It’s no surprise that people start looking for their dream beach holiday in the dark, cold weeks after Christmas. This year, I’ve seen some lovely beaches on my travels researching the Gemstone Detective Series of pocket guide books to buying gemstones and jewellery abroad. So, if you’re wondering which country to head to for your next beach holiday, here’s my round-up of the best beaches near to the shopping and sightseeing hotspots of Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Australia.
Beautiful Hikkaduwa beach is under an hour and a half away from Sri Lanka’s bustling capital, Colombo. It’s perfect for those who like a mix of sunbathing and more active pursuits. If you’re keen on experiencing Sri Lankan culture on your beach holiday, you should definitely plan to spend time in Galle. There’s plenty to see, from Buddhist temples, old colonial architectural buildings and—of course—the famous gem markets! Unawatuna beach, south of Galle, is popular with tourists thanks to its palm-lined beaches and clear blue waters.
Chanthaburi is synonymous with Thailand’s gem trade – so much so that one of the main roads in the city is called ‘Gem Street’! It’s not only a great place to visit in itself, but is also a gateway to beach holiday favourite, the island of Koh Chang. You’ll be spoilt for choice here. Pick Lonely Beach for great nightlife (a bit of a misnomer, I know!) and Klong Prao Beach for white sand and low-key relaxation.
Goa lies along India’s most famously beautiful coastline and there are numerous picture-perfect places for your beach holiday. Try Calangute if you want a friendly holiday with everything on offer, from delicious Goan curries, watersports and colourful markets. Don’t forget to take my upcoming book, Buying Gemstones and Jewellery in India, if you want to avoid getting caught by the infamous Goa Gem Scam! For a quieter, less touristy feel, head north to Sinquerim beach.
I had a blast on Australia’s Opal Circuit! The Gold Coast is the penultimate stop on the circuit and has miles of glorious, sandy beaches. It’s a great place if you want your beach holiday to include incredible wildlife, the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted and of course, great surf. Try the aptly named Surfer’s Paradise beach and take a look at the incredible opals on sale when you’re tired of riding the waves.
You’ll find a beach holiday comes with a hefty dose of culture in Sydney, famous for its opera house, zoo, museums and the Sydney harbour bridge. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter than the famous Bondi Beach, try Manly Beach instead.
Whichever destination you choose for your beach holiday, arm yourself with my Gemstone Detective series and don’t let a scam spoil your fun!
Kim Rix GG (GIA)
Be sure | Be smart | Buy with confidence