Posts tagged with "Thailand"

Passport illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Tim Hentschel × HotelPlanner

By: HotelPlanner.com Co-Founder/CEO Tim Hentschel

We all welcomed the news of vaccine rollouts that started in January this year, but what does this specifically mean for the travel and hospitality industry? How do vaccine passports work? And are they ethical?

Experts agree that we will start to see real progress against the spread of Covid once 70 percent of a country’s population is vaccinated. We’re already hearing more optimistic sentiments from many governments, travel organizations and businesses as countries reach 30% to 50% vaccination levels. Still, the rate of vaccinations varies greatly per country, and this is causing daily changes to the do-not-fly list, which makes it extremely challenging to reliably plan international travel.

That said, there is great optimism in our industry. For example, the International Air Transport Association Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac was quoted in March that “personal and leisure travel will return from the 2H2021. ″

Tim Hentschel, CEO and co-founder of HotelPlanner, we are developing the tools to travel safely in Covid, with vaccines on a worldwide rollout, he discusses how this will affect tourism and hospitality locally and across the world.

Vaccine passports become essential

The European Commission has been the latest body to propose vaccine passports. While there are concerns about discrimination against the unvaccinated, an internationally recognized official certification for vaccinated travelers would help to lift quarantine restrictions and ease the processes of entering other countries.

In fact, Singapore Airlines began piloting a digital vaccine passport in December 2020 and has plans to integrate it into their mobile app by mid-2021.

During the pandemic, travel operators have acted quickly to label hotels that have complied with Covid-19 countermeasures and get the word out to their customers.

In the coming months, we expect operators to start implementing new measures based on vaccine passports that will be in line with government regulations. The simplest way is to have travelers include a vaccine certification as part of their personal details for bookings. These details could then be shared with partner airlines and hotels to facilitate a smoother, less restricted travel experience. 

Of note, it’s important to distinguish the vaccine passport initiatives individual countries or international bodies are pursuing versus what some private sector venues are piloting.  For example, the Biden Administration clarified recently that they would not be sponsoring or mandating a country-wide vaccine passport and that any related projects would be up to the private sector. Florida’s Governor also recently banned the use of vaccine passports in the state entirely, which could trend in other states. To date, New York is one of the few states that has piloted what they’re calling an Excelsior Pass to verify vaccine status before entering venues like Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center.

Green lanes and travel bubbles will revive suffering travel destinations in the short term 

Governments should speed up establishing green lanes or travel bubbles with ‘safe’ countries, where travelers are exempt from quarantine. These partnerships will be critical for bringing life back to economies that rely on service-based and labor-based industries.

Thailand, for instance, has seen an 83 percent drop in foreign tourists. This is a devastating blow that contributed to the Thai economy falling by 6.1 percent in 2020, its worst performance since the 1997 Asia financial crisis.

The Thai Hotels Association estimates at least a million workers have been laid off from its hospitality sector as hundreds of hotels have closed. Domestic tourism and the implementation of special tourist visas for long stays have done little to reverse the pandemic’s impact on the industry.

Thailand’s special tourist visa permits foreign visitors to stay up to 90 days, including 14 days of quarantine, with the option for two extensions. It has attracted only a fraction of the expected 1,200 monthly visitors since its launch in October 2020, likely due to the lengthy quarantine requirement.

India is now experiencing a huge spike in Covid infections, and the USA has added them to the list of over 100 countries that US citizens cannot fly to. As India is one of the US’s largest trading partners, this will hurt both countries with similar effect to the tourism devastation in Thailand.

As we look to the future, there is a golden opportunity for the USA and other developed nations of the world, which have successfully implemented vaccine rollouts, to continue to help countries that are still challenged. This will help the USA, EU, and UN reestablish themselves as global leaders. If all goes well, we could be celebrating a return to near normal by the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

cruise illustration by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

Soneva In Aqua Experience

SONEVA INTRODUCES SAILING EXCURSIONS TO THE MALDIVES’ UNSPOILED GOIDHOO ISLAND

Four-Day Soneva in Aqua Experience Includes Surfing Uncrowded Breaks, Diving Among Shipwrecks, Spotting Marine Life and Snorkeling In Untouched Reefs

Setting sail from Soneva’s original barefoot luxury resort Soneva Fushi, the new four-day, three-night Goidhoo experience aboard the Soneva in Aqua yacht offers an ultra-luxury escape to this unspoiled island in the south of the Baa Atoll, 30 miles from Soneva Fushi. As the island of Goidhoo, which can only be reached by boat, is not often frequented by divers and surfers, it offers a rare untouched paradise full of vibrant marine life and corals.

Soneva in Aqua is a refined yacht that combines Soneva’s iconic barefoot luxury with the sense of freedom and adventure associated with a private boat charter. The 75-foot yacht sleeps a maximum of four adults and two children and has two spacious bedrooms with en-suite showers, while the master cabin has a glass-bottomed spa tub set into the floor for viewing the marine life. There is also an on-deck Jacuzzi, daybeds for lounging, dining area, bar, lounge and library. The crew consists of the captain, mechanic, head chef, wellness therapist and signature Soneva Barefoot Butler. A dive master, surf instructor, photographer and astronomer can be added on request.

Diving and snorkeling sites around Goidhoo include the Corbin, a 400-ton French ship that set sail from St. Malo in search of trade in the East, but met its end off the shores of Goidhoo in 1602. Guests are welcome to search for buried treasure and bars of silver that the ship was supposedly carrying. The Naamuli Wreck can also be explored, with remnants of an old steel ship spanning approximately 164 feet over the reef.

The entrance of Goidhoo Corner offers diverse marine life, including Napoleon fish, lobster, nurse sharks and turtles. The Rose Garden is a shallow snorkeling site that offers a spectacular display that looks like a huge underwater garden of rose-shaped coral. Protected inside a lagoon, the Inside Tilla is best explored at night when all the nocturnal marine creatures come out and the reef comes to life. The Soneva in Aqua crew have often spotted manta rays and whale sharks while anchored within the lagoon.

When it comes to surfing, the Goidhoo Pass is well known for producing some of the best waves in the Baa Atoll, with local surf competitions often being held here. Guests can also visit a local island for a cultural experience, or even join in on a soccer match with locals.

The cost of the Goidhoo four-day, three-night charter is priced at $9,900 for three nights, which includes all food and beverages for the duration. This cost excludes standard dive and surf instructor rates, which are priced at $750 and $600 per day, respectively, for two guests.

For more information about Soneva, visit this website.

ABOUT SONEVA
Soneva is a pioneering family of hospitality properties, offering holistic encounters in luxurious and inspiring environments – from world class resorts to outstanding natural locations.  Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand rebuke the traditional concept of luxury and instead promise the luxury of time, purity and solitude. Every day, guests are encouraged to discover sandy feet, inspired minds and full hearts. Combining luxury with a conscientious approach to sustainability and the environment, and proactively changing the nature of hospitality, it delivers intuitive service and meaningful experiences to the guests.

Money illustration for 360 Magazine

Top Five Tech Billionaires Worth More Than 80 Poorest Countries Combined

The COVID-19 has played a significant role in wealth redistribution, with tech companies and their founders emerging as the biggest winners. While aviation, real estate, and hospitality industries have been pushed to the bottom of the global rich list, the tech industry billionaires have witnessed the largest wealth gains in the last year.

According to data, the combined net worth of the five wealthiest people in the US tech industry hit $567 billion in February, more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 80 poorest countries combined.

Jeff Bezos’ Wealth Surged by 65% Year-Over-Year (YoY) and Hit $187 billion in 2021

As the COVID-19 spread, the world has relied on many technological tools across different sectors­–from business and education to commerce and health care. Tech companies that have provided the best solutions amid the pandemic witnessed the most significant revenue surge, while their founders got richer, to the tune of billions.

Amazon products have become one of the most demanded in the world during the pandemic, as it keeps providing tech items, groceries, and entertainment to people amid lockdown. Because of the high demand for its services, the company had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to keep up with surging demand.

According to the Forbes billionaire list, the COVID-19 has helped Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to grow his wealth by $74 billion in the last year, with his net worth reaching $187 billion this month. The International Monetary Fund data shows this figure is closest to New Zealand and Iraq’s GDP, which ranked 52nd and 53rd globally with $193.5 billion and $178.1 billion, respectively.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, is the second wealthiest person in the US tech industry, and globally. The net worth of the billionaire working with the WHO and drug makers to defeat the coronavirus is currently standing at $120billion. Statistics show Gates’ wealth grew by $22billion in the last year and is now closest to Morocco’s GDP, which ranked 59th globally.

As the fifth-largest tech company globally, Facebook has also witnessed impressive growth in 2020. The Facebook shares rose by 26% in the last year, pushing its CEO’s fortune up by $39 billion to $93.7 billion. This figure means that Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth is $700 million above Puerto Rico’s GDP, which stands at $93.9 billion.

The chairman, chief technology officer, and co-founder of software giant Oracle, Larry Ellison, and co-founder of Google, Larry Page, ranked as the fourth and fifth tech billionaires globally, with $84.9 billion and $80.4 billion in net worth as of this month. Their wealth is the closest to Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic’s GDP, which ranked 66th and 67th globally, with $81.1 billion and $77.8 billion, respectively.

Top Five Tech Billionaires Worth more than GDP of Sweden, Thailand or Belgium

According to Forbes and International Monetary Fund data, the cumulative wealth of the top five tech billionaires also surpasses the GDP of several countries considered to be economic powerhouses. For example, their combined net worth is bigger than the GDP of Austria, Norway, or United Arab Emirates, which ranked 28th, 33rd, and 35th globally with $432.8 billion, $366.3 billion, and $353.9 billion, respectively.

Statistics show that the five tech billionaires’ wealth is the closest to Poland and Sweden’s GDP, which ranked as the 23rd and 24th economies globally. The two countries’ gross domestic product stood at $580.9 billion and $529 billion in 2020.

Rita Azar, illustrations, travel, 360 MAGAZINE

4 Travel Goals You Need to Check Off in 2020

2020 has been a tough year so far. With lockdowns, isolation and social distancing, it has been difficult to really live life to its fullest. 

If you are feeling a bit itchy to get out, know that you are not alone. In fact, research shows that 72% of Americans are already booking their trips now for when restrictions are lifted, with 35% of those willing to head out during the summer. 

Has 2020 become the year for people to finally start ticking off their travel bucket list items? It sure seems so! With this in mind, we thought we would take a look at some of the most popular and most memorable experiences you can do this year, and most of them will not involve huge crowds of people. 

RV Through the US

This particular trip tops the list of almost everyone who has a serious drive for adventure and travel. The beauty of RVing through the US is that you can choose the length of your trip, as well as decide which route you want to take. 

Whether it would be taking in the majestic Rocky Mountains and stopping in at museums, diners, and, of course, Yellowstone, or a trip through the south to revel in some music, food, and incredible scenery through Florida, New Orleans and of course, Texas, you definitely won’t regret it. 

There are endless possibilities that will lead you on totally different adventures, through vastly different scenery. 

RVing is something that you will need to prepare for thoroughly because you can never know what might happen and whether you’ll have the right resources at the time being to fix it. This is easily avoidable if you just have everything at the ready so you can enjoy your trip to the max. One of the more important things to consider is to make sure you have enough fresh water and a good RV water softener solution that will tie you over in even the most desolate areas. Remember that water should always be your top priority,  Make sure you also plan your trips in detail before heading out so that you are not caught in the middle of nowhere without supplies and emergency services. 

Explore the Wonders of Cape Town

Although Cape Town has been listed as one of the top beauty spots to visit globally by various sites, it is still one of the most chronically underrated spots to visit in the world. What makes Cape Town so special you ask? Well, it has almost everything you want out of a trip. This South African city, perched at the tip of Africa, has a uniquely international feel to it, and for the most part, you will forget that you are in fact, in Africa. 

Besides boasting one of the seven wonders of the world, Table Mountain, the city has long stretches of white beaches, a bustling city life; bursting with art and culture, and sunsets that will make you want to live there forever. 

Not even an hour out of Cape Town, you will find the sprawling Winelands, tucked into spectacular mountain ranges with some of the best wine in the world. Might we add that the food in South Africa is something not to be missed, from the fresh seafood to the world-famous braais, you will be in for a treat. 

The city is steeped in history, and even if you are after a safari experience, you can also find this within a short drive out of the city. If you are a foodie, a wine snob, a coffee connoisseur, or an art fanatic, this city has it all!

Trek Through Peru 

This is certainly not for the faint-hearted nor the chronically unfit. But, if a spiritual journey and soul-freeing trip is what you are looking for after months of cabin fever, this is for you. There are a plethora of trails and treks to choose from in this tourist popular region, each with its different levels of difficulty and challenges. 

One of the most popular trails, the Inca trail is an iconic four-day hiking trail which leads you through the steep high mountains, from km. 82 all the way to the majestic Machu Picchu. You will follow the route taken by the original Incas to the historic World Heritage Site. 

What do you need to be prepared for? Because of the height of the mountains that you will be hiking, you are most likely to suffer from altitude sickness, insects, dehydration, and of course, the blisters, injuries, and pain that comes from trekking through deserted mountainsides. But, it is totally worth it once you cross the last mountain and come face to face with Machu Picchu. 

Take it Easy in Thailand

If this all sounds like too much effort, and what you feel like right now is just lying back on a warm beach, drinking cocktails, Asia should be your next destination. 

Not only is Thailand incredibly affordable, but it offers visitors endless adventures and activities. The beauty of the islands is indescribable, with long, white beaches, still blue waters and dotted palm trees to really get you in the holiday spirit. 

The food is incredible, the people are warm, friendly, and accommodating, and the weather is hot and humid at all times. 

You can choose to island-hop to the various idyllic islands spotted around the crystal blue waters, including the iconic island that featured in the movie, The Beach. There are a number of other islands to visit, including Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, and Ko Phi Phi Don. 

Alternatively, you can head up into the jungle and trek up through the mountains on an elephant adventure, or on foot to explore the rivers and waterfalls on this amazing island. 

Wrapping Up 

From world-class beaches to bustling cities, there are endless options for you to choose from. A desert adventure in Morocco could be down your alley, or a Northern Lights display on the tip of the Arctic. Whether you are a foodie or looking to take in some good live music and dance the night away, choose something that suits your unique personality and that will create memories that will last a lifetime. If it is unwinding in the sun after this stressful time, or feeling alive in the crisp mountain air, you know what your soul needs to ensure that 2020 is a year to be remembered. 

World Oceans Day Event

In recognition of World Oceans Day, the TerraCycle Thai Foundation announced that it participated in the “Innovation for Sustainable Ocean” event hosted by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) June 8 in Bangkok, Thailand at the request of the Thai government.

The Foundation installed a river plastic capture trap in the waterway of Khodpor public park in Rayong that’s designed to increase the amount of debris and marine plastics that are collected from Thai waterways, by intercepting it before it reaches and pollutes the ocean. Furthering the Foundation’s commitment, it has also agreed to sustainably recycle not only the waste collected through its own collection devices and efforts, but also the waste collected by all the other organizations participating in the project.

Please take a moment to review the release below and let me know if you have any questions, need more information or would like to schedule an interview to discuss the announcement. Interviews are available with:

• Tom Szaky, Chairman of the Board, TerraCycle Global Foundation

• Jon Banner, EVP Global Communications and President, The PepsiCo Foundation

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KOLLINS EZEKH

By Vaughn Lowery

Born in Russia and raised in Thailand, Kollins Ezekh has been a leader within the realm of fitness for 15+ years. He’s made brief appearances in Men’s Journal, Shape Magazine, Oxygen Magazine as well as Target. In addition, he has been interviewed on multiple networks: KTLA 5, Fox 11, ABC, Good Day LA and CBS.

Loads of celebrities have gravitated to this vegan trainer for a myriad of reasons. Handsome and ripped. He’s defied all of the myths with his plant-based chiselled physique. No wonder he has been tapped by Floyd Mayweather to help establish one of the fastest growing gym franchises in America. With him at the head, they’ve grown from one location to over a 100+ in just under a year.

As a personal life coach, Kollins is extremely competent and well-versed within his discipline. Charismatic yet informative, he constantly produces fitness content which people can indulge in while on the go. This Aries has fabricated results-driven regimens which make an impact on a person’s overall mental/health.

The future is exceedingly bright for this well-positioned member of an elite community of fitness gurus. While some of his counterparts tote around NASM certificates, he pushes an unprecedented work ethic which is unequaled by many.

Meet the Tastemakers, Soneva’s Culinary Dream Team

Renowned for its one-of-a-kind dining experiences, Soneva is inviting guests to meet “The Tastemakers” – the dedicated, international lineup of skilled chefs and sommeliers who create culinary magic every day at Soneva’s world-leading luxury resorts in Thailand and the Maldives.

The Tastemaker film series officially launches tomorrow with a dedicated video on Soneva Fushi’s award-winning Maldivian Chef Sobah and will then roll out new video premieres every other week through early December 2019. The series highlights members of the talented food and beverage teams across Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva Kiri, offering a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into everyday life in Soneva’s kitchens, as well as insight into each Tastemaker’s personal journey, cooking style and gastronomic philosophy, including:

Chef Benz is the Thai chef named after her father’s favorite brand of car. Discovered by Soneva founders Sonu and Eva, Chef Benz’s unmatched ability to craft exquisite Thai dishes from even the humblest local ingredients has earned her a reputation as one of the country’s most innovative cooking talents.

Chef Sobah is proud of his Maldivian heritage. He is known for putting his own contemporary twist on Maldivian recipes handed down by his mother and grandmother. His original restaurant, Sobah’s, located on a deserted island near Soneva Fushi was the first resort restaurant in the Maldives to exclusively offer Maldivian delicacies. Chef Sobah now delights diners at Out of the Blue by Sobah with modern Japanese fare using fish caught fresh from the ocean that day.

Chef David knew the first time that he walked through the doors of a professional kitchen that he had found his place. From an early age he set his sights on working in the best kitchens in the world. To this day, he claims to have never worked a day in his life – his kitchen is his home and cooking is his passion.

Chef Priyantha is head chef at The Crab Shack at Soneva Jani, possibly the most romantic restaurant in the world. He grew up on a diet of lagoon crabs in Sri Lanka and now serves a menu inspired by the family recipes of Soneva chefs.

Join Chef Ansari and his team as they take you on a gastronomical journey around the world. The menu provides a guide but the real magic happens when the chefs and guests meet, allowing the chefs to use their creativity and passion to produce a meal that will be remembered forever. 

Chef Jenefer grew up foraging around her rural home in the Philippines. Her sense of adventure has never left her and how she uses her knowledge of botany and her skills as a chef to present plat-based dishes that look like works of art at Soneva Fushi’s Shades of Green garden restaurant.

From humble beginnings, Chef Ravi used his wits and his charm to persuade those around him to teach him to cook. He has since worked in some of the best restaurants in the world. Visiting his restaurant Down to Earth is like walking into a family home where you will be greeted with a smile, a warm welcome and exquisite food cooked from the heart.

Chef Kichii Okabe blends Japanese tradition with an informality and playfulness that charms his guests. A Japanese grand master chef with a Michelin star heritage, he is on a mission to make people happy, and he knows good food makes people happy.

To discover more about these chefs and to watch the rest of Soneva’s Tastemaker series, visit http://www.soneva.com/the-tastemakers. For more information about Soneva resorts in the Maldives and Thailand, visit www.soneva.com.

Int’l Model + Influencer Angelina Galt

Q: How difficult was it to get signed to a major agency?

A: In some ways it was difficult and, in some ways, not. When I was starting my carrier and nobody has heard my name, it was difficult to get in the loop. But having worked really hard and built up a large portfolio I was able to sign with my first agency. After that first agency, other agencies have opened up doors to me. It all depends on the amount of work that you are willing you put in.

Q: Have you always had a mother agent? If so, what are the advantages of having one?

A: I didn’t always have a mother agency, but I am now signed to one on a short contract. Having a mother agent is very helpful in the beginning as it can connect you to agencies around the world. They are like the middleman.

Q: Where did you inherit your innate style?

A: I have always experimented with style from a young age. I went through almost every “phase” of dressing up that you can imagine and, in the end, found my sweet spot. My current style is a mix of everything I have tried and truly reflects my inner self. Style isn’t money and it can’t be bought with it.

Q: What was it like growing up in your hometown? Do you ever visit and do they recognize you?

A: I never quite got to grow up in my hometown. I was born in Russia then moved to Thailand at the age of 2. Thailand is a beautiful and unique place that has thought me things I would have never learned elsewhere. Sadly, I have not gotten a chance to Visit since we left to come to America. I hope to go back for a trip in the near future.

Q: How did you book your first cover? Through agency or publicist?

A: Neither, I booked my first cover through my manager. While we were building up my portfolio, a magazine reached out to us asking to have a shoot and interview, to which of course I said yes!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I plan to sign with multiple agencies around the world. I also am currently working on my Angelina Galt foundation, that helps talented children reach their goals.

Q: Any community service involvement?

A: The Angelina Galt Foundation is a non-profit organization made only to raise money for children. While doing community service is a great way of giving back to the world, I wanted to start my own foundation.

Q: What words of advice would offer aspiring talent and models?

A: First of all, believe in yourself. Seriously. No matter what anybody says and no matter how many times you think you have failed. Keep fighting for it and it will be yours. Enjoy yourself at all times and be the best that you can. Don’t pretend to be anyone else to get noticed because you want people to fall in love with you. If you become your authentic self, people will be drawn to that kind of energy.

 

Angelina’s bio:

Angelina was born in Nokhodka, a port city in the Russian Far East. In her lifetime, she traveled a lot and even lived in different parts of the world. At the age of 1, Angelina moved with her parents to Thailand, where she studied two languages; English & Thai. Ever since she was a small girl, she has absorbed the culture and manners of high society from the nanny who used to work in the Royal family of Thailand.

Beginning at 7, Angelina studied in a British school. After moving to the US, she attended a private school that allowed her to balance school and her burgeoning modelling career. In addition to modelling, Angelina is actively involved in extracurriculars like swimming, dance, singing and horseback riding.

At 15, Angelina signed an exclusive contract with a modelling agency, while already having some major fashion bookings prior to that. As her star continues to rise, Angelina has a slew of major covers and spreads coming up. Angelina is looking forward to signing with a major agency, and developing her foundation for the arts, and announcing major projects on the horizon! For the latest updates and information, please log on to http://angelinagalt.com

Follow Angelina Galt on Instagram

Photo credit: JEAN-BAPTISTE FORT – @jbfort_photography

Southeast Asia, 360 MAGAZINE

5 Islands in Thailand You Should Visit

If you love sandy beaches, water, and amazing scenery, then you have to make a point to visit Thailand. The country has vast coastlines that border the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

Find below our review of five islands in Thailand you should visit.

1. Phuket

You should look for time to visit Thailand’s largest island. The area is a popular tourist resort, and there are a lot of fun activities to engage in. If you are looking for entertainment, good shopping places, and amazing beaches, you will find them all in Phuket.

Visit Phuket old town where you’ll experience the real authenticity of the island. Many of the houses are colonial style, which gives a nostalgic feeling of days gone by. It has numerous eateries so that you get to sample the local cuisine. The Old Town is more laid back and is a good place to come and unwind.

Also take a minute to visit the countless number of temples, so that you can experience the Buddhist religion in its fullest. You may be lucky enough to see the Big Buddha; a statue that is 45-meters tall. It is made of white marble and is truly awesome.

If you like to dance, bars and pubs, you will enjoy the Bangla Road. Alcohol and food are cheap here, and boredom will not factor in anywhere in your nights in Thailand. However, do practice moderation and avoid drug use. If you like private beaches, take a trip to the Phuket freedom beach or the Surin beach. The sand is soft and white and goes perfectly with the clear blue seas.

Other fun activities include the weekend night market where you get to shop to your heart’s content. The Fantasea theme park is also a great place to visit, and you get a chance to experience the full Thai culture. Also visit the Phuket elephant sanctuary, Jui Tui Shrine, the Karon Viewpoint, the Gibbon rehabilitation project, among others.

2. Koh Samui

Thinking of a honeymoon destination? Think no more, Koh Samui is the perfect place. The beaches are to die for, and there are several natural sites like Hin Yai and Hin Ta, that would make wonderful places to go for long romantic walks. You may also spot the buffaloes grazing in the fields.

Learn about fishing at the fishing village at Boput, see the mummified monk at Wat Khunaram, or find some serenity in the peaceful secret Buddha garden.

If you like golf, you are in the right place; Kah Samui is a favorite destination for golfers. Once you finish your game, pamper yourself at one of the numerous spas available.

If you want the ultimate holiday deal, you will get it here; whether you’re looking to sightsee, want some adventure, or want to take it easy. Do note though, this is an upmarket destination, and so you may need to have enough spending money.

3. Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi has the distinction of being one of the most beautiful Islands in the world. Make sure you visit the Viewpoint for a view of the twin curved bays.

If you’re into water-related activities like kayaking, diving or snorkeling, you have a lot of access to such activities. Check out Dreamguides to find out more on kayaking and other outdoor activities. Alternatively, you can also choose to relax on the beaches. If you are a movie fan and got to watch ‘The Beach,’ you will be happy to know that Maya Bay was the location for the shoot.

Your evenings will be full of entertainment because of the live music on the beaches, and the famous Muay Thai fights.

4. Koh Phangan

If you like to party, make sure you visit Koh Phangan. The area is known for its full moon parties and is a great place to dance the night away.

However, if you want a quiet place, there are several beaches where you can go for scuba diving or snorkeling. You also get to enjoy body relaxation sessions like yoga retreats, massage parlors, meditation workshops, among others.

If you find the sound of waterfalls soothing, you have so many options, including Thaan Sadet, Thaan Prapaad, Sramanora, and Wangsai. Do not go during the dry seasons because you will not find any water.
Taste the local cuisine at the Thong Sala night market where you can also pick up a few souvenirs for guys back home.

5. Koh Chang

The Koh Chang would make a great setting for a movie. Think palm-lined beaches, mountain, and jungle settings. Carry your hiking boots and get ready for some fun in nature. When you complete your tour of the bamboo and dense forests, make sure you get a taste of the local cuisine at the many eateries available.

Alternatively, bring your swimwear and a good book for intense lazy Days at the beach. There are many you can go to including one white sand beach, Bailan Beach, Kai Bae, and Klong Prao Beach. When you get tired of reading, explore the Marine wildlife, or go fishing.

If you feel like you want more action, Bangkok is only half a day away.

Final Thoughts

Thailand is a fascinating place to visit. There is an interesting fusion of the modern while keeping a tight grip on the amazing culture and religion. We have shared with you 5 Islands you should visit while in Thailand. If you’re looking for a place to relax, you will find it on the sandy white beaches, which boast of crystal clear blue water. You also have numerous options for hiking, and even enjoy the sport of golf, if that is your cup of tea.

When you finish the more physical activities, you can visit the spas for a relaxing massage. Instead of eating at a fancy Hotel, go to the night markets and sample the authentic local cuisine. It will also give you a chance to buy interesting gifts for people back home.

When your stomach is full, dance the night away with your family and friends. Thailand has something for everyone, whatever your pocket size.

PADI®, 360 magazine

PADI®

For water enthusiasts and adventurers looking to expand their horizons this summer, diving with PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®), the world’s largest dive training organization, offers exhilarating experiences, scenic underwater landscapes, and up-close views of magnificent sea life. Fortunately for those of us that are lucky enough to call California home, there are a number of incredible dive sites that are a short drive or boat ride away:

1. Catalina Island (California, USA): Lots of sea life here! Aside from the expansive kelp forest, divers will find horn sharks, sea urchins, spiny lobsters, sea cucumbers, seals and more. The fish are used to divers, and will often swim right up to them.

2. La Jolla Cove (San Diego, California, USA): An easily accessible shore dive just north of San Diego, the entry is from a sandy beach and you’ll immediately pass some interesting rocky reefs on your way out to the kelp beds. Keep an eye out for playful sea lions and leopard sharks.

3. Monterey Bay (Monterey, California, USA): Many choose to shore dive here, with great opportunities to swim with sea lions at the San Carlos Beach breakwater, and towering kelp forests at Lovers Point. But don’t miss the chance to explore iconic spots such as The Pinnacles, where two rock pinnacles just 100 feet from the sea floor, surrounded by dense, fish-filled kelp forests.

4. Channel Islands National Park (California, USA): Just a short boat trip from the mainland, the beautiful rocky shorelines are home to sea lions, sea birds, whales and dolphins. Giant kelp forests underpin the islands’ marine ecosystems, and cold and nutrient-rich currents support a staggering variety of marine life.

Venturing out a bit farther, here are a few other must-see dive sites around the world.

5. The Sea of Cortez (La Paz, Mexico): This amazing destination was once baptized by Jacques Cousteau as “The Aquarium of the World,” as it has over 800 species of marine life who call it home, including the famous gray whales. This is also one of the premier dive sites in the world for schooling hammerhead sharks, which range from between six to hundreds travelling in a clockwise direction.

6. Queensland (Australia): Queensland has a reputation as a haven for divers – and for good reason. With the world’s largest coral reef system and dozens of renowned wreck sites located along its coast, there is truly no other dive destination on the planet like Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef in the north is comprised of 2,900 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays and an abundance of diverse marine wildlife encounters that should be on every diver’s list of places to explore.

7. Koh Tao (Thailand): With a great island vibe, tons of activities to do and easy diving, Koh Tao, Thailand is an incredibly fun place to visit on vacation. This idyllic island is a tropical paradise with white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, rugged cliffs and stunning sunsets. Koh Tao’s underwater scenery is just as spectacular with coral encrusted rock pinnacles, vibrant reef, great shipwrecks and the opportunity to see passing pelagics including whale sharks and spotted eagle rays.