During the day it is great as you are crawling distance from the beach. At night is gets a bit noisy because it is between the road and a pub with loud music. The cafe has decent food with awesome views. In fact more then once I had breakfast in the cafe as the waters of the ocean came right up to my ankles.
The bungalows are basic with great air con. Nice thing are the floors are easily swept to get rid of all the sand you bring in from the beach.
Hat Sai Kaeo, Koh Samet
Ko Samet, Thailand
At the lodge at the Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an we slept in a bed inside a tent set inside a thatch-roofed hut. Outside our cabin was a private patio and on our stoop was a hammock. The beach, with a few thatch umbrellas, is only twelve feet or so below, but to protect the vegetation on the dune you had to find the way to a wooden ladder. The lodge has no electricity except in the restaurant/reception area, though you can borrow a lamp after dark. There’s salt water in the taps and showers (but in Mexico you have to use bottled water anyway). Meals are on the roofdecks and from here we watched a vast sunset over the lagoon, followed by Venus and then the undimmed stars.
Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an (CESiaK) Federal Road (307) Cancun-Tulum, #68 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Tel: (52) 984-871-2499 info@CESiaK.org
A two hour boat trip from the crowded, tout-troubled beaches of Sihanoukville is the paradise of Lazy Beach. Facing the sunset on the coral sands of the west bay are twelve beach huts serviced by the bar and restaurant. Chris and Richard's residents only policy means no day visitors and your paradise is shared with a maximum of 30 other guests.
It's a world of hammocks, snorkelling, jungle walks, delicious fresh-cooked food, and total relaxation.
Book on-line at www.lazybeachcambodia.com or at the Seahore restaurant on Serendipity beach Road in Sihanoukville.
Koh Lipe, a small island in the Andaman Sea, is a little gem 60km off the coast inside the Tarutao National Marine Park. Koh Lipe has become the southern anchor of the busy north-south Andaman tourist route and getting there these days couldn’t be easier with boats arriving from all up and down the coast including Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Krabi and Trang. Koh Lipe is also the jumping off point to Langkawi and Malaysia.
At it's largest, the island is only 2km long and 1km wide. With two main beaches each with their own distinct character, there is something for everyone. The busy one, Pattaya beach, has a wide beach stretched in a long crescent of fine white sand. In the evening it transforms as restaurants and bars set out chairs and bamboo mats on the sand and lit by candle lit and reggae tunes drift down the beach.
On the other side of the island is Sunrise Beach with views of several small nearby islands and a cool onshore breeze most of the year. Sunrise Beach is the opposite of Pattaya beach, with just a few resorts and bars, it is very laid back. It also has a very large coral reef with the best snorkelling on the island directly from the beach.
There are no cars on the island, and thankfully just a few motorbikes, so people get around by walking. The whole island can be explored on foot in a couple of hours. Pooh’s Bar (www.poohlipe.com) in the middle of the island is run by the charismatic Pooh and is almost an institution on the island. Famous for its live music in the evenings it draws a large crowd.
Karma Bar (www.karmabar.net) at the north end of Sunrise Beach is well known on the back packer scene with its mellow music and great location. At the other end of Sunrise beach Castaway Resort (kohlipe.castaway-resorts.com) has stunning sea and island views, which viewed from its raised candle lit deck has to be the ultimate in chilled out dining and drinking.
Tarutao National Marine Park has some of the best dive sites in all of Thailand. Within easy boat reach of Koh Lipe are hundreds of coral reefs with an amazing variety of huge hard and soft corals. The corals and seas around Koh Lipe are full of marine life, offering everything from turtles to huge rays. Even if you aren’t a diver you can enjoy the marine world drifting along the edges of coral reefs with a mask and snorkel. Compared to other dive and snorkel areas there is so much to see and no competition to see it.
Koh Lipe still has a lot of cheap back packers accommodation, with places like Varin offering simple bamboo huts close to the beach. At the top end is Sita Beach with a swimming pool and Castaway Resort with its two-story breezy bungalows which was described by the Lonely Planet as ‘the most chic on Lipe’.
Tips for travellers:
* If you are travelling from Hat Yai, be in Pak Bara before 11am to catch the speed boat.
* If you are travelling from Langkawi, the boat journey is shorter and there is a small efficient immigration on Koh Lipe.
* There are no ATM's on the island, so make sure you bring enough cash for your stay, and then double it as you'll end up deciding to stay longer!
* Varin2 on Sunrise beach has the newest and cheapest bamboo bungalow huts.
Lovely little place, located between Kaeo and Mangonui. Run by Lyndsey and football fanatic Stefano, on their fifth-generation Northland family farm. Dorms, singles and doubles with a warm homely feel.
After a trek over the farm to historic Kauri dams where you can bathe in natural rockpools or a day at the beach in beautiful and remote Doubtless Bay, treat yourself to one of Stefano's legendary homemade pizzas - yum yum.
A cut above any other hostel I've ever stayed in - a real gem.
Kahoe Farms Hostel, RD 2 Kaeo, New Zealand. Tel: (09) 4051 804
Beautiful camping spots overlooking the Blue Flag beach, Wold Farm and Southcliff Caravan Park. Details can be found at www.beachcampsitesuk.co.uk under the 'Yorkshire' section. Close by is the wonderful Ship Inn, an eighteenth century coaching inn that serves great food and heart-warming ales, situated in the heart of Flamborough village, just a short walk away from the dramatic cliffs and sandy beaches of Flamborough Head.
With credits crunching and economies sliding get on down to the north coast of Cornwall, arguably England's best slice of coast. I based myself at Newquay from where there is any number of adrenalin sports waiting to be experienced. I cantered on a horse across the Gannel estuary and beach Saturday morning, coasteered and zipwired along Lusty Glaze beach Saturday afternoon while Sunday wasn't lazy at all, being spent on fabulous Watergate Bay kitesurfing and bodyboarding. Superb!
You could try, as I did, www.visitnewquay.org, a great little site with all the info you need for a trip.
Haena Beach on the Big Island was one of my favourite beaches along with the north shore of Kauai. The north shores of all the islands are spectacular, especially during the winter with all the big waves (but this means it can be very windy for camping.)
There is one beach (also a campsite) on the north shore of Kauai, also called Haena (if I remember correctly) which is at one end of the Napali coast. It means that you can make it your base before hiking along the coast, as there are small and big treks along this coast to beautiful waterfalls and beaches that you can only get to by foot. There is a lot of reef off the north shore, which makes for good waves, and also some good snorkeling. We were able to see a whole family of turtles while we were there.
An historic village in the North East of Corfu - the classy corner of the island - has been converted into a beautiful private estate of villas with pools. The houses have been beautifully renovated and it's ideal for families. You need to hire a car. Better still, rent a boat.
Cycling or walking around the island and visiting the cathedral... chatting with the locals in a totally relaxed, beautiful and safe environment. Mass tourism has not hit and the locals are chilled and friendly. The kids will hang out with you and follow you everywhere just because they are curious and interested. The lake is cobalt blue and perfect for swimming...
Cathc the ilala ferry once a week to get there or fly in on a very little plane with Nyassa Air. Stay at Mango Drift backpackers or Kaya Mawa for quirky barefoot luxury.
Trogir is situated in the centre of Dalmatia, on the eastern coastline of Adriatic Sea. The heart of Trogir is a small islet lying between the gentle hills on the mainland and the coast of the Island of Ciovo. It is a small town of 120,00 but the airport of Split is only 3km away. Trogir gets the mild Mediterranean climate – about 30C in summer - and is actually a real treasure if you fancy avoiding the other touristy destinations in Croatia.
Places to visit I’d suggest are: St. Lovre’s cathedral, Kamerlengo fortress and the Berislavic palace.
Peniche has the perfect conditions to learn and practice surfing. Baleal beach, about five kilometres north of Peniche, is one of Portugal’s most stunning beaches and is uniquely positioned, offering ideal conditions for both beginners and experienced surfers.
Great campsite just north of Alghero old town. It's an easy 20-minute walk along the beach into the city centre/port.
Staff are helpful and the loos and showers are clean and well-maintained (with the added luxury of loo roll!) Oddly, there is a big communal barbecue in the midst of all the showers/loos/sinks etc - looks well-used but I'm not sure about the location!
The campsite has a well-stocked shop, which has fresh bread and pastries every morning, and a bar/pizzeria. There's also direct access onto the beach and a little windsurfing centre which offers lesson and board hire.
We camped here in low season when prices were very reasonable but I think it pretty much doubles in high season, when to be honest it would probably be too crowded (as it's the only campsite in Alghero) to be fun. There's space for camper vans and mobile homes and you can also hire little wooden cabins and breeze-block bungalows (which look very basic but fine).
There are slighly battered outdoor chairs and tables dotted around the campsite, for anyone to use. I suspect that in high season these are the subject of fierce wars of possession but in low season they're fairly easy to find. We preferred setting up our meths stove on the beach and eating there, anyway - definitely recommended.
Wouldn't hesitate to return.
Another recommendation to add to the 'used by Bondi locals' list. Full breakfast here comes on two plates for the really serious to keep your toast free of egg or tomato leakage. This is the king of breaky that keeps you going all day - the veggie one comes highly recommended as well... Mmmmm.
The menu for the rest of the day is pretty good too, but in Bondi breaky is king - after a swim and before a trip to the Sunday markets.
Gould Street Plaza (leads onto Campbell Parade), Bondi Beach
Google map: tinyurl.com/pfh6yn
Manda Bay is a beautiful luxury lodge in an idyllic setting just 20 minutes boat ride away from the main Lamu Island.
We left our shoes on the beach when we arrived at the island and had no cause to put them back on until the day we left!
Fishing and water sports are their speciality, and the waterskiing and fly-fishing was a great experience.
The wonderful friendly hosts make you feel so welcome and part of the family, and the food is superb.
It's an amazing experience and well worth it for that bit of island paradise luxury.
Not a place you ever want to leave!
Just outside the 'centre' of Kilwa Masoko (ie. a 10-15 minute walk), this collection of ensuite chalets sits in grounds on a headland with amazing views over the sandy bay of Kilwa Masoko and towards Kilwa Kisiwani island.
The resort is very professionally managed and keen to make visitors welcome. Activities organised by the resort - tours, diving, etc - seem very well organised and reasonably priced. There is a special path from the resort down to the beach. The restaurant is recommended, too.
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