Site Search

Tuesday, December 30, 2008




Palau offers you the world's most beautiful tropical paradise. Famous for its diving, Palau is rated as one of the world's best diving destinations by scuba aficionados. And why not...Palau has unspoiled reefs, caves, and walls with the most amazing array of marine life you can ever imagine. 

Palau beckons to you with some of the world's most awesome natural wonders. Imagine the whitest beaches you will ever see, gardens of coral just beneath the clearest waters, lakes filled to the brim with "sting less" jellyfish. Forests, waterfalls and caves that have never been ravaged by man, and hundreds of islands of the purest beauty abound all along our pristine archipelago. 


Location and Geographic Description
7° 30' North Latitude, 133° 30' East Longitude

Offical Languages 
English and Palauan

Time Zone
When it's Noon Monday in Palau, it is:
Manila 11:00 A.M. Monday 
Tokyo 12:00 P.M. Monday 
Sydney 1:00 P.M. Monday 
Honolulu 5:00 P.M. Sunday 
Los Angeles 7:00 P.M. Sunday 

Palau enjoys a pleasantly warm climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82° degrees F. (27° C.). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, and the annual average is 150 inches. The average relative humidity is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare as Palau is located outside the typhoon zone.

Currency & Credit Cards :
The official currency of the Republic is the U.S. Dollar. Visa, JCB, Master Card, and American Express cards are widely accepted at stores and visitor facilities. There are FDIC insured banks and major hotels with limited foreign currency exchange. In addition, Palau has money transfers such as Western Union or through Bank Institution.

Customs, Immigration & Health Requirements
One (1) bottle of liquor and one (1) carton of cigarettes can be brought into Palau duty-free. Importation of controlled substances and weapons is strictly prohibited. Travelers must have valid Passport. All visitors must have return travel arrangements or approval by the Chief of Immigration for an extended stay. The fee is $100.00 (U.S.). Cholera and Yellow Fever immunizations are required for those arriving from infected areas.

Getting There

Many visitors to Palau arrive on Continental Airlines by way of daily flights from Guam--gateway to Micronesian. There are daily connections to Guam from Tokyo, USA, and other metropolitan centers around the world. Continental Airlines provide daily flights from Guam to Palau and twice a week from Manila, Philippines.

In addition, there are scheduled chartered ariline services and they are Asiana Airline from Incheon, South Korea, China Airline from Taipei, Taiwan-ROC, and Japan Airlines from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, Japan to Palau.

From the western seaboard of the United States, you can hop to Hawaii, skip to Guam, then jump to Palau. For a scenic island route, you can do an island hop across Micronesia to Palau. Through Asia, there are twice weekly charter services between Taipei, Taiwan and Palau and additional flights are also available during peak seasons. From Europe,visitors can fly via Emerates direct to Manila, Philippines and onwards with Continental Airlines to Palau--this is possible without overnight stay in Manila.

Beaches and Diving

Palau is one of the most extraordinary diving spots on this planet. Far to the southwest of Micronesia the Republic of Belau (the traditional name) consists of an archipelago of 343 islands, spread north to south over 100 miles form the atoll of Kayangel to the island of Angaur plus five tiny islands, known as the southwest islands. 

Palau's profuse, unspoiled reefs offer a wealth of marine life, coral formations and wrecks. Dives begin in knee deep water and plunge straight down to depths of 1000 feet and more. 
Blue holes, huge caverns and an immense variety of rare and exotic marine species are easily accessible in clear water with visibility exceeding 200 feet. Vast numbers, not found anywhere else in the world, of large pelagic predators, sharks, turtles, dolphins and many species of migratory fish gather here at a unique crossroads of three of the world's major ocean currents. Land locked marine lakes, accessible from the sea through tunnels beneath the island's steep shorelines, are home to rare jelly fish, anemones and soft corals. 

Palau's famed "Rock Islands" are a collection of rounded, foliage-covered isles which seem to float above the surface of the water. A boat trip through them will reveal a number of magnificent white sand beach hideaways perfect for a secluded picnic or adventurous overnight stay. Below the water's surface, divers and snorkelers are treated to a diverse technicolor paradise of fabulous drop-offs, blue holes , breathtaking reefs, crystal caves and World War II wrecks. 



Monday, December 29, 2008

Vietnam Beaches

Vietnamese Beaches, the best time to go there:

The country has a long coastline, varied, complex climatic zones and generally a fair amount of rain.
The best beaches are mostly in the southern half, and that's best Dec- May [dry, but hot and humid]. However, in that area it doesn't usually rain for long periods at any time, only showers, unless an infrequent typhoon hits the coast, so the beaches are basically OK all year round.
The worst season is probably July -Oct [humidity, occasional rains, typhoons, and of course July-Aug is always a busy holiday period].
Oct - Dec has the best weather over the whole country for sightseeing, with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 20Cs.
Plan ahead if you wish to travel during the Tet New Year festival [late January to early February] - it can be a problem getting accommodation and transport

China Beach, between Da Nang and Hoi An [Central] Best May-Oct
The most unspoilt Vietnam beach is
 the endless white sand of China Beach, where US troops landed during the 70's unpleasantness.
The main beach is officially around the Non Nuoc Resort hotel but some locals argue that the real China Beach is at My Khe Beach about 5 km north of the hotel [both are near the tourist attraction of Marble Mountains]. Development is in on the way!

Nha Trang, Vietnam [Central] Best May-Oct
Nha Trang, 'the Vietnamese Riviera', is a delightful little town of tranquil, friendly locals. It has 6 miles of splendid white sandy beach with azure water, backed by green hills and palm trees. The town has little noise or pollution because locals prefer walking or biking to motorbiking.
You can find good Indian restaurants there and some of the best seafood restaurants in the country.

Tran Phu
 [public beach] is inviting but beaches north of the town and on islands in the bay are a better option. For instance, Doc Let Beach [34 km north of Nha Trang], Dai Lanh Beach [37 km north], Bai Tru Beach in Bamboo Island are worth the trip for peace and quiet.

Mui Ne Beach, Mui Ne Bay, near Phan Thiet [South] Best Dec- May
Mui Ne Bay is about 20mins [by bus] from Phan Thiet, which is 120 miles/198 km [a 3 hour drive] from Ho Chi Minh City. It has fabulous stretches of white sand, a scenic landscape and lovely locals. The climate is hot and dry almost all year, with an average temperature of about 27C.
The good bits
 [e.g. Rang Beach] are the outlying beaches to the north, but the best is Mui Ne Beach, an upcoming resort area known for its spectacular sand dunes. This is regarded as one of Vietnam's most beautiful beaches, but locals still needs to develop an attitude to cleanness, as rubbish piles up between resorts. 
The beach is also known for world-class wind/kite surfing [good wind almost guaranteed - though the sea-breeze can be over-the-top for sun bathing sometimes. See 
Mui Ne Beach Pictures. No hustlers/sellers. Lots of comfortable, reasonably priced hotels are available.

Hon Chong Beach, Ha Tien [South] Best Dec- May
The coastline of Ha Tien 
is on the border with Cambodia [5m/9 km] and has some superb beaches, including the site of the French film L'amant [The Lover, 1995].
Hon Chong Beach
 is a very seductive beach with soft white sand and calm tropical water, while nearby Tien Cave has interesting rock formations. White sandy Duong Beach is also worth a try.
The Hai Tac islets accessible by boat from Ha Tien offer some great diving for scuba freaks. The biggest of these islands, Hon Doc, has also some splendid white beaches. Or try Nghe Island [1 hour one way].

Bai Tam [Long Beach], Phu Quoc Island [South] Best Dec- May
Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand is Vietnam's largest island. Off Ha Tien, it's a hidden gem of Southeast Asia. The island has mountains, forests and superb sandy beaches perfect for nature lovers as well as sun-seekers.
Some of the beaches can only be reached by hiking sandy paths - 
Bai Truong [Long Beach] on the west coast is apparently the best, where you can see sunset over the water. 
Bai Thom in the north and Bai Khem in the south are also popular. Major development plans are afoot.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Amazing Images of Maldives

Photos Courtesy of:

Monday, July 14, 2008


Madagascar, larger than California and about size the size of Texas or France, is the world's fourth largest island. Isolated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa, about 70% of the estimated 250,000 species found on the island exist nowhere else on the globe. The island is home to such evolutionary oddities as lemurs, a group of primates endemic to the island; brilliantly colored lizards including geckos and chameleons; tenrecs, spiny hedgehog-like creatures; and the fossa, a carnivorous animal that looks like a cross between a puma and a dog but is closely related to the mongoose.

Beaches and diving destinations

Nosy Be Archipelago
These tropical islands off the northwest coast have some of the region's finest beaches. Most accessible on Nosy Be is Andilana, the northernmost beach. Don't miss the day trip to beautiful, reef-ringed Nosy Tanikely, a marine reserve with a lovely, sunny beach. Nosy Komba has a good, small beach near Ampangorinana village; and quiet, unspoiled coves in the south of the island. There are real gems further afield on Nosy Iranja ("the turtles island") and in the Mitsio Isles.

Ile Sainte Marie
Along the west coast, there are a number of secluded, palm-lined coves, off which to swim and snorkel and there is a stunning beach on the offshore islet of Ile Aux Nattes. The orchids are at their peak in September and the whales' migration takes place between July and October.

Ifaty has a pleasant beach and easy access to the spiny desert. The beach is at its best in front of the hotels Bamboo Club and Vovo Telo. The coral reefs attract scuba divers and there is an good PADI diving centre, but the coral is in very poor condition, mostly due to the effects of El Nino.

Anakao & Nosy Ve
Anakao is a traditional Vezo fishing village on the southwest coast of Madagascar, about 35 km south of Toliara (Tuléar). Its isolation has protected it from most tourism and it remains fairly unspoiled. Among Madagascar aficionados, Anakao is known for its long white beach lined with an armada of brightly painted pirogues; its turquoise lagoon, with tints of emerals; its fishing, diving and surfing ('Flamball').
Sadly, its once-superb snorkelling is a thing of the past, now that bleaching has reduced the shallow reef to a vista of dead coral. The traditional practice of hunting for sea cucumbers and octopus has caused further damage; and its growth, fuelled by demand from the Far East, is placing intolerable pressure on the marine environment. Purchasing items made by the local women provides them with an alternative source of income.
A short walk south of Anakao will lead you to some tombs, and then to a peninsula on which fragments of Aepyornis eggshells can still be found (It is illegal to take them out of Madagascar.). A visit to the weekly market is another pleasure of a stay in Anakao.
Most people enjoy being on a tiny desert island. Three km west of Anakao, the island of Nosy Ve, with its superb white beach, reefs and breeding colony of tropic-birds, makes a lovely day-trip. In addition to the Red-tailed tropic-birds, birders should encounter a variety of terns, and, with luck, Crab plovers and the White-tailed tropic-birds.

MorondavaThe Morondava seafront has a wide, white sandy beach off which it is safe to swim. It is at its best in the vicinity of Hotel Chez Maggie.

Island HoppingSail the Indian Ocean on board a luxury private yacht, mooring at inhabited and uninhabited islands in the Nosy Be Archipelago and the remote Mitsio Isles.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Italian Beaches

The Mediterranean hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Italy's beach resorts attract more and more tourists year after year, for it is said the Italian beaches are like treasures to discover and behold. The beach resorts were home to many tourists during the summer season, today many now claim this their year round home. The wonders of sea air provide some of the healthiest fresh air, known for their regenerative properties; the sea air is a relief and a healthy escape from city life.

Italy is a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Its 7,600 km of coastline have some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the west the Sicilian Sea, and the Ionian Sea in the south and the Adriatic Sea in the east.

After exploring the cities, touring the lakes and walking in the mountains, the beaches are the perfect place to relax, unwind and reflect. Most of the year the beaches are sunny, and with 7,600 miles of shoreline bordering Italy and its islands, you can easily find waters where the temperatures are ideal for swimming. Miles upon miles of golden, sun drenched sand, in some places up to 1 km deep. The sea welcomes the sun seeker in comfort and style. An array of colours, which one can quickly identify by the rows of neatly laid out sun umbrellas and deck chairs, which seem to almost dot the entire seashore.

The Blue Flag

104 Italian beaches have been awarded with a Blue Flag in 2008. This award is given to the beaches that offer cleanliness and safe bathing areas. The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to over 2672 beaches and 640 marinas in 36 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean in 2007.
The Blue Flag Campaign is owned and run by the independent non-profit organization Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and other important services.

Martinsicuro, Alba Adriatica, Tortoreto, Giulianova-lungomare nord e lido Zara, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Pineto-Scerne/Villa Fumosa-Villa Ardente/Torre Cerrano; Silvi arenile sud-L.mare Cerrano (Teramo); Francavilla al Mare, San Vito Chietino-Calata Turchino-Molo sud; Rocca San Giovanni, Fossacesia, Vasto-Marina e Punta Penna, San Salvo-L.mare Colombo (Chieti)

Rodi Garganico, Mattinata (Foggia); Polignano a Mare (Bari); Ostuni (Brindisi); Ginosa (Taranto)

Maratea (Potenza)

Cirò Marina (Crotone); Roccella Jonica, Marina di Gioiosa Jonica (Reggio Calabria)

Massa Lubrense (Napoli); Positano, Agropoli-Trentova-San Marco, Castellabate, Montecorice/Agnone-Agnone-Capitello, Acciaroli-Pioppi di Pollica, Ascea-Marina Velia-Petroso/Scogliera, Pisciotta-La Gabella-Pietracciaio Acquabianca, Centola-Palinuro-Baia della Molpa, Vibonati-Villammare, Sapri (Salerno)

Comacchio (Ferrara); Lidi Ravennati, Cervia (Ravenna); Cesenatico, San Mauro Pascoli (Forlì-Cesena); Rimini, Misano Adriatico, Cattolica (Rimini)

Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Grado (Gorizia); Lignano Sabbiadoro (Udine)

Sabaudia, Sperlonga, Gaeta (Latina)

Camporosso, Bordighera (Imperia); Finale Ligure, Noli, Spotorno, Bergeggi, Albisola Superiore, Albissola Marina, Celle Ligure, Varazze (Savona); Chiavari, Lavagna, Moneglia (Genova); Lerici (La Spezia)

Gabicce Mare, Pesaro-Lido di Ponente e di Levante, Fano nord-Sassonia/Torrette-Marotta (Pesaro-Urbino); Senigallia, Sirolo, Numana Alta e Bassa (Ancona); Porto Recanati-Scossicci, Civitanova Marche, Potenza Picena (Macerata); Porto S.Elpidio; Fermo-Lido/Casablanca-Marina Palmense, Porto San Giorgio, Grottammare-lungomare nord e sud, Cupra Marittima, San Benedetto del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno)

Termoli, Campomarino (Campobasso)

Piedmont (lakes)
Cannero Riviera (Verbania)

Santa Teresa di Gallura-Rena Bianca, La Maddalena-Spalmatore (Olbia-Tempio)

Pozzallo (Ragusa); Menfi (Agrigento); Fiumefreddo di Sicilia (Catania); Marsala (Trapani)

Forte dei Marmi, Camaiore, Viareggio (Lucca); Pisa-Marina di Pisa-Tirrenia-Calambrone; Livorno-Antignano e Quercianella, Castiglioncello e Vada di Rosignano Marittimo, Cecina-Gorette e Marina di Cecina, Marina di Bibbona, Castagneto Carducci, San Vincenzo, Riotorto-Piombino: parco naturale della Sterpaia (Livorno); Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia, Marina e Principina di Grosseto, Monte Argentario (Grosseto)

Caorle, San Michele al Tagliamento-Bibione, Eraclea, Jesolo, Cavallino Treporti (Venezia)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Puerto Rico - The Best Beaches

The Best Beaches
White sandy beaches put Puerto Rico and its offshore islands on tourist maps in the first place. Many other Caribbean destinations have only jagged coral outcroppings or black volcanic-sand beaches that get very hot in the noonday sun.

Best for Singles (Straight & Gay):

Sandwiched between the Condado and Isla Verde beaches along San Juan's beachfront, Ocean Park Beach attracts more adults and less of the family trade. Only Isla Verde beach to the east matches Ocean Park for its broad beach and good swimming. The people-watching here is nothing compared to the well-stuffed bikinis (both male and female) found on South Miami Beach or Rio de Janeiro. However, for the Caribbean, Ocean Park is as good as it gets. Because many gay boarding houses lie in Ocean Park, a lot of the beach here is frequented by gay young men, mainly from New York. However, straight people looking to meet someone while wearing swimwear will find plenty of lookers (and perhaps takers).

Best Beach for Families:

Winning without contest, Luquillo Beach, 30 miles (48km) east of San Juan, attracts both local families, mainly from San Juan, and visitors from Condado and Isla Verde beaches in San Juan. Beach buffs heading for Luquillo know they will get better sands and clearer waters there than in San Juan. The vast sandy beach opens onto a crescent-shaped bay edged by a coconut grove. Coral reefs protect the crystal-clear lagoon from the often rough Atlantic waters that can buffet the northern coast, making Luquillo a good place for young children to swim. Much photographed because of its white sands, Luquillo also has tent sites and other facilities, including picnic areas with changing rooms, lockers, and showers.

Best for Teenagers:

More families with teenagers check into the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort & Country Club west of San Juan than into any other competitor in Puerto Rico, including the resorts along the San Juan beach strip. Six beaches border the Hyatt resorts, each a strip of white sand fronting the north coast. Because the Dorado features many activities for kids of all ages, its beaches over the years have become family favorites. The Hyatt beaches originally opened onto a grapefruit-and-coconut plantation, but today these 1,000 landscaped acres (400 hectares) are devoted to fun, ranging from jogging and biking trails to swimming in the longest pool on the island. Young people find it easy to meet other teenagers here, not only on the beach but while participating in the resorts' myriad of activities.

Best for Swimming:

Whereas on much of the northwest coast of Puerto Rico, rough Atlantic waters often deter bathers but attract surfers , the south coast waters are calmer. On the south coast, Playa de Ponce, outside Ponce, Puerto Rico's second-largest city, consists of a long strip of beautiful white sand that opens onto the tranquil waters of the Caribbean. Less crowded than Condado and Luquillo, Playa de Ponce is an ideal place to swim year-round in clearer, less polluted waters than those along the more heavily populated northern coastline.

Best for Scenery:

In the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico, Boquerón Beach lies in a section of the island called the Cape Cod of Puerto Rico. The beach town of Boquerón itself, filled with colorful scenery, stands at the heart of a 3-mile (5km) bay, with palm-fringed white sand curving away on both sides. In addition to this panoramic vista, you can also sample vignettes of local life. Fisherfolk, sailors, and scuba divers are also attracted to this beach, where fresh oysters are shucked on the spot, doused with Tabasco, and sold at various ramshackle shacks. You can see that there are plenty of interesting photo ops at this beach. While enjoying the scenery and the sands, you can take a break and order a regional ice cream at one of the stands. It's made with sweet corn and dusted with paprika. Sound awful? Try it: It's good.

Best for Windsurfing:

Rincón's winter surf, especially at Playa Higüero, puts Malibu to shame. Today surfers from all over the world are attracted to Rincón, which they have dubbed "Little Malibu." From Borinquén Point south to Rincón, nearly all the beaches along the western coast are ideal for surfing from November to April. As the windsurfing capital of the Caribbean, the Rincón area was put on the map when it was the site of the 1968 world surfing championships. Some of the 16-foot (4.8m) breakers here equal those on the north shore of Oahu.

Best Beaches for Being Alone:

The main island is filled with isolated sandy coves that only the locals seem to know about. The best, all guaranteed to delight the escapist in you, stretch between Cabo Rojo (the southwesterly tip of Puerto Rico) all the way east to Ponce. Beginning in the west, directly east of Cabo Rojo, you'll discover Rosado Beach, Santa Beach, Caña Gorda Beach, and Tamarindo Beach. Access to many of these is limited because of poor roads, but the effort is worth it. Be sure to bring the necessary supplies.

Best for Snorkeling:

For snorkeling, we prefer to escape from the Puerto Rican mainland altogether, heading for the isolated beaches of the offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra, part of the Spanish Virgin Islands. In Vieques alone there are some 40 beaches, most of them officially unnamed even though U.S. sailors once stationed on the island have nicknamed their favorites-everything from Green Beach to Orchid. The best beach for snorkeling on Vieques is Playa Esperanza, especially that spot in front of the Trade Winds Guesthouse. Another favorite location, which we discovered when directed there by a Navy SEAL, is across the little harbor at Cayo de Afuera. This site gives you the best preview of dramatic (and living) antler coral. Nurse sharks and the occasional manatee also hang out here.

On the neighboring island of Culebra, the beaches are less visited by snorkelers, even though they open onto coral reefs and clear waters. The snorkeling is not so hot at the island's most frequented beach, Flamenco Beach. But all you have to do is take a 15- to 20-minute hike from the parking lot at Flamenco over the hill to Playa Carlos Rosario, which offers some of the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico. A barrier reef virtually envelops the beach, and you can snorkel all day. For other great snorkeling, you can walk along the cliffs south of here for about a quarter mile (.4km) to a place called "The Wall," which has 40-foot (12m) drop-offs, rainbow-hued fish, and other delights.

The Best Hotel Beaches

Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino

(San Juan; tel. 800/WYNDHAM or 787/791-1000): This posh resort occupies the choicest beachfront real estate at Isla Verde Beach, one of the finest in Puerto Rico. Ideal for swimming, the golden sands near the airport evoke South Miami Beach. Picnic tables are found here, and the beach is also good for snorkeling. But it is mostly the sands themselves that provide the attraction-that and all the many facilities of El San Juan resort itself.

Hyatt Resort at Dorado

(Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort & Country Club; tel. 800/233-1234 or 787/796-1234): Lying 18 miles (29km) west of San Juan, this posh resort was carved out of a plantation. Today it opens onto several miles of white sandy beaches at the mouth of the Río de la Plata. Since the turn of the 20th century, Dorado, which means "golden," has attracted U.S. presidents and rich folks like the Rockefellers. Today families can be seen romping along its sands.

Copamarina Beach Resort

(Caña Gorda; tel. 787/821-0505) lies west of Ponce, Puerto Rico's second-largest city. A laid-back retreat, the resort opens onto one of the best and least crowded beaches in southwestern Puerto Rico. This appealing beach is set a quarter mile (.4km) south of Guánica at the edge of a government-protected marshland known for its rich bird life. Its pale beige sand fronts a backdrop of bohios (thatched huts), where you can retreat from the noonday sun.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Beaches of Turkey

Turkey Beaches are best May-Oct, though the water is still a little chilly up to June. Beware crowds July-Aug.They are often pebbly or hot sand so swimming shoes are useful.None of them are worth travelling for specifically, except the first two and last one.Turkish beaches [in fact Mediterranean beaches in general] are not truly comparable with those of the Caribbean or Pacific - the water is cooler and the sand generally coarser, or even pebbles. Pretty, shady, palm tree fringes are also rare, though hot sunshine, friendly locals and low prices are almost guarenteed.Going topless is not a problem.

Patara Beach -
Rated as the best beach in the world by The Sunday Times. With all due respect to a great newspaper, Pah! Patara may be the best in the Mediterranean but it can't compare with tropical beaches. However it is 14.2 kms/9miles long [the longest beach in the Mediterranean] of child-friendly shore - medium grain brown sand - backed only by ancient ruins and swooping dunes - with no buildings visible save a small café at one end. Loungers and umbrellas available for rent but no watersports or camping. The area is inexpensive and there's a limited selection of low-key accommodation in nearby Patara town, with beach commuter transport or a longish walk. Alternatively day trip in from Kalkan/Kas. 50 miles from Fethiye.

Olu Deniz Beach, near Fethiye -
Olu Deniz is a picturesque resort area, especially the main hillside town of Belcekiz, which has crystal clear water, and a long shingle beach curving away from the town promenade along to a calm blue lagoon. In addition to good value hotels - usually with pools - in Olu Deniz town, there are some popular resort villages nearby, such as Ovacik and Hisaronu [10 mins], which means that the beach can get overcrowded. The promenade by the town has plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés and there are loads of umbrellas and loungers for hire, and a wide range of water sports available. Paragliding and Hangliding, solo or tandem, off adjacent Babadag mountain and landing on the beach are extremely popular, as is scuba diving. Locals claim the season is all year round. Summer temperature averages 32C, winter 20C. 1hr 45 mins from Dalaman Airport.
Gemile Bay Beach, near FethiyeIf Olu Deniz is too commercial for you, try the secluded beach in Gemile Bay. Gemile Bay Beach is a unspoiled, picturesque cove with a great view of St. Nicholas island [you can swim or take a boat across to see the ruins].

Turtle [Iztuzu] Beach, Dalyan -
Reached by boat, Turtle Beach [also known as Iztuzu Beach], a sandbar of the Dalyan Delta, is a national conservation area and one of the last breeding places in Europe for the protected loggerhead 'Cretta' sea turtle. It's several kilometres long, with very scenic surroundings, hot brown sand, and shallow water. A small café, sun loungers and umbrellas available. Accessible mainly by an enjoyable 20min public boat ride from pleasant, relaxed Dalyan town. Dalyan has a gorgeous river frontage looking across to Lycian tombs carved into the rock face. Twitcher alert! Swamp bugs can be irritating to humans but delicious to avians, so lots of bird life here, especially swallows. Other excursions from Dalyan are mud bathing in the local hot mineral springs or swimming in nearby Lake Koycegiz. 30 mins from Dalaman Airport.

Çalis Beach, near Fethiye

Çalis Beach is informal, relaxing, and excellent for watersports or a family holiday. The coarse sand stretches for 2.5 miles, bordered by a pedestrianized road with fairly characterless hotels, cafes and restaurants along the water front. 4 miles from Fethiye. 1 hrs 10 mins from Dalaman Airport.

Kaputas Beach, near Kalkan & KasKaputas is a mountain gorge with a small shingle cove beach under a bridge crossing the gorge, with a steep set of steps up/down to the beach,and a steep drop off into the clear blue sea. It's a 10 minute dolmus [bus] ride from the hill village of Kalkan, a harbour town with colourful restaurants and terraced bars overlooking the not particularly attractive marina. Kalkan has it's own small shingle beach too - More sophisticated than most Turkish resorts. 2.5 hrs from Dalaman Airport.


There are no beaches in Kas, but it's a really lovely, relaxed hill/harbour town with no package tourists in evidence and easy access to little beaches a few minutes away by public bus on the gorgeous winding coast road. Plenty of little hotels and interesting Turkish restaurants. An hour from Kalkan.

Ladies Beach and Kustur Beach,

Kusadasi Kusadasi's most famous beach is Ladies Beach, just south of the town centre, backed by a promenade with plenty of eating and drinking establishments. It's a narrow, brown sand beach with loungers and umbrellas available for rent. Kustur Beach, 4 miles north of the town, is less crowded and more tranquil. 1hr 15 mins from Adnan Menderes Airport, 1.5 hrs from Izmir.

Içmeler Beach

Marmaris BayIçmeler is in the bay of Marmaris, surrounded by green hills and next to the Marmaris resort, home-away-from-home of beer belly and bad tatoo man. Içmeler is newer , smaller and marginally quieter than hideous Maramaris. Its beach is half a mile long, with a traffic free promenade stretching from Marmaris all way round the bay to Içmeler to help the beer bellies stagger home. Excellent facilities and amenities. 10 mins dolmus ride to Maramaris, 2 hrs 15 mins from Dalaman Airport. Maramaris has an award-winning PADI & BSAC dive centre.

Cleopatra's Beach,

AlanyaAlanya is one of the Turkey's largest resorts, with two good beaches, an historical site [old fortress], and great facilities. Cleopatra's Beach, on the western side of the peninsula, is one of the best known beaches. It's sandy, pleasant and more secluded than the other town beach on the eastern side. It is likely to be crowded with German and Scandinavian beer bellies in high summer. 2 hrs from Antalya Airport.

Side Beaches,

SideAnother classic Turkish seaside village/beach scenario, but popular with package holiday groups. Fine sandy beaches each side of the town and some ancient ruins. 1 hr from Antalya Airport.

Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus islandKyrenia [also known as Girne] is a harbour town, and one of the liveliest resorts of North Cyprus. It's located in a stunning coastline backed by mountains, with clear Mediterranean waters in front of it. Small villages sprawl along the coast on both sides of the town, but the coastline continues with golden sandy beaches and rocky coves, and the clean water is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Majorca, a privileged destination in the Balearic Islands

Majorca is synonymous with world-renowned beaches and coves, but is also a perfect destination to enjoy countryside, culture, water sports, entertainment... There are many reasons to visit the island, the largest of the Balearics.

Majorca is an island that measures almost 80 kilometres from one end to the other, outstanding for its diversity. It has 550 kilometres of coast, where you will find some of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coves and beaches: white sand beaches with a full range of services, as well as small coves set between cliffs and pine groves in the north of the island. Its clean, crystal clear waters are ideal for bathing and for water sports such as scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing, fishing, sailing and surfing. These are not the only sports on offer here, however: golf is widely available. There are many well-designed courses, harmoniously set in their natural surroundings, suitable for all levels.

This Balearic Island is packed with wonderful spots. Hiring a car or going on group tours are two good ways to explore the island. Majorca has a broad range of hire cars on offer, although you can also get about using the scheduled bus services that operate between the island's main towns. There is also a train that runs between the capital, Palma de Mallorca and Sóller. This trip is well worthwhile - the train affords delightful views of the beautiful Majorca countryside. If sports are your thing, then cycle touring and hiking are the healthiest ways to get to know this Mediterranean island. Why not explore the tracks and trails that criss-cross Majorca? There are many routes, both along the coast and inland, fully signed with information panels. These itineraries are a wonderful way to get to know the rural side of this land. This is the way to discover the most authentic flavour of Majorca, savouring its unspoilt countryside... It is well worthwhile, rest assured.

Nature has an outstanding role on the island. Almost 40 percent of Majorca is protected countryside, and the landscape is marked by contrast: caverns, pine woods, green hills, abrupt mountains... Of the many nature areas, special mention should be made of the Sierra de Tramuntana Mountains in the north, with peaks reaching more than 1,400 metres above sea level. Close to these mountains you will find some of Majorca's most picturesque towns and villages, such as Deià, Pollença and Valldemossa, whose unique atmosphere has captivated artists for centuries. Another highly recommended outing is to the Cabrera National Park (Marine and Terrestrial), a group of islands and islets less than an hour by boat from Majorca.

Culture is an ever-present element in the life of the island. All year round there are festivals, concerts, literary competitions, exhibitions, recitals, theatre performances… The city of Palma de Mallorca is the cultural and artistic centre of the island, and is outstanding for the excellent conservation of its historic centre. Be sure to take a stroll around the old town and enjoy the varied, entertaining nightlife. Every year, Majorca's charm attracts famous politicians, film stars, personalities from the world of fashion... they make the island their holiday destination.

Majorca has excellent communications by air and sea. Airlines from numerous countries operate out of its Son Sant Joan international airport, eight kilometres from Palma. The island also has transport links with the rest of the archipelago and the Spanish mainland via boats and scheduled ferry services that sail from the ports of Palma and Alcúdia. These excellent communications mean that from Majorca you can make visits to other Balearic Islands, such as Ibiza and Minorca, with return day-trips possible.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beautiful Beaches of Egypt

Egypt attract lots of the tourist because of its pyramid and beaches. The beaches of Egypt are very beautiful. Egypt is one of the oldest tourist destination on world. The beach vacation of Egypt are really inexpensive in comparision to the European beaches. It is also one of the reason why tourist prefer Egypt Beaches

Egypt has been divided into seven beaches zones they are as follow

  1. Mediterranean beaches in mainline coast from the Suez Canal over to Libya
  2. The Mainland coast south of the Red Sea
  3. The Sinai coast along Gulf of Suez
  4. The southern Sinai region in the Red Sea
  5. The Mainland coast along Gulf of Suez
  6. The Mediterranean beaches along northern Sinai
  7. The Sinai coast along the gulf of Aqaba

. The Beaches of Egypt are either connected with Mediterranean or with the Red Sea. Some of the beaches in Egypt attract vast number of tourist and some of the beaches you can hardly find any people. Alexandaria beaches attract very huge number of tourist in comparision with the other beaches of Egypt. The Facilities around the beach in egypt range from very rudimentary beach camps to the finest imaginable five star hotels, and include the possibility of villa rentals. In general, in the region south of Hurghada, not including Marsa Alam, beach camps and more undeveloped accommodations seem to be more Popular, but then so too are open beaches with little in the way of crowds. On the east, Aqaba part of the Sinai, while Taba and in particular Sharm el-Sheikh are built up areas with fine amenities to choose from, the area in between these two destinations tend to be more camp-like, despite the fact that there are certainly a few fine hotels here and there. These areas, south of Hurghada, tend to be very laid back areas of beach with less proper amusement facilities than the main tourist areas of El Gouna, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba and more, Marsa Alam.

Water activity around Egypt Beaches

The main differences between the beaches around coastal regions in Red Sea and the beaches around the Gulfs and Mediterranean Zones is the availability of Scuba Diving. There is some less scuba diving facilities in just about every beach region around Egypt , Most of the Scuba Diving facilities are located from El-Gouna south along the Red Sea, and around Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai. In fact, perhaps as much as 80% of all Scuba Diving activities originate from the immediate region of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. This is not to say that activities such as snorkeling cannot be found at almost all beach areas. Furthermore, other activities such as windsurfing and skiing, while available in many different locations, seems to be very popular along the mainland Gulf of Suez Zone. At various locations on just about all of the beaches there are other water sports available, such as sail boat rentals and parasailing

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jeju (Cheju) South Korea

Jeju-do (transliterated Korean for Jeju Province, short form of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province) is the only special self-governing province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is the city of Jeju.

The island contains the Natural World Heritage Site entitled Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.

Tourism commands a large fraction of Jeju's economy. Jeju's temperate climate, natural scenery, and beaches make it a popular tourist destination for both South Koreans and many visitors from Japan, China, northern and southern Asia. Especially, Cheonjeyeon and Cheonjiyeon waterfalls, Mountain Halla, Hyeobje cave, Hyeongje island are popular places for tourists. Also, tourists enjoy lots of leisure sports in Jeju island including golf, horse riding, hunting, fishing, mountain climbing, etc. Depending on seasons, tourists can enjoy many festivals: penguin swimming contest in winter, cherry blossom festival in spring, midsummer night beach festival in summer, horse festival in autumn and many more. Usually, tourists enter and exit Jeju through Jeju International Airport and rent cars in the island. Lastly, tourists can buy numerous products in the island. Tourists can buy not only Jeju's special products including tile fish and mandarin oranges, but also souvenirs or duty-free products.

Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese. It remains one of the top honeymoon destinations for Korean newlyweds. The island's mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, and temperate climate, make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, viewing majestic waterfalls, riding horses, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.

Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared towards tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.

Jeju (Cheju) Island has 15 lodging facilities listed with Life in Korea. See the full list for this area.

Bicycle: Given Jeju's wide expanses, bicycling here is much safer than in most of Korea. Many of the roads have sufficient room to ride along the edge, and some even have special bike lanes- not just a painted line between you and traffic, but a separate road with curbs between you and the drivers. Unfortunately, many of the local residents are convinced that the bikes lanes were actually built especially for them to dry their seeds and herbs, so in some places you may have to take short detours onto the road.
Boat: The ferry terminals in Jeju City has daily boats to Busan, Yeosu, Mokp'o, Wando, Noktong, and Incheon on the mainland, as well as several boats to Japan (see the Jeju Port section for schedules). Several other smaller ports have boats to the outlying islands of Kapa-do, Mara-do, Piyang-do, and U-do.
Bus: The bus terminal in Jeju City has buses to numerous destinations around the island. Most do circuits between here and Seogwip'o or Jungmun Resort on the south coast, stopping at various points of interest along the way. Several Jeju City buses criss-cross the city. The main bus is #100, running between the airport and the port, passing the bus terminal and most major hotels. Major hotels and tourist agencies run 1- and 2-day tours around the island.
Car: Several rental car agencies have various models for hire, starting from around W35,000 per half day.
Plane: Jeju International Airport has several flights daily via Korean Air and Asiana to Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Jinju, Kunsan, Gwangju, Mokp'o, P'ohang, Ulsan, Yecheon, and Yeosu. Domestic flights have an airport tax of W3,000. It also has international flights to Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo. International flights have an airport tax of W9,000.

Food and Drink:
Besides tourism, Cheju's main industries are fishing and agriculture. Fresh fish, squid, octopus, sea cucumber, and various other creatures can be easily bought in markets, restaurants, and even right on the beach. Cheju's tropical weather and high preciptation are perfect for growing pineapples and tangerines. The island is also famouse for its Shitake mushrooms and cactus plants. Honey made from local flowers has a special taste.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Beaches of Greece

The Greek Islands are famous throughout the world. Each one is individual in it's own right, offering it's visitors a selection of history, culture, and of course, entertainment.

With so many Greek Islands to choose from, you really will be spoilt for choice. Your Greek Holidays can easily be the most fun and relaxation you have ever had during your vacations. The images of the dazzling white houses, set against a backdrop of the blue sky and crystal waters will stay with you forever.

Greece Beaches and Islands are at their very best in September, especially the first 2 weeks, when water is warm, crowds are down and full services are still in operation. They are OK May - mid Oct, though the water is still chilly up to June. Beware crowds, excessive heat and strong winds [the Meltemi] July 20th-Aug 20th [Greek holidays].
The beaches range from pebbles to fine sand so beach shoes can be useful.
The Mediterranean is not truly comparable with the Caribbean or Pacific - the water is cooler and the sand generally coarser. Shady tree fringes are also rare, though hot sunshine, good food, clear water and friendly English-speaking locals are almost guarenteed.
Low prices, apart from ferries, are no longer with us thanks to the Euro and current sophistication of Greek society.

Greece Tours
Tour operators offering tours to Greece can be found in our listings here: Greece Tours

EU beaches that failed water quality tests in 2007: none in Greece.

Nudist beaches: Going topless is acceptable just about everywhere on Greece islands, while areas of total nudism exist discreetly on many islands. e.g. Little Banana [Skiathos], Super Paradise and Panormas [Mykonos], Plaka

Island hopping is a joy these days with fast, cheap ferries connecting all the dots, tho' the fastest ones - bumpy, noisy hydrofoils and smooth, quiet catamarans - can be cancelled due to moderate winds. Bugbog's choice of ferry line is Blue Star, running superb new, apparently safe, efficient car ferries and catamarans.
Fast hopping is easiest if you stay within an island group. e.g. Ionian islands [Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante +] The Cyclades [Santorini, Mykonos, Ios, Paros, Naxos +], The Sporades [Skiathos, Skopelos +]. Typically, Santorini to Naxos would take about an hour and cost about €10. Paros to Mykonos 45 minutes.

Sea sickness guide: the Bugcrew get sea sick easily but had no problems on 8 boat journeys in September. Short bouncy trips on hydrofoils hardly merited the acupressure wrist bands we wore. 4 hours on a Blue Star ferry in a force 6 wind with 4ft waves was amazingly stable, with no more than 2cm of visible roll.
Still, we suggest acupressure wrist bands as a starting point and some fast-acting chemical as a back-up if things go wobbly.

Two wheels good, bike guide:
Unless you really like a lot of walking or waiting for buses you'll need your own transport in Greece's islands. The roads are often picturesque, mostly in good condition and other drivers generally sensible, though we would avoid much night driving and beware occasional grit on the roads.
Cars are a little expensive to rent [€25+ pd] and can be a hassle to park. Transport of choice is the scooter [€8+ pd, , though many renters will NOT accept a European car driving licence to pilot a 50cc jobby. You MUST have a bike licence. Helmets are supposed to be worn but most riders don't.

Bugbog mission position: we are not attempting to assess every beach on every island, merely to give you an idea of what to expect in different areas. Part of the joy of Greece is the space to escape the crowds and find your own little paradise. So there are plenty of beaches left for adventurers...

The Cyclades islands [SE of Athens, easy to reach by ferry from Pireus or Rafina]

Paradise, Super Paradise and Panormas beaches, Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the most attractive islands in Greece with its dry stone walls and cute organic architecture. Gorgeous Mykonos town - the epitome of whitewashed, blue wooded, narrow street Greek towns - is the start of the action, and it doesn't have to be so expensive... Just avoid waterfront dining!
Although Mykonos is fairly hilly, it's only ten miles long by seven miles wide, so most visitors rent cars or scooters to explore.
Places such as Agios Stefanos, Platyialos, and Psarou all have well protected beaches with medium grade sand and a good selection of tavernas - though heavily umbrella infested, but the pick for under-40s visitors is either the trees, coarse sand and funky bars of Paradise beach, or the even coarser but prettier Super Paradise , where naked gays have colonised one end. Both are a little exposed so water can get choppy.
For soft sand, dunes, stunning scenery, less people, less services and mad ducks try Panormas
on the other side of the island.

Red Beach, Santorini
Santorini [also known as Thira] is spectacularly situated on the edge of a dormant volcano [
]. Many believe that this is where the Atlantis legend began, when the volcano blew hugely in 1650BC, not only knocking off the local, highly civilised Minoans [remnants still visible at the Akrotiri site] in their 'island within an island', but also sending out a tidal wave that would have destroyed many other Minoan sites and ships and closed the book on Minoan power in the Mediterranean.
Along with Mykonos, Santorini is one of the most expensive islands in Greece, but the teetering towns of Fira and Oia are spectacularly worth it.
Due to its volcanic soil most beaches - Perissa and Karmari are the best known- have hot black sand/pebbles, though the water is clean and clear.
The best beach is narrow, characterful Red Beach
, with small red grainy sand partially covered in wood shavings to keep it cool, crystal water and rocks to offer snorkellers some action.

*Milopotas and *Manganari beaches, Ios
Although reknowned as a young person party island, Ios is surprisingly tranquil during the daytime and sports two superb beaches. Excellent Milopotas is only 5 minutes by scooter from the town, a huge stretch of soft yellow sand and calm, clear water. Watersports and plenty of discreet, varied tavernas lurk adjacent.
Superb Manganari is even better but a long dirt road hike or boat ride, little accommodation and not good for nipping back to rave in the evenings.

*Psili Ammos beach, Serifos
Psili Ammos means soft fine sand, and that exactly how this superb white beach is, along with clear water and a tree-lined shore. Accommodation and excellent tavernas nearby.

*Maragas and *Plaka beaches, Naxos
Rugged and mountainous Naxos is favoured by German hikers and has a pretty little, lively main town. Don't even consider grotty Grotto, north of the town, though Agios Georges at the south end is good for a town beach - fine sand, nice views, clear water and loads of accomodation and other services nearby.
A little further away and also popular is large, coarse sanded Agios Prokopios, and small, unnattractive Agios Anna.
The pick of Naxos beaches is the long stretch of dunes running from Maragas to Plaka. Soft sand, a scattering of trees, discreet services on a dirt road, almost turquoise water and lots of space make this an excellent location for layabouts. Nudists hang out in Plaka.

Kolymbithres beach, Paros
Although this is the transport hub for the Cyclades, Paros is surprisingly pleasant. The town has the usual little, white-washed labyrinthine streets, some smart sunset bars and restaurants and a terrific church, the Ekatondapiliani - the oldest in use in Greece.
The countryside is a little on the dull side but beaches are quite acceptable. The two biggish ones sharing the town's bay, Livadia and Krios, are both calm, clear, tree lined and well-taverned.
Paros' east coast has some bigger beaches that are heavily promoted - such as Golden Beach - but Bugbog found them the be overly windy, with choppy water and hard sand.
The prettiest beach on the island is undoubtedly Kolymbithres
, near the tourist town of Naoussa, with shallow aquamarine water enclosed by fine sand and strangely eroded rocks. Great for children, the only problem is's very small and will get crowded easily.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...