Tulum is a town on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It’s known for its beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city. The main building is a large stone structure called El Castillo (castle), perched on a rocky cliff above the white sand beach and turquoise sea. Near the ruins is the Parque Nacional Tulum, a coastal area with mangroves and cenotes (natural limestone sinkholes).
Bali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship. On shore, the lush jungle shelters stone temples and mischievous monkeys. The “artistic capital” of Ubud is the perfect place to see a cultural dance performance, take a batik or silver-smiting workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class.
Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. It’s famed for rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain most of the population. Viti Levu is home to the capital, Suva, a port city with British colonial architecture. The Fiji Museum, in the Victorian-era Thurston Gardens, has ethnographic exhibits.
Hawaii, a U.S. state, is an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific. Its islands are renowned for their rugged landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, tropical foliage and beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands. Of the 6 main islands, Oahu has Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor’s WWII memorials.
The state’s diverse islands are destinations for outdoor activities ranging from hiking, golfing and fishing to surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling. Maui is known for its diversity of beaches, upscale resorts and humpback whale sightings. The Big Island is home to Kilauea, an active volcano that regularly oozes lava, part of Volcanoes National Park. Kauai’s dramatic, craggy terrain has served as backdrop for dozens of films. Quieter Lanai offers luxury resorts and beaches. Molokai has minimal tourist infrastructure.
where sands are white as the smiles of the locals, where fish swim happily in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where the weather is a dream, and the deep rays of the sun waits to engulf you in their arms.
The Philippines is an archipelago in South-East Asia of more than seven thousand islands located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea at the very eastern edge of Asia. Many wonderful beaches are just part of one of the world’s longest coastlines and it takes about 20 years to spend a day on every island. Since Spanish colonial times, the country has been Asia’s largest Catholic country. Over a hundred ethnic groups, a mixture of foreign influences and a fusion of culture and arts have enhanced the uniqueness of the Filipino identity and the wonder that is the Philippines.
Nepal is a nation between India and Tibet known for its temples and Himalayan mountains, which include Mt. Everest. Kathmandu, the capital, has a mazelike old quarter filled with Hindu and Buddhist shrines. Around Kathmandu Valley are Swayambhunath, a Buddhist temple with resident monkeys; Boudhanath, a massive Buddhist stupa; Hindu temples and cremation grounds at Pashupatinath; and the medieval city of Bhaktapur.
White-water rafting trips follow mountain rivers such as the Sun Koshi and Seti. In the southern Terai lowlands are Chitwan and Bardia national parks, home to rhinos and tigers, and jungle safaris by Jeep or on elephant-back. Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace, has monasteries and monuments and is a Buddhist pilgrimage site. Annapurna Circuit treks start in Kathmandu and stop in Pokhara, a relaxed lakeside town with yoga centers and waterside cafes.
Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers.