Did you know that Koh Samui, Thailand is often described as a melting pot because it attracts world travelers of all kinds? There are the super budget conscious who love to visit Koh Samui, Thailand for its affordable and appealing beach bungalows, as well as the luxury travelers who savor the endless delights of premiere villas set directly along the glistening white sands.

It has wonderfully busy and dynamic beaches, but Koh Samui, Thailand is also home to relatively peaceful and tranquil spots, too. Let’s take some time to discover 5 things to know about Koh Samui, Thailand in order to make your next visit unforgettable:

Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village

This is one of those remarkably tranquil places to visit during a stay in Koh Samui, Thailand. It is a historical spot with somewhat rustic buildings and architecture. Yet, it is also home to a lovely beach and a famous street market that occurs every Friday evening. Though it is no longer a thriving fishing village, it is a wonderful spot to explore on foot, and then head to one of the beachfront restaurants to catch the sunset.

Turtle Island

Also called Koh Tao, it is the premier scuba destination in all of Thailand. With white sand beaches and stunningly clear waters, it features amazing coral reefs and a large array of native sea life. Naturally, sea turtles are a dominant population, but you will encounter a diversity of other inhabitants. This small island features some of the nicest and quietest white sand beaches and lovely bays.

Big Buddha

This shrine is home to one of the island’s most famous sites – a 12-meter-tall Buddha that is visible from miles away. It sits within a stunning Buddhist temple and features a market with souvenir and food stalls. It is a wonderful morning or afternoon trip for anyone spending time on the island. Close by is yet another Big Buddha. This one is known as Wat Plai Laem and depicts an 18-armed Guanyin set above a lovely lake.

Namuang Falls

If you prefer to take in the natural scenery of Koh Samui, Thailand, a visit to the two Na Muang Falls is in order. Unusual for the naturally purple rocks they feature, the falls form a natural staircase through the forest and to the base of the largest fall. Take a swim in the enormous, natural pool or continue hiking to the more stunning Na Muang fall, famous for its impressive beauty.

Angthong National Marine Park

Just off the coast is this amazing park that shelters and protects 42 islands, many jungles, beaches, waterfalls and more. In total, it covers more than 100 square kilometers of land and sea and is actually open to visitors.

Paying a visit here is typically done as part of a day trip, though overnights are possible charter boats can take guests to the Park’s headquarters and from there they can enjoy hiking, diving, water activities and more.

There are five “must see and do” activities to consider as you plan a visit to Koh Samui. Don’t forget that you can also opt for a luxury villa along one of the gorgeous beach areas and make most of your holiday about relaxing and recharging. There are many areas of the world with good beaches, sunsets and cultural activities, but few compare to Koh Samui. It seems designed to encourage you to take in the breezes, savor the scenery and little more. However, there is much you can see and do during a stay and a visit to one of the sites above is sure to delight.

Are you planning a visit to Phuket, Thailand to savor its world-famous beaches? If so, you are like many other savvy travelers. With its swaying palms, gorgeous white sand beaches and its amazing cultural sites, it makes for one of the most appealing holidays imaginable. A large island off the coast (the largest in Thailand, in fact), it does have the feeling of another world.

Pair your visit with a stay at a luxury villa and you may discover your own private paradise. And though it can be appealing to envision yourself immersed in the solitude of an opulent, private residence, there is much to see and do in Phuket, Thailand.

The Beaches of Phuket, Thailand

Whether you are staying somewhere in sight of the beaches or opening directly on to one of them, you will want to set aside the bulk of your time to dedicate it to visits to the shore. The island features more than 30 stunning beaches, with some gazing out at the beautiful Phang Nga Bay and others framed by the lovely winding roads that encircle the entire island. As you might guess, some are very busy and some utterly remote, and that means you have your pick of experiences to savor.

The most popular and well known include Patong, Karon, Kata, Kamala, Mai Khao, Nai Harn, Kata Noi, Surin and Bangtao.

What to See

A visit to Phuket, Thailand cannot be complete without also paying a visit to what is easily one of the most stunning settings on the planet – Phang Nga Bay. It features many island-like cliffs that jut out of the water. Covered in lush growth, they are a wonderful sight (and familiar to fans of James Bond films as they appear in several of them). Phi Phi Island is another must see as it too is a place of staggering natural beauty, but if you want to get the most awe-inspiring views, pay a visit to Similan Islands. These are close to Khaolak and are ranked highly for divers, sailors and those who just appreciate sparkling clear blue sea waters.

If you like to hit major cities and cultural stops, the giant Buddha is for you. Set atop the Nakkerd Hills, it gazes out over Kata and Chalong and is a remarkable 45 meters in height. A drive to the site is a wonderful experience in itself and lets you pay a visit to any number of other destinations along the way.

What to Do

One thing that many do not know about when planning a visit to Phuket, Thailand is the abundance of night markets. They are all going to be some of the most enchanting and appealing experiences imaginable. Whether shopping for gifts or looking to try authentic street food, you are sure to find a wonderful experience. Street performers are in abundance, and because the sun has set, you don’t have to worry about the heat.

While exploring the island, don’t forget that the eastern and western coastal areas are full of promontories and stunning spots to take in the scenery. The Promthep Cape, for example, offers some amazing views of Phi Phi Island nearby. You will also want to visit Three Beaches promontory near Nai Harn and Kata, pay a visit to Black Rock viewpoint to see the jungles of Ao Sane, and head to the Karon promontory to take in the most famous beaches below.

There is much to see and do during a visit to Phuket, Thailand. And though you might enjoy your entire visit from a luxury villa, you will also want to head out to at least one or more of the beaches or towns.

Savvy travelers know that Punta Mita is a wonderfully private world of beauty and luxury. Home to some of the world’s finest resort properties, including the Four Seasons and St. Regis resorts, and a seemingly endless list of premiere amenities and services, it is also famous for its golf.

Bahia Golf at Punta Mita

Perhaps one of the most coveted options for golf at Punta Mita is found on the grounds of the Four Seasons Punta Mita – the Bahia golf course. Designed by the world-famous golf professional, Jack Nicklaus, it stretches out along the coastline and gives stunning views of Bahia de Banderas.

One of two courses on the resort’s grounds, it offers the non-stop scenery, includes water features and even several lakes, and is defined by its lovely rolling greens and fairways. Many players say that it is a good course for those who wish to improve or refine putting techniques specifically because of the undulating nature of the landscape.

When playing golf at Punta Mita, and on the Bahia course, players are advised to enjoy the views close to the famous El Faro surfing area (adjacent to one of the holes) and the downhill approach overlooking the bay.

It is an 18-hole course with a par 72. It has a 74 rating and features more than 7k in yardage. There is a pro shop, driving range and putting green here, too.

Pacifico Gold Golf at Punta Mita

The other famous course found on the grounds of the Four Seasons is the Punta Mita Pacifico course. Also designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 18-hole course is a par 72 with a 72.9 rating and yardage of around 7k. It is incredibly expansive, sprawling over more than 200 acres and offering some of the most stunning views. Players get to wander along the rolling landscape, taking in views of the Sierra Madre Mountains to one side and the famed Riviera Nayarit on the other.

However, the landscaping throughout is also quite remarkable, and emphasizes the tropical setting with stately palms, flowering trees and native species in great abundance. In fact, some areas of growth are dense enough to be considered a bit of a challenge.  Another seaside course, it has eight holes that sit directly along the waterfront (either the Bahia de Banderas or the Pacific Ocean) and that means that whale sightings are a common occurrence during annual migrations.

This course is famed for its hole that has garnered the nickname the “Tail of the Whale” as it is the only natural island green in the world. It also has a driving range, pro shop and putting green available.

Enjoying Golf at Punta Mita

The good news is that all travelers to the area are free to book tee times – even if not a guest of the Four Seasons. There are varying fees depending upon the season and taking optional holes or choosing only half the holes alters the basic pricing structure.

If you are eager to try out every course in the area, close to Punta Mita is the Litibu course in Riviera Nayarit. This is not often considered golf at Punta Mita, but it is close by. Designed by Greg Norman, it is a 15-hole, 72 par course with amazing views looking back at Punta Mita.

Whether you visit the area specifically to enjoy days and days of world class golfing along the coast and hills of the Punta Mita peninsula, or you just want a few days of unforgettable golfing experiences, you are going to easily find them here.

Did you know that the Mexican government actually assessed the Yucatan Peninsula and mapped out what is now the Mayan Riviera as a tourism destination? They did and dedicated many years to building up the area in the most careful and well-managed ways. They began by making Cancun, considered to be the northern most point of the Mayan Riviera, a gateway. With an airport and great roads, it is the most common place people enter the region. After that, it is all about the beaches, and below, we explain some of the best Mayan Riviera beaches to visit during your stay.

With more than 75 miles of coast, it is not surprising that there are so many amazing beaches in the Mayan Riviera. The calm seas, the wonderfully clear waters and the impressive natural sites that frame the region, all add up to a wonderful place to travel, and yet again, many come for those beaches along the Caribbean Sea.

While it is important to note that there are some rip tides offshore, most of the beaches are in sheltered bay areas and remain safe and ideal for swimmers, divers and beachgoers of all ages.

So, which beaches number among the “best”? That can be a bit tricky because best can mean a few things. For you, best might mean “free” or “white sands”. That means we need to narrow it down a bit.

Firstly, many beaches in the region are owned by resorts and not always open to the public. Below are the beaches that can be enjoyed for free or for a small fee paid to the owners:

Playa del Carmen

Here you will want to visit the lovely Maroma Beach. It is often described as one of the loveliest in the world. It is close to many resorts and hotels, and yet its surroundings have been lovingly preserved. You can enter the beach, for free by using paths from the Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, El Dorado Maroma Beachfront Resort, or the Maroma Resort and Spa.


At the southern end of the Mayan Riviera is thriving little Tulum. Once an off the beaten path, it is now where the savvy travelers head. It is home to Pariaiso Beach, and it too is ranked as one of the best in the modern world. It is framed by some of the most stunning jungle scenery, and the fact that the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum sit just above the beach only add to its appeal.


Both the name of the beach and the town, it is tucked directly between Tulum to the south and Playa del Carmen to the north. Its name means land of turtles and as you might guess – sea turtles lay their eggs here and visitors can see the adorable babies making their way to the sea once or twice each year. It is set in a smaller fishing village and is often described as both laid back and remarkably safe in terms of the sea waters, tides and conditions.

Puerto Aventuras

Here you can find Xpu Ha Beach just south of the downtown area. This is, in fact, described as a hidden or secret spot by many and features wonderful snorkeling and fishing. However, you will mostly find swimming and sunbathing as the key activities in the shallow and clear waters here. Note – some of the best restaurants in the Mayan Riviera are also in the fishing village nearby, and you can savor authentic Mexican cuisine here, too.

As you can see, you have many options, and anywhere you go you are likely to discover little beaches that are gems to the locals who are fortunate enough to inhabit the Mayan Riviera.

Some of the world’s more savvy travelers already know that Turks & Caicos is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Yet, the names of the beaches are not commonly or even well known. In this brief guide, we’ll look at some of the best of the beaches to be found on Turks & Caicos.

Before we look at those famed beaches, though, let’s take a few moments to understand that Turks & Caicos is comprised of a number of areas where amazing beaches are always found. They include the beaches around Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay. These are all very unique spots, and each is worth a visit and some exploration.

However, if you have the time for only the very finest or you want to just see why some of the beaches of Turks & Caicos are so famous, be sure to visit the following spots:

Grace Bay

It may surprise some to know that this is often described as the best beach in the world. Why? There are actually quite a few reasons it is so. These include:

It is actually part of a national park! That’s right, Grace Bay Beach may be home to many luxurious resort properties, but another area of it is included in the Princess Alexandra National Park, too. This means that you could opt to bask on the glorious white sands, take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters or head to the reef area and do some scuba diving!

Don’t miss nearby Bight Beach and the wonderful snorkeling found there along with Smith’s Reef, which is just as convenient.

Long Bay

This is another of the Providenciales beaches, like Grace Bay above. It is a three mile long beauty with four feet of water stretching thousands of feet from shore. It has almost no swells or waves due to its location and is only periodically disturbed by local winds. At the southern end of the beach you will find quiet spots to enjoy kayaking or paddle boards.

Taylor Bay

This is a bit of a tough beach to reach as it currently has access to the public from the ocean rather than the shore. The Silly Creek neighborhood does have a path that many members of the public use, but whatever way you approach it, it is well worth the effort.

This is another of the Providenciales beaches and is just west of Sapodilla Bay. It is also close to Chalk Sound and is small but stunning. It receives gentle trade winds at all times and is one of the finest places to introduce children to swimming safely in the sea. It is picturesque at low tide for the unusual patterns that appear in the sand and is generally a wonderful spot for all.

The Secluded Beaches of Turtle Tail

Set at the southern coastal area of Providenciales is the Turtle Tail area. It is considered by many to be home to many luxurious residences, but it is also where you can find a wide array of lovely spots to explore. As Turtle Tail is a narrow peninsula, it sits near Flamingo Pond and Juba Sound from the ocean. There is a small channel that creates tidal activity in the ponds, and wading to some of the nearby islands is always possible.

The beaches of Turtle Tail itself range in size from just 50 feet or so up to hundreds of feet in length. Many are accessible via villas, but it is the largest beach area that many love because it is where five small cays sit just offshore and which can be easily reached with a quick walk through the clear, shallow waters.

Perhaps you have been yearning to pay a visit to Tulum, one of the southernmost points of the Mayan Riviera? If so, it may have been for a few reasons. For one, it is one of the few areas in which ancient Mayan pyramids sit almost directly along the water’s edge, overlooking the sea. It could be because it was a bit of an off the map destination that let you savor peace and quiet while also enjoying the beauty of the region. Well, there’s good news and better news.

What is the news? The simple fact of the matter is that Tulum has been discovered by the rich and famous and is now seen as the latest celebrity hot spot. Some travel experts describe it as a hipster’s paradise and others as a spot for stargazers. That means that it is now easier than ever to plan a visit and enjoy the areas many delights. Yet, even better is that the pristine landscape remains untouched and those reasons you had for hoping to visit can still be fulfilled.

If you would like even better news, it may please you to know that the surge of interest in Tulum has led to the appearance of lovely eateries, chic little shops and activities and services designed to cater to the stars that visit regularly. If you were looking for some spa services set in that amazing Tulum landscape, you can enjoy them. If you wanted a villa with quiet beach access, that too is available. Perhaps you had hoped to enjoy shopping for beautiful and unique local goods, again, that is easier than ever.

Yet, in the midst of all of this, it is important to remember that Tulum remains, well, Tulum. There are no high rise buildings to mar the skyline and no bustling night clubs or densely packed streets that keep going until dawn. Instead, it is still a place dedicated to and focused on the pristine landscape and magical ruins that distinguish the area.

Accommodations and Destinations

The nice thing to keep in mind about a visit to Tulum is that it is also home to truly wonderful and private villas in addition to more traditional accommodations. Whether of the two-bedroom size for a small family or set of friends to the much larger properties.

These allow you to enjoy your holiday from a single location, and you can even find properties with private pools, household staff, and more. A stay in a villa also means you will easily reach the many activities of the region, including water activities such as the world class snorkeling and diving or the hiking and exploring the historic ruins, and of course the cenotes.

These are a must see part of a visit to the area, and Tulum is actually somewhat surrounded by them. In fact, some of the finest in the region are within minutes of Tulum, and include:

Dos Ojos – One of the most famous in all of Mexico is just 15 minutes from Tulum. It is also home to the El Pit cenote, too.

Carwash – Ignore the name, but make sure to pay a visit because it is one of the least visited and most unique.

Gran Cenote – This is an ideal option for all as it is more of an open topped cenote with lovely gardens surrounding it all.

Whether it is for stargazing, beach going or cenote diving, as well as shopping and dining, a visit to Tulum is a wonderful idea. Plan your visit today and you are sure to fall in love on first sight.

Whether or not you believe yourself to be a fan of water parks, you must pay a visit to the Xel Ha Action Park in the Maya Riviera if you are in the region. Why? It is more than your average water park or theme park, and is in fact an eco-park. After all, you are not going to spend your day waiting in line to take a two minute run down a water slide when you pay a visit.

No, you will be able to explore an authentic cenote, hike actual jungle trails and swim in real grottoes. You can float lazily in a lagoon or you can attempt a few daring feats in the more adventurous area of the park. Let’s take a few moments to see what you can do when visiting Xel Ha Action Park in the Maya Riviera and then consider a few reasons why you absolutely must pay a visit.

What You Can Do at Xel Ha Action Park in the Maya Riviera

We understand that the phrase “something for everyone” is terribly overused, and particularly when describing travel destinations. Yet, these words are completely accurate when describing the many activities available at the Xel Ha Action Park in the Maya Riviera. A short list includes:

Scaling the light house (standing 30 meters above the sea) – From here you can see the jungles, the sea and then descend using one of the four water slides.

Snorkeling – Though many head to Mexico to enjoy snorkeling, here you can encounter more than 90 different species of marine life in this park’s waters. There are educational tours that teach visitors about the halocline and thermocline effects of the waters, and more

River excursions – Would you enjoy floating out of an underground cave and into a gently flowing river lined by mangroves and slowly turning into a blend of natural sea and fresh waters? If so, this is likely to be something you’ll enjoy doing at the Xel Ha Action Park in the Maya Riviera

Mayan Cave – This is the authentic cenote within the park and features snorkeling opportunities in addition to guided tours

Chuc Kay’s Flight – This is a unique experience above another cenote in the park. Using a large rope swing, you can swing out over the natural cave and then let yourself drop into its lovely, cool waters below

Cliff climbing – This is a manmade cliff that allows you to use ropes and crevices to scale to the top. Once there, you can make the daring leap into the waters below

Trepachanga – This is a two-rope bridge – you hold a single rope above and walk a single rope below in order to cross the river beneath you. There are also some other rope courses to enjoy at each end of the challenge.

Zip lines – Six different zip lines are found here and you can cross gardens, jungles, rivers and more.

The Cove – The Xel Ha Action Park in the Maya Riviera is home to a stunning natural inlet where fresh water and sea waters meet. It is part of the longest system of underground rivers in the world and is the perfect place to spend time snorkeling in the calm waters and encountering the natural marine life around you.

There is also the Bay of Caprices, the Home River, Children’s World, two separate grottoes, and so much more to explore. You can easily spend several days here, and if you have kids, you may want to do just that!

Set along the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the wonderful Mayan Riviera. Offering 75 miles of coastline, it runs from famous Cancun down to the equally notable Tulum. Though it boasts those many miles of coast, and stunning beaches, it is also home to just as impressive historical sites, ecological parks and many natural wonders.

These are all reasons that the Mexican government initially mapped out this part of the peninsula for development as a travel destination.

North or South?

It is amazingly easy to plan a world class beach holiday anywhere along the Mayan Riviera. Whether it is in the more common destinations such as Puerto Moreles, Tres Rios, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Tulum or the island just offshore – the Isle de Cozumel – you will have many stunning beaches.

Each of the popular beach areas is also well supplied with wonderful shopping areas, restaurants and accommodations. Yet, you will find that each area is also unique. Cancun, as you might guess is full of many attractions and convenient travel hubs, but if you relish a bit more solitude and peace, you will want to head down the coast.

As you head south, you will note that things become a bit more laid back and less crowded the farther you travel. You may prefer the charming and classic fishing village setting that is Puetro Morelos, but you may want a resort-styled holiday and opt to stay at the famous Playa del Carmen with its many premier villas and luxury amenities. Many opt to head to the appealing harbor town of Puerto Aventuras, but then there is Tulum. Once a sleep and out of the way locale, it is now one of the most popular among the glitterati.

Tulum is appealing to many for its Mayan ruins set right along the beach, with mysterious pyramids and pristine sands, it is appealing. Yet, you may find that gazing back at the Mayan Riviera from the lovely Isle de Cozumel is more for you, and you can even fly directly to the island rather than heading in via Cancun.

What to See and Do

Any visit to the Mayan Riviera is going to include days at the beach or on the water. Yet, you have an array of locations from which to choose. For example, kite surfing is a popular activity in Tulum’s waters, but diving is the big thing in Cancun. Snorkeling is generally ideal in all of the beach areas, and then there are the cenotes.

These are an inland experience, but something not to be missed. They are natural caves that serve as connecting points to an enormous network of underground rivers. You will find many opportunities for snorkeling in the caves or simply relaxing in the cool shade and soaking in the soothing waters.

If water activities such as swimming, sunbathing, sailing, or diving and snorkeling are not for you, there is still much to see and do in the Mayan Riviera. If you are near Tulum or Coba, the ruins are a must. However, there are many natural and eco theme parks to visit, including the famous Xcaret Eco park that lets you learn as you enjoy hours of fun.

Whether you opt to stay in a private villa above a beach or a resort property, the Mayan Riviera will prove one of your wisest vacation destinations. Ideal for honeymooners, solo travelers, couples, families and groups, it has something for everyone. Even if you do not step off the grounds of your villa or resort, you are sure to make many memories and plan many return visits.