The island nation known as the Seychelles can be found in the Indian Ocean off the East coast of Africa, North of Madagascar. There are 115 islands in the archipelago. Seychelles has become a popular tourist destination, thanks to its stunning tropical beaches and interesting wildlife. Popular activities include diving, fishing, sailing, and laying around on amazing white sand beaches. Visitors can find any range of accommodation on the main islands of Praslin, La Digue or Mahé, as well as a variety on outlying islands.
Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island off the Eastern coast of Australia is said to be the whitest beach in the world. The sand is made almost entirely of silica which provides the incredibly white color. The sand is so pure, NASA has used it to make special telescope lenses. Whitehaven beach stretches for over 7 km (4 miles) along the largest of the Whitsunday Islands. Trips leaving from mainland Australia to visit the beach leave multiple times a day, and there is a variety of accommodation on Whitsunday Island. Visitors shouldn’t miss a trip to the nearby outer Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Once a backpacker’s secret, Thailand’s Phi Phi islands exploded onto the tourist map after the release of The Beach, a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio that was filmed on one of the islands. Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Lee are located between the island of Phuket and mainland Thailand off the West coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Ko Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands and is home to permanent residents and a myriad of accommodations for tourists. Ko Phi Phi Lee has spectacular white sand beaches and can be visited by boat only, with trips leaving from the larger island throughout the day. Visitors can enjoy diving, snorkeling and kayaking in the waters off both islands.
Southwest of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea lies a paradise like no other, the island country of the Maldives. The Republic of the Maldives consists of twenty-six atolls in an area spanning 90,000 square kilometers (34,749 square miles). The Maldives are popular for their picture-perfect lush islands ringed by gorgeous white sand beaches. The tiny country is the smallest in Asia both in land mass and population (309,000 people). It also has the lowest high point of any country in the world at 2.3 meters (7 feet 7 inches) and because of this the rising sea level threatens its very existence. All total, the Maldives consists of roughly 1,190 coral islands, only 185 of which are inhabited. The islands were discovered as a tourist destination in the 1970s and today tourism accounts for just under 30% of the country’s GDP. A range of accommodation for any budget can be found on the Maldives, and the country’s capital city of Male is home to an international airport.
Navagio Beach, or Shipwreck Beach, can be found on the Northwest side of Zakynthos Island, which is in turn off the West coast of Greece. Because the isolated beach is home to the wrecked smuggler ship Panagiotis it is also referred to as Smuggler’s Cove. The picturesque white sand beach is only accessible by boat. Tourists can catch a boat from the capital city of Zakynthos, Porto Vromi to the South, or from Saint Nikolas in Volimes to the Northeast. The Panagiotis was an alleged smuggler ship that was transporting illegal cigarettes when it wrecked in 1983. Navagio Beach is the least crowded in the months of May and November, and the best time to go is in the morning. Since the beach is so popular, many tourists opt to rent a car and simply enjoy the spectacular view of the beach from the top of the hill.