Beaches are pretty much my favorite places to be when it’s warm, and I’m lucky enough to have been to a few of them. I love clear, blue water, gentle surf, and plenty of people to watch. I haven’t been to all of these beaches with Carolyn, but the best ones always involved her on a towel next to mine reading a book. Let’s have a look at my favorite 10 beaches in the world and wish we were at one (or all) of them instead of in a cold office in Korea.
Haeundae Beach, Busan, South Korea
This might be my favorite beach for cold weather, because there’s no shortage of places to get a nice hot coffee. The water is a beautiful blue green. On a clear day you can see Tsushima Island, Japan. Unfortunately, Haeundae beach is nuts in the summer, with about a bajillion people crowding up shoulder to shoulder under umbrellas to avoid the sun. Why anyone would avoid the sun on a beautiful beach defies my logic, but what the hell? When in
Rome Busan, right?
Magic Sands Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Magic Sands beach on Hawaii’s Big Island was the only beach I visited very often when I lived on the island. The beach is beautiful in the summer with it’s white sand and surf ranging from lapping waves to big rollers. Its also situated next to one of the best shore diving spots on the island. You gotta bring your own snacks, though, and parking is okay if you get there early, but you gotta be careful or else your car could get broken into. It’s a good beach, but not the perfect beach.
Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, South Korea
Daecheon Beach is definitely worth visiting during the Boryeong Mudfest in July. It’s a beautiful beach nestled next to the East China Sea with nice, shell laced sand, and a plethora of convenience stores nearby for snacks. During the mudfest there’s also great people watching and festival food.
Jeongdongjin, South Korea
The last beach in Korea on this list is Jeongdongjin. Jeongdongjin is just about as far north as you can go in the Republic of Korea before you enter the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. So close that there are guard towers, barbed wire, and machine gun nests on the cliffs. For real. The population density here is pretty low though, especially for this country, and the ocean is clear, blue, and beautiful. There’s not a hell of a lot to eat though. Be ready for a weekend of supermarket food and the same variety of fish at every restaurant at this one.
Waikiki Beach, O’ahu, Hawaii
Waikiki is probably the perfect urban beach. There is no shortage of snacks, restaurants, drinks, or people watching on Waikiki. The water is clear, beautiful, and filled with decent snorkeling if you’re into that kind of thing. Want to eat a stereotypical Hawaiian meal (in the tourist way, meaning pineapple and macadamia nuts) while being serenaded by some ukulele wielding locals? You can do that on Waikiki. It’s an easy beach. You don’t have to pack beforehand, think about things like sunscreen or lunch, or anything. It’s all easily purchased right there on the beach (at a premium, of course.)
Double-Six Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Double-Six Beach is what I imagine Waikiki was like 50 years ago or more. None of the buildings rise above the tree-line, the easy to access shops and restaurants are hidden behind a beautiful row of trees and sea wall, and there’s a lot of people to watch. There’s really not a whole lot of downside to this beach. It’s not great for swimming, but that means you get to watch the surfers. There’s a lot of hawkers, but you can chalk that up to local color. It’s Bali, dude. It’s beautiful, good food is everywhere, and once you’re there it’s all pretty cheap.
Honokohau Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Right next to Keahole International Airport is a little national historical site with a great beach. This beach features a reconstructed traditional style Hawaiian hut, a temple, fish pond, and I’m pretty sure an outrigger living in the hut. The water is blue and calm, and I’m pretty sure you could swim out to some great dive sites if you like. Additionally, it’s a short trek (maybe 100m or so) across a lava floe to get here, so it’s not going to be chock full of people at any given time. Sometimes you want quiet, right? Bring your snacks and drinks with you, because there’s nowhere to grab one once you’re here.
West Railay Beach, Railay, Thailand
The Railay peninsula in Krabi Province, Thailand is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in my life. There. I said it. Nestled in beautiful Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga), the Railay Peninsula is an otherworldly landscape dominated by towering limestone cliffs topped with lush jungle, a beautiful turquoise-blue sea dotted with limestone karsts called
Mr. Hong’s Secret Kung Fu Island “hongs.” West Railay Beach is cordoned off at the north and south by tall limestone cliffs with low lying hotels, shops, and restaurants scattered along a dirt road behind the beach. It’s beautiful. There’s a ton of people to watch, and it’s easy to get a kayak and head straight out into the bay to really feel like you’re away from everything.
Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Kata Beach is beautiful. It’s not as chaotic as nearby Patong Beach, the water is clear and blue, and there’s a nice little island just offshore that makes a great counterpoint to a wonderful sunset. The Andaman Sea stretches out in front of you, and behind you a great enclave of restaurants, bars, and shops. While some might prefer the night life of Patong, it’s pretty nice to be able to get a cheap place to stay where you can stretch out and not be bothered by bedbugs or other critters. Kata is a great, great beach that really showcases Thailand’s natural beauty while also allowing you every modern convenience you might need.
Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Thailand
Phra Nang Beach is certainly the most beautiful place I’ve ever laid eyes on. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue, the beach is framed by a gorgeous limestone cave, monkeys come out of the woods to feast on garbage and people’s bags of chips and unattended items at dusk, and the sea is dotted with those beautiful green little hongs as far as you can see. In the morning before the boats of tourists arrive, this beach is absolutely 100%, perfect.