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วันที่ 9 เมษายน 2555
10. Nungwi, Zanzibar
The island of Zanzibar has long been loved by intrepid travelers for its enigmatic old Stone Town and 30 or so pristine beaches.
Tourists tend to gravitate towards Nungwi, a settlement located along the coast of north Zanzibar. In Nungwis extremely shallow shores, travelers can quite literally walk on water, with baby formula sand between their toes.
The azure waters and coral around Nungwi are home to scores of marine creatures.
Nungwi can be reached by bus, tourist minibus or hired vehicle from Zanzibar. For information visit www.zanzibar-travel-guide.com.
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9. Boulders Beach, Cape Town
At Boulders Beach, youll find one of the scenes that South Africa is most famous for -- penguins on a beach.
Boulders Beach is home to a colony of 3,000 jackass penguins that can be easily spotted waddling in and out of the sea.
The best place to see the penguins is from a special viewing boardwalk constructed on nearby Foxy Beach.
Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
For details visit dostuffct.com.
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8. Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Affectionately known as Provos, this 40-kilometer-long island, part of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, gives up half its length to one of the world's finest stretches of sand.
Now that the word is out, tourism infrastructure on Providenciales is developing a bit faster than some people would like.
Grace Bay Beach, a stunning, 19-kilometer stretch of sugary white sand, is host to most of the island's resorts. Other parts of the island, such as the Copper Jack beaches, still feel undiscovered.
Diving at Providenciales is world class, with stacks of healthy coral close to shore. The island is also close to a humpback whale migration route.
Many international airlines offer daily flights to Providenciales from several U.S. cities, Europe, the Bahamas and Caribbean cities. For more details visit www.turks-and-caicos-beach-vacation.com.
7. Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Yes, its filled with tourists, thanks in part to Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in The Beach, which was filmed here. But theres a reason Maya Bay is still on our list -- its just too perfect to pass up.
Maya Bay is a white sand beach hugged by steep limestone cliffs. Coral reefs make it an excellent spot for snorkeling.
Thousands of people visit the bay every day, so if you want to avoid the crowds, try to visit early in the morning or after 5 p.m.
From Phi Phi Don you can rent a longtail boat for 1,000 baht (US$32) for three hours, or 2,000 baht (US$64) for a full day, maximum four passengers, to get to the island. For more information visit www.krabi-tourism.com.
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6. Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
If youre a beach bum youve probably already heard of, or visited, or fallen in love with, Malaysias Perhentian Islands.
The two main islands are the backpacker-happy Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian Island), and Pulau Perhentian Besar (Big Perhentian Island), which has slightly more expensive accommodation.
Dive in the crystal blue waters off Pulau Perhentian Kecil and youre almost guaranteed to swim with sea turtles and small sharks.
Hang around the islands beach-side restaurants at 5 p.m. to watch fishermen bring in the days catch and haggle with restaurant owners.
The only way to get to the Perhentian Islands is by sea. Boat services are available from Kuala Besut. Read more at www.pulauperhentian.com.my.
5. Tulum, Mexico
There arent many places in the world where people can swim in the shadow of ancient Mayan ruins. Mexicos Tulum is one of them.
Tulum is famous for being the home of a Mayan archeological ruin that teeters on the edge of a sheer cliff. Beneath it, baby powder sands and jade green waters glisten.
The dramatically situated ruin makes it one of the three big Mayan sites for tourists, the other two being Chichen Itza in Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala.
The Yucatan's turquoise cenotes and excellent diving are also tourist draws. Everything from mega-resorts to thatched cabanas offering boutique accommodations are available.
For information visit www.travelyucatan.com.
4. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
With more than four kilometers of sand that is 98 percent pure silica -- so clean it squeaks -- Whitehaven Beach is part of the Whitsunday Islands National Park.
As part of the parks conservation policy, visitors have to register with a tour guide for access, and can stay only for a few hours. Thats one way it maintains its postcard-like perfection.
Local conservation efforts here have been internationally applauded. In 2010, the beach won CNNs Most Eco Friendly Beach award.
Watch out for jellyfish in summer. For those whod rather look like a condom than get stung, most tour boats provide head-to-toe, skin-tight stinger suits.
Whitehaven Beach is a natural park, so tour boats can stay only for brief periods. For more details visit www.whitehavenbeach.com.au.
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3. Champagne Beach, Vanuatu
The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu broke into the headlines a few years ago when the Happy Planet Index ranked it the happiest nation on earth. With beaches like this, how could locals not be euphoric?
The crescent of sand at Champagne Beach looks upon a lagoon fringed with coral. The beach gets its name from a phenomenon witnessed by the first travelers to the region -- the shallow waters appear to fizz at low tide, as if the beach is swimming in bubbly.
In truth, the effect is caused by gas escaping from volcanic rocks on the sea floor.
On the east coast of Espiritu Santo, the country's biggest island, Champagne Beach is a relatively popular tourist destination, particularly with Australian cruise shippers, though it does retain a quiet, laid-back feel.
There is no public transportation to the beach. For information on how to access the beach, visit www.vanuatu-hotels.vu. Champagne Beach Road, Lonnoc Village, North East Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
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2. Anse Source dArgent, Seychelles
A major contender for the top spot, this ribbon of sand on the Seychelles third-largest island, La Dique, mixes salt-white and flamingo-pink sands to create one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
A reef keeps the water calm, so make the most of rental snorkels to explore the shallow waters, after which you can explore granite boulders further inland.
The nearby restaurant, Lanbousir, offers local Creole dishes, including the tempting fruit-bat curry. DIY lovers can fix their own picnic from a supermarket just five minutes from the beach.
From the Seychelles main island of Mahe, take a ferry to the jetty at La Passe, on La Dique Island. From there flag down an ox-cart to L'Union Estate. A footpath leads to Anse Source d'Argent. There's a small entrance fee for non-residents.
1. Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti
Bora Bora is like the Gwyneth Paltrow of beaches -- a little too perfect to be believable.
But the spell that this small island in French Polynesia has cast on probably every traveler ever to dip a toe into its soft sands or calm waters has yet to be broken.
No question, Bora Bora is a heavy tourist destination -- luxury resorts and budget bungalows dapple the white sand perimeter. But its best spot, Matira Beach, reminds you why places like this become popular in the first place.
Feed sharks, hunt for black pearls, look through World War II memorabilia or just laze on the sand. At the world's greatest beach, life takes you easy.
Fly to Papeete in Tahiti, about seven and a half hours from Los Angeles. Then catch a flight to Bora Bora's tiny airport on Motu Mute.
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