October 9, 2013
Kerala is backwater paradise. Its 900-km meandering network of canals, lagoons and lakes is set against a palette of lush vegetation and is home to thousands of bird species. The queen of the backwaters is the 200 km² Vembanad Lake. The sublime orange sunset over this vast body of fresh water is postcard perfect with silhouettes of fishing boats and houseboats drifting in and out of view, framed by palm trees.
There are more authentic places to be in Bali but Kuta’s beach is still a great spot to settle for a few entertaining hours and watch those crazy kitesurfers ride the waves and practice their jumps and twists. Come early evening, the beach clears of crowds, the hawkers disappear and the surfers leave the sea. The horizon is dominated by the setting sun, its reflection shimmering in the water – a peaceful end to the day.
Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai
Chowpatty Beach is a hangout for friends, a playground for kids and perfect for an evening stroll. It’s not a beach for sunbathing but it is litter-free and has a laid-back carnival atmosphere with a buzz of activity, chatter and laughter, smiling faces and stalls to browse. See the sun set over Malabar Hill in the distance – one of Mumbai’s must-dos.
Head south of Sines on the Alentejo coast and discover dramatic cliffs and craggy coves, vegetation and golden sands. Visit the sleepy fishing village of Porto Covo, surf the Atlantic waves, gallop along the beach on a horse (or ride a walking donkey) or go fishing around Ihla de Pessegueiro, situated 250-metres from the shoreline. Translated as ‘Peach Tree Island’, this rocky islet was a (now-ruined) fort in the 15th – 16th century, and completes a wonderful sunset vista.
Laid-back, colourful and multi-cultural, this 18th century fortified seaport is home to Arabs, Africans and Europeans. The medina is delightfully peaceful compared to that of Marrakech, and the broad, windswept beach – a favourite with kite surfers – adds to the chilled-out vibe. Watch the sun dip behind the ramparts over the Atlantic – best viewed from the roof of your riad or from a roof-top restaurant.