When the daily grind is getting you down and every Monday feels like a new death sentence, it’s time to admit to yourself, ‘I need a holiday.’ Though people are blessed with a diverse and expansive range of interests, there’s something about a lazy day on the beach, drink in hand that somehow appeals to everyone. But as with most things in life, there’s a catch. So unless your family name happens to be Midas, taking a holiday that drains your bank account is not going to be your idea of a good time.
While the idea of strolling the French riviera or partying in Ibiza sounds pretty great, sometimes it pays to save on airfare and spend your money on enjoying the holiday itself. To help you make the all important decision of where to spend your hard earned vacation days, we’ve rounded up some of the most beautiful beach hideaways that will soothe your soul and your wallet.
I. Diglipur - North Andaman Island
(Yes, we know this isn’t international but since it’s further than your average road trip we’re taking some liberties)
At the remotest, most far flung edge of the archipelago lies this virtually untouched haven. Since every beach is like something straight out of a fairy tale, we’ll fill you in on some of the non-sandy activities you could try you’re hand at. A trip to the Ross and Smith Islands just off the coast is a must. The two islands are joined by a strip of sand which disappears at high tide but you when it’s low, you can stroll between the islands, the perfect place for a day trip. Another must-see are the active mud volcanoes which spew molten earth from deep underground. If this doesn’t slake your thirst for adventure, try a visit to the limestone caves which will take you back in time. After all this, we’re sure you won’t want to leave.
What it will cost you: There are only 2 real resorts in the area, both priced at between Rs. 1,200 - Rs. 1,500 a night. Airfare will be the largest expense at around Rs. 5,000*
II. Gili Islands - Indonesia
You’d be hard pressed to spot a car on these three minute islands off the northern coast of Lombok, and without the sound of car horns ringing in your ears you can truly step away from the stresses of modern life. Despite it’s remote nature, the Gili Islands manage to pack a whole lot of diversity in very little space with an authentic Irish Bar and a Japanese sushi joint. When you’re not chugging beer or scarfing down California rolls however, there are dive sites from which you can admire their bio reef project or you can schedule a trip to the turtle hatchery and fall in love with some itty bitty flippered friends.
What it will cost you: A stay on this island paradise will set you back about Rs. 4,000 a night for a mid range room. Travel costs will start at Rs. 20,000*
III. Balangan Beach - Bali, Indonesia
One of Bali’s better known beaches, this half-kilometre stretch of golden sand attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s a surfer’s paradise with one of the biggest surf breaks on the Uluwatu peninsula. You can take a few lessons but it’s recommended that only experienced surfers take on these unforgiving waves. For the non-surfers there’s still plenty to do, and during low tide, the reef just off the shore gives way to tide pools teeming with life. If you’re not feeling all this adventure, relax on one of the sunbeds provided, sample the infamous Bintang beer and get pampered with a Balinese massage.
What it will cost you: There are plenty of bungalows and shacks around the beach that go for around Rs. 2,000 a night. And with airfare at around Rs. 15,000* you’ll have plenty left over to treat yourself.
IV. Talay Wak - Krabi, Thailand
With far less footfall that Phuket, The Krabi province’s quiet roads and unhurried serenity is the perfect place to unwind. It’s well known for the unique karst formations which make it a great spot to try your hand at rock-climbing. The beach at Talay Wak is also home to the intriguing separated sea, a stretch of water divided by a narrow pathway of pristine white sand. The name Talay Wak itself comes from the Thai name for this phenomenon. Nearby, the Tham Phra Nang Nai caverns sparkle with limestone formations and a gold quartz waterfall. Visit the night market to dig in to the best of Thai street food and be sure to sample the seafood, fresh from the ocean.
What it will cost you: Krabi is a backpacker’s haven with shared dorms available for as little as Rs. 500. If you’re looking for more luxurious accomodation it will cost you around Rs. 3,000 - Rs. 5,000 a night. Airfare starts at Rs. 15,000*
V. Phu Quoc - Vietnam
Off the gulf of Thailand, floating in clear turquoise waters this tropical island destination is a quick 50 minute plane ride from Ho Chi Minh City. Relatively untouched, though quickly gaining popularity, this beach has a natural beauty unlike anything you’ll see on the mainland. It offers the perfect opportunity to explore the world beneath the water, with scuba diving and snorkeling being popular year round through the breathtaking coral gardens. Above ground is no less impressive with 37,000 hectares of virgin forest to explore it’s plain to see why Phu Quoc is quickly becoming one of the most sought after beach destinations in the world.
What it will cost you: For the more basic resorts you’ll pay about Rs. 1,500 per night, if you want something with a sea view however expect a slightly pricier Rs. 4,000 a night. Airfare starts at about Rs. 20,000.
VI. Koh Rong Island - Cambodia
With 7 bays and a grand total of 28 beaches, Koh Rong Island leaves you spoilt for choice. We suggest you find a spot in the southern end of the island which will give you access to some of the most picturesque spots the island has to offer. One you absolutely cannot afford to miss is Long Set Beach, named after the farmer who grows cashew, mango, and coconut trees behind the beach and is one of the most tranquil spots around, if you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the stunning bio luminescent plankton. Even now that it’s become a bit more publicised, Koh Rong has a deserted island vibe that is perfect for a laid back stay at one of the islands many guest houses.
What it will cost you: You can rent out a bungalow near the beach for as little as Rs. 800. If you’d like to be right on the seafront it will be a bit pricier at around Rs. 3,500. Airfare will set you back around Rs. 20,000.
VII. Arugam Bay - Sri Lanka
Since it’s often counted among the top surfing destinations in the world, people tend to overlook the many other facets that make Arugam Bay such unique holiday destination. The crescent bay exudes a laid back atmosphere that will quickly have you at ease. Rent a scooter to best explore the area and stop off at Panama Tank for stunning vistas, just keep an eye for crocodiles! If you want to get better acquainted with the wildlife sign on for the Kumana safari where you’ll drive among the elephants and perhaps if you’re lucky, spot a leopard. The beach itself will of course be the highlight of your trip, whether you want to surf, dive or just flop and work on your tan, this is where to go. Stay the day and head to Mambo’s legendary Saturday night party for a night you’ll never forget...at least not completely.
What it will cost you: At around Rs. 800 - Rs. 1,000 a night for a this is definitely budget living you could get used to. Airfare will cost you around Rs. 15,000*
*All airfare is subject to change depending on the season and how far in advance you book your flight.
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