Why Thailand Should Be On Everybody’s Bucket List

Why Thailand Should Be On Everybody’s Bucket List

The Southeast Asian nation delivers on the hype, with stunning natural scenery, delicious food, and awe-inspiring spiritual sites. Best of all, Thailand is inexpensive despite its popularity.

Below are several interesting facts about Thailand, along with Thai phrases to know, must-see destinations, and more: 

Fast Facts

  • Thailand welcomed the ninth-most visitors worldwide in 2018.
  • Thailand is home to the world’s smallest mammal, the bumblebee bat.
  • Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation to never be colonized by Europeans.
  • King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927-2016) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served as king of Thailand for 70 years and 126 days, the second-longest reign for a monarch in world history.
  • All Thai males were once required to spend time as Buddhist monks before they turned 20.

Thai Phrases to Know

  • “Hello” – Sawatdii
  • “How are you?” – Sabaadii mai
  • “Thank you” – Khop kun
  • “Excuse me” – Koortoot
  • “Cheers” – Chon gâew
  • “Can you speak English?” Kun pood paasaa anggrit dai mai

The Beaches

With some 2,000 miles of coastline and more than 1,400 islands, Thailand is a paradise for the aquatically inclined. Railay Beach, for example, offers travelers relaxation on the sand and adventure in the form of rock-climbing, island-hopping, hiking, and more. Those interested in spelunking or kayaking should also prioritize Phra Nang. Solitude seekers will find the sands of Kantiang Beach welcoming. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s no better party than the Full Moon Party at Koh Phangan.

The Cities

You’ll love the balance of history, natural beauty, and modernity that defines Thailand. That balance can be found in the country’s biggest cities. In Bangkok, for example, you can explore a metropolis by street, canal, or rail. And you’ll stand in awe at the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, the ornate architecture of the Grand Palace, and the quaint energy of the floating market.

Head north to Chiang Mai, a city founded in the 13th century, where you can barter at the night bazaar, or escape to the neighboring mountains and jungles: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most sacred sites in Thailand, overlooks the region, while the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai grants visitors the chance to admire Thailand’s national animal up close in an ethical setting.

The Food

Those who splurge for Thai food in the United States will find a welcome truth in Thailand: The authentic stuff is cheap. Most meals will run you about 90-150 Baht ($3-$5), so you can go on your own culinary tour without breaking the bank. Start out with staples such as guay teow (noodle soup), som tam (spicy green papaya salad), and tom kha gai (chicken in coconut soup) before venturing to more exotic dishes like pad phuk tong (stir-fried pumpkin) and yam pla dook foo (fried catfish with mango salad). No matter what you try, you can’t go wrong.

The Jungle

Thailand has worked to preserve its jungles and wide range of wildlife that call them home. The country is filled with national parks championing conservation while still providing visual and physical thrills. Khao Sok National Park in the south features the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. Visitors can go on a two-, three-, or four-day jungle tour. The Flight of the Gibbon—named for the smallish tree-swinging apes that call the Thailand jungles home—gives parkgoers a ziplined tour of the jungle canopy. (Note: There’s one near Chian Mai and another near Bangkok.)

The Temples

There are more than 40,000 temples in Thailand. For tourists, temples are architectural or spiritual attractions. For Buddhists, the monks especially, they are sacred places that should be treated with the utmost respect. Before you visit a temple, keep these customs in mind:

  • Dress modestly
  • Avoid using your cell phone
  • Remove your shoes
  • Don’t point
  • Never turn your back directly on Buddha; instead, take a few steps away from the effigy before turning

Okay, so now that you have the proper etiquette down, where will you go? How about the green-in-appearance-and-spirit Temple of a Million Bottles, which is made from recycled beer bottles and bottle caps? Or the centuries-old Wat Phrang That Lampang Luang? Maybe you’ll find peace at the famous White Temple. Wherever you choose, you’re sure to be awed. Each temple tells a different story and contributes to making your Thailand vacation simply unforgettable.


9 Beach Vacations for a Memorable Bachelorette Trip

9 Beach Vacations for a Memorable Bachelorette Trip

Beach vacations and bachelorette parties are a match made in heaven.

Whether you want to unwind or go wild, do high-octane activities or just relax with a cocktail, celebrating your friend’s impending nuptials on a spit of sand is the way to go.

Here are nine of the best beach destinations to celebrate a bride-to-be:

Tides Folly Beach | Charleston, SC

Charleston is one of the most popular bachelorette destinations in the United States, for good reason. The city has a world-class food scene, a compact downtown full of fun bars, and great beaches only minutes from the action.

Enter Tides Folly Beach: an oceanfront hotel located in the bohemian enclave of Folly Beach. You can spend your days walking around the beach town and enjoying live music at Snapper Jacks, relaxing on the sand, and lounging by the pool (and, of course, the poolside bar).

Or, if being active is more your speed, take a guided kayak or paddle-board tour of Folly Island. Tides also occasionally offers credits for Lyft rides and free cocktails, so you and your friends can head into the bar-packed downtown to have a classic bachelorette night out.


The EDITION | Miami Beach, FL

If you want to party in the city where the heat is on, book a stay at the EDITION, the Ian Schrager-designed space that breathes new life into the once-glorious landmark Seville Hotel.

While you can and should take advantage of all that Miami Beach has to offer (neon lights, bumping nightclubs, Cuban food to die for, and stone crabs), the EDITION has so much going on that you could get away with never leaving the property: a state-of-the-art spa, several restaurants developed by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, two dreamy pools lined with cabanas, and a white-sand beach.

Then there’s the motherlode. The EDITION is home to a sprawling entertainment complex called BASEMENT, which features a skating rink, a four-lane bowling alley, and a night club, all below the lobby.


Parrot Key Hotel & Villas | Key West, FL

A stay in Key West is much more than an all-night party. The tropical island is home to sandy beaches, rich history (including the former residence of Ernest Hemingway—and current home of many six-toed cats), top-notch snorkeling and kayaking, and an amazing seafood scene. 

Parrot Key allows you to tap into the best of both worlds, thanks to its waterfront property, four pools (including an adults-only pool), and grounds dotted with hammocks and cabanas. If you start to crave some cocktails, swim up to the poolside bar or take the free shuttle to historic downtown for bar-hopping up and down Duval Street. End your night by attending a drag show at the famous 801 Bourbon Bar.


Pendry | San Diego, CA

San Diego is the land of beaches and beer, and that should define a bachelorette trip to this sunny California city.

Dip your toes into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean then go on a beer crawl, either around downtown San Diego—where you can walk or Uber to a dozen or more bars in a tight radius—or head up to Miramar, where brewery giants like St. Archer’s and Ballast Point and funky newcomers like boozy kombucha outfit Juneshine operate huge taprooms.

Whatever you choose, the Pendry in downtown San Diego is the perfect home base, a mix of upscale boutique and laid-back Southern California cool. Not only will you be in the heart of the effortlessly cool Gaslamp District and a stone’s throw from Barrio Logan, but you can also take advantage of the Pendry’s spa, six on-site restaurants and bars, and a rooftop pool that will make you and your friends feel like you’re in a movie.


Hotel Coral & Marina | Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada in northern Baja California may not be the party center that Cabo is, but it more than makes up for it. The region features beautiful rocky beaches, world-class sunsets, surfing, the best ceviche in Mexico at La Guerrerense, and access to the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s laid-back, affordable answer to Sonoma.

Stay at the Hotel Coral & Marina, where you’ll get five-star amenities without the exorbitant price tag. Have a spa day on the grounds, maybe spend a day at the resort eating at one of the two restaurants on-site and sipping cocktails by the pool, then go on a guided tour of the Valle de Guadalupe’s best vineyards—all organized by the hotel, so your group doesn’t have to lift a logistical finger.


Costa Baja Resort | La Paz, Mexico

If your group really wants to live the southern Baja life, La Paz offers a more relaxed pace than its more famous cousin Cabo—without having to sacrifice nightlife. 

Costa Baja Resort is a luxurious resort located north of town where there’s no such thing as a bad view. It’s far enough away to be out of the fray (and give you a slice of private white-sand beach free of tchotchke hawkers) but close enough to the action that you can easily bar-hop and dance the night away.

There’s also room for aquatic adventures. Snorkel with whale sharks, or kayak to your heart’s content until the sun goes down in the Sea of Cortez. Then head downtown and walk the malecón before hitting the bars. Depending on the vibe you’re going for, you could head to La Morante Art Bar for live music or Regina to dance under the glow of neon lights.


Paradisus | Cancún, Mexico

A stay at Paradisus is essential to recovering from Cancún’s international party scene. This resort takes all-inclusive to the next level, with an adults-only, optional royal service, and more than 10 bars and restaurants on the grounds, including Tempo, a Martin Berasategui-created fine-dining establishment that mixes Basque, Mexican, and Caribbean cuisine in delightful ways.

You could spend your entire trip on the Paradisus grounds, but it’s also a quick drive to nightlife on the main drag. Consider hiring Cuncrawl, which hosts curated bar crawls, booze cruises, and day parties, and even organizes private bachelorette nights.

Paradisus is also convenient to the interior of Quintana Roo, where you can explore Mayan ruins at Cobá and go ziplining or canoeing to see how beautiful this region really is.

Secrets Wild Orchid | Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay edges out other Jamaican destinations thanks to its nightlife and proximity to the airport. Opt for a guided nightlife tour out on the town, or, if you decide to stay at Secrets Wild Orchid, you don’t need to leave the resort to find the party.

Located on a one-mile stretch of private beach, Secrets Wild Orchid hosts theme parties and live entertainment, boasts 24/7 access to food and drinks (including two swim-up bars and a bar at their spa), and even has a gaming lounge where guests can pretend they’re in Las Vegas. Secrets also allows Wild Orchid guests to walk over to its sister property, St. James, for a little change of scenery.


Gente del Mar Resort | Cartagena, Colombia

Actual paradise is just a quick flight (three hours direct from Miami, five from New York) away. 

Gente del Mar is in the Rosario Islands, a 40-minute boat ride south of Cartagena. This hotel perfects the indoor-outdoor living that is so essential to fully enjoying the Caribbean life. The bar and luxury spa don’t hurt, either. Gente de Mar’s location at the edge of a federally protected natural park grants you peace and quiet, where most visitors to the Rosarios are packed onto public beaches like sardines. 

The hotel also takes care of transportation logistics, so your group doesn’t have to worry about getting to and from the mainland. And you’ll want to explore Cartagena, a bright, colonial city, with famous walls, a walkable historic center, and streets lined with hibiscus and bougainvillea.


10 Romantic Honeymoon Hideaways

10 Romantic Honeymoon Hideaways

As much as your wedding is a celebration of love, it can feel like a whirlwind. There are relatives whose names you can’t quite remember. There’s the endless planning and the pictures that didn’t quite turn out right.

In other words, your wedding may not be perfect—but your honeymoon can be.

The world is filled with natural wonders, and in each corner, you’ll find destinations that promise you’ll be gushing about your stay for years to come.

From the Caribbean to the South Pacific, the Rocky Mountains to Amalfi Coast, here are 10 hideaways that make for an unforgettable, romantic honeymoon.

Antigua | Hermitage Bay

With direct flights from New York, Miami, Atlanta, and Charlotte, Antigua is just a few hours away once you step out of that bridal suite. At Hermitage Bay, an all-inclusive boutique, you’ll find a haven that makes the most of its natural surroundings. You’ll feel like you’re walking directly from the jungle to the beach with a secluded, cozy individual cabin to return to once you get your fill of relaxation.

Belize | Cayo Espanto

Any place that owns the domain aprivateisland.com better deliver on that promise. And Cayo Espanto certainly does. The island resort off the northeast coast of Belize features a range of lodging options, all with private beach fronts and pools. Lounge as you please or take part in activities such as fishing and scuba diving. Either way, the seclusion and bungalows are more reminiscent of the South Pacific than the Caribbean, albeit with much shorter travel from the United States.

Colorado | Beaver Creek

Looking to buck the trend of tropical getaways and beachside lodging? Perhaps the Rocky Mountains provide the perfect setting for your honeymoon. Located some 9,500 feet above sea level, Trappers Cabin at Colorado’s Beaver Creek has everything for adventurous couples craving a private hideaway: a champagne greeting, fireplace, hot tub, gourmet kitchen, Wi-Fi, balcony, housekeeping services, and ski-in/ski-out access, among other amenities.

Fiji | Likuliku Lagoon Resort

If you and your spouse love each other to the edge of the world and back, you can prove it here. The Likuliku Lagoon Resort sits in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, just west of the International Date Line. You’ll find stunning ocean and jungle views with clear blue water all around. Likuliku delivers “subtle luxury,” according to its website, although there’s nothing subtle about the location—its beauty is overwhelmingly evident.

Iceland | Silica Hotel

Once a barren outpost in the North Atlantic, Iceland has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. You can still find your escape from the crowds at the Silica Hotel. Located next to the famous Blue Lagoon, Silica provides exclusive guest access to its geothermal waters. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the Northern Lights while you’re there. No matter what, Iceland promises unforgettable experiences at every turn, from dining in a restaurant built into a lava wall to exploring the architectural delight that is the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik.

Italy | Le Sirenuse

Writing in 1953, American novelist John Steinbeck described Positano, a cliffside village on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, as “a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” Le Sirenuse puts you in the middle of that idyllic setting, a historic hotel that overlooks the Bay of Positano with all the Italian cuisine and wine you could want.

Mexico | Campera – Hotel Burbuja

A honeymoon in Baja California is the ideal getaway if you’re seeking a Mexican vacation away from tourist traps and a location that is both accessible and remote. The Campera – Hotel Burbuja (literally “Bubble Hotel” in English) offers slumber beneath the stars after long days spent exploring the so-called “Napa Valley of Mexico” in the Valle de Guadalupe. The chic hotel is also less than 100 miles from San Diego, which makes travel convenient.

Puerto Rico | St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

Travel to the Caribbean without leaving American soil and find paradise while you’re there. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort features two miles of secluded beaches with all-encompassing experiences at your fingertips. Go hiking, horseback riding, or explore nearby El Yunque National Forest for an active and relaxing honeymoon.

Seychelles | MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa

Arrive in style on Mahe Island, fresh from your post-wedding flight, by taking a helicopter to the MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa’s private helipad. Once on land, you’ll be greeted by a personal butler for your stand-alone villa that carries a “beyond all inclusive” package, featuring daily yoga, non-motor watersports, and scuba diving. You can’t beat the view—a secluded hillside overlooking the Indian Ocean—either.

St. Lucia | Jade Mountain

On a beautiful island, this may just be the most beautiful resort. Individual bridges lead to Jade Mountain’s “sanctuaries,” complete with their own infinity pools. Each provides open-air views of the surrounding mountainside, jungle, and, of course, beaches.

So where will you go? Wherever you choose, just know that “happily ever after” starts with the honeymoon.



The Most Luxurious Resorts Of 2020

The Most Luxurious Resorts Of 2020

Here’s the great thing about dream vacations: No matter what time of the year, it’s never too late to plan an escape to an exotic location.

You’ll have plenty of luxurious resorts to choose from in 2020. The new year brings grand openings from New York to Vietnam, although some of the places on this list date back to the early 20th century. Luxury really is timeless.

We’ve included destinations across the globe, so break out your bucket list and feel free to let your mind wander—perhaps you’ll soon follow.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in Africa

Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay – Morocco

With cities on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Morocco continues to grow as a tourist destination. Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay is a regal resort on the Mediterranean with white, Islamic architecture, a private beach, and indoor and outdoor pools. The Mediterranean and Thai cuisine gives visitors a mix of flavors in a distinctly Moroccan setting.

Ellerman House – South Africa

Built in 1906, The Ellerman House sits at the edge of the world and the peak of luxury. The hotel overlooks Cape Town and the South Atlantic Ocean, making for panoramic, breathtaking views. The all-inclusive package features breakfast, spirits, wine tasting, a private chef, and more. The Ellerman House made Condé Nast’s Gold List for 2019.

The Oberoi Beach Resort – Mauritius

For an exotic getaway with stunning natural wonders all around, look no further than the Oberoi Beach Resort in Mauritius. The luxury rooms come with their own perks: pavilions with floor-to-ceiling windows, garden villas with open-air dining, and villas with private pools. Adventurous travelers can go scuba diving or explore the lush jungles that surround the resort.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in Asia

Four Seasons Tokyo – Japan

The Four Seasons Tokyo does the impossible: It provides an intimate, luxurious stay in the world’s most populous city. Visitors will live the high life, relaxing in the spa, sauna, or traditional Onsen bath. The proximity to ancient and modern Tokyo keeps you close to major tourist stops as well.

Mandarin Oriental – Vietnam

Mandarin Oriental has made its name by delivering lavish experiences in the world’s most famous locales. Now, the brand is heading to Vietnam, where a 227-room hotel will open in Saigon in 2020 with six restaurants and bars and an outdoor pool.

Soneva Kiri – Thailand

With its isolated beaches and lush jungles, Soneva Kiri delivers the kind of all-encompassing escape to paradise everyone dreams of. The discovery experiences set the resort apart, with treepod dining a favorite among visitors. Thailand needs to be on your bucket list, and places like this are a big reason why.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in Australia & The South Pacific

Conrad Bora Bora Nui – French Polynesia

Bora Bora is synonymous with paradise, and for good reason. Its beachside villas and crystal-blue waters are second to none. You’ll find both at Conrad Bora Bora Nui and more: a blue lagoon foreground and volcanic background covered in jungle. Stay in an overwater villa for the complete experience.

Matangi Private Island Resort – Fiji

Have you ever wanted to stay in a treehouse overlooking the South Pacific? You do now. The Matangi Private Island Resort, located on Fiji’s Horseshoe Bar, provides that unique arboreal lodging. You’ll also enjoy the tropical gardens and cultural village tours, and leave knowing why the island was named one of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die.

Tiwi Island Retreat – Australia

Deep-sea fishermen flock to this resort, but there’s something at Tiwi Island Retreat for everyone. Take a helicopter adventure to remote swimming holes, or simply relax by the 12-meter, waterfront pool. The spacious outdoor bistro and bar makes for an ideal end to your evening.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in the Caribbean

Amanyara – Turks & Caicos

When you combine a brand like Aman and a tropical paradise like Turks and Caicos, you get one of the most luxurious resorts in the world. Amanyara features a private beach nearly a mile long and unforgettable stays in open-air pavilions and villas with infinity pools. It’s just a short flight from Miami and New York, making Amanyara both accessible and remote.

Cabrits Resort and Spa Kempinski Dominica – Dominica

Opening in 2020, the Cabrits Resort and Spa Kempinsky Dominica will raise the profile of this Caribbean island nation as a travel destination. Choose a room with a view of the Caribbean Sea or the mountains of neighboring Cabrits National Park.

Rosewood Little Dix Bar – British Virgin Islands

Rosewood Little Dix Bar is at times understated and always unforgettable. As if the 500 acres of untamed gardens weren’t enough of a natural getaway, the resort gives you access to secluded beaches. The beachfront cottages also feature outdoor garden showers.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in Europe

Blue Palace – Crete

Greece’s island of Crete is ancient, mythical, and wonderfully modern for travelers. The Blue Palace welcomes you to the Mediterranean, where you’ll find a variety of lodging options, all of which are unique to this corner of the world.

Nobu Hotel – London

You may associate England with overcast skies and dreary days, but there’s luxury there, too. Wellness and well-being will be at the forefront of your stay at the Nobu Hotel in London. The welcome includes a champagne greeting and access to otherworldly spa treatments. Grab a room with a private balcony for the full effect.

Vila Vita Parc – Portugal

The Algarve Region in Portugal continues to be a popular destination, and resorts like the Vila Vita Parc make it so. The outdoor areas that feature infinity pools and spacious gardens certainly stand out. So, too, does the swim-up Whale Pool Lounge and Bar. If staying fit on vacation is a goal of yours, you’ll love the yoga pavilion and wellness courses the resort offers.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in North America

Aman – New York

The terraced gardens of Aman New York will welcome visitors to Manhattan in style, starting in 2020. The luxury hotel is in the heart of the action but exists as an oasis in the sky. It’s the perfect place to take in all that New York City has to offer.

Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo – Costa Rica

Escape to the rainforests of Central America, where you’ll feel like the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo was made especially for you. It’s secluded in the best way, with jungle all around and four beaches nearby to dip your toes in the ocean.

Viceroy Los Cabos – Mexico

You can explore the resort city of San José del Cabo before returning to the stunning property at Viceroy Los Cabos, surrounded entirely by water. White beaches are plentiful, as are adventures ranging from surfing, fishing, and hiking to oceanside yoga.


The Most Luxurious Resorts in South America

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas – El Peru

This self-described “fairytale hideaway” brings luxury to the Andes. Settle in for a mountain retreat in the beautiful, remote Belmond Palacia Nazarenas. The stay itself is a treat, but so is the luxury train that travels between Cusco and the ruins of Machu Picchu.

The Singular Patagonia – Chile

The brilliant snow-capped mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop for the Singular Patagonia. The floor-to-ceiling windows at this historic resort, which was established in 1940, are the only things separating you from the edge of the Southern Hemisphere.

JW Marriott Hotel Rio De Janeiro – Brazil

Hey, it’s Rio. Why not live it up at a swanky hotel? The JW Marriott sits right on Copacabana Beach, and if that wasn’t enough, it has a rooftop bar and private pool. Explore the famous Brazilian culture, then retire to your own slice of Rio.




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