Sun, Sand, and Serenity: 5 Exotic Destinations for Tropical Vacations

Updated On: November 10, 2023

Tropical vacations

Chilling on a beach basking in the sun, sipping on a refreshing cocktail, and digging the soothing sound of waves caressing the shore—this is the magic of tropical vacations, where time slows down as if you’ve hit the snooze button on life’s alarm. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a fun-filled journey for the whole fam, or simply some well-deserved R&R, a tropical vacation is an excellent idea for you.

The Best Tropical Vacations to Reset Your Mood

From Bali’s balmy shores to Phuket’s delectable Thai food, Connolly Cove is here to help you explore the lush jungles, coral kingdoms, and laid-back vibes of paradise. So, grab your sunhat, and let’s embark on a journey where stress is just a distant memory and relaxation is all around you.

Bali, Indonesia

Tropical vacations - Bali

Bali is not just a destination; it’s a state of mind. That is where you can chase waterfalls, ride with the wind, and find your inner zen, all in one day. This Indonesian gem, often referred to as the “Island of the Gods,” is a smorgasbord of natural beauty, culture, and adventure. From the moment you touch down at Ngurah Rai International Airport, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming people.

Getting There

Before you embark on your journey, remember to check your passport is valid and your visa requirements. Brits are in luck, as you can stay visa-free for up to 30 days. Most flights from the UK will have a layover in a major Asian hub like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Hong Kong, and from there, it’s a short hop to Denpasar, Bali’s capital.

What to Do in Bali

Once you’ve landed, the real fun begins! First on the list is a visit to Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart. It’s a bit like walking into a scene from “Eat, Pray, Love.” Here, you can explore the Ubud Monkey Forest, where cheeky macaques will steal your heart (and maybe your sunglasses if you’re not careful).

If you’re into surfing, head to Kuta, where the waves are as playful as a kitten. It’s a top spot for beginners, but if you’re a seasoned surfer, you’ll find challenging breaks further up the coast in Uluwatu.

It’s not all about the beach and surf, though. Bali boasts some incredible temples, like Uluwatu Temple, perched on cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, or the intricate carvings of Taman Ayun Temple. And don’t miss the iconic rice terraces of Tegallalang, where the vivid green fields look like something out of a postcard.

For a taste of adventure, go white-water rafting on the Ayung River or explore the island’s lush jungles on a trek. And if you’re more of an underwater explorer, diving and snorkelling in the coral-rich waters off the coast are a must. The underwater world here is as colourful as a carnival!

Where to Stay

Now, let’s talk about where you can rest your weary head after all those adventures. Bali offers a plethora of accommodation options that cater to every budget and taste.

For a taste of luxury, you can’t beat the five-star beachfront resorts in Seminyak or Nusa Dua. These places redefine the phrase “living the high life,” offering private villas with their own butler pools and spas.

If you’re a budget-conscious traveller, you’ll find charming guesthouses and hostels scattered throughout Bali. Places like Ubud and Canggu have a fantastic range of affordable accommodations that are as cosy as a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon.

For those looking for a cultural experience, consider staying in a traditional Balinese homestay. These offer a unique insight into local life, with the added bonus of delicious homemade breakfasts that are tastier than a Sunday roast.


Tropical vacations - Maldives

The Maldives is the epitome of paradise, the crème de la crème of tropical destinations. When you think of Maldives, your brain will automatically generate pictures of white-sand beaches and bungalows overlooking pristine waters. Those scenic islands are a magnet for honeymooners, families, and anyone looking for a relaxing and unforgettable vacation.

How to Get There

Getting to the Maldives is a piece of cake. Most visitors fly into Velana International Airport, which is well-connected to major airports worldwide. From there, it’s a hop, skip, and jump on a speedboat or a domestic flight to your chosen island paradise. Trust me, the journey is worth it.

What to Do in the Maldives

The Maldives is mostly about stunning underwater beauty. Snorkelling and diving here are as common as a rainy day in London. The coral reefs, brimming with dazzling marine life, are as eye-catching as a double-decker bus in Piccadilly Circus. Don’t forget to visit Hanifaru Bay if you’re a fan of manta rays and whale sharks—it’s like being in the front row at a West End show, but underwater!

It’s not all about what’s beneath the turquoise water, though. The Maldives’ sandy shores are equally captivating. Just imagine yourself sipping a piña colada on a private beach, with powdery white sands beneath your toes and the gentle lapping of waves as your soundtrack. Or perhaps you fancy a spot of windsurfing or paddleboarding? You can do it all here.

Feeling adventurous? Take a traditional Maldivian fishing trip on a dhoni, or go island hopping to experience the local way of life. Chat with the friendly locals—they’re so welcoming and kind-hearted. You might even stumble upon a lively Bodu Beru dance performance.

Where to Stay

Now, let’s talk digs. The Maldives is all about luxurious, over-the-top resorts and spas. It’s like staying in the fanciest penthouse suite in Mayfair but surrounded by crystal-clear waters. The water bungalows, perched above the lagoon, are as Instagram-worthy as a royal wedding. You’ll wake up to the sound of the waves and be greeted by vibrant marine life right at your doorstep.

If you’re feeling a bit swanky and want the royal treatment, try a resort like the One&Only Reethi Rah or Gili Lankanfushi. They’re as posh as Harrods, offering private butlers, spa treatments, and gourmet dining experiences that will have your taste buds dancing a jig.

On the flip side, if you’re on a tighter budget, fear not—the Maldives has got you covered. Guesthouses and local inns on inhabited islands are pretty affordable. You’ll still get a taste of the Maldivian culture and hospitality without burning a hole in your pocket.

Phuket, Thailand

Tropical vacations - Phuket, Thailand
Sun, Sand, and Serenity: 5 Exotic Destinations for Tropical Vacations 1

We can’t talk about the best tropical vacations without mentioning Phuket, Thailand. Whether you seek the soothing embrace of the sun-kissed beaches, the unmatched thrill of exploring the lush rainforests, or the electrifying energy of a night out till the break of dawn, Phuket is your one-stop destination for an unforgettable journey.

How to Get There

Most folks fly into Phuket International Airport, which is well-connected with major cities worldwide. Once you’ve landed, you can hop on a taxi or grab a tuk-tuk to reach your destination. Just make sure to haggle with the tuk-tuk drivers, as they can be a bit cheeky when it comes to prices.

What to Do in Phuket

If you’re a beach bum, Patong Beach is where it’s at, with its bustling nightlife, water sports aplenty, and enough bars and restaurants to make your head spin. But Phuket isn’t all about sun and surf. You can also channel your inner Indiana Jones with a visit to the Big Buddha, a colossal, 45-metre-tall statue perched atop Nakkerd Hill. It’s a real eye-popper, and the panoramic views from up there will knock your socks off.

For those who fancy themselves as water-based adventurers, the Phi Phi Islands are a short boat ride away. You can dive into the famous Maya Bay, where they filmed “The Beach,” or snorkel around the vibrant coral gardens.

Now, let’s talk about food, shall we? Phuket is a foodie’s heaven, with a smorgasbord of mouthwatering Thai dishes on every corner. From fiery green curries to pad Thai that’ll tantalise your taste buds, you’ll be spoilt for choice. And don’t forget to try the local delicacies, like Phuket-style fried noodles and the addictive roti canai.

Where to Stay

Phuket offers an array of accommodation options to suit all budgets. If you’re feeling posh, why not make a reservation at one of the 5-star beachfront resorts in Patong or Karon Beach? They’re as classy as a royal palace. On the other side, if you’re a backpacker on a shoestring budget, there are plenty of hostels in Phuket Town or Patong that won’t break the bank. And if you’re somewhere in between, you’ll find mid-range hotels and guesthouses galore.

But here’s a trendy tip for you, old sport: consider renting a private villa or Airbnb. With your own digs, you can live it up like a king or queen and have all the privacy you need. Plus, you can cook up a storm in your own kitchen if you want a break from Thai street food.


Tropical vacations - Seychelles
Sun, Sand, and Serenity: 5 Exotic Destinations for Tropical Vacations 2

Tropical paradise seekers, are you ready for the ultimate island escape? Welcome to Seychelles, a heaven-sent archipelago of 115 islands scattered like emerald gems in the Indian Ocean. It’s the kind of place where even the palm trees sway in rhythm to your heart’s desires, and the azure waters whisper tales of wonder.

How to Get There

First things first, you might wonder how to get to this dreamy destination. Well, getting to Seychelles is a breeze, even if you’re coming from afar. You’ll most likely land at Seychelles International Airport on Mahé Island. From there, you can catch domestic flights to other islands or even hop on inter-island ferries for a more leisurely journey.

What to Do in Seychelles

For the more adventurous souls among us, Seychelles offers top-notch diving and snorkelling opportunities. Slip on your snorkel gear, and prepare to be wowed by the kaleidoscope of marine life in the coral reefs. Seychelles is practically a UNESCO-listed treasure chest beneath the waves.

Praslin Island beckons with its lush Vallée de Mai, a prehistoric forest where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the Garden of Eden. And if you’re into birdwatching, the Aldabra Atoll is home to lots of rare species of birds, as well as the biggest population of giant tortoises on the planet. It’s like a real-life Jurassic Park, but with less running and screaming.

As the sun sets over Seychelles, don’t forget to indulge in a seafood feast at a local restaurant. Freshly caught fish and succulent prawns, all drenched in mouthwatering Creole sauces, will leave you craving more.

Where to Stay

Seychelles has accommodation options that cater to every taste, from boutique hotels to eco-lodges. But if you’re looking for the crème de la crème, consider a stay at the North Island Lodge, where celebrities like Prince William and Kate Middleton have savoured romantic moments.

On Mahé, the Constance Ephélia offers sumptuous suites and villas set against lush tropical gardens. It’s the kind of place where you can wake up, roll out of bed, and dive straight into the Indian Ocean – no morning commute required.

For a taste of local culture, the Banyan Tree Resort offers traditional Creole-style villas surrounded by coconut palms and vanilla vines. You’ll feel like you’re living in a blogger’s Instagram account.


Tropical vacations - Fiji
Sun, Sand, and Serenity: 5 Exotic Destinations for Tropical Vacations 3

Pack your sunnies and sense of adventure because we’re jetting off to the mesmerising tropical paradise of Fiji. Nestled in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is an island nation that promises the ultimate blend of relaxation and excitement. This is where beach bums, water sports enthusiasts, and culture vultures can all have a blast.

How to Get There

You can catch a flight from various international airports, and the Nadi International Airport will be your gateway to this island utopia. Once you land, you’ll be greeted with the kind of warmth that a nice cup of tea brings on a winter night. You’ve got plenty of options to get to your hotel: hop in a taxi, catch a bus, or even jump on a minivan. If you’re staying on a resort island, you can also take a boat transfer.

What to Do in Fiji

Now, let’s dive into the juicy details of what Fiji has to offer. First up, those Instagram-worthy beaches. Imagine yourself sipping a cool coconut while basking on the soft, white sands of Natadola Beach, where the sea shimmers in every shade of blue. It’s as tranquil as a sloth napping in a hammock. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, you can surf the high waves at Cloud Break, one of the world’s legendary surf spots.

For underwater enthusiasts, Fiji’s coral reefs are an absolute treasure trove. You can snorkel or scuba dive among some of the most vibrant and diverse marine life you’ve ever seen. The Great Astrolabe Reef, with its kaleidoscope of colours, is a must-visit. Want a bit of fancy exploration? There are plenty of diving schools and resorts that cater to every skill level.

Fiji isn’t all about the beaches and coral reefs, though. You can take a break from the sun and sand by delving into the rich Fijian culture. Head to the capital, Suva, and explore the Fiji Museum for a crash course in the islands’ history. If you time it right, you might catch a traditional meke dance performance. 

Speaking of entertainment, Fiji has a bustling nightlife scene, especially in Nadi and Denarau. You can enjoy a Fijian twist on classic cocktails or get your groove on to the tunes of a local band. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing like nobody’s watching—it’s contagious!

Where to Stay

Fiji’s accommodation options are as diverse as its underwater life. You can go all-out lavish by booking a private villa at one of the luxury resorts on islands like Vomo or Turtle Island. It’s like living the high life with a cherry on top.

But if you’re rolling on a tighter budget, fret not. Fiji has plenty of budget-friendly options, from cosy beachfront bungalows to backpacker hostels. Savusavu and the Coral Coast have a bunch of affordable places that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

For those looking for a cultural immersion, you can opt to stay in a Fijian village. The locals will welcome you with open arms, and you’ll get to experience life as they do, from traditional meals to storytelling sessions under the starry sky.

Speaking of relaxation, some terms feel so satisfying, like swimsuits, palm tree swings, and tropical vacations. In a world that can sometimes feel too dull, tropical vacations are your passport to pure, unadulterated fun in the sun. So, make sure to pause your daily routine once in a while and wash away stress and tension in the sparkling water of one of those marvellous tropical destinations.

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