When I think of a beach holiday, I want turquoise blue waters, powdery sandy beaches and mild sun. I visualize myself on the beach, lying back sipping chilled fresh tropical fruit juice, kids having endless fun building sand castles, the excitement with each wave bouncing us back to the beach, sometimes snorkeling or kayaking, but only sometimes as I am not so much of an adventure junkie. A beach holiday to me is the default setting for winter vacations.
And it’s not so difficult to guess why. With cold chilling winters sweeping through India, I don’t mind a little bit of warmth and sunshine. Indian winters mean all of North and Central India is shut for all practical reasons, atleast for me. And there are only so many times you can do a Goa or a Kerela.
So here are my favorite short flight beach destinations for you to compare and click that book button.
That one picture sums it up. Maldives has the most turquoise waters amongst all 3 destinations listed here, round the year except ofcourse on cloudy days. And every single beach is that color mainly due to the fact that each island in this beautiful Andaman Sea region is occupied by just ONE resort. Yes that’s right. So you can pretty much walk around the full island in circles.
You can choose to stay anywhere in Maldives as it’s impossible to not get a perfect beach. Ofcourse the villas are located on the sandiest areas and building blocks are closer to rocky areas but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a sandy beach. It may be just shorter compared to the ones attached to the villas. So you can pick what fits your budget.
Also with kids, I was particular to choose a resort which had an active “Children activity center”. So while the kids indulged in some complimentary baking or beach volleyball or snorkeling lessons in the 3-5pm or 11-1am slot, we got ample me time to ourselves.
There usually are many complimentary deep sea activities, I didn’t really do much of that. We stuck to snorkeling and swimming closer to the island. You can opt to fly on a sea plane to your resort from the international airport and that was one hell of an experience, ofcourse with a big dent in the pocket!
Flight duration: 5 hours approx.
No of Day: 4 days
Tips: Plan your visit towards the end of Dec or beginning of Jan so that the rainy season is over.
Cons : Tends to be expensive but given that you will plan for just 4-5 days, the overall cost could turn out be ok.
Thailand lives up to its image of being the cheapest beach destination and great street food. Though there are more touristy places in Bangkok, I personally love the slow pace of life at Thai beach resorts. Compared to Maldives, Spa is much cheaper here and so is food, even at the resort. Almost at par with India. You can buy all sorts of beach equipment and swim wear in the local market at dirt cheap prices.
There are a sizable number of Thai dishes for vegetarians, at almost all beach shacks. Though the beach attached to the resort are not as turquoise or powdery soft, the ones you visit on the many daylong boat-trips are to die for.
This one in the picture is my favorite spot in Thailand. No prizes for guessing why! I have been to Phuket, Pattaya and Krabi, Krabi being my favorite island so far though I have heard Koh Samui is even more virgin. I am yet to see Chiang Mai though.
Flight duration: 4 hours 30 mins approx. + drive or fly to the beach destination
No of Day: 6-10 days
Tips: Day-long excursions are fun way to explore the island. We also make it a point to include just one beach destination for the holiday with maybe a day or 2 in Bangkok
Cons : It may get hot around afternoon. Also local spots in Pattaya are best avoided if travelling with family.
Though Malaysia wouldn’t really count solely as a beach destination, it sure does make for a wonderful beach holiday if you would like to squeeze in some city-life too into your itinerary. There are enough and more things to do and see in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. And you can fly in easily into Penang or Lankawi from both cities. While Penang would be your choice if you want to explore some heritage, Langkawi is more of a luxury destination.
Flight duration: 5.5 hours approx. + fly to the beach destination
No of Day: 8-12 days
Tips: The 100 odd km drive from Singapore into Malaysia is quite scenic and a chauffeur driven car is not a bad idea if you are traveling in a group of 8-10. The cost is not significantly higher.
Cons : Both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur get unbearably hot during afternoon though beaches are much cooler.
While there are other exotic options like New Zealand, Israel, Vietnam and Seychelles I must set aside some time now to write about them. You can expect to read about them soon.
About the author: Mandavi Jaiswal has been to over 23 countries, mainly for leisure and she writes basis her own experiences. Travelling is her healthiest addiction.