For party-animals all over the world, nothing can compare to dancing barefoot on white sand as the sun comes up over the ocean. The laid-back beach lifestyle is all about letting your hair down, so when fun-loving people get together on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the parties are sure to get wild.-
The world’s biggest and most frantic beach party is the Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan, Thailand. Every 28 days, up to 30,000 revelers flock to Haad Rin Beach for a glimpse of the ultimate tropical party. Hotels and bars hike up their prices to cash in on the tourists, but living is still cheap compared to anywhere in Europe or the US, and don’t forget that entry to the Full Moon Party is free. It rarely attracts famous acts, but the atmosphere is great and the surroundings are beautiful.
Beach Parties in Europe, Australia and Africa
The summertime beach raves in Ibiza, Spain, are as close as Europe comes to a Full Moon Party. Ibiza is expensive, but if you’re a dance music conoisseur, you’ll be able to check out some world-class DJs. Ibiza’s main rival for the beach-party crown is Benicassim. Also in Spain, Beniscassim plays host to one of the great European music festivals every July – expect a hot, sleepless weekend, with party-goers splashing into the sea to cool off.
Bondi Beach, Australia, was once home to the wildest Christmas party in the southern hemisphere. In an attempt to reduce crowds and drunkeness, the local council recently banned public consumption of alcohol on the 25th December. Don’t worry, though, the celebration has simply moved to Boxing Day, when you’ll see countless locals and foreigners sharing beers and working on their sun-tan in the sweltering Australian summer. If you’re looking for an alternative beach-party experience, then look no further than Malawi’s Lake of Stars festival every October. Although Malawi is a landlocked state, it contains the third largest lake in Africa, complete with white, sandy beaches and turquoise waters. On top of a great line-up of DJs, Lake of Stars also features some fascinating world music. With such a diverse wealth of beach parties, there’s something out there for you. Take off your shoes, dance in the sand, and don’t stop til the sun comes up.
Putting on scuba gear and sinking below the waves is like trespassing on an alien world. There are strange creatures, neon colors, and bizarre rock formations. And the best thing is that the world’s most fascinating marine landscapes are usually off the coast of the world’s most beautiful, sunkissed beaches. Whether you’re a fresh-faced beginner or a grizzled sea-dog, use this guide to get to grips with the best dive sites around.
Every new diver should get their hands on a PADI certification. These internationally recognized certificates are offered at dive schools all over the world. With a higher-level qualification, you’ll be able to make deeper and more complex dives. If you’re a complete beginner, expect diving instructors in big resorts to give you your first lessons in a swimming pool – but if you head to the smaller dive schools around Ko Tao or Kota Kinabalu in Thailand, you’ll be splashing in the tropical shallows from the word go.
Guide to the Best Dive Sites
For anyone on the North American continent, Florida is the most accessible diving destination. With warm waters and some beautiful marine flora and fauna, Florida is an excellent place to learn. For the more adventurous divers, the seas around Florida are filled with fascinating, eerie shipwrecks to explore. Hawaii is the other great diving center in the US. There are some beautiful reefs around the island and no shortage of diving schools and rental shops. Cozumel Island, in Mexico, is surrounded by some of the clearest waters in the world, along with inexpensive accommodations and a vibrant backpacker scene.
The best place to check out Australia’s legendary Great Barrier Reef is definitely Heron Island, a landmass made entirely of coral, rising spectacularly out of the sea. Ko Tao, Thailand, is a great chilled-out spot, good for casual divers and experts alike. Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos islands offers a relaxed Caribbean vibe along with some beautiful dives. And for all real conoissuers, nothing can compare to Sipadan, off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. With beautiful reefs, countless wild turtles, and some challenging cave-dives, Sipadan is pricey, but well worth it if you appreciate a truly amazing dive.
If you’ve ever stood on the beach and watched a good surfer getting barrelled through a wave, effortlessly riding the swell, then chances are you’ve wanted to try it for yourself. Surfing is not, however, as easy as it looks, and if you don’t pick the right destination, you might get disheartened by challenging waves. With a little guidance from us, you’ll be able to find the biggest waves, the coolest surf scenes and the best accommodation.
For thousands of years, surfing has been a Hawaiian tradition, and Hawaii still offers some of the best surfing beaches in the world. During winter, the surf tends to be higher on the northern beaches, while the southern coastline is calm and flat. The opposite is true in the summer months. In general, only experts should attempt the North Shore in winter: it can get dangerous. Waikiki beach is a great place to learn all year round, with manageable waves and plenty of good surfing instructors. If you’re feeling more adventurous, the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu is legendary for its challenging breaks.
Surfing USA (and Australia)
Although surfing all started in Hawaii, it only began to reach international prominence when the Irish-Hawaiian George Freeth first surfed off the coast of Southern California in the early 1900s. The area remains a surfing mecca for enthusiasts from all over the world. Venice Beach, Los Angeles, is the home of the original surfer-dude culture, with quirky surf-shops and quirkier surfers jostling for space on the boardwalk. If, however, you want to catch some serious waves in a beautiful, unpolluted setting, head up to Malibu Point for winter surfing or Rincon in Ventura for summer waves. The truly adventurous should try their hand at The Wedge, in Newport. Conditions are extreme here, so only very experienced surfers should venture into the water.
Today, Australia is arguably the capital of international surfing, with many of the biggest high-profile competitions taking place there. Torquay, on the aptly named Surf Coast, is swarming with surfers throughout the year. Torquay is a big resort town, and a good place for beginners to learn the ropes before driving south down the Great Ocean Road to the more remote and challenging beaches. If you want something that’s a little off-the-beaten-track, then Thailand gets some pretty good waves along its gorgeous beaches in Phuket or Ko Samui. For a truly unique surfing experience, why not pay homage to one half of George Freeth’s heritage, and check out the interesting surfing spots along the Atlantic coast of Ireland. The water gets cold, but the beaches are rarely crowded and the Guinness is good.