Shameless plug here for Jizan Perfumes LLC, who are an online seller of top class fragrances. We recently bought a few perfumes from them and have been using the whilst on holiday at the amazing Soneva Kiri Resort on Koh Kood (Koh Kut) in Thailand.
Jizan Perfumes helped us choose suitable fragrances for the holiday for everyday use. Plus an amazing fragrance for a family wedding we attended there. By the way Koh Kood is a super place to get married with it’s white sand beaches.
Like many backpackers, I always wondered which country in Southeast Asia has the best beaches. After 15 years of traveling around the area, which much of the time back home in the west, I have come to the conclusion that the best beaches in Asia, at least Southeast Asia are in the Philippines. But don’t take my word for it, here is my top five:
Top 5 Best countries for beaches in Southeast Asia
1st ~ The Philippines has the best beaches in Southeast Asia
The Philippines is a massive country made up of thousands of islands. Expect white sand beaches, crystal clear water and amazing weather. Palawan is the number one destination with many small islands which are often untouched. Check out the amazing one below, close to Coron in the north of Palawan:
There are also amazing beaches elsewhere, including the islands around Cebu. To the south, just off the edge of Cebu and Negros lies Suiqijor. San Juan Beach here is my personal favorite place to stay in the Philippines. I love the shallow water and sandbank just meters from the white sand beach:
2nd best country for beaches in Southeast Asia is Indonesia
I spent many months traveling around Indonesia. From the amazing coral gardens at Pula Weh off the north coast of Sumatra, to the remote paradise island experience at the Togian Islands in Sulawesi, with an untouched Beach off the coast of Flores in between. All 3 of these destinations are truly world class.
Unfortunately, I visited when cameras still had film, so I cannot prove it to you here. I highly recommend you visit these places. Just do a Google Image Search and you will see why I fell in love with Indonesia. More recently we stayed for a few months in Bali, where the beaches aren’t great, but the scenery is spectacular.
3rd Best place for beaches in SEA is Malaysia
Again I am afraid I visited here before digital cameras. It was the Perhentian Islands which I fell in love with. Amazing powdery white sand and crystal clear water. It was the perfect place to learn how to scuba dive, so that is where I took my PADI course. I really hope to return one day.
More recently we visited Langkawi on the other side of Malaysia’s mainland. The beaches aren’t so good there, which is why Malaysia can’t be any higher in this list.
4th Best Country in SEA for beaches in Thailand
You would expect Thailand to be higher, but I haven’t seen anything which compares to the Perhentian islands or the best of Indonesia and the Philippines in Thailand. I have been to Koh Phangan Nan, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta, Railay, Phuket and done island hopping tours.
Thailand has amazing tourism infrastructure and it certain;y wins the award for best beach accommodation, with beachfront bungalows available for $5 per night! But this is about beautiful beaches. Thailand is a great place to visit but the sand isn’t as white, nor the water as clear as it is at the above options.
5th Best Southeast Asian country for beaches is Vietnam
Despite being a very long country along the sea, Vietnam doesn’t have many options for beaches. The best of the bunch is off the southern coast. It is a spacious island, with lovely white sand at a beach on the east coast.
We stayed on the west coast and the sea was filled with jellyfish and the sand was only average. My recommendation is to go when the eastern beaches are “in season”- the water and wind was very rough when we visited in March.
Recently we went on holiday, the problem is that my elderly mother lives with us and she is not very mobile. She doesn’t like the heat and wouldn’t enjoy the holiday. Plus she would require us to gat a taxi everywhere, whereas we love to walk.
Last time we went away she stay at my brother’s house. However he and his family are coming with us this time so we were faced with a dilemma. We could either not go away at the same time, cancel the holiday, or find Mum somewhere else to stay.
There were no other options we could think of, we wouldn’t feel right leaving her in a hotel because she is showing signs of dementia. My brother’s wife was talking about our conundrum at her work and her colleague gave us the answer- a short stay nursing home.
But we had to try it out, for the sake of future holidays too. Plus one day she may require 24 hour nursing care at one of these care homes, so it could be a little trial run. My Mum, brother, his wife and I all went to visit New Park House.
We were immediately really impressed and Mum seemed just as happy with the place as the rest of us. This place is nothing like the dark and dingy places you imagine (like in the TV show Derek). It was a beautiful building (see photo above), with large garden and the interior has lovely modern decor. I could tell it wasn’t all top of the range stuff, but I was very impressed.
We spoke to the manager and one of the nurses. They reassured us that Mum would enjoy it and that she should think of it as a holiday for herself. I think that line was the one that clinched it. We had a look at the room she could stay in and it was great, just as good as any hotel we would of booked, if not better.
My Mum commented on the cleanliness; she is a stickler for cleanliness. After a subtle check she gave it the thumbs up. We all had a chat to the side for a couple of minutes and everyone was positive about the place. It didn’t take long for Mum to reassure us that she would be fine there and would enjoy her holiday whilst we enjoy ours.
A few weeks after our holidays finished, my Mum won’t shut up about the home. She said everyone was friendly, the food was good and she felt like she was really on holiday. We shall certainly be doing the same again next time and the home does have nursing facilities, so it is nice to know that there is an excellent option if she ever does need full time care.
You hear it everywhere you go around the world; an aching jealousy to live in the UK. I have travelled in many places and people just love the thought of moving to the UK.
In fairness I have travelled to some “backpacker countries” a lot, so the wealth people have in the UK is an obvious draw. But after 15-20 years travelling I still give people a confused look when they state they would love to live in the UK.
Whats bad about living in the UK?
For me as a Brit I hated the weather. Apparently it has got better in recent years, but I just remember it being grey nearly everyday. As a Mancunian (born and bred in Manchester in the North West), the grey skies and rain are more prominent compared to southern parts like Cornwall, where the sun will make more appearances.
I also didn’t like the “rat race’. Waking up early and going out to work everyday; the traffic, cold and repetitiveness being the major negatives. Travelling has taught me that in many countries people will farm for a few hours or drive a taxi for a few hours, then take it easy. This seems especially true in warmer places and the people are generally much happier looking.
What is the reason why non Brits want to move to the UK?
The first and most obvious choice is security. The UK is one of the most established societies in the world. Literally hundreds of years ahead of many developing countries. This has resulted in a system which protects and feeds everyone, even if you have no income. It also means a very fair and comprehensive legal system, which protects human rights.
Then you have an excellent standard of living, if you can afford it. As long as you have studied for a degree abroad and have a good job lined up; the standard if living is luxurious. Having a car one per adult is normal and taking holidays abroad at least once a year is the done thing. To get tips on living in the UK check out this link which is a blog all about which products to buy and how to live in the UK.
Security must be top for most people, then a great standard of living. Finally the UK offers great education. From the twin university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, known together as Oxbridge, to a whole host of independent schools across the country such as the excellent Communicate English School in Manchester. There are schools for everything you could think of, especially in London.
Now as a Manchester guy who has studied in London, I feel that the capital deserves a mention too. London is the second most cosmopolitan city in the world in my opinion. In terms of culture it is a true melting pot. You can find anything you want there, from specific dance classes from South America, to stores selling specialist goods from certain Asian countries.
Although some towns may be a little closed off to incomers, London and Manchester are great places to live, study and set up a family. I would certainly recommend looking beyond these cities if raising a family, if you can. For example just north of Manchester is the Lake District, which is truly a beautiful region. Down south there is the aforementioned Cornwall or Devon, both with excellent coastlines.
As for me, I am happy to of moved on from the UK. Below is my current Facebook cover photo, one I took a few days ago in Asia. I just can’t get the turquoise waters out of my head, they are the opposite of the grey skies in the UK. So if you need any advice about moving to the UK and specifically Manchester, just get in touch.
I have been to Boracay many times over the past few years. The place is unique because it has one of the best beaches in the world, great tourist infrastructure, but isn’t completely spoilt.
I’ve travelled all over Asia and Boracay is the best of the lot. It has the perfect combination of being busy enough that there is always something to do, but not over crowded.
Some may disagree about the overcrowding. Development has been massive over the past few years and the central area of the main beach can get uncomfortably crowded. But if you avoid the central area you can find a great balance.
The area known as Station 2 is the place to avoid. It features most of the shops and bars so it is good to just stop by. You really should be aiming to stay in the north (Station 1) or south (Station 3).
Station 1 has better sand and shallower water, but it costs more. People on a budget like myself stay in Station 3 where reasonably priced rooms can be found. Station 3 features nice restaurants like Cowboy Cocina a lovely boutique style spa for massages called Bella Isa and a good selection of hotels. The beach is still very nice in Station 3 and far quieter than Station 2.
The island also features other beaches. Bulabog on the back isn’t as clean but it is the best place for water sports most of the year. Pukka Beach on the northern tip makes a great day out and is very quiet. Diniwid Beach just past some rocks north of Station 1 is a beautiful bay to visit for a couple of days. It is also worth hiring a boat to take you around the island where you will spot and visit other beaches.
Boracay Island is one of the most popular beach destinations in the world. It receives more visitors than any other tourist spot in the Philippines. Both international and Filipino travellers love the white sand and clear water. That includes a sizeable number of gay visitors.
The island lacks any hotels which cater specifically to the LGBT demographic. This prompted Alan, an expat in the local gay community to open up Rainbow Rooms. The idea was to source gay friendly hotel rooms and offer a service to LGBt travellers which guaranteed no problems.
Rainbow Rooms was recently altered to Rainbow Rooms and Apartments. Some of the previous accommodation wasn’t perfect so a new resort has been introduced for the hotel rooms. The previous resort is now just used for a few apartments which offer a self catering option.
The The island is located in the center of the Philippines so it receives milder weather than other parts which are prone to typhoons. The most popular season is from December to May. The rest of the year is more at risk of rain, it can be heavy but never poses any danger like in other parts of the Philippines.
Thinking of emigrating to hot and sunny Asia? Not sure where would be best? Well this post should give you some off the beat track tips about the best places to moved to in Asia.
1. Discovery Bay in Hong Kong
This is a great option if you want a great location with all of the convenience that comes from living in a developed place like Hong Kong. Discovery Bay is a beautiful little place with a beach and top class infrastructure. The area is home to expats from around 30 different nations. The population is around 20,000 and growing.
Discovery Bay is know to locals as DB. It is easily accessed from the center of Hong Kong by taxi, bus or ferry. It lies in close proximity to the international airport which also connects to the main area by train. Families will be delighted to hear that Disneyland is also very close by. Real Estate prices are thought to be around 25% less than in other areas of Hong Kong. For more information check out Around DB magazine.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is a bustling city with a unique charm. Many Asian cities become overbearing with the heat and traffic. Bangkok has an excellent air conditioned rail service which helps to alleviate this. The city is great to see at night with amazing lights on the buildings. It feels like you are in a movie like Bladerunner. There are many big malls which offer shopping for all tastes from super cheap markets to the reasonably priced MBK mall, to the upscale Paragon mall.
Bangkok is home to some amazing cuisine. You will find every international dish you crave at one of the many thousands of restaurants. The real treats can be found at local establishments where you can eat a delicious plate of spicy noodles followed by the national favorite dessert mango and sticky rice. Most expats choose to stay in condos which usually come with a pool and gym and other facilities. Prices are very reasonable for condos whether buying or renting.
I recently booked my first trip dedicated to skiing in Switzerland. It will be a couple of months before I go. Having never been skiing before, I have been a little worried as my friends have plenty of experience. They advised me to get out there and practice. So have been taking lessons at the nearby indoor slope. They have been a great help. There would be no way that I could of balanced properly if I hadn’t done this. My instructor advised me to buy some ski boots and a new gadget called the Sweetspot.
First let me just say that you need to know what you are doing when buying ski boots. I had no idea and just ordered a nice, cheap looking pair online. The fit was too loose so my instructor advised me to send them back. He told me first you need to buy proper ski socks and then try on various pairs of boots. The key is to get a comfortable fit but also quite a tight fit. This way there is no slippage on the slopes. Anyway back to the Sweetspot…
It is a pair of blocks which is strapped to the bottom of your ski boots. The name comes from the fact that once you are balancing on the blocks, you naturally find your skiing “sweetspot”. This allows you to practice at home in a very life-like way. There are 4 sized blocks for people of different skill levels. Naturally I am starting with the easiest size for beginners. Since using the blocks I have really improved, at least my instructor thought so. Anyway that is the end of this short post, I just wanted to share the gadget with any skiers as they have really helped me. I think they are available online in most countries and they don’t cost much, cheaper than my low cost ski boots. You can read more about them at the SkiA website.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced alternative to overpriced hotels, UK holiday cottages make an ideal choice. They can be found all over the country, especially in the more well known National Parks, such as the Lake District and Snowdonia. A cottage is not only cheaper than a hotel room for a family or group of friends travelling together, it also offers complete flexibility and allows you to come and go as you please.
Most cottages offer plenty of space and are ideal for larger families who want to save money on booking two or more hotel rooms. Although UK holiday cottages vary in the level of luxury and the amenities they offer, you can assume that they all come with basic furnishings, bath and wc, a TV and usually some outdoor space. Many have more luxurious features such as a jacuzzi, and many allow pets. Some are suitable for the disabled and are designed to accommodate a wheelchair.
If you are a family trying to save money on your next UK holiday, one of the biggest expenses for many people is eating out, and a holiday cottage comes complete with a kitchen. Again, facilities will vary, but you can assume that the basic cutlery and pots and pans needed to cook and feed a family of four are usually provided. However, if you are staying in a cottage in the country, one of the pleasures is enjoying a home cooked meal and a few drinks at the nearest village pub.
UK holiday cottages can be found all over the country and deciding just where to go may be the difficult part. Snowdonia offers some of Britain’s wildest and most spectacular mountain scenery, along with easy access to the North Wales seaside resorts. The lake District is Britain’s most popular National Park, and offers plenty of outdoor pursuits as well as artistic and literary associations. Although flat, the Norfolk Broads makes up for its lack of topography by offering some of the best sailing and boating anywhere in the UK, as well as plenty of family oriented activities.
Finding and booking just the right cottage from the UK holiday cottages that are available is easy. Booking online allows you to look at photos of the cottage, read guest comments and narrow your search by price, location and number of bedrooms. If a holiday in the UK is in your plans, a cottage s one of the best accommodation choices there is.