Best Luxury Game Resorts in Africa

The word ‘safari’ specifically describes an expedition in Africa, aimed at experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat. The other six continents simply cannot match Africa in terms of big game, and therefore, are unable to host a true safari. From the Big Five, to the infamous hippopotamus, the sheer volume and variety of big game on show in Africa is insurmountable.

These fascinating creatures have a breathtakingly beautiful home. Vast tropical grasslands stretch as far as the eye can see, with the sparsely dispersed trees looking lonely. The famous African sunset is the perfect end to each day, seemingly bigger than anywhere else on earth – its gentle, orange glow a sight to behold.

Besides beautiful scenery, pristine natural beauty and boundless wildlife, Africa is also a culturally rich and diverse continent. African people are proud of their heritage and have, throughout history, refused to abandon their roots.

Modern day African societies, such as South Africa, are clearly influenced by local traditions. South African culture, cuisine, norms, aesthetics, and even laws are partly guided by Zulu and Xhosa traditions. Furthermore, as with many African countries, it is a cultural melting pot, with mainly Dutch, English, Malay and Indian cultural influences helping to define it.

Safaris have changed a great deal in the past couple of decades. Years ago, a safari meant a stay in a colonial-looking building, feeling like David Livingston with a variety of taxidermied goods hanging above your head. Today the market is more diverse, with Livingston-esque options as well as serene eco-lodges, and luxury tented camps. Many of today’s options offer extreme luxury, while incorporating traditionally authentic African aesthetics.

Head out for a full day’s worth of exhilarating exploration, then come back to delectable gourmet dishes and ultimate luxury. You will be completely taken care of and treated like royalty, all in between a variety of memorable expeditions into the natural world. You are spoilt for choice with game drives, hot air balloon rides and ancient rock art tours all in arms reach.

Best Luxury Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe – Matetsi River Lodge

This award-winning safari lodge and luxury villa is our favourite African safari lodge. A perfect all-round safari lodge, located on the banks of the stunningly beautiful Zambezi River, with a range of elegantly luxurious accommodation options, and offering a wide range of exciting activities.

The safari lodge is located on its own 55 thousand hectare private game reserve, which includes a 15 km stretch of the mighty Zambezi River. This ever-flowing body of water attracts many big game species, who regularly walk right past the front of the lodge – most commonly, elephant and buffalo. Furthermore, situated just 40 km from Victoria Falls, the lodge is centrally located near the area’s many attractions.

Using many natural materials, Matestsi elegantly accentuates its serene natural surroundings, while also managing to incorporate traditional local aesthetics. The swimming pool and bar that overlook the river are a memorable highlight, especially as you stand a chance of witnessing a member of the Big Five take a drink.

With a variety of room options, One must decide between a luxury suite, family suite, or the enchanting private villa. Although you have a tough decision on your hands, you are in for a treat either way. Each room offers extreme luxury, privacy, and a stunning view ensuring you wake up feeling fully immersed in the great Zimbabwean bush.

Besides the beautiful swimming pool and bar, Matetsi also has an impressively stocked wine cellar and spa. The wine cellar pairs carefully chosen vintages with delectable tapas dishes, while the spa offers treatments inspired by traditional African healers. Would a traditional foot cleansing ritual or rain stick therapy interest you?

With regards to game viewing, Matetsi’s professional safari guides combine local knowledge with internationally recognised training to maximise your time in the bush. Offering tours by boat, foot, or motor vehicle, the guides are extremely informative and entertaining. Smiles are a guarantee.

Furthermore, besides game viewing, the lodge offers a host of exciting activities and tours. A day trip to Victoria Falls can include visiting Livingston island, swimming in Devil’s Pool, and a helicopter ride to see ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ from above.

On the other hand, on can spend your day on the Zambezi river. This serene stretch of water is a splendid place for tigerfishing, canoeing, river rafting, as well as motorised sunset boat cruises – all of which can be organised by Matetsi

Best Safari Lodges In South Africa

Best 5 Star Lodge in Kruger National Park

Royal Malewane

A traditional styled safari lodge, with colonially inspired aesthetics emphasising five-star luxury, personally tailored service and privacy. This means large spacious rooms with panoramic forest views, as well as dinner prepared by an award-winning chef. Of course, this is served alongside the finest crystal, china, and silver.

On-site, you will find a beautiful swimming pool, multiple restaurants, a gym, and one of South Africa’s premium spa facilities. The internationally recognised therapist provides world-class treatments, while the building accentuates the surrounding natural beauty, helping you relax.

The luxury game lodge is located in a private game reserve, adjacent to the great Kruger National Park, which spans just under twenty thousand square kilometers. As part of the greater Kruger Park territory, the reserve is densely populated with a variety of big game species, including the Big Five.

With a 20% staff to guest ratio, Royal Malewane is perfectly equipped to provide personalised service to cater for your every need or desire. With private chefs, game rangers, and butlers available, you can completely relax with all of your needs and desires taken care of.

Best Game Reserve Near Cape Town

Bushmans Kloof

Bushmans Kloof is nestled deep in the ancient Cederberg Mountain Range. Just over 250 km outside of Cape Town, it is much further South than most South African game reserves, which are generally situated in the Kruger National Park near the country’s Northern border.

This Southern location means a completely different ecosystem. The never-ending grasslands found in the Kruger National Park are replaced by fynbos, a colorful kind of shrubbery. Fynbos is unique to the Western Cape, a South African province boasting the world’s highest biodiversity levels. Fynbos is most famous for its beautifully bright colours and incredible diversity.

Besides breathtakingly beautiful flora, Bushmans Kloof is also home to more than 35 mammal and 150 bird species. Leopards are the biggest species of game around, with the rest of the Big Five found further North. However, this is no issue, as the Cederberg’s dramatic mountainous terrain, and unforgettable scenery more than compensate for the lack of lion.

Furthermore, over 125 examples of ancient bush and rock art have contributed to the reserve being named a South African National Heritage site. With some works dating back more than 10 thousand years, these are some of the oldest artworks known to man.

The lodge itself is a fine example of extreme luxury seamlessly blending in with the surrounding scenery. Using mostly natural materials, it is nestled amongst a botanical garden, overlooking the Cederberg’s serene natural beauty.

All accommodation is positioned carefully to ensure beautifully scenic views and privacy. Whether you wake up in one of the lodge’s 16 suites, or the private villa, you will have your very own piece of the Cederberg to cherish.

A highlight of any trip to Bushmans Kloof trip must be the amazing outdoor dining experience. Enjoy a delicious meal under the milky way. Wine connoisseurs will be particularly impressed with the lodge’s wine selection. The wine list has, for the 18th year running, won the Diners Club’s Diamond Award for the best wine list.

Not to be outdone, the magical in-house spa claimed an award of its own, walking away with the 2018 Global Spa & Wellness Best Spa in Africa & Indian Ocean award. This peaceful oasis of relaxation channels the calming energy of the mountains with amazing views and world-class treatments.

Activity-wise, you are absolutely spoilt for choice. Rock art tours are a highlight, while professionally guided game drives and walks help you learn while enjoying the reserves spectacular fynbos, birdlife and wild game.

Hiking and mountain biking are extremely popular, with an abundance of technical trails. If you fancy a swim, these trails take you past the Olifants River, as well as pristine rock pools. Furthermore, canoeing and fly fishing are offered at the dam.

Best Safari Camp in Botswana

Jack’s Camp

Jack’s camp is unique, unlike the plethora of safari lodges around the incredibly lush and diverse Okavango Delta. It is located in the Kalahari Desert, near the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. This arid, but fantastically beautiful landscape may seem lifeless but is, in fact, home to many game species including: lion, elephant, genets, hyena, badgers, porcupines, and hares

The safari lodge uses an Arabic-themed tent setup. A group of ultra-luxurious bedouin tents are nestled comfortably under a thicket of Mokolwane Palm Trees, creating a desert oasis fit for a Saudi Prince. Adding to the camp’s charm, a mob of relatively tame meerkats roam the camp, interacting with humans whenever they can.

The tented suites are spacious, private, and hopelessly romantic. Irreplaceable antiques fill the ornately decorated rooms, while without electricity, you are left with paraffin lamps and candles emitting a warm natural, orange, glow. Each room has a fully-equipped, en-suite bathroom.

More adventurous guests will grab the opportunity to spend a night under the stars. You will be set up comfortably under the stars on the salt pan, truly in the outdoor. Waking with the first rays of light, there is no better way to greet the great African sun.

The safari lodge’s facilities – such as the dining hall, swimming pool, billiard room and lounge – are also located under cool tents. The dining hall is dominated by a long, solid oak dining table, while the pool is surrounded by inviting decking – a perfect place to enjoy an evening cocktail.

Activity-wise, professionally guided game drives are a must, while the lodge also offers quad bike tours, a cultural experience with traditional San locals, and a trip to Chapman’s baobab.

Best Sabi Sands Lodge

Londolozi Private Granite Suites

Londolozi Private Granite Suites are in Sabi Sands, one of the premier private sections of the great Kruger National Park. The idea behind this lodge is to provide a small group of highly exclusive Holidaymakers the ultimate private luxury experience, while immersing guests in the pristine African Wilderness.

Just 3 private suites sit overlooking the Sabi River. This ever-flowing river attracts game from all around the Kruger National Park, meaning that you have the chance of finding any one of the Big Five on your doorstep.

Elegantly designed, they use natural materials to blend in with the river’s granite banks, effectively highlighting the surrounding natural beauty. With premium features all-round, you are ensured ultimate comfort.

Enjoy incredible tailored service, but remember to keep one eye outside, it seems the elusive leopard particularly enjoy the area. Photographers should particularly enjoy Londolozi’s photographic safari, specifically geared up to get you the best shots.

Tanzania Resorts Safari

Singita Sabora

This beautiful luxury safari lodge is situated in Tanzania’s Grumeti Reserves, a 160 000 hectare patch of golden grasslands. These reserves form part of the Serengeti Plains, famous for hosting an immense annual migration.

Every year, guests at Singita Sabora bear witness to the world’s largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. 250 thousand zebras, 470 thousand gazelles, 1.7 million wildebeest, and a host of other game species make the epic trip across the Serengeti. Witnessing such a natural phenomenon is truly awe-inspiring, a memory that will never leave you.

The lodge is inspired by the early African explorers of the past, a lavish Meru-styled tented camp setup classically finished with 1920s-esque colonial African decor. The minute you step into the resort, you are transported back to the magically adventurous days of early African exploration.

With just 9 luxurious tent suites, you are ensured privacy and beautiful natural scenery. With a bath, outdoor shower and private deck found in each suite, you have everything you could ever dream of at your fingertips. Furthermore, spa treatments can be organised in the comfort of your room.

As far as dining is concerned, you are spoilt for choice. Gourmet meals are generally served in the main dining hall or the open air deck, however, a private bush banquet is offered in front of the camp. Indulge under the stars in the middle of the Serengeti.

The luxury safari camp offers Serengeti walking tours, open-air game drives, night safaris, mountain biking adventures, and tennis. Each activity offering you a unique chance explore the serene wilderness that surrounds the remote camp.

After a long day exploring the Tanzanian savannah, you will be greeted by friendly staff inviting you for a drink at the bar and lounge area. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you could find a perch on the elevated deck for sunset, curl up with a book in the library, take a dip in the heated pool, or remain horizontal in the spa.

In Summary

You are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to Luxury Safari Lodges. Throughout Africa, the most incredible oasis exist, aimed at immersing you into the great wilderness and providing five-star treatment.

All things considered, Matetsi Victoria Falls is our favourite luxury safari lodge. Its location on the Zambezi river, just 40 km from Victoria Falls, sets the lodge apart. Furthermore, the property exceeds all-around, proving itself the perfect remote African luxury safari.

If you are in Cape Town, look no further than Bushmans Kloof. It is a dramatically beautiful mountain reserve just a few hours drive away. On the other hand, if you are still in South Africa, but find yourself closer to the Kruger National Park, a decision must be made between Royal Malewane and Londolozi Private Granite Suites.

Tanzania’s best safari lodge, Singita Sabora, is known as the country’s premium great migration viewing spot. Further South, Jack’s Camp in Botswana has perfected the luxury tented camp, creating a palm tree laden desert oasis.

Ultimately, there is no wrong decision. Each of these great safari lodges are part of the top tier of safari lodges, providing a unique luxury wildlife experience.

What Not To Do In Thailand

Thailand is a land of religion and tradition. Considering there is a very large population of Buddhists, and Monks, there are many do’s and don’ts that revolve around religion and Buddhism superstition.

Most of these actions may seem innocuous in Western society, but in Thailand, they are considered incredibly disrespectful. Therefore, it is important to familiarise yourself with these customs before entering the country to avoid any embarrassment.

Don’t Hug Monks

Thailand has many Buddhist Monks that have taken up very strong religious vows and ways of life. They are highly respected members of society, they are not allowed to touch or be touched by women, and it is forbidden for you to stand over a monk.

Therefore, even if you are a man, it is a sign of respect to not place your hands on a monk. Even if one was to do you a great favour and you want to give thanks, a simple bow will do.

Take Your Shoes Off

It is very common practice to take your shoes off when entering temples, somebody’s home, and even some restaurants. Some buildings will have clear signs or shoe lockers so you know when to take your shoes off.

If there aren’t clear signs and someone asks you to remove your shoes, it is important to respect this request and remove your shoes. There are shoe lockers almost everywhere and trust us when we say, no one will steal your shoes.

No PDA

Unlike in Western countries where public displays of affection are so common they go unnoticed, these displays are strongly frowned upon in Thailand and it is advised to keep those actions private.

Most Thai people won’t even hug each other in public, and touching tongues in public is forbidden. Therefore, if you are wanting to show affection to your significant other, wait until you are in the privacy of your hotel room.

Don’t Use Your Feet

The feet are seen as the dirtiest and lowest point of the body in Asian culture, while the head is seen as the highest. Being the dirtiest part of the body, it is considered incredibly disrespectful to use your feet to do anything but walk.

Do not use your feet to hold doors open or to move anything. Do not point your toes or the bottoms of your feet towards anyone as this is considered highly disrespectful. Also, do not point or angle your feet towards an image of Buddha or towards a monk.

Do Not Insult the Royal Family

The Thai Royal Family are some of the highest members of Thai society, therefore, it is obvious that disrespecting them in any way is seen as a huge insult. You will not hear any Thais disrespecting them, so neither can you.

And remember the small things, even stomping on a Thai coin that is rolling away can be regarded as disrespectful, as there is an image if the king on it and it is frowned upon to use your feet for anything.

Don’t Point With Your Fingers

Much like pointing with your feet, it is equally as disrespectful and rude to point up with your fingers. When hailing a taxi or tuk-tuk, or trying to get a waiters attention, keep your palm down and your fingers are straight, and use an up and down movement.

When trying to get somebody’s attention, never clap, snap your fingers, or whistle. This is an incredibly rude practice and most Thais see that as a way to treat a dog, and not a way you would treat a human.

Do Not Touch a Thai’s Head

Like mentioned above, the head is viewed as the highest point of the body, as it is the highest point, it is considered very rude to touch a Thai person head. Parents will sometimes touch their children’s heads, but as a Westerner, it is advised to avoid the practice altogether.

Keep Your Cool

Thai’s practice keeping their cool and not losing their temper, even when faced with angering circumstances, so it is frowned upon for you to raise your voice, get angry, or make a display of anger in public.

This does not mean that you won’t come across an angry person on your holiday, but the Thai people are generally very friendly and very hospitable, and sharing a smile with someone will take you a long way.

Do Not Use a Fork

When eating in Thailand, there are a few points to take into consideration. Eating is one of the most social activities in Thailand, and the food is incredibly important and respected throughout.

When eating, you will use a spoon and a fork, but the fork must never touch your mouth. The fork is for putting the small cuts of food onto the spoon. Chopsticks are only used when eating Chinese food, as they are not a Thai eating implement.

No Whistling After Dark

Thais are incredibly superstitious, and one thing is strongly frowned upon and discouraged, is whistling at night. Thais believe whistling summons evil spirits, and therefore it doesn’t matter if you’re whistling a tune or getting someone’s attention, don’t whistle.

Avoid “Gem Shops”

One of the biggest scams in Thailand is when a tuk-tuk driver will tell you that they want to make a stop that is near your destination, and they end up taking you to a gem shop. These shops can be dangerous for tourists.

You will be constantly harassed, tricked into parting with your money, or even drugged and robbed. if a tuk-tuk driver mentions a gem shop, politely decline, pay what you owe and hop off to find another taxi.

Say No To Drugs

It is no secret that Thailand has some of the best nightlife in the world. From the many clubs in Bangkok to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, there are drugs everywhere, at dirt cheap prices.

Our only advice is to avoid them all together. Most of the drugs are processed with highly toxic substances and can easily poison you. The drug laws in Thailand are some of the strictest in the world too, with the death penalty being a drug-related punishment.

Now that you know what not to do in the glorious country of Thailand, we hope these points have cleared up any confusion you may have had and you can now enjoy your holiday to the fullest.

Largest Cities in Thailand

With a popular 55 times that of the next biggest city, Bangkok tends to steals the thunder when it comes to Thai metropolises. That’s not the whole story, though. Living in Bangkok’s shadow can’t be easy but cool Nonthaburi seems to prove otherwise. Serene Chiang Mai gazes down on the rest of the country from its lofty peak up north.

In the south Hat Yai rules unopposed with a triangle of great Buddha statues in the city. Meanwhile, Nakhon Ratchasima guards the country’s ancient past, while still getting on with modern life. The largest cities in Thailand all have their distinctive charisma and, as visitors will attest, it’s worth being drawn in.

Bangkok

With almost 15 million people resident, Bangkok is Thailand’s greatest city and the most popular in the world. The Thai capital is a chaotic hub that’s also rich in history and, increasingly, in art and fashion.

Location

Bangkok’s on the mainland, sitting neatly in central-southern Thailand. Most flights arrive in Bangkok but there are also buses to other locations in Thailand. To Chiang Mai, it’s about 11 hours by bus and 12 hours to Phuket.

Attractions

There’s no shortage of things to do in this bustling city. Top of the list is a visit to the Grand Palace. The jewel tones of the spectacular buildings are offset by the dazzling white of the walls: it’s a visual marvel. Inside, head to Wat Phra Kaew, home to a remarkable Emerald Buddha, cut from a single block of jade back in the 14th century. The two throne rooms and the Amarinda Hall are also highlights.

No visit to Bangkok would be complete without some time at a floating market. Bangkok’s a canal city. Vendors come on longboats piled high with fresh produce to sell and to cook into yummy meals. There are many of these floating markets so it doesn’t matter which you experience. Damnouen Saduak is the most famous, while Khlong Lat Mayom is more authentic with unusual fruits you may never have seen before.

Nonthaburi

Nonthaburi’s a more chilled version of Bangkok. With about 270 000 people living there, it’s Thailand’s second city.

Location

Nonthaburi’s slightly to the north-west of Bangkok but the cities are so close, Nonthaburi’s sometimes considered a suburb of Bangkok! It’s a 30 to 50-minute ride from Bangkok.

Attractions

Although it’s just beside Bangkok, the city can hold its own with tourist attractions. For temples, Nonthaburi’s got Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat, built in a beautiful riverside garden, and Wat Sangkhathan which receives tourist from around the world who come to meditate.

Koh Kret is an island that’s home to very industrious Thais who produce stunning handcrafts, especially pottery. It’s also a good place just to stroll around as it’s covered in lush greenery.

The Day and Night Markets are great places to experience a relaxed atmosphere and authentic Thai cuisine.

Nakhon Ratchasima

Also known as Korat to Thais, Nakhon Ratchasima is both province and city. The population is 174 332 and it’s a rapidly expanding hub for retail in the country.

Location

Nakhon Ratchasima is situated north of Bangkok in the central-east of the country. It’s a 3 to 4-hour drive from Bangkok by car, though there are also regular public buses departing to the city.

Attractions

Most of the area’s best sights lie outside of the city. The showstopper is undoubtedly Phimai Historical Park. A collection of ancient buildings, some as old as the 11th century, Phimai is a testament to the country’s rich heritage. It’s one of the best sites in Thailand to view Khymer architecture. Cross the Naga Bridge, designed to take you from the world of humans to the world of the gods, and gaze up at the intricate prangs.

Inside the city, one woman’s name dominates the monuments: Thao Suranaree, the strong, powerful consort who led the city to victory on the battlefield in her husband’s absence. Her monument is near the city gate and is a great photo opportunity. She and her husband also built nearby Wat Sala Noi, Nakhon Ratchasima’s premier temple.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is as idyllic as it gets. With 175 000 residents, however, it is Thailand’s fourth largest city.

Location

Chiang Mai’s way up in the north of Thailand but there’s no challenge in terms of transport. Buses drive up from Bangkok, taking about 11 hours, while the train is slower at between 12 to 15 hours.

Attractions

The first place to visit in Chiang Mai is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a temple up the mountainside. The 306 stairs lead to an elegant example of northern Thai architecture. The temple is home to a shard of Buddha’s bone. The grounds are a collection of rock gardens, verdant trees and pretty monuments: a peaceful place to pause from the hustle and bustle. There’s also a proud monument to Chiang Mai’s union with Thailand on site. Try a meditation session at Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Centre.

Outside of the city, the Doi Inthanon National Park is a lovely day trip to make. There are waterfalls and hikes in the lush park which is also the location of two glittering stupas dedicated to the deceased king and his queen.

Back in Chiang Mai, San Kamphaeng Road is where you’ll find the trendiest cafes and shops. It’s sometimes called Handicraft Highway and that’s a true reflection of what you’ll see here: master craftsmen creating iconic silverware, pottery and wood ornaments.

Hat Yai

Hat Yai’s population sits at approximately 157 000. It’s an urban hub of the South that’s both western and Cantonese with gigantic malls and street markets.

Location

Far south, Hat Yai’s almost at the Malaysian border. The bus to Bangkok takes around 12 hours and there are also trains running across the country.

Attractions

Hat Yai has a new cable car that takes visitors up the hills from the park, providing superb views of the Thai city.

There’s also an amazing couple of temples in Hat Yai. Wat Hat Yai Nai hosts a massive 35m long Reclining Buddha that’s considered the third largest of its type in the world. In gold and ivory shades, the Buddha smiles mischievously down at visitors.

The second Buddha you must see is the Standing Buddha. Standing almost 20 m high, the statue is cloaked is gold leaf and rises above the city majestically.

Another remarkable icon is the Laughing Buddha which depicts the religious leader as an older, plumper figure, happily giggling away. The complex is entered via the mouth of a large lion, something that’s best experienced in person.

To tend to your mortal needs, head over to Kim Yong Market. This where you can browse a traditional Thai market and discover fresh fruit salads, hot chestnuts and eyebrow-raising magic potions.

Thailand’s not often considered a country of great cities and not many are heard of besides Chiang Mai and Bangkok. But look closer: with majestic Buddhas and exotic markets, these urban jungles are more than just the largest cities in Thailand.

Inspiring Destinations If You’re Blue and Don’t Know Where to Go

Feeling blue and lost? Look no further: this list gathers some of the most amazing places on earth to inspire gratitude, comfort and wonder. There’s no better pick-me-up than the breathtaking beauty and heritage that can be found in every corner of the globe.

Chile

Lonely Planet traversed the globe in search of 2018’s hottest country and they certainly hit the mark with Chile. Surrounded by indomitable feats of nature (the snow-capped Andes, the inhospitable Atacama desert, the untamed Patagonia wilderness and the uninviting Pacific Ocean), the nation feels secluded and exciting.

Easter Island

The only thing equal to such feats of nature is the rich cultural heritage Chileans celebrate and there’s no better place to experience this than the legendary Easter Island.

Around 600 stone moai stand testament to the culture of the Rapa Noi people of whom not much is know. This civilisation also left detailed mountainside carvings about which there are many intriguing myths.

Valparaiso

Valparaiso’s portside location only enhances its reputation as a hipster hangout. It’s also a World Heritage City for its arty past with former residents including Pablo Neruda. Start with a street-art tour and then head to the famous poet’s house, La Sebastiana.

The Atacama Desert

San Pedro de Atacama is the base town for venturing into the desert. El Tatio Geyser Field is a stretch of rocky formations with slits releasing hot gas, clouding the area in natural mystery. Salar de Atacama hosts several volcanoes with the Andes looming in the background.

South Korea

Coming in a close second for the best destination of 2018 is South Korea. A thoroughly contemporary country with an imperial past, South Korea is also leading the way to the future with otherworldly metropolises.
Top attractions:

Myeong Dong Street

Seoul’s shopping block is not just a retail hub but the best spot in the city to snack of some of South Korea’s unique street food.

Bukchon Hanok Village

A testament to the Seoul’s architectural heritage, the village was once home to royal relatives, thus the spectacular buildings with their distinctive upturned roofs.

Georgia

Can you pinpoint Georgia on a map? Not everyone can; large neighbours like Russia and Turkey have often stolen the show but Georgia is coming into its own as a unique holiday. Get in before the crowds discover the rich culinary traditions and heritage that shape modern Georgia.

The Caucasian Mountains

A few hours outside Tbilisi lie the Caucasians with the highest peak rising to 5642m! The minty green hills roll into terracotta-coloured villages, scenery that not many people experience. Here time seems to have stood still and history is well-remembered.

Tbilisi

The Georgian capital is an amazing melting pot of some of the oldest cultures in the world. Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral to learn about the main Georgian religion, the Narikala Fortress which was built by the Persians, expanded by the Arabs and occupied by the Mongols, and the Metekhi neighbourhood with its medieval church for a stunning cliffside location.

China

The one billion people who call China home have much to be proud of,  imperial history, forward-thinking design, incredible feats of engineering and rich rural areas that take the breath away.

The Great Wall

It needs no introduction; suffice it to say that the Great Wall, stretching over jaw-dropping landscapes, is unmissable.

Shanghai

Architectural wonders are what make this Chinese city special: head to the Bund, a street gallery of colonial buildings, and visit the world’s highest observatory at the Oriental Pearl TV tower. The Maglev Train is the world’s fastest.

Essaouira, Morocco

The ancient port of Essaouira is a rustic Moroccan marvel. Africa’s ‘Windy City’ invites surfers to its long beach, while in the old medina there’s plenty of old charm in the unchanged fortifications and restored riad guest houses. Need another reason to visit? Humble budgets are welcome here.

The beach

Surfing or yoga classes: you choose but make sure you walk on the dusty white sands of Essaouira.

The medina

Getting lost is obligatory in any medina and there’s plenty to see in Essaouira’s: mosques, battlements and houses with incredible craftsmanship.

Perth, Australia

Perth combines nature and nightlife to offer an appealing holiday retreat.

Whale-watching and Beaches

Burn’s Beach is Perth’s premier strip of shoreline, located in a sheltered bay and with spots for dolphin-watching. If you come in the right season, head offshore to see the humpback whales.

Dining

There are more restaurants and cafés here than in Sydney or Melbourne, all of which have some scrumptious dishes.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon has a distinctive feel to it, oozing old-world charm and seaside chill. It’ll help you kick back and relax, no doubt.

Fresh seafood dinners

Like any good port, Lisbon offers salty seafood to its visitors. Michelin-starred eateries have begun popping up in the city, bringing modern twists to old recipes.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Top of the list of Lisbon’s attractions is this 15th-century monastery, built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India and home to many Portuguese noteworthies.

New Orleans, United States

They say misery loves company: if anyone understands, it’s those blues singers. And for when you’re feeling a bit better, a bit of jazz will pick up the tempo.

Music show

The city’s the historic home of Jazz and Blue so you can take your pick of the best music clubs in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras Museum

First prize is attending the actual Mardi Gras carnival, famous around the world. If you’re out of luck and in town at the wrong time of year, the museum has you covered.

Miami, United States

This laidback Atlantic beach city is perfect for cheering. Whoever complained of wet, sandy feet and uninterrupted stretches of blue?

South Beach

It ’s not called the American Riviera for anything: luxurious spas and upscale boutiques line the waterfront, while there are many watersports on offer.

Art Deco Architecture

The 1920s were a time of spectacular opulence. Retreat into that carefree world with a tour of the city’s period buildings such as the Cavalier Hotel.

Hurghada, Egypt

Don’t let the headlines of political insecurity get you down; tourists confirm they feel safe in the country and while others look away, there are great deals to be had as the government drops prices to attract travellers. Hurghada’s an affordable gem not to be missed: at the crossroads of the desert and the sea, there’s plenty to keep those blues at bay.

Desert tours

Explore the eastern part of Egypt’s great desert by jeep or camel. If you head out at night, you’re in for a treat: the stargazing is sublime.

The Red Sea

Fresh, or sweaty rather, from your desert excursion, hop into the Red Sea to cool down. Swim with dolphins, explore abundant coral reefs and fish in these blissful waters.

Stone walls crossing rocky peaks, colourful coral reefs, cosmopolitan capitals…nature and humankind have created some truly wondrous destinations to inspire and awe – you can’t say you don’t know where to go to beat the blues.

Coolest Things to do in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most exciting countries to visit. No matter what time of year you visit, or for how long, there is an infinite number of unforgettable and unique things to do in this magical country.

Elephants in Chiang Mai

Visiting the elephants in Thailand is definitely a must, but do some research first to ensure you are going to an ethical sanctuary. The Elephant Rescue Sanctuary in Chiang Mai takes in abused and mistreated elephants and retires them in comfort.

Riding elephants at the sanctuary are completely forbidden, but you can feed them, go into the river and bathe with them, as well as go on walks with your new big-eared friends. Start your tour at the poo park, where you will learn about how the dung is recycled. Trust us, it’s the start of an amazing adventure.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

While you are still in Chiang Mai, the one thing you need to do is get up really early one morning, before the sunrise. Once you are awake, you should definitely take a hot air balloon ride to watch the sunrise over the city.

Watching the sunrise in Thailand is one of the most beautiful things you will see anyway, but watching it while up high in the air makes it even more unforgettable. Enquire at your hotel about the trips and make it one of the first things you book.

Snorkelling

Thailand is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters in the world. A holiday here isn’t complete without a trip to the beach, and once you get there, snorkelling is a must.

Koh Tao is the go-to location for snorkelling, and there are many tours available to let you explore everything hidden underneath the water. The tours are very budget friendly, and equipment is incredibly cheap to buy or rent.

Temple Tours

As a strongly Buddhist country, there are thousands of temples and shrines spread across the country, with hundreds of them found in the main cities. There are many of them that are incredibly unique and if you aren’t sure where they all are, you are going to miss some.

A temple tour is the best way to see and explore some of the best temples in the country. Whether you are in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or any of the other major cities, you can book a temple tour and have a guide walk you through some of these magnificent structures.

Lotus Lake

In the Northeast of Thailand, there is a spectacular surprise that you may miss if you didn’t know it existed. The north of the country is known for its wide expanses of rice fields, but hidden away amongst the tall elephant grass, is the Lotus Lake.

Lake Nong Han looks like it comes out of a fairy tale. Covered with thousands of lotus blossoms, this lake is a favourite for visitors during Valentine’s Day, but this unique lake is an absolute must-see for any visitor to the country.

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun is one of many temples found in Thailand, but it is also one of the most unique temples. It is all white, designed to represent the purity of Buddha. Designed by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, there are some unusual murals to be found inside.

There are glass and mirrors on the outside of the temple, that reflect light in the most beautiful way. But, the best time to see the temple is at night, when the moonlight makes the temple look almost otherworldly and ethereal.

Eat Insects

As a country with the best street food in the world, there is never a shortage of something to delicious to find and eat. You can find everything from unusual fruits, noodles, meat skewers, and of course, insects.

Deep-fried locusts or scorpions can be found in almost every market and on every street corner. Considering they are incredibly tasty, don’t be put off by the legs or stingers. They may not all taste like chicken, but Thailand is the best place to explore food.

Join a Muay Thai Camp

Many people may not think working out is the most fun thing to do while you are trying to relax on holiday, but since Thailand is home to Muay Thai, you do have the chance to join a training camp.

Thailand has produced some of the best Muay Thai fighters to ever live, and have also perfected the training methods, so joining the camp will give you a very tailored and unique experience. Plus, many of the fighters stay at the camp, giving you the chance to see how local Thai’s live.

Full Moon Party

The Full Moon Party, on Koh Phangan, is a party not to be missed. Celebrated every full moon, tourists and locals alike gather to dance and party the night away. Be prepared for a ton of people, great music, and an unforgettable experience.

Usually a party for the younger generations, it is open to anybody and everybody. There are many boats that Travel to Koh Phangan for the party, as well as the island itself has many hotels and places to stay if you want to enjoy the island after the party.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival

If you are in Thailand during November, the one thing you cannot miss is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. The festival usually takes place in mid-November in Chiang Mai and happens before the Festival of Lights.

Releasing the thousands of lanterns symbolises letting go of misfortune and bad luck from the previous year, and Buddhists believe making a wish when you release your lantern, will make your wish come true in the new year.

Thailand is the home to spectacular scenery, incredible people, and some of the most unique experiences you will ever discover. Whether you are in the city, at the beach, or in the vast countryside, you will find something special to do.

Traveling to Thailand, what do I need?

Thailand is a popular tourist destination because of the locals, food, beaches and more. Visiting Thailand should be on everyone’s bucket list because of its lush forested mountains, cultural diversity, enigmatic locals, colourful cities and tropical beaches of islands.

Travelling to Thailand, what do I need?

Knowing what to pack and what to leave when going on holiday can be quite daunting, but we have compiled a list of things that are a must!

10 things you need before going to Thailand:

Consider this your survival guide on what you need when travelling to Thailand.

1. Sturdy Backpack

Invest in a durable backpack that will be able to hold all your things, without breaking your back in the process. A great backpack will have a harness to support the weight you’re carrying, but it’s important to remember to pack light.

The bulk of the weight should be supported on your hips, rather than your shoulders.

A hip belt helps to make sure the weight of the backpack is supported on your hips; shoulder straps keep the bag in position, without you having to fidget with it; a number of pockets or compartments that provide space for extra storage.

Shop around before deciding on a backpack because you want one that has a long lifespan.

2. Travel cubes

Packing luggage when going on holiday can be quite frustrating because you don’t want to leave things out of fear of needing them, or packing too many things. Travel cubes are perfect because they force you to organize your luggage into things that you really need: less is more!

The cubes also make it easier for you to pack and unpack things, especially when you are looking for something. You can mix sets up, colour coordinates them, etc.

3. Travel wallet

Carry all your important travel documents- passport, boarding cards, hotel reservations, credit cards, etc. in a travel wallet. There are a variety of different travel wallets: ones that you can hang around your neck, ones you can carry in your pocket. Make sure your invaluable documents are in a safe place.

Take pictures of all your important documents and save them to your cloud, send them to yourself and a friend via email, so that you have a record of everything in case you lose your travel wallet.

Rummaging through all your luggage, as you try to find your passport will stress you out. Having a travel wallet will help you know where exactly to find your important documents when you need it most.

4. Footwear

Walking around the city is a great way to meet locals and find out about the hidden gems that tourists often overlook, so investing in high quality and comfortable shoes is a must.

Getting shoes that are easy to remove should also be taken into consideration because you have to take your shoes off before entering into sacred temples, some businesses and people’s houses. You should also practise good foot hygiene, especially if you’re taking your shoes off.

Thailand is known for its scorching temperatures, so get shoes that are ventilated but are comfortable to prevent blisters, heat rash and other issues. It’s not advised to wear chunky hiking boots in the majority of Thailand because of how hot it gets. Sneakers with great sole will do the trick.

5. Water carrier

Water will become your best friend because of how blisteringly hot it gets in Thailand. Having a water carrier is a convenient wave to carry your water around with you, especially when you are going to be active. There are places where you can find safe-to-drink bottled water, but it’s just good to keep this bottle handy when walking around the city.

6. Medication

Having a health kit is essential because you never know when you might need them. Getting onto a plane doesn’t excite everyone, thankfully there is motion sickness medication or sleeping pills to help make the flight more bearable.

You have to give your body time to get acclimatized to the new time zone, but if you’re pressed for time there are pills for jet lag that will let you hit the ground running! Replenish your electrolytes to avoid feeling woozy, lightheaded and to avoid other diseases.

Allergy tablets can also prove helpful. Also keep something handy, if you experience any digestive problems.

7. Underwear

Sweat is something you’ll have to get familiar with when in Thailand. Find underwear that will bear the heat and your body’s sweat, by buying lots of cotton underwear; cotton is a great material because it’s breathable, while materials like nylon trap moisture.

Thailand is an incredibly humid country and having breathable clothing that wicks away moisture will prevent overheating.

You’ll also need a few extra pairs if you succumb to number 6.

8. Toilet paper

Yip, toilet paper made the list. In Thailand bidets, water hoses, or bum guns (as they’re commonly called) are used more often than toilet paper. The gently pressured water jet is used to clean up after going to the bathroom.

Not only is this more hygienic, it’s great for the environment and the sewage systems, but you will still need toilet paper when using public restrooms that are not always hygienic or that doesn’t have toilet paper.

Buy a small compact bag that will hold your toilet paper, hand sanitizer and moisturiser.

9. Sunscreen/ mosquito repellent

Thailand can feel like a furnace, and a sure-fire way to not get burnt is to apply lots and lots of sunscreen every day and the mosquito repellent.

You will have to reapply repellent during mosquito peak hours (around 17h00), to avoid spending the rest of your trip scratching yourself. Wear clothes that cover your body and protect you from the sun to fight off sunburn and mosquito bites.

Image – mosquito repellent spray

Mosquito bite and sunburn relief provide that extra relief when the sunscreen and mosquito repellent didn’t quite do the trick.

10. Camera

There’s something about wielding a camera that makes you feel like a photographer, and with the rise of smartphones, there’s also something nostalgic about it.

You should take lots of pictures while on holiday in Thailand, so be sure to pack lots of memory cards. And always, always back up your images immediately. You will never forgive yourself for losing all those priceless memories, especially if it could have been avoided.

If buying a camera is out of the budget, then you can use a smartphone. A camera with a high resolution will definitely help to make your pictures look better, but a phone with an Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) technology will compensate for shaky hands.

Attachable camera lenses give your pictures a professional quality but at a fraction of the price. A portable charger will make sure no moment goes uncaptured. For the best angles, a kickstand, selfie stick or tripod will do the trick. Lastly, waterproof cases that make an ordinary phone waterproof – imagine all those underwater moments waiting to be photographed.

Buying small attachments keep your luggage lighter and more compact.

Besides your travel essentials for Thailand, this list covers the things that can be easily overlooked when deciding what to pack for your next holiday destination. Now, that you have an idea of what to pack, it will give you more time to plan your travel itinerary. Your next trip to Thailand awaits you …

Thailand in November

As the Land of Smiles ushers in November, Thailand’s temperatures increase steadily and with that begins a season of festivities with tourists returning after the monsoon and locals celebrating the rice harvest. Beautiful beaches in the Andaman Sea beckon, as do hikes through the rice fields and mountains of the North.

In addition to the accessibility of these natural wonders, the country hosts fabulous festivals which the Thai people enthusiastically celebrate. Rest assured, there’s no shortage of places to go and things to see in Thailand in November.

Weather in Thailand

Thailand’s an outdoor destination for most travellers: beaches and jungles are top natural phenomena. As such, weather is an important factor in deciding when and where to visit.

The lowest average temperature during November is a reasonable 19°C; the maximum to be expected is 32°C, meaning the weather is hot enough for beach days but cool enough to keep you sane as you navigate crowded streets.

November Temperatures

Chiang Mai’s cool with temperatures ranging from 19 °C to 30°C, while Bangkok’s warmer with 23 °C to 32°C. Out on the islands, temperatures are warm. Phuket ranges from 23°C to 31 °C and Koh Samui’s at 24 °C to 30°C. But don’t be deceived by higher temperatures; rainfall is key when deciding where to go!

Rainfall

The rainy season is considered to be at a close in November but rainfall can still vary across the country. It’s highest in the islands, including popular Koh Samui (an average of 490mm), while mainland Bangkok largely escapes the downpour with 46mm.

Best Destinations to visit

The Islands in Thailand

The Andaman Sea Islands are where the best beaches in November are located. West of the mainland, they’re generally free of the storms that plague the lower gulf islands like Koh Samui and Koh Tao.

Popular islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Phuket are in the midst of shoulder season, meaning they’re more affordable than in the height of the dry season.

In Phuket, late November’s improved weather means more bars open and the island remains uncrowded but not deserted. The diving season also begins. Catch a special full moon party at Paradise Beach Club in Phuket as the entire country celebrates Loy Krathong.

The North and North-East Thailand

The north is cool and bustling in the midst of rice harvest. Though still cold at night, the mountains around Chiang Mai are popular for hiking in November. An already spectacular landscape is transformed into the mystical as the mists descend over the mountain tops. Adding to this beauty are the blooming flowers dotting the landscape.

Rice is Thailand’s staple food. Most farmers do not use modern machinery, instead, harvesting their crops with traditional methods. November, harvest season, is a good time to visit the rice paddies.

Bangkok and the Central South of Thailand

November is a good time to visit Bangkok. You’ll avoid the claustrophobic heat of other months, meaning more comfort when zipping around town on a scooter or wandering the vast rooms of the Grand Palace. However, the tourist crowds are high (they always are) so there’s plenty of queueing. With the city’s popularity, prices for accommodation and meals are steep. This isn’t the time for spontaneity, either: book ahead.

Remember to factor in the locations of some of Thailand’s great festivals, listed below. These towns come alive during the celebrations and offer amazing glimpses into local life.

Events and festivals in November

In November Thailand celebrates the approach of the drier season and the country turns grateful, dedicating festivals to river spirits and monkeys, as well as celebrating its rich cultural and artisanal heritage.

These are just a few of the many festivities taking place in the month:

Loy Krathong

According to the Thai calendar, the 12th full moon of the year falls in early November. On this night, the moon lights up all of Thailand, the signal for the country’s Festival of Lights, Loy Krathong, to commence.

Locals decorate floats with banana leaves and spider fly plants before filling them with food, incense, candles and other tokens. The glowing lanterns are then placed on the rivers, creating a flickering spectacle in honour of the river spirits. In releasing the floats, people are symbolically letting go of old grudges and making wishes for the new year.

The festival is practised all over the country but for a special variation, head to Chiang Mai. There it takes on a different name, Yee Pheng, and locals release lanterns into the sky instead of onto the rivers.

Boat Race Festival in Phimai

Though the main drawcard of the festival is the boat races, the rich cultural and crafting displays are equally attractive. There’s a display of traditional techniques and products, art shows in the ancient archaeological park, contests and a large, bustling market.

Phimai is a part of north-east Thailand.

Silk Festival and Phuk Phoen Ceremony

Thailand’s one of the largest silk producers in the world. It’s an age-old trade in the ancient kingdom that’s celebrated in Khon Kaen in late November. There’s an exciting street parade, demonstrations of weaving techniques, folklore events and, yes, stalls full of silk!

Khon Kaen is located in the north-east of the country.

Monkey Banquet Festival

On the last Sunday of November, the people of Lopburi gather to pay their respects and express their gratitude to the monkeys of the town who attract many tourists, providing incomes for locals. There are hundreds of monkeys and sitting down to a banquet with the animals is a unique experience. Street parades and food markets (this time for humans) also take place during the festival.

Lopburi is situated in central Thailand.

November’s definitely an exciting time to visit Thailand. The country shows off its history, art and culture with unusual and tourist-friendly festivals. The natural beauty of Thailand also comes to the fore with breathtaking scenery in the lofty peaks of the north and the turquoise, clear waters of the southern islands. With so much on offer during the month, November is an ideal time to visit Thailand.