موناكو المتالقه والمتلالئه هي إماره ملكيه صغيره علي شاطئ الريفيرا الفرنسية. مساحتها اقل من اثنين كيلومتر مربع ، وربما تكون اكثر الأراضي الصغيرة براقة على هذا الكوكب. هناك جودة جذابة للمشهد ، مع البحر الأزرق العميق ، وأشجار النخيل الرشيقة ، والزهور النابضة بالحياة. الميزة الأكثر دراماتيكية هي الرصيف الصخري الحاد المتدفق الى البحر المتوسط ، المسمى ( “الصخرة “) ، الذي يحتوي علي موناكو التاريخية ، والمعروف أيضا باسم موناكو فيل. يمتد موناكو فيل بالكامل الى الشوارع الضيقة والساحرة يعود تاريخها إلى القرن 13 عندما تم تأسيس الإمارة.
قرغيزستان: آسيا الوسطى وغرب الصين وجنوب كازاخستان. تهيمن عليها مجموعة جبال تيان شان (السحابة السماوية) مع الوديان الخضراء والقمم العالية والبحيرات عالية الارتفاع.
Can you imagine what it would be like to live on an island, surrounded by the lapping blue waves of the Pacific? What if you lived in a country made up of thousands of islands, spreading out to the horizon? All your friends and family would live on islands, some on your island and others on neighboring islands or islands located several days away by boat.
A country of islands brings up many puzzling questions. What would make these islands into a country at all? Wouldn’t each island feel more like its own community than part of a bigger country? How would you travel? Would you have to own your own boat? How would you talk with other people on other islands? Do families live on the same island? If not, how do they keep in touch with family members on different islands? How would the government have any control over so many islands?
The Philippines is a great example of the country you are imagining. It is a country spread across an estimated 7,107 different islands. The way the Filipinos handle all of these questions of day-today life on islands is one thing that makes the Philippines unique. Throughout this article you will see the special role that islands have played in the Philippines.
LOCATION IN THE WORLD
If you lived in the Philippines, you would be on the opposite side of the world from the United States, in a region called Southeast Asia. Your closest neighboring countries would be China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The islands that make up the country of the Philippines are scattered over 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This total area is about the size of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and California combined. If you pushed all of the Philippine islands together like puzzle pieces, though, the total land area would be the size of only one state, say Arizona or New Mexico. In this way, the Philippines is both large and small at the same time. Also, being a country of islands means that the Philippines is both near the Asian mainland and separate from it at the same time. The Philippine borders do not touch any other countries, and so the country is more affected by people who visit the islands than by its mainland Asian neighbors. In this way, the people of the Philippines are a cultural mix of both Asian and more-distant cultures.
The Philippine islands historically have offered an ideal resting place for immigrants looking for new lands to settle and for seafaring explorers seeking new lands for their countries.
Over the years, the Philippines has become host to many different cultural immigrants. Today, the country truly is a melting pot of cultures. If you lived there, you would notice that most of the Filipinos are from Asian cultures, including Malay, Chinese, Papuan, Indian, and Japanese. It might confuse you that there also was a lot about the Philippines that did not seem Asian at all. In every neighborhood or village, you are almost certain to see people playing basketball! Also, in addition to speaking local languages, people know English. There are also Filipino words like kumusta, peso, and Lunes, which sound a lot like Spanish. England, the United States, and Spain are not even close to the Philippines, so how did think English and Spanish words became so popular in the Filipino culture?
Because of the Philippines’ isolated, but central, location in Southeast Asia, it was a strategic choice for imperial countries (those that sought to govern other countries or territories in order to use their natural resources) from the West that sought a base for trade with Asia. Explorers from Spain were the first Western imperialists to land in the Philippines and to claim these islands as a colony of their own. Much of the Spanish culture remains in the Philippines today. When comparing the Philippines with other Southeast Asian countries, it is hard not to notice the distinctive Latin feeling that comes from the country having been a Spanish colony. This “Latin” (or Spanish) quality is evident especially in the language, which has a lot of Spanish mixed into the Filipino dialects. There are Spanish words for numbers, the time of day, and virtually everything in the kitchen. Spanish influences are present in other aspects of Filipino culture as well. Most Filipinos practice Catholicism, which was introduced by the Spanish. Also, if you lived there, some of your favorite things to do would come from the Spanish. You might enjoy playing guitar, going to neighborhood parties called fiestas, or watching cock fights (a fight between roosters).
After the Spanish, a second Western country recognized the strategic location of the Philippines in Asia and decided to Many imperialist countries targeted the Philippines because of its strategic location in Southeast Asia. Spain was the first country to colonize the Philippines, and its influence is still very evident today. For examples, most Filipinos practice Catholicism, introduced by the Spanish, and attend mass in churches like the one seen here. move in. In 1898, the United States fought Spain and won, thereby asserting its right also to colonize the Philippines. With
this new colonial power came a new set of Western influences. The Americans brought ideas of democracy, schools, roads, and electricity to the Philippines. English came with the Americans as well. This gave the Filipinos a common language that enabled them to communicate with one another for the first time. English was also a powerful tool for understanding the Americans, as well as for interacting internationally. Today, one of the most striking things about the Philippines is the fact that almost everybody speaks at least some English.
Although the Philippines has been an independent nation for more than 50 years, it maintains very close ties with the United States. This relationship has at its foundation the years of partnership between the two countries. Filipinos fought on the American side in World War II and the Vietnam War. In exchange, Filipinos received green cards for immigration to the United States.
Many families benefit greatly from having family members in the United States, and many households rely heavily on the regular income they receive from overseas relatives. Americans, on the other hand, have looked to the Philippines as a strategic location for military outposts. Up until 1991, the Philippines harbored the largest American overseas naval and air force bases, housing more than 40,000 permanent military employees. Although these facilities were closed in the early 1990s, there are still U.S. military operations in the Philippines. They are temporary arrangements, however, and on a much smaller scale. A second major relationship between the United States and the Philippines is a more commercial arrangement. Many American businesses have factories in the Philippines
and rely on Filipino factory workers to make their products at a lower cost.
You probably sense that the Philippines is a country of great diversity with surprising combinations of different cultures. Although it operates as a single country, there are many different cultural communities on the islands. These peoples are as diverse as the island areas where they live. There are islands where people grow their own food, but a few miles away other people buy all their food in grocery stores. On some islands, businesspeople take taxis, wear suits, and work in tall office buildings; just outside the city there are people wearing hand-woven cloth and growing rice in watery, terraced fields that reach to the sky It is not surprising that every island has fishing villages
near its beaches. The men in these villages fish for a living, and almost every family has its own fishing boat. When you visit a fishing village in the Philippines, the first thing you notice is that the beaches look like parking lots for hundreds of brightly colored boats! The families in the fishing villages often live in houses made of bamboo and woven leaves. Some fishing villages are built entirely above the water, with every house on wooden stilts.
You would think that in a country of islands, everybody would fish and live by the sea. On some of the largest islands, however, there are high mountains. The mountain tribes that live there may never have seen the ocean before, even though it is only a few dozen miles from their homes.
The people of the mountains do not fish; rather, they grow rice and vegetables, terracing the hillsides into giant green staircases of farm fields. In the far north, some islands lie closer to Taiwan than to the rest of the Philippines. On these islands the typhoon (hurricane-like storm) winds can be so strong that they are measured by the size of the animal that they would blow over. If the weather forecast is a “chicken typhoon,” it is a good idea to bring the laundry (and the chickens!) inside. If a “water buffalo” typhoon is on the way, families bring in all their belongings and pray that their houses will survive the storm. In fact, unlike the bamboo houses of Filipino fishing villages,the houses on these northern islands have walls of stone almost three feet (one meter) thick—built to withstand the howling winds of these seasonal storms! The southern islands of the Philippines are where many people practice Islam rather than Catholicism. In those areas, there are many mosques instead of churches. The cultural communities in this region are perhaps more similar to the neighboring Southeast Asian Muslim countries, Indonesia and Malaysia.
In addition to being culturally diverse, the Philippines is known for its great wealth of life forms (animals and plants), sometimes called biological diversity or biodiversity. In the Philippines you can see the world’s largest bats, as big as eagles with six-foot (two-meter) wingspans! They also have the world’s smallest buffalo, which is about the size of a big dog. There are wonderfully colorful birds of all shapes and sizes. Hornbills are birds with big horny beaks that are used to eat forest fruits and that make hornbills’ calls sound as if they have stuffed noses. Some of the Philippine forest frogs are so well camouflaged that you can be staring right at one and think it’s just a leaf.
The Philippines does not have big deadly animals like lions or grizzly bears. Instead, Filipinos walking in the forest tend to watch out for deadly snakes like the aggressive king cobra, which grows up to 30 feet (9 meters) long and stands up to 6 feet (2 meters) tall. On the other end of the deadly snake spectrum is the bamboo viper. This snake is only a foot (30 centimeters) long, but if it bites you, you may only have seconds to live before the venom kills you. For this reason, Filipinos call it the “two-second” snake. During the period of time when the plants and animals on the islands were developing, most of the islands were separate from one another. This meant that unique species of plants and animals, like the ones listed above, were forming on islands separated by only a few miles. After years of separation and the development of many different life forms, the Philippines is one of the smallest areas in the world where you can see many different kinds of animals and plants. We will explore these and many other aspects of the Philippines in the rest of the book, so take a moment, close your eyes, travel to the other side of the world in your mind, and Mabuhay sa Pilipinas! (Welcome to the Philippines!).
The Greek Islands comprise over 6,000 islands and islets, spread across several archipelagos. Some host holiday resorts, while others consist of rural communities. In others, ancient temples sit amid cosmopolitan towns. Add beaches, pine forests, olive groves, spectacular coves and bays and the result is mesmerizing.
1- Corfu Old Town
The arcaded terraces of the Listón, the ancient fortresses and museums, and Plateía Spianáda, with its Venetian architecture, all combine to give Corfu Old Town its charm.
2- Rhodes Old Town
This city was occupied by the Knights Hospitallers (1309–1522), who left such magnificent treasures as the Palace of the Grand Masters and the City Walls.
3- Monastery of St John, Pátmos
Dedicated to St John, who reputedly wrote the Book of Revelation nearby, this 11th-century monastery is a UNESCO site.
According to ancient Greek mythology, this tiny unin habited island was the birth place of Apollo and Artemis. It also has remains of civiliz ations dating from the 3rd century BC.
5- Néa Moní, Híos
Containing one of Greece’s finest collections of mosaics, this 11th-century monastery was built by Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos.
6- Pythagóreio and Heraion, Sámos
The remains of Pythagóreio, an ancient Greek and Roman fortified port, and Heraion, a Neolithic temple, have put Sámos on the heri tage.
This popular Mediterranean holiday island is best known for its varied scenery and its Minoan archaeological sites, like the palaces of Knossos and Phaestos.
8- Palace of Knossos, Crete
The remains of the enormous Minoan Palace of Knossos give an incomparable insight into this ancient civilization.
9- Temple of Aphaia, Égina
A well-preserved Doric temple dedicated to Aphaia, the ancient Greek goddess of fertility, this structure dates
from around 480 BC. It stands on a hilltop covered with pine trees on the island of Égina.
This long, narrow and largely mountainous island has been ruled in turn by the Macedonians, Romans, Venetians and Ottoman Turks. Their influence gives Évvia its inimitable character and distinctive architecture.
From ancient palaces to rugged coastlines, unspoiled villages and countryside blanketed by vineyards, the Greek Islands are rich in beauty and culture. A two-day visit to Corfu with Paxí gives a taste of the Ionians, while highlights of the other island groups can be enjoyed with a longer stay.
The Achílleion Palace on Corfu, where statues of Greek gods take centre stage, is a splendid place to visit.
Two Days in Corfu and Paxí
Start on Corfu (see p76) among the cobbled streets of Corfu Old Town (see pp12–13). See Plateía Spianáda before visiting the Dimarchío. Enjoy lunch and people-watching at a trendy café in the Listón.
Marvel at the red-topped campanile of the Church of Ágios Spyrídon On the seafront, visit the Palace of St Michael and St George to see its fabulous Asiatic art. Outside, check out the view of the Palaió Froúrio.
Take the fast hydrofoil to Gäios on the island of Paxí (see p75). A taxi tour here will give you a real taste of Ionian rural life. Stop at Lákka for an early fish lunch before returning to Corfu for the afternoon.
Join a tour to the Achílleion Palace (see p82) and revel in its gardens canopied by palm trees. Then go to Taverna Sebastian (see p83) for dinner.
Seven Days Around Rhodes, Sámos, Égina, Évvia, Crete and Mýkonos
In Rhodes Old Town (see pp14–15), head straight for the must-see sights: the Palace of the Grand Masters and the Street of the Knights. Have lunch at Alexis 4 Seasons (see p117) and drive to the ancient Líndos acropolis (see p116). End the day with dinner at Kalypso Roof Garden (see p117).
At the Sanctuary of Heraion, statues mark the Sacred Way to the temple.
Board the short flight from Rhodes to Sámos (see p125) and head to Pythagóreio and the Sanctuary of Heraion (see pp24–5). See the sites’ treasures at the museum in Vathý.
Fly from Sámos to Athens and make your way to Piraeus port to take a ferry to Égina (see p145). Spend the day exploring the charming island, stopping at the Temple of Aphaia (see pp32–3), the Temple of Apollo (see p154) and the fishing village of Pérdika (see p154). Finally, dine on fresh fish next to the harbour at Nontas (see p155).
Head back to Athens, hire a car and board a ferry to Évvia (see pp34–5) at Rafina port. Get a taste of the island
with a coastal drive from Néa Stýra to its capital Halkída, taking time out to explore ancient Erétria en route.
Cross the bridge linking Halkída to the mainland, and on to Athens for the short flight to Irákleio on the island of Crete (see pp26–7). Head straight to the Palace of Knossos (see pp30–31) and look out for the Priest-King fresco as you explore the labyrinthine site. Next stop off at Phaestos Palace before heading back to Irákleio and feasting in Erganos Tavern (see p108).
Mýkonos is identified by its many pretty windmills.
Catch the fast ferry from Irákleio to Mýkonos (see p91), which calls in at Santoríni (see p91), Íos (see p88) and Páros (see p90) along the way. On arrival enjoy a late lunch at Raya Restaurant (see p95) before heading inland to see the famous wind mills of Mýkonos dotting the landscape.
Board a boat from Mýkonos Town to Delos (see pp18–19). Spend a leisurely day enthralled by the remains left by the ancient inhabitants in the Maritime Quarter, the Sanctuary of Apollo and the Theatre Quarter.
With endless days of sunshine, dazzlingly beautiful beaches, magnificent countryside and legendary historic sites, the Greek Islands have it all. These stunning islands make for a Mediterranean holiday like no other, whether you’re seeking a beach holiday, hiking destination or cultural break. With Eyewitness Top 10 Greek Islands, they are yours to explore.
Elegant Corfu Old Town and atmospheric Argostóli, the capital of Kefalloniá, are just two of the must-see sights of the Ionians. To the south are the unspoiled Argo-Saronic Islands, home to the magnificent Temple of Aphaia on Égina. The Cyclades and the Sporádes include the blue and white splendour of Santoríni, whimsical Mýkonos – with the sacred city of Delos close to its shores – and quintessential Skiáthos, a magnet for film-makers.
Admire the artistic legacy of the Knights Hospitallers in Rhodes Old Town and visit the Monastery of St John where the saint wrote the Book of Apocalypse. See Macedonian influ ences at the Néa Moní on the Northeast Aegean island of Híos, explore ancient Pythagóreio and Heraion on neighbouring Sámos, and don’t leave without visiting Crete, where you can walk in the footsteps of ancient civilizations at the Palace of Knossos. Along the way you’ll find superb resorts with watersports, restaurants and nightlife.
Whether you’re coming for a weekend or a week, With Ezjo the best of everything the islands have to offer. You will find tips throughout, from seeking out what’s free to finding the best restaurants, along with nine easy-to-follow itineraries designed to help you visit a clutch of sights in a short space of time.
Add inspiring photography and detailed maps, and you’ve got the essential pocket-sized travel companion.
The historical and administrative center of Phuket traces its roots back centuries – first to the early European traders and later to the Chinese immigrants who arrived here during the 19th-century tinmining boom. Today, Phuket Town continues to thrive as one of the island’s most authentic cultural areas, with magnificent archi tectural treasures, Chinese shrines, colorful markets, and restaurants that serve some of Phuket’s most delicious local cuisines.
1- Ko Sirey
Linked to Phuket Town via a small bridge, Sirey Island features hilly forest trails that wind their way through rubber
plantations. Perched on a hilltop, Ko Sirey temple enjoys sea views and features a large reclining Buddha image in its main hall.
2- Sunday Walking Street Market
Thalang Road closes to traffic from 4pm every Sunday for this colorful market , which offers many locally made craft items, along with clothes and good food stalls. The historic buildings here are illumin ated for the occasion.
3- Naka Weekend Market
Located close to the Nakaram Temple on Virat Hongyok Road, this market is the ideal place for buying food, souvenirs and gifts, as well as a huge variety of clothing.
4- Marvelous Architecture
The distinctive style of architecture found in Phuket Town’s old shop houses and mansions is known as
Sino-Portuguese. This highly attractive blend of Eastern and Western styles dates from the late 19th century (see pp14–15).
5- Chinese Shrines
Vibrant and colorful art can be admired at Chinese temples (see pp46–7) through out the town. The shrines play
an important role dur ing the Chinese New Year and the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
6- Monkey Hill
Although the views from atop near by Rang Hill are more impres sive, Monkey Hill offers a more unusual experience, as hordes of macaque monkeys con gre gate near the hilltop. Keep hold of your belong ings – the monkeys may try to snatch them.
7- Phuket Cultural Centre
Located on the Rajabhat University campus, this museum houses old Thai shadow puppets, tin-min ing artifacts, historic photographs, and books on local culture.
8- Suan Luang Park
This pleasant garden with lovely lotus ponds comes alive in the early mor nings, when people come to exercise and
perform Tai Chi.
9- Rang Hill
Wonderful views of Phuket Town can be enjoyed from the summit of Rang Hill, where a breezy, tree-shaded park
also provides a relaxing venue for a picnic, some exercise, or simply reading a book.
10- Phuket Vegetarian Festival
This annual festival is held over nine days in late September/early October. Some devotees perform shocking rituals
of self-mutilation, so it’s not for the squeamish.
ORIGINS OF THE VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL
In 1825, a traveling Chinese opera company in Kathu contracted malaria. According to
legend, the afflicted nursed themselves back to health by following a strict vegetarian diet to purify their minds and
bodies, and to honor the nine Emperor Gods of Chinese Taoism. After they recovered, the first Vegetarian Festival was held to thank the gods.
NEED TO KNOW
Sunday Walking Street Market: MAP P5; Thalang Road (between Phuket and Yaowarat roads); 4–10pm Sun.
Naka Weekend Market:
MAP J3; 4–10pm Sat & Sun
Phuket Cultural Centre: MAP K2;
21 Thepkasatri Road; 07621 1959 (ext 148);
8:30am–4:30pm Mon– Fri; closed week ends and public hols.
Avoid walking tours at midday – the streets can be unbearably warm.
Try the iced coffee at Thungkha Kafae atop Rang Hill.
Sample a chili dog from the Tuk-Tuk Diner, which parks at the west end of the Thalang Road market.
Phuket’s extraordinary tropical setting needs little introduction.
The marvelous white-sand beaches, rolling green hills, and crystal-clear waters have lured visitors for centuries. But the island boasts more than sublime beaches. Phuket and its environs are also home to a multitude of cultural highlights.
1- Phuket Town
Magnificent architecture, Chinese shrines, bustling outdoor marketplaces, and authentic local cuisine are all found in Phuket’s cultural heart (see pp12–15).
2- Wat Chalong
Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple is lavish with sacred sculptures and imagery.
The Grand Pagoda houses a bone fragment of the Buddha himself (see pp16–17).
Wild and uninhibited, Patong is the island’s busiest tourist beach. Home to countless hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs, this is the ideal spot for people who want to be in the mid dle of the action (see pp18–19).
4- Khao Phra Thaeo Royal Forest and Wildlife Reserve
With jungle trails, waterfalls, and many exotic animals and plants, this national park features a wealth of wild attractions (see pp20–21).
5- Sirinat National Park
On Phuket’s pristine northwest coast, Sirinat National Park grants protection to a large area of undeveloped beachfront, as well as the island’s last surviving mangrove forest. A number of upscale hotels are located here (see pp22–3).
- Around Phuket
6- Naiharn Beach
At Phuket’s southern tip, this idyllic beach provides one of the island’s loveliest tropical backdrops. Phromthep Cape offers breathtaking sunset views (see pp26–7).
7- Kata Beach
Once a hippie haven, Kata is now home to upscale resorts, and is a favorite with couples and families. The gorgeous beach and clear turquoise waters are highlights (see pp28–9).
8- Similan Islands National Park
The waters surrounding the Similans provide incredible visibility, ideal for viewing exotic marine life and dramatic underwater rock formations and reefs. This is one of the world’s top diving destinations (see pp30–31).
9- Khao Sok National Park
At the heart of this park are ancient ever green forests, majestic limestone peaks, and Cheow Laan Lake, with
its float ing bamboo-raft houses (see pp32–5).
10- Phang Nga Bay
Stunning limestone cliffs jut up from this bay, where world-famous sights include James Bond Island and the magnificent Ko Phi Phi. Kayakers can explore the water tunnels, caves, and uninhabited islands (see pp36–7).
Luxurious, world-class resorts, mouthwatering cuisine, a vibrant nightlife, hidden islets and beaches, and ancient rainforests teeming with wildlife make this Thai island a tropical paradise. As well as leisure, the tranquil temples and multicultural shrines excite a voyage of discovery With Eyewitness Top 10 Phuket, it is yours to explore.
There is truly something for everyone in Phuket. For relaxation, laze on lovely Kata Beach and snorkel with schools of multicolored fish; the adventurous should join the crowds in one of Patong’s bustling street markets and admire the 19th-century temple Wat Chalong or the entrancing Sino-Portuguese architecture of Phuket Town.
At 50 miles (80 km) long, Phuket (pronounced POO-get) is Thailand’s largest island. However, it is also worth traveling beyond its shores to some of the easily accessible sights nearby. The karst cliffs and sea caves of Phang Nga Bay are rivaled by the surging waterfalls in the rain forests of Khao Sok National Park, north of Phuket. The
nearby Similan Islands are rated among the world’s top ten diving sites, and Ko Phi Phi Don, a short boat ride south of Phuket, offers a heady mix of raucous parties and silent, secluded beaches.
While it is tempting to find your perfect beach and just luxuriate there, Phuket offers an amazingly wide variety of treasures to discover. Beyond the beaches are rain forests, and the town of Phuket is an architectural and cultural jewel. To take in everything will require some form of private transport, but a good network of ferries serves the islands that surround Phuket. Here are two itineraries to help you make the most of your stay.
Phang Nga Bay,
with its dramatic lime stone pillars and aquatic grottoes, can be explored by Chinese junk cruise,kayaking expedition,or long-tailed boat.
Two Days in Phuket
Explore the streets of old Phuket Town (see pp12–15), admiring the Sino-Portuguese architecture, and visit one of the atmospheric Chinese shrines (see pp46–7).
Head southwest from Phuket Town to Wat Chalong (see pp16–17), Phuket’s most famous Buddhist temple. Drive
to Phromthep Cape (see p48) and watch the sun set on the island’s southern tip. Stay overnight at nearby Kata (see pp28–9) or Patong (see pp18–19) on the west coast.
Drive to Sirinat National Park (see pp22–3) and stroll along the quiet and undeveloped Mai Khao Beach (see p23). There are simple beachside seafood vendors here, perfect for lunch.
Head to Khao Phra Thaeo Royal Forest and Wildlife Reserve (see pp20–21) via routes 402 and 4127.
Trek to Ton Sai Waterfall for a swim, then visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Have dinner in Phuket Town.
Seven Days in Phuket
Follow the morning’s plan for Day 1 of the Phuket itinerary, taking in the sights of historic old Phuket Town.
After lunch, take a taxi to Rassada Port, then board a ferry to Ko Yao Noi in Phang Nga Bay (see pp36–7).
Spend your first night here.
Take a boat tour of the dramatic limestone stacks and mangrove forests of the bay, then visit the amazing sea caves on a kayaking expedition in the evening. Spend a second night at Ko Yao Noi.
Take a boat from Ko Yao Noi to Ko Phi Phi Don (see p101) to spend a night there. Enjoy the views from the Phi Phi Viewpoint (see p99), then leave the busy Tonsai area and follow the coast to one of the more secluded bays. Take a sunset cruise to spectacular Maya Bay (see p100) – the very image of a perfect beach – on Ko Phi Phi Leh (see p48). This islet is uninhabited, but has been the set for several Hollywood movies.
Make your way back to Phuket by speed boat or ferry, and then follow the after noon’s plan for Day 1 of the Phuket itinerary.
Follow the program for Day 2 of the Phuket itinerary, but spend the night at Mai Khao Beach.
Spend the day kayaking or trekking in Khao Sok National Park (see pp32–5). This pristine rainforest environment includes spectacular limestone cliffs and a wide variety of flora and fauna. Stay overnight
in the coastal town of Khao Lak (see p100). This is mainly a jumping off place for dive trips to the islands, but Nang Tong beach, just south of town, is lovely and quiet.
Take a boat tour to the Similan Islands National Park (see pp30–31), 50 miles (80 km) from Khao Lak.
Both the scuba diving and snorkeling here are superb. Note that the islands are closed from mid-May to mid-October due to poor weather.
Phi Phi Viewpoint on Phi Phi Don offers views over two magnificent bays, Loh Dalum and Tonsai.
Gokarna is about 238 km north of Mangalore, 483 km from Bengaluru and about 59 km from Karwar.It is a small town located in the remote region of Karnataka, where it has a line up of four pristine and pleasant beaches.Gokarna means Cow’s Ear. It is believed that Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow, here. It is at the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers Gangavali and Aghanashini. The scenic part of the Gokarna is blissful. With the Rocky Mountains and Western Ghats and Arabian Sea flowing on the sides. Gokarna is known for it’s pleasant beaches.
The four beaches- Om Beach, Half Moon Beach, Paradise Beach and Belekan Beach are the four south facing beaches of Gokarna. The main beach of Gokarna is followed up in the northern direction. The main beach of Gokarna is mainly used for the Indian Pilgrims. One can also enjoy and have fun of surfing in the open beach. Belekan and Om beach are two beaches that are 6 km along the coastline and one can walk along the beach. While the Paradise and half moon beaches can be only reached to via trekking or boat.
Om Beach is the most happening out of the four. The only one that is easily accessible. Therefore, it attracts more and more tourists and travelers. Despite easily accessible, Kudle beach gets more attracted by travelers due to it being more laid-back. The beach is situated between Gokarna and Om Beach and can be reached within 20 minutes form Om Beach.
Gokarna being one of the holiest place in Karnataka, the pilgrims and beaches makes it all the more pleasantry destination to visit.
What makes the place more special? Here is a list below:
- The Gokarna nightlife is full of Bonfires, singing, guitars, and drums.
- The beach party can also be enjoyed in Gokarna.
- Beach trekking in Gokarna, is one of the most exuberant activity that can be enjoyed while you are there.
- Visit the most serene temples.
- The food at Gokarna is delicious and you surely cannot resist from yourself becoming a foodie.
- Enjoy the photographing and let the photo bug bite you with the natural beauty surrounding you.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Gokarna beach is during the months of October until March. The weather during these days are clear, calm and blissful. These reasons make the most peak time to visit Gokarna beaches.
Whats more to roam in the city: Don’t forget to soak yourself in the town. Shopaholics can fill up their bags with street shopping. Clothes, handicrafts and other local things are easily accessible in the town.
How to reach there: The nearest airport is Dabolim, in Goa. From there it’s a four-hour drive south to Gorkana. Alternatively, trains on the Konkan railway stop at Gokarna Road station, 15 minutes from town, as well as Kumta and Ankola stations, both around 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Gokarna.