where tropical fantasies come true.

The country is home to the Blue Hole, the largest underwater sinkhole in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a breathtaking experience with the possibility of diving 400 ft beneath the surface and swimming between stalactites and bushes of multicolored coral. It’s 62 miles from Belize City.

  • Daily expenses, excluding accommodation, are budget-friendly at about $30.

 

Mexico

delfines cancun mexico

The entire length of Mexico is full of exciting things to do. The cities, both ancient and modern, impress with sophisticated architecture, while the coastlines never fail to get a smile and a blissful sigh.

Mexico City is a cosmopolitan collection of world-class art galleries and museums, as well as beautiful cathedrals. Templo Mayor and Constitution Square are some of the must-sees.

Mexico’s highlights, however, tend to lie along the sea. On the Cancun Coast, Playa Delfines is quieter than its neighbours and often hosts playful dolphins. Take a walk into the old jungle with a stroll around the nearby Mayan ruins. Playa del Carmen is widely agreed to be the cheapest of the beach holidays in Mexico.

  • Get by on $23 a day, excluding hotel expenses.
  • Playa del Carmen’s perfectly affordable at $29.

 

Bali

padang bali tropical beach

Bali’s the place to get a tropical holiday with serious wow-factor on a budget. Expenses are extremely low and the island abounds in exotic greenery and divine beaches.

Two temples you should really make an effort to see include Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, situated on a grassy lakeside, and Pura Tanah Lot, majestically located on a rocky outcrop. Ubud is a necessity: a lush paradise of terraced gardens and rice paddies, it’s the heart of Bali.

Back on the beaches, Padang Padang Beach is one of the cheapest serious surfing spots globally with five huge breaks. Kuta Beach is the most popular piece of shoreline for both sunbathing and partying under the moonlight. Dreamland Beach is as perfect a name there ever was: limestone cliffs protect the honey-colored sand, while the ocean is a medley of turquoise and deep blue tones.

 

Nicaragua

granada nicaragu

Recently in the news as the place British Princess Eugenie got engaged, it’s clear you won’t be sacrificing quality for budget in Nicaragua. The tiny mainland nation in North America is on the rise: get there while it’s still a cheap tropical holiday.

Step into the past in the elegant buildings of Granada. They’re in the old colonial style, flavoured with Caribbean flare in warm oranges and golden yellows. Take the hint and take your photographs here.

To cool down, dip into the sultry waters along the coast. Playa Maderas, near San Juan del Sur, has tiny, pretty tidal pools and a secluded feel thanks to the closely planted palm trees along the edge. Las Peñitas’ 5km long shoreline is a local favourite that’s quicking catching on with travellers. It’s a great spot for surfing, especially for beginners. Have sundowners’ in the beachside cafes and bars. Cheers for finding this budget tropical gem.

From the Far East to the Caribbean Sea, the areas around the Equator have been gifted with warm weather and abundant beauty. With verdant landscapes and pristine beaches, these countries offer visitors a lot for very little. Don’t fret about the money in these exotic destinations; they’re the best tropical vacations to be had on a budget.

The Most Expensive Airlines

Deciding the world’s most expensive airlines is difficult: with different routes and varied facilities, few flights are exactly the same. That said, we’ve put together a list of some of the most luxurious airlines around with sample fares for both economy and first class. Offering apartment style units, 32 inch TV screens, butlers and Michelin-star culinary delights, these airlines prove that luxury doesn’t come cheap. Continue reading “The Most Expensive Airlines”

Getting Around Bali

With distances of just 153 km from east to west and 112 km from north to south, Bali’s tiny and getting around the Indonesian island is quick and easy.

Regions

 

map of bali for getting around
By Burmesedays, Peterfitzgerald (Peter Fitzgerald) (Own work based on OpenStreetMap.org [1].) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Taxi

get around bali with a taxi
Aero7 [CC BY-SA 2.5 my (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/my/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hailing a taxi cab off the street is one of the most straightforward methods of transportation in Bali. Continue reading “Getting Around Bali”

Best Beaches in the Maldives

If ever there was a beach-centric destination, it’s the Maldives. This archipelago consists of 1200 islands, meaning endless kilometers of shimmering shoreline for the discerning tourist to choose from. The warmth of the Indian Ocean means you’ll never want to leave. And with so many fabulous activities available on beaches in the Maldives, why would you?

Local Island Beaches

 

maafushi's best beach
goldpicasa [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The first thing to understand about the Maldivian beaches is that there are three sorts: local ones on local islands, tourist ones on local islands and resort beaches. Which beach you visit depends on where you’re staying. Continue reading “Best Beaches in the Maldives”

Top 10 Places to Visit in the Maldives

The Maldives are all about the coastline. With world-class diving and stunning beaches, these shoreside getaways are unforgettable. Adding to the array of exotic delights to visit in the Maldives, are the charming capital and heritage sites.

1. Malé

male top place to visit in maldives
photo credit: nattu Male’ City, Maldives via photopin (license)

Malé’s the capital and an unmissable place to visit in the country. It’s compact, built in a grid formation, and has just 150 000 residents (meaning there’s little chance of getting lost and you needn’t linger long) but offers interesting diversions for the traveller passing through. Continue reading “Top 10 Places to Visit in the Maldives”

Best Ski Resorts in the World

When you go on holiday, there really are only two choices to make: sun or snow. Many more people around the world are deciding to take skiing holidays each year. Ski resorts offer some of the highest luxury, most beautiful views, and of course, some amazing skiing.

These resorts are regarded as some of the best in the world. They have the best views, the best slopes, and offer the entire family fun and adventure that will not soon be forgotten. Continue reading “Best Ski Resorts in the World”