Best Luxury Resort Destinations
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- Luxury resorts are upscale, indulgent accommodations that provide top-notch amenities, exceptional services, and a lavish atmosphere, all designed to create an unforgettable and relaxing vacation experience.
- Luxury resorts typically offer a wide range of high-end amenities, including world-class dining options, full-service spas, upscale accommodations, personalised concierge services, and an array of recreational activities designed for the ultimate relaxation and enjoyment of their guests.
- Some of the most popular destinations for luxury resorts include tropical paradises like the Maldives, Bora Bora, and Bali, as well as cosmopolitan cities like Paris, Dubai, and New York City. These destinations offer the perfect blend of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural experiences, and world-class amenities for a truly luxurious getaway.
- A luxury resort offers an unparalleled vacation experience, providing top-notch amenities, exceptional personalised service, and a stunning environment, allowing you to unwind and indulge in ultimate relaxation and pampering.
Discover the most popular destinations for the world's luxury resorts
- BaliBali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship. On shore, the lush jungle shelters stone temples and mischievous monkeys. The “artistic capital” of Ubud is the perfect place to see a cultural dance performance, take a batik or silver-smithing workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class.
- MaldivesWant to make your co-workers insanely jealous? Just casually drop "I’m holiday making in the Maldives this year" into conversation, preferably in the dead of winter. Or better yet, go there without mentioning it to anyone—then send them a "Wish you were here!" postcard.
- LangkawiForested hills, romantic white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters greet visitors to tropical Palau Langkawi, the largest of the 99 islands in Langkawi archipelago. Known mysteriously as "Legendary Island" because of myths associated with its ancient geological formations, it drifts serenely alongside Malaysia in the azure Andaman Sea. Sample local cuisine at the night markets, hike to dramatic waterfalls or dive into an underwater marine park to take a guided glimpse at life beneath the sea.
- MauritiusMauritius is arguably Africa’s wealthiest destination, a tropical paradise with tons to do. Port Louis, the modern capital of this 38-mile by 29-mile island, is a bustling port with a revitalized waterfront and a busy market. But most visitors gravitate toward resort areas such as Mont Choisy, quiet Trou-aux-Biches and the more bustling Flic en Flac, popular with scuba divers. Rivière Noire is ideal for those looking for great deep-sea fishing.
- PhuketPhuket offers a rainbow spectrum of spectacular holiday sights from blue lagoons and pink sunsets to orange-robed monks. Three wheeled-Tuk Tuks, taxis, buses and long tailed boats transport visitors between these marvels. Phuket's south coast offers its most popular beaches. The north is more tranquil. Koh Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay and Patong Beach are popular spots. Diving, snorkeling, wind surfing and sailing are just a few active options. Inland, forested hills, mountains and cliffs wait to be explored.
- Whitsunday IslandsThe Whitsunday Islands are a collection of 74 tropical mini-paradises, floating in peaceful waters that double as a marine park and are a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Plan a romantic getaway or a fun family holiday that’s filled with sun, sailing, golfing, snorkeling and diving, all served up with a little slice of heaven.
- Sentosa IslandSentosa is Singapore’s premier island resort getaway. This 500-hectare resort island is home to an exciting array of themed attractions, award-winning spa retreats, and resort accommodations alongside lush rainforests and golden sandy beaches. Popular attractions among business and leisure visitors include Wings of Time – an award winning night show, the iconic Sentosa Merlion, as well as Madame Tussauds Singapore.
- CubaU.S. citizens still need to jump through a few hoops to visit Cuba, but as visitors from around the world know, this island offers some amazing opportunities for cultural exchange. Havana is a mix of old-world architecture and of-the-moment culture. Head out of the capital city to the small town of Trinidad to see more Spanish colonial architecture. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fantastic home base for a visit to the Valley of the Sugar Mills, a pocket of land that formerly served as the centre of Cuba’s sugar industry.
- LombokIf it were located anywhere else in the world, Lombok would be on everyone’s bucket list. But because it’s just east of Bali, fewer people have heard of its secluded coves, endless string of cream-coloured beaches, and waterfalls crashing through its impossibly lush foliage. Fine with us, because that means it’s also less crowded. You can spot wild macaques in the trees of Baun Pusak or float with the green and hawksbill turtles around Gili Meno without feeling like there’s a line behind you. This Indonesian island has a high point that Bali can’t match: Mount Rinjani, an active volcano with a massive lake inside its caldera. An early morning hike lets you watch the sun rise over the sea.
Sardinia has been an overlooked Mediterranean island, as it lies between Italian Sicily and French Corsica. But it is an amazing holiday destination, great for kids, which is packed full of amazing sights and activities, with a great climate. Whether you've chosen to visit Sardinia to check out Phoenician or Roman ruins, or just to soak up some sun and enjoy some excellent Sardinian wines, you're sure to have a great time.
As a relatively large autonomous island, Sardinia presents a huge range of activities for a family holiday. From the sunbathing perfection of its Mediterranean beaches to the exploration of sites such as Su Nuraxi di Barumini - a building structure dating from the Megalithic period - there is something to interest everybody. About a quarter of the island is designated as either a National Park or other protected reserve territory, so much of the environment is unspoiled and the naturalists in your family can have a great time spotting incredibly rare creatures such as the Sardinian Fox or the Mediterranean Monk Seal. It's definitely a destination for fans of the great outdoors, but with such a diverse amount of wildlife on display, no one can fail to be captivated by the Sardinian landscape.
- Jeju IslandWhere else can you find an azalea-framed volcano to climb, a sisterhood of deep-divers, and ancient stone statues on which to make wishes? Jeju Island. A favourite with newlyweds (and K-drama fans), this popular retreat is also home to miles of golden beaches, winding coastal trails, and Jeju Waterworld, the area’s largest water park. No matter what your fancy, one thing is for certain: a day of sightseeing isn’t complete without enjoying some of the isle’s delicious raw seafood and famed barbecued black pork.
- MauiIf watching the sunrise from atop a 10,000-foot volcano, swimming under waterfalls, hiking through craters and luxuriating on white-, red- and even black-sand beaches sounds like paradise, then Maui awaits. Maui is the place to surf and windsurf. Or hop a catamaran to scuba and snorkel on Molokini Island, a crater emerging from the sea that hosts a wealth of marine life. Golf, fine dining, a winery, museums and sipping a mai tai on the beach round out the perfect tropical holiday.
- BahamasThere are no two identical Bahamas holidays. With options as diverse as its 700 islands, the Bahamas may seem schizophrenic: is it a family destination, a place for lovers to sneak away, a gambling mecca, a cruise-afficianado’s chief port of call or a shopper’s world market? The answer is, yes. It’s that, too.
- Vancouver IslandRefer to Vancouver Island as Victoria Island and risk a chorus of eye-rolls from the otherwise-friendly locals. Yes, Victoria is the main city on the island, but there are many distinct flavours to its logging and fishing settlements. Food and wine enthusiasts flock to the Comox Valley farm region, while the more outdoorsy types get their fix along the remote, forested beaches of North Vancouver Island. Visit the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve at Clayoquot Sound and you’ll return full of cocktail-party factoids.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is a paradise for tourists seeking sunshine, beaches, and culture. Chania lies on the northern coast of Crete. It’s the second largest city on the island and is served by an airport. Upon arrival, hire a car and drive the 30 kilometres up to the White Mountains. This beautiful setting is perfect for relaxing or doing a spot of walking and is also a good base to explore the region’s attractions.
Chania is an old harbour town with a medieval heart and is worth checking out. The seafront quarter includes a little mosque which is a remnant from the 17th century when the Turks controlled the area. These days the mosque’s been converted into a very nice art gallery. Make sure you also check out the Archeological Museum which is full of Minoan artifacts, including a glass display packed with pottery bulls. These were found in a grave site and it’s believed the pottery bulls were included in the graves where sacrificing a live bull would have been too expensive!
Elafonisi features a beach that stretches for miles. The water is very shallow with white sand that gives it its wonderful green/turquoise colour; making it look like a Caribbean lagoon! There’s even an island that you can safely wade out to. Elafonisi is also very popular with the locals and can get very busy at weekends, so it’s best to go during weekdays if possible.
Crete has changed hands several times over the centuries and the Romans occupied it from the 1st century BC to 4 AD. As well as the ruins of the Roman buildings, there is an abandoned monastery which dates back centuries but was only abandoned in 1964.
Driving up the mountain road above Maheri, you’ll see signs for the ancient church called Agios Nikolaos. Along the way the chances are that you will encounter herds of goats, some with bells around their necks. They will determinedly clank their way past you and add a real wild charm to the holiday experience! Agios Nikolaos is nestled in a valley with huge trees in front of it and it is an enchanting place. The church is Byzantine and is famous for having very old frescoes, as well as a graveyard surrounded by rows of orange trees.
- KauaiRelaxing and pristine Kauai (the Garden Island) is the least commercially developed of the Hawaiian islands. Waterfalls, scenic drives and more than 60 beaches dot the landscape. Some beaches have great snorkeling, others offer child-friendly tidal pools and some are perfect for all kinds of water sports. Dry-land activities include hiking the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali coastline, taking a day trip to Waimea Canyon and experiencing life on a sugar plantation at Grove Farm Homestead Museum.
- IbizaIbiza: Old Spanish for "party 'til you drop." Perhaps not literally, but this is definitely one of Europe's favourite nightlife playgrounds. Ibiza boasts more than 100 miles of coastline with some 50 beaches, plus plenty of restaurants, bars, and water sports—and clubs, of course. Fit in a little culture and visit Ibiza's UNESCO-designated old town.
- OahuSay aloha to tropical breezes, oceanfront luaus and iconic Diamond Head on Oahu, the most populated Hawaiian island. Follow in the footsteps of surfing forefather Duke Kahanamoku on Waikiki Beach, visit the royal quarters of Iolani Palace and tour Pearl Harbor. Sample hot malasadas (local doughnuts) and shaved ice while shopping for vintage floral-print shirts on Honolulu's Kapahulu Avenue. Get off the tourist trail with a hike to Makapuu Lighthouse on the South Shore. You can even learn to hula.
- Cebu IslandFrom the cosmopolitan metropolis of Cebu City and the white-sand beaches of Mactan to the electric-blue waters of Kawasan Falls and the whale sharks of Oslob, it’s easy to see why Cebu Island is one of the Philippines’ top destinations.
- BoracayBoracay Island has reopened with new rules and regulations in place to protect the island from overdevelopment. Not all businesses were allowed to reopen. Please check with the Philippine Department of Tourism for details: http://www.tourism.gov.ph/
- Western AustraliaLeave the everyday behind, get away from the well-known and well-trodden, and reconnect with something unspoilt — even a little wild — in Western Australia. The country’s largest State, boasting the nation’s longest coastline and sunniest capital city of Perth (Boorloo), Western Australia is a place to recharge your spirit — outdoors in the fresh air and wide-open spaces, where it’s always summer somewhere. Experience otherworldly phenomena and majestic landscapes with supernatural contrasts of colour and texture. Awe-inspiring wilderness and boundless natural adventures await you in Western Australia.
- QueenslandSome of Queensland’s most remarkable sights require you to leave terra firma. Off its coast sits the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef. Snorkel and scuba among 1500 resident fish species, or sail through the Whitsundays’ white-sand atolls. Back on dry land, you’ll find tropical escapes in the Daintree Rainforest to the north, rugged outback to the west and alfresco dining on the Gold Coast in the south. South East Queensland boasts mountain views, vineyards and ‘river city’ Brisbane.
- HawaiiFrom volcanic landscapes to hidden waterfalls… active adventures to an energetic nightlife… a holiday on the Hawaiian Islands offers infinite experiences in one destination. Each of the six major islands – Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii – has its own distinct personality, but no matter which ones you choose, you’ll discover endless opportunities for adventure, dining, culture and relaxation.
- TasmaniaOff Australia’s South Coast you’ll find the rugged and beautiful island of Tasmania — a unique destination where you can see Tasmanian devils, walk in the wilderness, take in stunning eco-cruises, taste artisanal cheeses and even explore a controversial art museum. The best way to see it? Take the back roads, but allow plenty of time: A short drive in any direction can lead to wineries, distilleries, marine farms, convict settlements, pristine beaches, fields of lavender and national parks…
- KeralaIndia’s millennia-old natural medicine, Ayurveda, is the guiding force in southern state Kerala’s famed health resorts. To rejuvenate in luxurious surrounds, try 50-acre oasis Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort’s authentic ayurvedic healing with aromatherapy, massage, essential oils and yoga.
- South AustraliaWhether you're a culture vulture or a nature lover, South Australia offers great adventures. Get a taste of the Outback with a hike through the Flinders Ranges, sample the amazing wines of Barossa or come face to face with koalas and sea lions on Kangaroo Island. The capital city of Adelaide showcases Aboriginal antiquities at the South Australian Museum and bustles day and night with events. Hire a car to cover the most ground, as the province is four times the size of the UK.
- CaliforniaCalifornia is a fertile, peaceful place where you’ll find a near-equal balance of vineyards and deserts, beaches and mountains, hippies and traditionalists. Catch an epic wave in Big Sur or swirl a glass in Napa Valley. Be dazzled by the Joshua Tree night sky or just star-gaze in Hollywood. Swish down the slopes of a Tahoe ski resort, or cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge with the top down and the music blasting. Above all, don’t forget to soak up some Golden State sunshine.
- RajasthanThe state of Rajasthan in northwestern India includes part of the Thar Desert, as well as Ranthambhor National Park, home to wild tigers, and verdant Mount Abu and its elaborate temples. A camel safari near the inhabited desert trading centre of Jaisalmer gives a hint of the area's beautiful desolation. Udaipur's lakefront setting provides rich contrasts. The capital, Jaipur, is a shopper's dream. Hire a car and driver to take in the spread-out sights. Stay in a heritage hotel to feel like a maharaja.
- FloridaNot just for retirees and theme park enthusiasts, the Sunshine State offers beautiful beaches, pristine diving conditions, and sizzling nightlife. Salsa the night away in a smokin’ hot Miami club, or swing away at one of Kissimmee’s many premium golf courses. An airboat tour of the Everglades is an unforgettable adventure – just look out for alligators! For the risk-averse, a lazy day spent on the soft sands of an Emerald Coast beach is as rejuvenating as a spa treatment.
The US state of Arizona is one that features a fantastic diversity of landscapes and areas of geological interest. North Arizona is famous for the Grand Canyon, a colourful chasm with steep rocky walls more than a mile deep and stretching some 277 miles alongside the Colorado River. Other notable destinations in North Arizona include Flagstaff set alongside the San Francisco Peaks which has the largest ponderosa pine forest, Museum of Northern Arizona, and is close to a number of national parks and monuments. On the south side of Arizona lies the city of Phoenix, the largest in Arizona. Notable day trips in Phoenix include the Heard Museum which is one of America's largest collections of Native American art, Phoenix Museum of History, as well as the Desert Botanical garden which has a great collection of desert plants.
Colorado is home to no less than twenty-six ski resorts such as those in Vail and Breckenridge; other winter activities include snowboarding, sledding, sleigh rides, snow hiking and snowmobiling. The state is blessed with national parks, grasslands and forests where in warmer weather you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing. Wildlife abounds, from bears to moose and raccoons to wolverines. More interested in local history? Head for either the Ute Indian Museum or the Koshare Indian Museum, and don't miss the forts such as Fort Garland and Bent's Old Fort. For a complete change, why not take a ride in a hot air balloon from South Park Valley or Boulder and admire Colorado's picturesque landscape from above?
- TexasTexas is one of the largest states in America. As such, there is some variety of potential holiday destinations in Texas. Among the most notable holiday destinations in Texas is that of South Padre Island. South Padre Island is located at the tropical tip of Texas, by the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches of South Padre Island are some of the best and widest in Texas. Here you can also find some of the state's most innovative water-parks such as Schlitterbahn BeachWater Park. Or alternatively, take a break away cruise for fishing, eco tours, and snorkelling around South Padre Island. Texas also has some highly rated golf courses such as Cliffs at Possum Kingdom at Grayford, and La Cantera - Resort Course in San Anotonio, which is a fun and scenic golf course that is regarded as one of the best golf resorts in the United States.
- El NidoWhy settle for a beachfront hotel when you can stay right over the ocean in a cottage on stilts? And why settle for any old dive site when you can snorkel in an orchid-walled lagoon? El Nido is known as the Philippines' last frontier, and if you're looking for magnificent beaches in an unspoiled setting, it's a perfect place for you to holiday.
- Chiang MaiYou could spend your whole Chiang Mai holiday exploring the famous Night Bazaar. Once you’ve exhausted the art of the cheerful haggle, however, there’s plenty more to explore. The National Museum and Botanic Garden are great places to soak up some local culture and to breathe in the delicate fragrance of Thai orchids. In the city’s centre, the remains of ancient walls embrace over 30 temples. Limber travellers can climb 300 stairs to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, an ornate Buddhist temple in the hills.
- UdaipurUdaipur, known as the Venice of the East, boasts several sparkling lakes against a backdrop of the Aravail hills. Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir, islands in Fateh Sagar Lake, are the site of Udaipur Solar Observatory and Nehru Garden. Famous palaces include the magical Lake Palace, now a luxurious five-star hotel, and the massive City Palace on Pichola’s east bank, featuring epic courtyards and stunning paintings.
- Hoi AnThis city on the central Vietnamese coast is a well-preserved example of the important Southeast Asian trading port it was from the 15th-19th centuries. Already a common stop for backpackers, it is becoming better known to tourists. On the 14th day of each lunar month, the town trades its electric lights for traditional coloured lanterns. Sights include the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Quan Cong Temple. Let the town’s expert tailors make you some bespoke clothing.
- Port DouglasTuck into succulent five-star meals in Port Douglas, the culinary gem of Queensland, or suck down a killer cocktail at a casually swanky lounge. A perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest at Daintree and the beaches at Cape Tribulation, this Queensland town has an out-of-this-world setting. Sunbathe on the golden sands of Four Mile Beach, then melt into perfect pampering at one of Port Douglas’ glorious day spas for the ultimate in relaxation.
- JimbaranWhite-sand beaches set the scene for a romantic tete à tete in Jimbaran, a quaint fishing village in Bali, Indonesia. Luxury hotels mingle with simple seafood shacks on the waterfront. Feed your paramour succulent chunks of freshly-prepared fish, then amble along the beach under the Indonesian moonlight before retiring to your five-star accommodations for the night... and the next morning.
- CairnsCairns is the perfect city for merry revelers, passionate divers and adrenaline junkies, offering booming nightlife and heart-pounding adventure amid a vibrant, tropical setting. This friendly Queensland city of 130,000 is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation, Cooktown and the rest of Cape York Peninsula. Embark on an eco-adventure or take a dip in a lagoon pool before hitting the town to unwind and shake what you’ve got Down Under.
- Hua HinA favorite getaway for Bangkok residents, Hua Hin is a pretty beachside town. Family friendly and relaxed, it lacks the all-night partying and seedier aspects that make other nearby beach resorts a haven for unsavory characters. Once a small fishing village, it was transformed into a royal resort, and it’s these close links with Thai royalty that ensure Hua Hin won’t become overdeveloped or lose its small-town vibe.
- TulumTulum is relaxation and romance with an ancient angle. Guests can enjoy modern takes on traditional Mayan massage and spa treatments, or sunbathe on gorgeous Yucatan beaches within site of well-preserved ancient ruins. A rare mix of beach, archeology and village, Tulum is a romantic getaway like no other.
- SanurThe postcard-perfect beaches of Sanur are truly idyllic, the realization of all those daydreams about Bali beach vacations. More laid-back than neighboring vacation destinations, Sanur is the type of place where hip Europeans who have outgrown the party scene come to recharge. Every year, the endless blue skies are peppered with flecks of vibrant color during the International Kite Festival.
- SeminyakSeminyak boasts some of the most glorious beaches in Bali. Be sure to catch the legendary sunsets and enjoy the tranquil beauty, and marvel at Balinese ceremonies on the beach, complete with gamelan players and offerings to the gods. Of course, don’t let the smooth sands and intricate cultural experiences distract you from spas and shopping! Sophisticated spas and high-end boutiques will entice you away from the waterfront—for a short time, anyway.
- Gold CoastSun-drenched and built for fun, Australia's Gold Coast hugs Queensland's southeast coastline with beaches, shimmering high rises, and epic surf breaks. Though it's hedonistic at heart, there's also plenty of opportunities for adventure and family-friendly attractions beyond its well-known party scene.
- Byron BayByron Bay's beaches are dotted with lighthouses and surrounded by bottlenose dolphins, rays, whales and sea turtles. This former New South Wales whaling station turned tourist town is still strongly influenced by its recent bohemian past, when hippie lifestyles flourished. Bongos and didgeridoos sound in parks, sarongs and dreadlocks are common, and vegetarian restaurants abound. Give in to the casual vibe and stroll between beaches and bars for a low-key and happy day.
- UbudThe village cluster of Ubud is the ideal place to try a famed Balinese massage and soak up the ambiance of one of Asia’s top spa destinations. Acupressure, reflexology, stretching and aromatherapy star in the island's distinctively firm massage treatments. Ubud is also the vivacious centre of Bali’s arts scene, home to a small treasure trove of museums and galleries. Monkey around at nearby nature reserve Monkey Forest Park, home to hundreds of mischievous long-tailed macaques. Don’t miss the valley of tomb cloisters at Gunung Kawi.
- FijiIf it wasn’t soothing enough already, Fiji offers an enticing array of distinctive relaxation options. Traditional Fijian Bobo massage, a healing blend of massage and local nut oils, Duavata island-style four-handed massage and Thalgo therapy mud and algae wraps top enticing local treatment options.
- AustraliaAustralia is as varied as it is enormous-- it is home to thriving cities, vast wilderness, and earnest, friendly people. Sydney is for sophisticates, with its famous opera house and annual Sculpture By the Sea outdoor art exhibits. Port Douglas makes a great base for snorkeling or diving the Great Barrier Reef, and quaint lighthouses keep vigil along the beaches of Byron Bay. Melbourne is a hub of rousing cricket activity, and the limestone pillars of the Pinnacles Desert are a natural wonder.
- VietnamThe jungles and monsoon forests of Vietnam are diverse ecosystems that are alive with unique wildlife. Trekking is a popular activity here, particularly the mountains of Sapa and the primeval landscape of Cuc Phuong National Park. For a more urban escape, take a guided food tour of Ho Chi Minh City, making sure to squeeze in visits to the historic Hoi Truong Thong Nhat palace and the intricately adorned Emperor Jade Pagoda.
- Cook IslandsIf you're sitting at your desk having Robinson Crusoe daydreams, the Cook Islands might be a great holiday place for you. It doesn't get much more remote or more beautiful—what with the perfect beaches, deep jungle and coral lagoons. Each of the 15 islands seems more breathtaking than the last.
- PhilippinesWith more than 7,000 islands consisting of rice paddies, volcanos, mega-metropolises, world-class surf spots, and endemic wildlife, the Philippines is one of the most dazzling and diverse countries in all of Asia. Not to mention, it’s home to some of the world’s best beaches, too.
- MalaysiaMalaysia is a beautifully complex vacation destination, a land where ancient rainforests give way to multicultural city life. Capital city Kuala Lumpur is visually defined by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, while in charming Melaka the vibe is more quaint and historical. Many of the country’s national parks offer opportunities for fantastic whitewater rafting, and the exclusive Sipadan dive site (off the east coast of Borneo) is among the best in the world.
- ThailandThailand is a country of many contrasting facets, with glorious beaches as well as forests, jungles and mountains. Whether you want to swim, sunbathe or explore the wildlife, a family holiday in Thailand will never be dull.If you're looking for seaside relaxation, visit the beaches and bay of Hat Karon in Phuket with sand dunes and palm trees. The island of Ko Tao has coral reefs and is the place to go if you want to learn to dive, but you can also go mountain biking or just sunbathe on the beach. The Royal Barge National Museum in Bangkok houses several barges built for Thailand's kings; the beautifully detailed carving is quite breathtaking. Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park in Chiang Mai has a wealth of flowering plants and ferns as well as three hundred species of birds. If you're in the mood for a quiet spot, try the town of Sangkhlaburi; from there you can set off on an elephant trek or jungle tour. For mountains and forests, visit the north-western province of Mai Hong Son.
- SingaporeAs Asia’s undisputed capital of cool, Singapore’s street food, luxury lifestyle options, and sci-fi–like architecture entrance visitors from the very beginning. Top attractions such as the futurist feel of Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands casino symbolize the nation’s state of affluence.
- New CaledoniaFrom outback plains on the west coast and desert landscapes in the south to tropical mountains on the east coast, dazzling beaches in the Loyalty Islands and a buzzing capital city, Noumea, New Caledonia is a striking mix of impressive geography and diverse culture. There’s something to delight all ages and interests, whether it’s enjoying water sports in the UNESCO Heritage-listed lagoon, feasting on culinary delights, exploring cultural festivals, or hiking through amazing natural landscapes.
- Sri LankaKnown by a flotilla of aliases, the Resplendent Isle is one of gorgeous beaches, tea plantations and ancient cities. Scuba dive, visit an elephant orphanage and a lagoon of singing fish, explore dense jungle, shrines and temples. Situated just 20 miles off India, the island formerly known as Ceylon is home to 20 million people and eight World Heritage sites. The country's long, brutal civil war ended in May, 2009, bringing peace, stability and a revival of tourism.
- New ZealandForever remembered for its "The Lord of the Rings" legacy, New Zealand’s landscapes are deserving of their big screen fame—think lush rolling hills, volcano-sculpted moonscapes, UNESCO-listed glaciers, and white-sand beaches. Cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown follow suit, with photo-worthy scenery and a laid-back vibe.
- JapanIn the Land of the Rising Sun, ancient temples sit alongside neon wonderlands and shinto shrines offer pockets of peace amid metropolises. Add tea ceremonies, snow monkeys, sushi, kimonos, and karaoke to the mix, and you’ve got one of the world’s most fascinating countries.
- CambodiaSet your own pace by cycling through Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat or pedaling the banks of the mighty Mekong. Trek off the beaten path on eco-adventures through the Cardamom Mountains, southern tropical islands or crater lakes of the remote northeast. Add urban adventure and hire a "motodop" taxi in Siem Reap.
- IndiaFrom the beaches of sun-soaked Goa to the frenetic bazaars of Mumbai, India offers wealth of vastly different, yet equally enthralling, experiences. Explore the sparkling lakes and palaces of Udaipur, watch traditional Indian dance in Kochi, or buy brilliantly-colored silk saris at a market in Varanasi… no matter how much you travel in India, you’ll always find more to discover in this vibrant, fascinating country.
- IndonesiaFrom the idyllic beaches of Bali to the chaotic melting pot of Jakarta, Indonesia is a diverse Southeast Asian gem. West Java and Sumatra are home to some of the most beautiful tropical forests in the world – perfect for jungle trekking. The Prambanan collection of Hindu temples in Yogyakarta will astound you with their architecture and aura of spirituality. Capital city Jakarta is a cultural and political hub that’s jam-packed with museums, performing arts centers, and traditional food stalls.
- MexicoWith 26 UNESCO-declared world heritage sites, charming colonial towns and dozens of thrilling cities, there's plenty to explore in this country of 109 million. Outside the cities, stunning Pacific beaches, stark deserts, mangrove swamps and swimming holes provide all you need for a relaxing, romantic or adventurous vacation. Captivating, cosmopolitan and chaotic Mexico City and the 32 states offer an incredible abundance of experiences, from laid-back and leisurely to upbeat to adrenalin-charging.
- SpainFrom sun-drenched archipelagos and bustling urban cities to snowcapped mountains and semi-arid deserts, Spain epitomizes geographical diversity. As the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, this vast country offers some of Europe’s most dramatic landscapes, as well as some of its tastiest cuisine.
- NepalThe near otherworldly Himalayan kingdom of Nepal can trace its history back to the 7th century and the arrival of Kirati sheepherders. Today, misty temples perch on rugged ridges, monasteries peer over deep valleys, faded by centuries, and Kathmandu's Old City brims with ancient Buddhist temples and ornate palaces.
- GreeceGreece is one of those rare places where ancient history is still very much a part of modern life. Visitors are as much drawn to the country’s epic intellectual history as its beauty and charm. Make time for the iconic features of the Acropolis of Athens, which include the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Mythology buffs will appreciate Crete, Olympia, Samos, and Naxos for their mythological significance. For a peaceful beach holiday, the island of Santorini is perfect.