An unspoiled beach in Thailand has become an increasingly rare sight. And an unspoiled beach destination with decent accommodation is almost unheard of these days. So I was excited to learn about Khanom in southern Nakhon Si Thammarat province, which faces the Gulf of Thailand. It’s got eight miles of pristine beachfront property as well as dramatic waterfalls and caves. The waters offshore are also breeding grounds for the rare pink dolphin. One newcomer, Aava on barely inhabited Na Dan beach, could be a sign of things to come. Owned by a Finnish husband-and-wife team, the resort has 28 bungalows and villas whose minimalist design is inspired by their countryman, Alvar Aalto. (The fusion restaurant is named after Aalto.) A few villa and condo developments are in the pipeline, so now is the time to visit Khanom.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia Correspondent.
Breaking news for surfing enthusiasts: The new website Wavecation.com—think of it as a HomeAway or VRBO tailored to the surfing community—lists hotels, private homes, and other rental options close to ride-worthy waves all over the globe. The most important criteria? The property has to be oceanfront (or front-row, in cases when a jungle or other natural barrier blocks coastal views) to the water and surf spots. “These places are the equivalent of ski-in, ski-out properties on a snow mountain,” says founder Matt Thomson, who has turned down a number of interested homeowners to maintain his super specific standards. The Austin-based resident is surf-obsessed himself. He started riding when he was 12 and has traveled the world—from the coasts of Nicaragua and Mexico to Hawaii and California—in search of the best breaks.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 1-4) inaugurates new collaborations with the Bass Museum of Art and the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, which promise to transform the cultural land- and soundscape of South Beach – extending beyond the Miami Beach Convention Center (ABMB’s venue), where more than 260 top galleries from across the globe showcase 2,000 modern and contemporary artists. There’s an admission charge for the fair (not to mention the price of the art), but plenty outdoors is free. Here's our what-not-to miss guide, plus recommendations for last-minute hotel booking.
Club Med, that French hippy grandma of all-inclusive beach resorts, is running a weekend sale that could get you and yours a place in the sun for prices that start at $129 per adult and kids from 50% of that!
The sale runs from midnight on Friday through midnight on Sunday, with available travel dates between October 17 and February 17, depending on the property. The resorts have higher (but not crazy high) rates over holidays. Prices include all meals, snacks and beverages (non-alcoholic as well as premium alcoholic drinks), lots of sports and activities, kids’ clubs, and all varieties of room configurations for all varieties of travelers.
For more information or to book, please visit Club Med, or call (800) 258- 2633.
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
But not everything is up in Samui’s rising tide. While the
luxury market expands at a rapid clip, last year the island actually lost 1,800
hotel rooms, or 11% of its total supply—most of them at the budget level.
“As Samui becomes more sophisticated, the lower-end tourist
trade has been pushed out to other islands like Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao,” says
Bill Barnett, a Thailand-based hotel consultant, who penned a provocative white
paper on the island’s future chances.
It’s either unchecked hedonism or outright
denial that led me to New York’s Fire Island the weekend
after summer’s unofficial demise. While most
vacationers packed up their share-houses and kissed farewell to the spit of
sand off Long Island’s south coast over Labor Day, I
was still dreaming of bike rides, summer ales, and one last coat of sun.
It doesn’t hurt that hotel prices fall off a cliff once
beachgoers pack up their white (I paid $225 per night at Clegg's Hotel, while
rates during summer’s apex can be double that). So I
found myself at the Island Mermaid pulling on a straw filled with its signature
Rocket Fuel (a dark rum piña colada with a Cruzan 151 “sinker” at the bottom and a pond of Amaretto floating on top) and stretching summer out
as long as possible before the looming cold throws its death grip around New
York City. I wasn’t ready for fall, not yet.
Photographer Brown W. Cannon III talks to T+L's Christine Ajudua:
“Most days when you’re riding around Waimea Bay, it’s open and calm and really beautiful. It’s right in the middle of Oahu’s North Shore, this five-mile stretch that’s known to be one of the world’s greatest surfing destinations. Waimea doesn’t break often—not until the waves are twenty feet or bigger—but when it does, it is a monumental experience. The day I took this photo, the swells were reaching fifty feet—the kind that roll in only every few years. I’ve been going to the islands since I was born, and have seen this maybe two or three times. There are plenty of guys who will hop planes from all over the globe to surf sets like these, but what amazes me most is that so many people will travel there just to witness them. In Hawaii, there’s a real sense of respect for the ocean—the locals talk about having a spiritual connection to it—so there’s something poignant about seeing all these tan bodies converge on the sand, captivated by the Pacific.”
Photo by Brown W. Cannon III / Intersection Photos