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 Travel & Leisure

May 2011
Beachin' this Summer
 
Beaches are always an excellent destination for the summer. The cool sea breeze acts as balm to the burnt souls. You must already be aware of the important beach destinations in India. In this article, we bring to you two amazing Asian beach destinations and fact files about them, to help you plan your trip.

Maldives

Fact file
Where: South-West of Sri Lanka
Best season: December to March
Did you know: No prior visa is required to enter Maldives
Spa Stays: Angsana Resort & Spa, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Four Seasons Resort, Huvafen Fushi, Banyan Tree Resort

Why Maldives
You may have not heard about the destination adjudged the most romantic at the World Travel Awards a couple of years back, or known that it featured in the top ten beach destinations in the world in a National Geographic list. It is an archipelago of some 1190 coral islets, 26 atolls, 87 exclusive resort islands – impressive, eh? Very, and with Maldives’ medley of water sports and seafood, scenic charms and secluded haunts, romance sure finds every reason to bloom.

Must sees & dos
  • Scuba dive or snorkel down the coral reefs, swim through shoals of multi-coloured fish and make sure you get it all filmed – you will love to watch yourself do the Discovery Channel stunts you had so gaped at! You could even opt for a submarine there.
  • “Seafoodies” enjoy! You may as well carry back home some of that nirvana-to-your- taste buds in the form of chipped dried tuna fish and vacuum packed smoked fish.
  • Go island hopping!
  • Take a dolphin-watching cruise. At one of world’s top five destinations for whale and dolphin watching, spotting them is more about observation than luck! Still, lucky would mean you’ve seen the Killer Whale or the highly acrobatic Spinner Dolphin.
  • Go for a fishing trip by night – whether you catch any fish or not, you definitely would relish cuddling up under the starlit sky.
  • For the best scenic view, book yourself a seaplane tour.
  • Just in case you want to chip in a wee bit of history and heritage into your trip, visit the National Museum, the President’s palatial office (Mulee-aage) and the Grand Friday Mosque.
  • For an ideal Maldivian experience, you may try the over-water bungalows perched right above the lagoon. 
Rejuvenate Yourself
They soak, rub, soothe and heal the city-chafed you at the spas in typical Maldivian style with coconut, white sand, native flowers, tropical fruits and herbs (could even be Ayurvedic). To it, add your doses of marine adventure and beholders will be left wondering what romance it must have been to inspire such glow! Didn’t Mamma say: Health is wealth!

Langkawi
Fact file
Where: North-West of Malaysia
Best time to visit:
October-November or April-May
Warning: The evergreen lushes also make it mosquito infested!
Spa Stays: Sheraton Langkawi, The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa, Langkawi Lagoon Resort, The Datai Resort, Tanjung Rhu Resort

Why Langkawi
What would you call a place that is Corbett in the morning and Goa by night? No prizes for guessing this one right! Another archipelago of some 104 islands, Langkawi, they say is “Malaysia’s best kept secret”! How does sunny white and black beaches, where you have downpours without warning, a sky-bridge across a 700m deep chasm, duty-free shopping, feeding eagles, totally sequestered and laidback destination, sound for temptation?

Must sees dos
  • The cable-car ride that will leave you both huddled as you whiz up a 42 degree to the Gunung Mat Cincang at 709m! Once there, fill your lungs with the freshest of mountain air and take a walk through the clouds on the curvaceous suspended bridge.
  • Feed sharks at Pulau Payar Marine Park (also popular for water sports) and eagles at Kilim mangrove area, watch men and crocodiles wrestle at the Crocodile Breeding Farm at Datai Bay and make sure you try to “kiss the croc”.
  • Go scuba diving and snorkeling at the Tarutao National Park.
  • Catch your dinner and cook it too! Shrimpz Prawn Farm (also includes horse rides and farm tour) is the name to cram.
  • Go bird watching and canopy trekking, which includes rappelling (only if you love Spidey).
  • Rent a boat and go exploring islands – Pantai Cenang (check its marine aquarium with a tunnel to walk-through) and the Island of Pregnant Maiden (a dip in its freshwater lake and you get pregnant – kidding of course!).
  • For some eerie adventure hunt down the latter’s haunted (so they say!) cave.
Rejuvenate Yourself
Pamper yourself with the oil-free Thai Massages at the spas that relax the muscles and realign the flow of energy throughout the body. Another balmy experience would be to go for home stays at Pulau Tuba where local fishermen rent out rooms and chalets. Except for the basic facilities, live like a primitive couple and come back rejuvenated!


    
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