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Tag: beaches

Saint Thomas in the Caribbean

Photo of a school of fish at Magens Bay in Saint Thomas

School of fish at Magens Bay in Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands, which are located in the Caribbean. Other islands that make up the US Virgin Islands include Saint John, Saint Croix and Water Island.

Saint Thomas has many islands around. And beautiful scenery from the ocean to the top of the hill. Today, millions of tourists from around the world flock to St Thomas.

The main town centre consists of jewellery shops, jewellery shops, and… jewellery shops! The main reason for all these jewellery shops that, like other caribbean islands, these luxury items are all tax free in St Thomas. If you’re looking for diamonds or other gemstones, you can find a bargain in St Thomas.

We went out to the beach called Magens Bay. Recognised as one of the world best beaches as selected by National Geographic magazine.

The best time to visit this beach is in the morning before lunch time. That is because it’s the best time to see the schools of fish. There were so many fish swimming around with us. I’d never seen so many fish like this so close to the shoreline before.

A big fish, about 80 centimetres long, was swimming around people trying to eat the smaller fishes. Some people thought it was a shark! We could even see the fish when we were sunbathing on the sand.

Another place of interest is Blackbeard’s Castle. Blackbeard’s Castle is an historic castle near the main township. It’s all about Blackbeard – the famous pirate in Caribbean. Blackbeard’s Castle can be reached by walk up 99 steps to the top along the way.

After our half-day excursion, we waited for our boat trip back to the cruise liner. Maybe next time we’ll stay a bit longer.

Cayman Islands

Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is probably the most famous beach in the Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands is located in the Caribbean, south of the United States. It takes almost 10 hours to fly from London airport. This is my first time in the Cayman Islands but I hope it’s not my last!

The reason I say this is that the Cayman Islands are among the most beautiful islands on earth. On Grand Cayman, the white sand beach called Seven Mile Beach is one place I can easily lie down all day watching the day go past. The water is so calm, clear and crystal blue. Good to do some snorkelling just at the front beach. Others are off diving. All the small and colourful fish seem to be happy to see us.

Postcard From Hell

One day we took a trip to Hell and back. Hell is a suburb of Grand Cayman with funny looking rock that looks like what some would imagine hell would look like. Hell has its own post office, so many tourists like to send their friends a postcard from Hell.

Local Wildlife

While sight seeing or walking around, we can see that Cayman Island has a lot of Iguanas. There are also a lot of different lizards running around. Some times they don’t want to give way to you while you walk past.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is home to the capital city of the Cayman Islands, Georgetown. You could drive around Grand Cayman in a day if you wish. As you drive, you’ll see big mansions built along the side of the beaches. You can also check out the botanic gardens, located near the centre of Grand Cayman. There are also a few picnic places by the beaches too.

Duty Free Shopping

Cayman Islands is a place where you can buy a lot of duty free diamonds and other jewelry. It’s amazing how many diamond shops there are. On Grand Cayman, most, if not all of these jewelry shops are located in Georgetown. They cater mainly to the cruise ship passengers, who disembark at the port in Georgetown. Like many other Caribbean islands, there are no taxes on many items, so luxury items such as jewelry can be much cheaper than other countries.

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Photo of Longtail boat at Tonsai Bay in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Longtail boat at Tonsai Bay in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi is located in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand. This time we departed from Patong Beach in Phuket. Just bought a ticket from the agency. The ticket included pick up from our hotel in Patong, and the boat trip to Koh Phi Phi.

Koh Phi Phi, also referred to simply as “Phi Phi”, is a beautiful tourist destination which consist of six islands. The largest island is Koh Phi Phi Don, which is the only inhabited island out of the six. “Koh” (sometimes spelt “Ko”) is the thai word for “Island”.

People don’t need cars on Koh Phi Phi. Walking is the main means of transport. There are a few scooters around but they’re not used in the main tourist area. On the island, it’s all about the simple life. They don’t need big condominiums or shopping malls. It’s all low-rise and mini-marts on Koh Phi Phi.

Phi Phi is a very good place to relax after a long journey from the mainland. Many bars, restaurants and Thai massage shops are around, or hire a long tail boat and visit the small islands around. Koh Phi Phi Leh is a popular island for snorkelling and day trips. One of the highlights of Phi Phi Leh is Maya Bay, a beautiful beach which was made famous by the movie “The Beach” featuring Leonardo Dicaprio.

Photo of Tonsai Bay at Koh Phi Phi Don

Tonsai Bay at Koh Phi Phi Don

Phi Phi has many accommodation options, ranging from backpackers to the luxury resorts. We stayed at Phi Phi Banyan Villa, which is one of the hotels on the Tonsai Bay side. This is the side where the boats come in and dock  at Tonsai Pier. At the front of the hotel, there was very big restaurant, and the food was delicious. This was also where we had our complimentary breakfast each morning. I also liked the idea of the hotel gym with its awesome view over Tonsai Bay.

We took a trip to Koh Phi Phi Leh, including Maya bay, on one of the long tail boats. It was shared with other tourists so it cost about 250 THB each. On the way stopped for snorkelling and sightseeing. We swam with the colourful fish. It was amazing!

Kho Phi Phi is a paradise for diving. And many companies offer to take whoever is interested to go around and show the marine life under of the ocean.

One day we walked up to the view point on the hill. It has a really spectacular view as we can see the sandy beaches on both sides of the island.

Photo of the view from the "Viewpoint" on Koh Phi Phi Don

View from the "Viewpoint" on Koh Phi Phi Don

In the afternoon we walked across to the other side of Kho Phi Phi, ordered wine and pizza, and sat on the beach while watching the sunset.

And on another night we went to watch the Thai Boxing at the Reggae Bar. It was funny to see the tourists get up and try to box each other while they were drunk. At least they get a free “bucket” of cocktails for their efforts.

Pancake Rocks in New Zealand

Photo of Pancake Rocks in New Zealand

Pancake Rocks look like giant pancakes beside the ocean

Pancake Rocks is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. They are located at Dolomite Point, near the small village of Punakaiki which is located in between Greymouth and Westport.

Not 100% sure why they’re called Pancake Rocks, but maybe it’s because they look like giant pancakes coming out of the ocean! This incredible effect to the rocks was made by the ocean, wind, and acidic rain.

Looking out to the large, wild ocean, I feel like I’m standing at the edge of the world. I feel so lucky to see this beautiful part of the earth.

Not far from the Pancake Rocks is the Punakaiki Resort. As far I can see, here is the best place to stay. Lucky we get the table for dinner, because everyone has to book early. We even saw someone being turned away not long after we booked, because they were fully booked. They had good food, good accommodation and good views.

I like the idea of the tunnel underneath the road for connections to some parts of the hotel (as the hotel is located on both sides of the highway). This accommodation was quite busy, maybe because the tour companies book it.

On the way to Pancake Rocks we drove past Greymouth, which is also beautiful. The spectacular beach was made by black and white rock, which is a change from the usual sand beaches.

Boracay Philippines

Photo of swimmers at White Beach at Boracay

At Boracay, the water is so tempting!

Boracay is a small island in the Philippines 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region.

The high season is between November to the end of May or the middle of June. The water is so  gorgeous clear and very still. Every thing is so nice. The temperature is around 30 degrees up. It’s very easy to hang around the beach all day.

This is the first time for me in Boracay, Philippines. Before I came, I had no idea what the place was going to look like. All I knew was from what friends had told me.

So now I’m here in Boracay Island. The place I can easily call paradise. I was so impressed when I arrived. I feel very comfortable with the place and I like it. It makes me feel so good and it’s very relaxing. I can’t wait to jump into the water again.

While I swim and relax in the water, the fish come and have a look and play with me. They try to nip my thumb, I feel like I’m in a fish spa! Some tourists are snorkelling. And the kids are enjoying building sand castles.

Photo of sunset at White Beach in Boracay

White Beach in Boracay, Philippines is a popular place to watch the sunset

 

Sailing around the island is great sight seeing. You can hire a sailing boat by the hour. You can also hire a scooter by the hour to take you sight seeing around the island.

Boracay Island is a very popular place for weekends, holidays, or even for honeymoons. Many couples choose Boracay for their wedding party. Therefore this place is has many hotels and accommodation options. For more information, here’s a link to help you decide where to stay in Boracay.

At night many bars are have a fire dancing show. It’s amazing to see. They even twirled their fire above my head once. It was a scary part of the show. But the result was great and everybody clapped their hands afterwards.

There are so many bars and restaurants all along at the front beach. So we don’t need to worry about where to eat. Many restaurants turn into a party bar at night. Also, some bars have live bands for those who just want to listen to the music.

If you like seafood, there is “D’talipapa”. This is the market for fresh seafood and other meats such as chicken. You can buy your fresh seafood from the market, then walk across to one of the restaurants that offer a “cooking service”. The restaurant will cook your seafood the way you want it. If you like cheap lobster, here is the place to be.

D'Talipapa Boracay,Philippines

Most filipino are of christian religion, and it’s normal to see many filipina wearing bikinis on the beach. Most of the locals speak tagalog and american english.

It was quite easy for us to get to Boracay from Malaysia. We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Clark airbase in Angeles City. Stayed at Angeles City for 2 nights, then flew to Caticlan airport. From Caticlan airport, we took the free connecting bus to the jetty and boarded the boat to Boracay.

Visa Extensions

When we arrived in the Philippines, we were issued with a tourist visa as we went through immigration. This allowed us to stay for 21 days. Immigration didn’t ask to see our outbound ticket, but we had already been asked for that at Kuala Lumpur.

If you’re an overseas tourist and you wish to stay longer in the Philippines, you can apply for a visa extension within the Philippines. It will cost around 3,000php for next 38 days. After that, you can extend for another 2 months, but at this point, you will need to pay an extra $50 US for an I-card – basically an ID card. After that 2 months is up, you can keep extending for at least 12 months. The fees tend to change a lot. Best that you check the official Philippines Immigration website for their visa extension fees. There is an immigration office in Boracay island. It’s currently located in the reception area of the Nirvana hotel, which is in between D’Talipapa and D’mall – the main shopping area.

Jervis Bay, Australia

Photo of Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay.

Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay has beautiful white sand and crystal clear water.

Jervis Bay is located about 2 hours drive, south of Sydney in NSW. The place is very quiet, but during holiday season it can become a little crowded, and you will need to book in advance. But it is still much quieter than Bondi Beach and Surfers Paradise.

We went to Jervis Bay during the long weekend for the Easter holiday. At this time of the year, it is quite cold and there was a little bit of rain too. But that doesn’t matter. There’s still plenty to do.

For example, we walked a lovely track around the bay called White Sands Walk.  This track starts at Greenfields Beach and ends at beautiful Hyams Beach. The website says that it’s two kilometres long, but it felt like more than that.

In the morning, after we had breakfast, we grabbed a take away coffee from the coffee shop, then took the car to the car park/reserve at Greenfields Beach. We started walking while carrying a coffee cup in one hand. The coffee was delicious and it kept us warm.

The track passes quite a few beaches, and when we got tired or too hot, we’d just jump in for a swim.

I loved the white sand beaches and the clear blue water. The sand at Hyams Beach was so white, I even heard a kid yelling out “Look at the snow! Look at the snow!”.

And the water was so clear, I could see the fish while I was swimming. And they kept swimming with us!! I couldn’t stop taking photos while we were walking. And we had a lovely brunch at Hyams Beach General Store.

It was a good idea to do that walk, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen that many beautiful beaches if we were just driving a car along the road.

Bondi Beach, Australia

Photo of Bondi Beach in Australia

Bondi Beach is one of Australia's most famous beaches.

Bondi Beach is the most popular beach in Sydney. In fact, it’s probably the most popular beach in Australia. A lot of people visit Bondi Beach each day. Visitors to Bondi Beach are from all over the world.

When we got there was quite windy. After breakfast we walked from Bondi Beach to Tamarama. This place is so awesome for me. Saw many surfers on the big waves. That was amazing for me to see, those surfers are very strong and healthy.

The walking track between Bondi Beach and Tamarama is beautiful too, because of the spectacular views. You can walk right around to Coogee Bay if you like. Many people have built their dream home in this area.

The properties at Bondi Beach are extremely expensive . Not just the rich people live at the Bondi beach, but many superstars have a house here too. Don’t be surprised if one day you bump in one of them.

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