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Colombo is the gateway to Sri Lanka for most travelers—but don’t be tempted to simply pass through this diverse and interesting city. Take a train ride along the coast to Mount Lavinia, a popular beach, or explore the Talangama Wetland, which several TripAdvisor travelers say is the perfect place to take a break from the bustling streets of the city.
Famous for its long sandy beach, west-coast Hikkaduwa also boasts good waves for surfers, reefs for snorkelers and divers, plus sand-side hotels, restaurants, and bars. Add an island temple, tsunami museum, and turtle sanctuary, and you have one of Sri Lanka’s best beach-holiday haunts.
With a wide sandy beach, big hotels, and handy proximity to Colombo, Negombo is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular resorts. Beyond its sands lies an interesting mix: a colonial-built canal and crumbled fort; a lively fish market, traditional fishing communities, and a wildlife-rich lagoon.
Ko Lanta is a gorgeous island where you'll be certain to find an uncrowded beach. Located in the Krabi Province, one of the southern provinces of Thailand, Ko Lanta offers fantastic scuba diving with exotic marine life and grand coral reefs. The sunsets, too, are legendary—watch one over a glass of wine with someone you love.
The cultural hub of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is visually defined by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which, at 88 stories high, are the tallest twin buildings in the world and a vision of modern architecture. On the flip side, the Sri Mahamariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, its façade a colorful totem pole of iconography. Shopping at the Central Market is a joyful experience that involves haggling, handicrafts, and happiness.
Known as the Hawaii of China, Sanya’s miles of coastline, tropical climate, and upscale resorts make it a go-to beach destination for many travellers. But, it’s the city’s Buddhist temples, coconut plantations, fruit-sorbet stands, and fishing port that keep travellers coming back.
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-smithing workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class.
The Zanzibar Archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, is a breathtaking spot to escape from the world. You’ll enjoy clear, turquoise-blue water; shallow sandbars perfect for wading; and many small, nearly deserted islands virtually unvisited by tourists. Explore the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter. Or just go beach to beach between tiny fishing villages—each one's better than the next.