As the weather begins to turn and the days begin to shorten in the northern hemisphere, many of us start to crave a vitamin D top-up. Nothing beats the winter blues quite like a turquoise sea, a white sandy beach and a cold cocktail to hand – and all of this can be found in southern Thailand and its nearby neighbours, with picture-perfect beach destinations and dependably good weather. These relaxing winter beach escapes are sure to do the trick.
THAILAND – PHUKET
Thailand’s biggest island has over 30 beaches to choose from, from the touristy Patong, Kamala, Kata and Karon beaches to quieter beaches on the northern side of Phuket.
Phuket also provides an excellent springboard for visiting other sights. Take a day trip aboard a long tail boat to view the rugged beauty of the karst islands dotted around Phang Nga Bay, or set sail for the Phi Phi Islands…
THAILAND – PHI PHI ISLANDS
These six islands are amongst the most beautiful in Southeast Asia, with uninhabited Phi Phi Leh providing the backdrop for the 2000 film The Beach. Whilst they’re only a 45-minute speed boat ride from Phuket and certainly on the tourist radar, the main island Phi Phi Don doesn’t allow cars, so visitors explore via footpaths and trails. Explore the island’s bays, unwind on its pristine beaches and take a dip in turquoise waters on a 4 day/3 night break. Alternatively take an island hopping day trip from Phuket by speedboat, with lunch at Tonsai Bay and chances to snorkel and swim.
MALAYSIA – LANGKAWI
Malay Langkawi is popular for good reason: it’s a well-connected, dramatically beautiful karst-swept archipelago with a range of accommodation options, including stunning higher- end hotels to suit discerning travellers and honeymooners. If you have the energy to leave the island’s beaches and do some exploring, hop on a bike and glide through traditional fishing villages and rice paddies. Or visit a beautiful black sand beach, learn about a legendary icon of Langkawi, watch the art of handmade batik, and enjoy some duty-free shopping in Kuah Town.
CAMBODIA – KOH KRABEY, KOH RONG AND KOH RUSSEY
Whilst Angkor Wat will always be the main draw when visiting Cambodia, its small coastline has in recent years seen the development of some world-class hotels. For a luxury getaway the island of Krabey (not to be confused with Krabi in Thailand) is a superb option. Reached from Sihounoukville, the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Russey also offer pristine beaches, with chic eco-resorts, boutique getaways and rustic accommodation to choose from. Of course any trip to Cambodia is not complete without a visit to see the magnificent Angkor Wat. Travel to the capital of the Angkor empire, exploring centuries of temples and visiting lesser-known ones, as well as the world-renowned Bayon, Ta Prohm, and Angkor Wat.
VIETNAM – PHU QUOC AND CON DAO
Vietnam’s coastline stretches over 3000km from north to south, with the southern islands of Phu Quoc and Con Dao seeing some of the best weather in the region. Phu Quoc has developed into a vibrant tourist hub, with a great selection of accommodations to suit all budgets. Aside from wonderful beaches and clement weather, the island boasts some great cottage industries and a rugged interior with incredible waterfalls and jungle trails. For a more luxurious getaway Con Dao is certainly worth considering, with both islands equidistant from the Mekong Delta – the life blood of the country with snaking waterways, charming villages and beautiful scenery.
And finally – have you ever wondered – just why are tropical seas turquoise in colour? It’s a combination of still water reflecting clear blue skies, the lesser absorption of blue, shortwave light by the water, the light colour of the sand beneath the sea, and the lack of impurities in the water. Talk to one of our travel consultants about the perfect beach break to suit you, shake off the winter blues and dive in to a turquoise sea!