Whether you’re a non-swimmer, a solitude-seeker, a hedonist, or a nature lover, Kiran Mehta has just the kind of beach to help you find your place in the sun!
A beach holiday means different things to different people. For some it’s about romantic walks on the water’s edge, while for others it’s about hippies and hedonism, and still for others it’s about death-defying water sports. Whatever your definition of a ‘beach holiday’, I’ve found you a stretch of sand that’s sure to satisfy. After resting in hammocks all day long, swimming with sharks, partying at the tall-ship fest…I managed to bring you list of the best beaches on planet Earth. Read on:
The Dead Sea, Jordan
Can’t swim? The super-salty water in the Dead Sea won’t let you drown! Located in the heart of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea is a convenient 30-minute drive from Amman city. My local guide quipped that with this drive, I would be ‘touching a new low.’ He explained that the valley is 400 metres below sea level, making this the lowest point on Earth.
But that’s not all. Another, much needed miracle awaited me here – despite being a timid swimmer, I could never drown in these waters. The mineral and salt content in the Dead Sea is extremely high which in turn makes this water body incredibly buoyant. In fact, I even managed to flip through a book as I lay afloat, effortlessly, in the sea.
The unusual content also makes the Dead Sea an unrivalled natural spa. I soaked up the bath salts and made my own face-pack by slathering on some dark, stimulating mud. Instead of investing in anti-ageing potions, I’d recommend saving up for a trip here. After all, even the ravishing Queen Cleopatra was a regular here.
For The Eco-friendly Beach Bum
Club Med Cherating Beach Resort, Malaysia
As I entered the resort, the first to greet me was a chameleon lazing in the garden. Next on the scene was a monkey walking the open alleyway leading to my room. I must admit that when I checked into the Club Med Cherating Beach Resort, Malaysia, I was a wee bit afraid of nature in all her bounty. But after spending just a few days at this resort, I began to revere her.
Set in the midst of hectares of tropical forests, overlooking the South China Sea, this is the very first eco-resort in Asia. It has also obtained a Green Globe certificate for sustainable tourism. Every little detail, from the architecture itself, to the waste-disposal, takes into consideration the environment. My accommodation was a cosy room, set on the water’s edge, held up by stilts made entirely of salvaged wood. From afar, it seemed like the room was simply floating above the calm water. The food consisted of eight different types of cuisines, cooked up in an eco-friendly kitchen where endangered varieties are replaced with organic versions.
The resort also offers a variety of activities from mountain climbing, to archery, to pool-side parties. But my favourite activity was simply to walk the pristine sands where I spotted turtles and other delightful sea creatures.
If you’re looking for a beach get-away, without leaving behind a carbon-footprint, the Club Med Cherating Beach Resort is just the place for you.
For Goa Lovers
Arpora, Goa, India
Until a little over a decade ago, the ultimate beach holiday, for teens and tweens in India, was the Baga- Calungute stretch. It had a vibrant vibe and commercialism seemed miles away. But as I entered the same stretch recently, I couldn’t so much as find a spot to spread out my beach-chair!
Yet I wasn’t quite ready to give up on Goa and I chanced upon a beach that still has that charm of yore – Arpora. It’s where the hippies still rule, and where it’s still cool to sport a yellow polka-dot bikini. But make your way to Arpora soon, before the 60’s come to end.
For The Hedonist
Trinidad and Tobago
Carnivals, music, exotic food, flowing bubbly, and gorgeous beaches. The party never ends in this two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. After all, one would expect no less of the Caribbean. Whether you want to simply lay back and work on your tan, or take a dip in the mesmerising waters that hold colourful corals, these islands offer all this and then some.
For The Arty, Who Like To Party
Beach holidays needn’t always be about excess and indulgence. And this time around I was looking for a beach that could serve as a sanctuary – a place to renew the tired spirits. I figured that recommendations of artists of the 19th century seemed reliable enough, and I headed to Sitges, off Barcelona.
History has it that the famed Spanish painter Santiago Rusinol took up residence in Sitges. In later years, even Salvador Dali is believed to have walked these sands. And the tradition still continues. As you make your way to the beach, you’ll surely be greeted by several budding artists with paint and palette in hand. Also, if you colour outside the lines, Sitges has a happening gay and lesbian scene.
For Record Lovers
Google Poland and the first thing that comes up is the World War and the immense destruction. Yet when I visited, I found that Poland was far from drab and dreary, with a happening night life and picturesque towns and cities. One such town was Sopot, set on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. Sopot is a tourist resort with a vibrant buzz. I walked the sea front that’s dotted with funky restaurants, quaint cafes, and lively pubs and clubs. But what separates this town from other beach towns in Europe is that it boasts of the longest wooden pier in Europe. At 511.5 metres it seems to stretch all the way into the sea, making this the perfect place for couples whose idea of romance is ‘long’ walks on the beach.
For Ship Lovers
Waterford, Republic of Ireland
People competing for the ‘best pirate costume’ walking the shore, with tall-ships parked on the waters. To me, it was like being on the sets of Pirates of the Caribbean, minus the scary sea creatures. This was the scene that greeted me in Waterford, Ireland during the Tall Ships Festival which showcases some of the tallest ships in the world. Waterford serves as one of the many ports of call of this international shippie fest. Add to the celebration the gabby locals of Ireland, and the party is in full swing.
For Those Seeking A Bit Of Nature’s Drama
Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Legend has it that a giant named Fin McCool created the causeway simply by walking across the water. Science however claims that this UNESCO world heritage structure site was created by a volcanic eruption. I’d go with legends. But whichever side you steer towards, you cannot deny that the Giant’s Causeway is a magnificent creation.
Even though these waters don’t allow for a swim, this is by far one of the most fascinating coastlines I’ve laid eyes on. And the many myths that abound only add to its charm.
For Snorkellers And Scuba Divers
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, is the only living organism visible from space, with thousands of different types of organisms living within these waters. Even though I can barely swim, I managed to go snorkelling and even tried my hand at scuba-diving. All I needed was to muster up some courage, and get myself a guide. It was well worth it to fight my fears because within this deep blue I spotted the brightest hues – psychedelic orange, pink and green corals with fish to match. The colours were so bright they almost seemed painted. Don that wet suit and you’re in for an experience of a life-time.
For Bird Lovers
Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia
Few waterfronts in the world allow you this thrill – to get within a few feet of parading penguins. Make your way to the Phillip Island Nature Park at sun-set and watch penguins waddle their way out of the water, onto the beach and into their little burrows.
I was awe-struck as I watched these tiny creatures emerge from the water, and warily make their way home after a long day at sea. I spent several sunsets here, doing nothing but penguin watching, and I still didn’t tire of this activity.