Beach Towns A Little Less Ordinary
When was the last time you got a good dose of vitamin sea? If it was any longer than a day ago, your thoughts must be drifting to planning your next beach holiday – and who can blame you? But you can do better than just a beach holiday, some destinations go the extra mile and offer a lot more than your standard sun, sea and sand. Here are our top picks of beach destinations that take the traditional bucket and spade experience to a whole to level:
Batu Ferringhi, Penang
The pristine beach at Batu Ferringhi, a suburb of George Town on Malaysia’s Penang Island, has all your beach essentials – soft white sand, crystal-clear waters and towering palm trees. It’s tempting to spend your entire vacation on this beautiful stretch of sand, but if you can manage to peel yourself off the sun lounger, Penang has an abundance of delights waiting for you.
This island was once known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ – a nickname given after its beautiful colonial-era architecture, ornate temples and the stunning Penang Hill. Today, the island has become one of the hottest destinations in south-east Asia thanks to its dining scene and nightlife. You should sample the street food stalls on New Lane – most are open around the clock. For a more gourmet experience, you can also book a table at one of restaurants catering for every type of cuisine.
The rest of the island has as a lot more to offer, too. If you have young ones, they will love the funicular railway that takes you up to Penang Hill. At the top, you’ll find stunning temples and pretty gardens – in the evenings, a lovely view of Penang’s city lights.
Where to stay: Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang
Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles
For some, L.A. is synonymous with laid-back attitudes and healthy living. Going to work in jeans and flip-flops is common and it feels like you’re never more than three meters away from a yoga mat or organic juice. However, Hermosa Beach’s residents have managed to buck this trend and this town has become a haven for trendy hipsters scouting for a different kind of party scene.
If you fancy a dance, there are plenty of bars and clubs to visit so you won’t be short of options. One popular destination is the Sunday Beach House at Ocean Bar. The day starts with brunch overlooking the ocean and then slowly but surely progresses into a party in the afternoon.
Top tip: brush up on your craft beer knowledge before your trip – some bars have no less than 88 beers on tap!
Where to stay: Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles
Piha Beach, Auckland
Just 45 minutes west of Auckland, Piha is a seaside village renowned for its surf and astounding natural beauty. An abundance of minerals in the volcanic sand gives it a dark appearance and it’s one of the most popular beaches along the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Standing proudly in the middle of the bay is Lion Rock, a small island and an iconic landmark. It’s no longer possible to reach its highest point, due to rockfall, but you can still take a short, steep climb up. You’ll know you’ve gone as far as you can go when you reach the pou, a carved wooden post used by the indigenous peoples of New Zealand to mark territorial boundaries or places of significance. You’ll also find a perfectly placed stone seat on your arrival at the summit that makes it the ideal place to kick back and catch your breath while you enjoy the panoramic views.
And there’s more, the beach is surrounded by hiking trails in the native subtropical rainforest. One of the trails along Glen Esk Road leads to the most famous, and beautiful, waterfall in the Waitakere Ranges, Kitekite waterfall (that’s pronounced kitty-kitty).
Where to stay: M Social Auckland
So there you have it, the allure of the beach is never far away, but heading to one that is a little less ordinary will make memories you won’t forget in a hurry.