Thailand: More than the Temples

railay beach

Thailand is best known for the rich culture it possesses evident in the temples, statues, and landmarks that span throughout the country. As 95% of the population practice Buddhism, hundreds of temples are in the country. Some of the popular ones are Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Benchamabophitr. Wat Pho houses the biggest reclining Buddha statue covered in gold leaf, and is a must see. The landmarks that give a glimpse of the history of Thailand is what lures most tourists into visiting the country but that is not all that it has to offer. It may be new knowledge to some that Thailand is also home to high quality beaches.

There are a multitude of choices for beach goers that you’re sure to find one that fits your preference. Let’s rundown the list to see which one is right for you. If you want to be with the crowd you might want to check out Patong Beach in Phuket. This is the largest beach in Thailand, surrounded by bars and clubs that are perfect for the partyphile. This is such a big area that walking to get form place-to-place might be too tiring; to maximize your stay commuting via the mini buses here or renting your own scooter might be a better choice. Make sure to do some water activities like jet skiing or banana boat rides for groups for that extra adrenaline rush.

For those on the other end of the spectrum, I would recommend Railay Beach in Krabi. This beach is accessible only by boat limiting the amount of people here. It has clear blue waters surrounded by magnificent cliffs that are sure to leave you in awe. This part of Thailand only offers a few activities making it more apt if you’re looking to relax.

If you’re into photography or perhaps enjoy sightseeing then you must go to the hidden beaches in Thailand. Ko Adang, Ko Lipe, and Ko Kood are some of your choices. Although these come at a premium price, they provide the perfect landscapes to capture. Without a doubt, these awesome sights will boost up your portfolio and satisfy your eyes.

Thailand certainly has a beach for anyone and everyone looking to have some fun under the sun. A historical trip paired up with a good visit to the beach, what more can you ask for? Have I mentioned the affordable merchandise available here? You can do all of these and go on a shopping spree; I must say this sounds like the perfect trip!

Best Beaches in Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago with 1,707 islands located in Southeast Asia. With this much islands comprising the country, one can only imagine how much shoreline and beaches are here. The Philippines does in fact have some of the most beautiful beaches that have consistently attracted tourists. This country is a go to for most beach lovers from different parts of the world year round due to its tropical climate. This allows everyone to enjoy the beach almost any time of the year. Let’s now see some of the best beaches that make this country special.

There is no better way to start this list than with Boracay in Aklan, likely the most famous beach in the country. This is packed with tourists almost year round but if one is looking for a real party then he or she must book a flight during the Labor Day Weekend here. Just make sure to be prepared to run on a few hours of sleep to get the full experience. During this time, Boracay will be hosting a number of parties and events that’s perfect for the young and vibrant. This beach has one of the clearest waters in the country made famous by its pure and white sand.

Next up are the beaches in Bicol that offer a peaceful escape to visitors. Bicol is surrounded by a number of bodies of water that serve as a border from the city. The beaches in the Caramoan Islands located in the remote parts of the Camarines Sur (a region of Bicol) are a raw sight for visitors. Foreigners who have made it a location for reality televison shows like the Survivor US have noticed the simple but exceptional appeal of this place. These islands seem like they are waiting to be explored and to be noticed by new eyes. The Palaui Islands in the Cagayan Valley is also a good choice for those who are into the raw beauty of nature. These islands would require visitors to exert more effort into journeying, efforts that would definitely pay off once they see the beaches located here.

The beaches in the Bantayan Islands in Cebu also offer a remote refuge for visitors. This is great for a laidback experience as there is an absence of commercial life in the area. Since there are no malls and luxury hotels located in this area tourists are able to pay full attention to nature.

El Nido in Palawan gives all of these beaches a run for their money. With crystal clear waters and pristine beaches, El Nido has earned a rightful place on this list. A trip to El Nido is one of the most serene and relaxing experiences someone will have. This is the place to spend some time alone to reflect and celebrate the simple pleasures that can be found in nature.

It would take quite a number of pages to rundown all the beautiful beaches in the Philippines. There are the beaches in Davao, Surigao, Ilocos Norte, and Batangas that surely belong to the must see list of anyone visiting the country. It would take a number of trips for someone to get to all these beaches but each one assures a unique and memorable experience to visitors.

Luxurious Beach Resorts in New Zealand

Vacations are meant to treat yourself for all the hard work you put into work or school. It’s a time for you to spend time with your family and friends away from stress and worry. It’s a short getaway in order for you to step back, recharge, and get back in the game. If this is your way of rewarding yourself then I think you deserve a great vacation. This might be a good time to splurge and enjoy some luxurious pampering. You might want to check out some of the fancy beach resorts in New Zealand.

First on our list is the St. Clair Esplanade  in Dunedin. If you’re really set on splurging then you better go and book a room in the Hotel St. Claire with the Oceanside view. Just imagine waking up to the sight of the Pacific just outside your window, what a way to start your luxurious vacation. You can then enjoy a feast at the award winning Pier 24 Restaurant and bar, get a taste of authentic New Zealand cuisine that’s sure to satisfy your cravings. For a one of a kind swimming experience it’s a must that you dip into the hot salt-water pool in St. Clair. This unique pool is located at the oceanfront so you get to enjoy the view while lounging comfortably in this 28 degree Celsius pool.

You should also consider the Paihia Beach Resort and Spa , a Nominee to the 2015 World Luxury Hotel Awards. Just the idea of being nominated for that category says something of the grandeur that you will find in this area. Take your time here to spoil yourself a little and have some well deserved alone time. You can start it off with a good sweat at the Sauna room then get a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, and maybe a foot spa to get you stress free. You can enjoy a variety of treatments for your hair and body to leave you feeling and looking good. Of course the beach here is of high quality and will complete your whole experience here. This place is just so serene and peaceful you feel like you’re in a different world.

These two are some of the most luxurious beach resorts in New Zealand that’s perfect for that one of a kind holiday trip for you. Of course New Zealand has countless of other resorts away from the beach like the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort in Rotorua and the Lodge at Kauri cliffs. These two are also renowned spots for vacations as well. Check out these luxury spots and see which one fits your preferences.

El Nido: My Top Vacation Spot

el nido

El Nido is a Municipality of Palawan located on the western side of the Philippines. The name El Nido, which is Spanish for “The Nest”, perfectly captures what this place is. Palawan consists of an outstanding 1,780 islands boasting a large number of different flora and fauna. Due to its high biodiversity it is considered “The Last Ecological Frontier” of the country.

Anyone who has been to the Philippines knows that this country hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Most may be more familiar with Boracay, the go to place for tourists. This is jam packed with beach lovers almost year round. Boracay is one of the reasons the Philippines is the tourist destination of choice for many. It is important to be aware that many alternatives are present in the country, El Nido being one of them.

I have been to numerous beaches here and El Nido remains to be on the top of my list. I understand the appeal of Boracay as parties and events have been a common thing here. The place gives off an energetic vibe that gets you pumped and excited. On the other hand, El Nido is the place for the more relaxed types of people. It’s the place for those looking to unwind and take a breather.

Just imagine lounging around the white sand beaches surrounded by crystal clear water, it’s just a pristine environment that no photograph can give justice to. The islands of El Nido encapsulate the whole Italian idea of “dolce far niente” or the sweetness of doing nothing. To be able to guiltlessly spend the whole day under the sun thinking about nothing but the beauty that surrounds you is one of the best things El Nido has to offer. Once you have been to El Nido it would be clear how the rawness and simplicity of the place could draw so much attention.

Of course the different islands of El Nido have a lot of activities as well; rappelling, snorkeling, and island hopping are some examples. These would give you the chance to have close encounters with different marine life unique to the islands. After a long day of fun activities you can enjoy a great massage by the beach while sipping on fresh cocktails, what can be better than that right?

If you’re planning your next vacation, I highly suggest you book a flight to El Nido right now! Don’t just take my word for it, go and experience the subdued elegance of El Nido for yourself.

Kaikoura and Mangawhai: Cool New Zealand Beach Towns

Summer is the time to get your swimsuits on and enjoy a great beach holiday. If you’re looking for clean beaches with clear waters then you might want to check New Zealand out. This country also offers great surfing conditions and fewer crowds. It’s the place for those looking to get some personal time with a lot of personal space. Sounds good? Let’s rundown some two of the best beach towns in New Zealand.

cool new zealand beach town

First up is Kaikoura, which is right for those looking to swim during the summer months. If you’re bringing your family with you on this beach trip then Kaikoura sounds like a good option. It’s possible to swim on the entire stretch of this beach during favored weather conditions. The coastline of Kaikoura also has good spots for surfers although you must practice caution because the Surf Life Saving Club does not patrol these areas. It may not be a good idea to try to surf here if you’re a first timer. If you’re a seasoned surfer you might be more capable of enjoying the waves here, but please still be very careful. Always be aware of your surroundings to ensure your safety.

Another thing that attracts tourists to Kaikoura is the abundance of marine life here due to the upwelling currents. Whale and dolphin watching is common here and you can also go see seal colonies. These are definitely fun activities for the whole family, especially for the kids. Fishing is also popular in Kaikoura so don’t forget to cast a line and get your hands on some fresh seafood. You might even get to catch the famous crayfish in this town. (Kaikoura is directly translated to “meal of crayfish”.) Other activities that you and your family can enjoy here are kayaking, canoeing, and scuba diving. You can find plenty of things to do on the official New Zealand site at http://www.newzealand.com/us/kaikoura/

The next beach town is Mangawhai, which offers calm waters and white sands. The Mangawhai Heads is a popular sandbar where tourists flock to swim. There is also a surfclub here so it’s great for wave seekers as well. This area offers more safety since Surf Lifeguards are present during the summer months. This may be a better spot for you if you want to try your hand at surfing.

The great weather conditions here don’t only allow surfing but a variety of other activities. If sailing fascinates you then why not try it here? For thrill seekers there’s also wind and kite surfing. There are also activities outside of the water in Mangawhai like sand boarding. Doing all these different activities in and out of the water is a fun way to spend quality time with your family. If you find yourself in New Zealand make sure to check out these two beach towns!

What You Need To Consider Before You Go Surfing

surfing in hawaii

Choose the right surfboard and wetsuit
A good surfboard should have some width and thickness. The length of the surf will depend on how big you are: the bigger the person, the bigger the board. It is a good idea to choose a longer board as it can help you get a lot better faster and also help you get the basics down as you can scale down as you progress.

A short board is usually unstable and wobbly for inexperienced surfers. Starting with a bigger board will help you progress faster, help you have more fun and ride more waves. Apart from the surfboard, you have to also select the right wetsuit. The average water temperature is used to determine the wetsuit thickness you need to rent or buy.

Find the right spot
Look for a good beginner surf spot. If you have no idea of where this is, you can ask the local surf shop. Avoid point breaks, reef breaks and heavy shore breaks as it can become a dangerous place for a beginner.

Surfing should be fun and not a place to get beat up, thrashed around or held down. Do your research and you will experience the difference between having a good and bad first experience.

You need to know about rip currents
A rip current is a strong and narrow current which heads to the sea from the shore back. If you find yourself in a rip current, the best thing to do is to paddle in a way that is parallel to the ocean shore as it will enable you to see where the waves are pushing in.

Do not panic. Just keep calm and hold your breath while surfing in the ocean. When you panic, you will not be able to hold your breath. With strong rip currents, you will have to go out with the rip into the deeper water where your balance is restored and the pulling current will subside.

After this, paddle parallel to the shore and work your way in. Some of the signs of a rip current include: change in the color of water within the rip, pulling of objects or surfers to the sea with little or no effort and waves which do not fully break in the rip.

Learn how to stand up on your surfboard
Before you go surfing, you have to practice doing pop-ups. To do this, lay down on the floor with hands near your chest but not too wide. You should be able to push off your board to get up to your feet in one smooth motion without touching your knees. Practice on how you can lay down and pop to your feet and landing sideways.

Teaching Kids To Swim At A Young Age: 5 Tips For Success

boy in swimming pool

One of the smartest things you can do for your young child is introduce them to water and water safety. While swimming lessons are the primary focus of your goal, there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are 5 tips to succeed in teaching your child to swim from an early age.

1. Start Them Early

If a child is introduced to water at an early age, they are much more likely to take to it well. Even babies as young as six months have a natural inclination to kick and tread, working to keep themselves afloat. This exposure will help them develop survival skills, as well as a love for the water.

2. Sign Up For Professional Lessons

No matter how adept you are at swimming, it’s important that a child have a formal education when it comes to maneuvering through the water. Professional lessons introduce your child to the various techniques for floating, treading and swimming, but they should also cover other important elements, such as what to do when trouble arises. Also, an instructor besides yourself gives everything you teach positive reinforcement; thus, while they’re receiving professional instruction, you can still help them along with their learning.

3. Observe Their Training From A Distance

When your children are at swimming lessons, it may be hard for you to step back, but that’s an important part of their learning what to do on their own. If you are always right there cheering them on or offering advice, they may not develop the independence they need with their swimming skills.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Beyond their regular swimming lessons, your kids should practice the various techniques they’ve learned often. Rather than just letting them play in the water, have them do drills, featuring the different strokes they are being introduced to. The practice will help them perfect their skills, as well as emphasize the importance of what they are learning.

5. Test Their Skills

It’s one thing to know the backstroke, yet quite another to use it to keep yourself afloat for a few minutes. Test your children’s skills in safe conditions (such as in shallow water with you right beside them), to ensure they haven’t just memorized the positions, but that they really know how to put them to good use.

You’ll feel a lot more at ease once your kids know how to swim and keep themselves safe around water. Starting them early has many advantages, so make this goal a top priority in your home.

The Enjoyment of Boating

pontoon boat

If you have never enjoyed the peace and solace of quietly drifting along the riverbank or leak sure in your boat, they have missed out on a wonderful experience. There’s just something about the solitude and relaxation that you experience when relaxing in your boat on the water. There needs to be no explanation required to explain such an experience, you simply have to be there.

This is why there’s such a large population that enjoys their boating habit. Boating can be used for fishing, pleasure riding, water skiing and simply going out on the water to relax. It is also a sense of getting away from it all and entering into your own special world.

Why bother to fight the crowds, put up with the silliness we often encounter will we go out to eat or attend a movie? Simply getting your boat, leave it all behind and get down to serious boating business. Just the activity of untying your boat from its moorings, starting the engine, and backing out into the water is the beginning of a wonderful, relaxing afternoon.

Fishing from a boat is an experience all of its own. It really is not that important whether or not you actually catch a fish, it is the activity that counts. Fishermen whose boats usually have all of their poles, rods and reels, lures, nets and all of their fishing paraphernalia stored in their boats. This makes fishing a very convenient activity as well as being very flexible. With a boat, the fishermen can go just about anywhere on the lake, presumably or the fish are biting.

Pleasure boats can be a little more elaborate that your usual fishing boat, as there can be more combinations for greater number of passengers as well as an enclosed cabin in case of bad weather and for eating and sleeping. Pleasure boating can utilize boats are all different sizes, from smaller cabin enclosed craft to boats the size of yachts, which really can be oceangoing in nature.

Sailboats are another form of boating and which millions of enthusiasm take part and would never even think of using a motor for their boating experience. Here the boater learns a complex set of rules and skills that can to sailing in particular. Sailing with and against the wind is basic to sail boating and it takes a good bit of practice to learn all that is necessary to really enjoy this for boating.

Once again sailboats can vary in size from the smaller to larger cabin fitted craft which can become very large and very see worth the in their own right. Boating in general is a great way for people to enjoy friends and family in an environment different from the usual daily grind.

Tips For Kayaking

kayak on lake

If you are going to be kayaking, you will need to know how to approach this experience, so you can get a lot out of it. There are some who jump into the water and think they will be able to learn on the fly, and that is incorrect. You will not be able to learn as you want and it is only going to make things harder for you in the long-term.

To have the fun you want to have, it is going to start with proper kayaking tips such as the ones you are going to read about here in this piece.

1) Sturdy Footwear Is A Must

You don’t want to wear shoes that don’t have grip because this is how you are going to get hurt. The water is going to come into your kayak, and that is a given regardless of how good you are. So, your feet are now going to be sitting on something that will have liquid on it. This means your feet will slip.

You want to have sturdy footwear that is going to withstand the slippery surface and maintain its position as you are moving.

It is the only way to get proper leverage, or you will fall.

2) Create Rhythm

You want to get into a rhythm as you are kayaking. Those who are looking to paddle will know it is not going to be easy at first. You might end up paddling from different angles as you stroke away.

So, you want to learn to get into a rhythm that does not break when you are in the water. This will take time to learn, but you will get it, and that is when the fun begins for people as they are kayaking. Don’t give up.

3) Prepare For The Worst

No, you don’t want to fall into the water, but that doesn’t mean things are going to remain as you want them to. There are so many times when things don’t work out the way you want. This is when you are going to need to be patient.

Look towards this when you are preparing to kayak.

This is how you are going to push forward when it comes to kayaking. If you do this, you will appreciate the results that come along.

Kayaking is fun as long as you are on top of these things.

Water Sports To Enjoy During Vacation

vacation water sports

Water sports are very popular during summer. This is the best way to keep cool, exercise and stay tanned. However, water sports can be very dangerous and you have to follow certain safety guidelines. More physically demanding type of water sports will need clearance from a health care professional.

The type of water sport you choose usually depends on the kind of things you would like to do. Another thing you need to consider is how brave and adventurous you are around water. Below are some of the best water sports you should try while you are on vacation.

Swimming
Butterfly, backstroke, and diving are some of the best swimming methods that can get your body into shape. If you enjoy swimming and you just want to take it to another level, it can be a good idea to introduce water volleyball. This will make swimming more challenging giving you a tremendous workout.

Jet skiing
A jet ski usually gives you the opportunity to cruise at high speeds. To make it more enjoyable, try some tricks when jet skiing. The good thing about jet skiing is the fact that it is available in most places and renting them is never a problem.

However, you have to ensure that you know how a jet ski works before using one. This will help prevent accidents. Why don’t you try jet skiing next time you are on vacation instead of just swimming or pulling a boat around?

Water skiing
This sport involves gliding behind a boat across the water surface. When waterskiing, it is very important to have someone driving the boat and another person who is supposed to watch you skiing.

Water skiing is a very enjoyable activity which can give you a rush of adrenaline when gliding behind a speeding boat.

Parasailing
With this water sporting activity, you will spend more time in the air than in the water. You are attached to something like a parachute known as a parasail and a boat tows you behind it carrying you into the air.

Like all the sporting activities, you have to ensure that you understand the safety precautions before trying the sport.

Scuba diving
Scuba diving is the best way to enjoy yourself beneath the waves. This sport is unique in its own way as you will get up close with wonderful sea creatures in their own environment making it truly an amazing sport.

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