If your wanderlust is getting the best of you, consider planning your next holiday in Southeast Asia to Thailand or Indonesia. Known for its sublime beauty, idyllic beaches, friendly residents, and healthy cuisine, Phuket in Thailand and Bali in Indonesia are two of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. Both are easily accessible by airplane from the UK, the UAE, Australia, China and India, and the warm climate makes them ideal for travel any time of the year. Whether you love hiking, diving, or exploring ancient temples, you are sure to find your dream vacation in one of these destinations.

 Paradise in Phuket

 Over the last few years, the number of tourists visiting Thailand has grown steadily and currently hovers around 35 million per year. The majority of these come from neighboring Asian countries, with Bangkok being the major port of arrival for most travelers. However, Phuket is staking its claim as the second most visited city for Australians, Singaporeans, and visitors from the Emirates. Phuket is a large and laid-back island with something to offer almost everyone. Phuket is a great stepping stone to other areas in the South of Thailand, such as Krabi and Koh Phi Phi, and you will be sure to find anything you want on the island in terms of water sports, beach relaxation, shopping, fine dining as well as an adventurous nightlife. One ultra-popular destination to visit when in Phuket is Phang Nga Bay, made famous by the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. You can easily book a guided day tour of the island or opt for a romantic charter cruise when in Phuket. Alternatively, you could arrange for a romantic beach picnic or spend the day doing some hiking one of the National Parks like Khao Lak-lam Ru, Khlong Panom or Khao Sok. If you prefer to keep it simple and not have to spend much money, visit Sarasin Bridge, which was built to link Phuket Island to the mainland of Phang Nga Province. There you will find two towers connected by a platform on which you can leisurely walk across. You will discover incredible views of the Andaman Sea, local fishing villages, and Phang Nga Bay. It is particularly enticing at dusk, as the traditional lanterns lining the bridge create a romantic and “Instagram worthy” scene.  

 When visiting Phuket, you will find that they offer a wide selection of accommodations including luxury five-star hotels and resorts for big spenders, cheap beach bungalows and guest houses for backpackers and everything else in between including family-friendly villas and branded hotels on the beach to fit any budget. You may want to head south near Rawai, where you will find dream-like romantic resorts and villas,such as the Sri Panwa Resort or the Anantara Mai Khao. The Villa Tantawan Resort & Spa and the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket are also recommended when planning your vacation in Phuket.
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 The breathtaking beauty of Bali

 Bali is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world with millions of holiday travelers visiting every year. It’s beloved sandy white beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters are constantly attracting tourists, especially honeymooners and people looking for a healthy spa getaway. The island is home to a myriad of stunning cliffs and ancient temples, and it is especially popular with tourists from Australia, the UK and Asian countries, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.  Bali is five times larger than Phuket, and there are many different things to see and do. One of the most famous destinations in Bali is Uluwatu, aka “The Bukit”, which is a large limestone peninsula boasting an iconic cliff-hanging temple. If you like the surf and sand, try South West Bali which includes Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, and Canggu. They are famous for their beaches, surfing, dining, shopping, and nightlife. If you prefer mountains, you may want to go to Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest mountain, famous for Pura Besakih and the nine directional temples that include more than 28 structures. Mount Batur is another compelling option in the northeastern region of Bali. It has a 1,717-meter peak and a “sometimes-active” volcano.

 

Ubud is also a popular place which is world-renowned for its picturesque terraced rice fields that cover the foothills of Bali’s central mountain region. Honeymooners are particularly attracted to the region, and it is here that you will find a unique tree-top massage in Ubud. The name is self-explanatory, and you will be treated to a world-class massage while perched atop a tree as therapists pamper you with aromatic body oils. Bali is home to some of the best hotels in Southeast Asia, and there are many luxurious private pool villas that you can choose from, as well as moderately priced hotels and resorts and budget hotels in Bali.  For the ultimate villa experience, try the Transera Grand Kancana Villas, the artsy and bohemian vibe of the Gino Feruci Villas or the stylish Daluman Villas. Other exceptional hotel deals in Bali that will not break the bank include the Sari Segara Resort & Spa and the Park Hotel Nusa Dua Suites.  
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Melissa is a passionate foodie, travel writer, and editor working in media internationally and in the USA. She has lived in Bangkok since 2004 and has a background in the travel industry. Melissa’s writing has been published globally in many prestigious online and print magazines for over a decade. Her motto for life is “You cannot live or love well if you have not wined and dined well!”

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