13 Fun Back-To-School Crafts to Kick off the Year on a Creative Note

Remember the excitement of pulling out your fresh Jansport backpack and those brand-new school supplies for the first time? Same. And while many things have changed over the years, the universal love for cute pencils, notebooks, and arts and crafts will never be too cool for school. Start your students’s year off in style — from pre-k through high school — with these easy back-to-school crafts.

Bonus: Not only are these projects fun to make, they serve a purpose, too. From desk organization to places to keep notes and reminders to locker decorations, your kids will keep using their creations for the rest of the year. (Which means that you don’t need to figure out a place to keep them once they’re done.)

So, what’s your style? Are they looking to celebrate the fall spirit and take on an apple-themed project? Are they looking for something trendy and of-the-moment, filled with emojis or rainbows? Or do they want something more classic and watercolor-inspired?

  1. Yarn Apple Garland
back to school craft yarn apple garland

Back to school means apples (for the teacher), apples (to keep the doctor away), and more apples (for apple-picking season). This festive yarn garland stays true to the fall feeling in the air.

2. Shark Pencil Case

shark pencil case

Take a bite out of disorganization with this sharky foam pencil case, which turns every week into Shark Week.

3. Mini Button Chalkboard

back to school diy button chalkboard

If you need a place for little notes, reminders, and words of encouragement, this DIY chalkboard is it. Plus, you get to use up all the extra buttons you have lying around the house.

4. Apple Tag

back to school diy apple

Even the little ones can get into the back-to-school DIY act with this tissue-paper apple tag. Note to tall the teachers out there: This also makes a good first-day-of-school activity, so every student can hang one on their desk.

5. DIY Homework Caddy

back to school craft homework caddy

If they have all the supplies they need ready to go in one place — a cute place, to boot — they’ll have one less reason to procrastinate doing their homework.

6. Apple Mason Jar

back to school crafts crafts apple mason jar

Use it as a pencil holder, or a catch-all for things like paper clips and thumb tacks. These also make great teacher gifts.

7. Beaded Backpack Tags

back to school diy backpack tags

Flashback to the good ol’ days of hunting down the coolest keychains for your backpack. Well, now your kids can make their own with colorful beads and yarn.

8. Rainbow Desk Organizer

back to school diy craft rainbow desk organizer

Not only does this desk organizer keep papers sorted, it teaches them their ROYGBIV if you make it large enough. (You can use one for your office desk, too.)

9. French Fry Pencil Holder

back to school diy french fry pencil holder

TGI Fryday! (Fry-yay!) Never have pencils looked so delicious.

10. Rainbow Watercolor Backpack

back to school diy watercolor backpack

Your backpack should match her personality. So, that means it should be covered in bold and cheery paint!

11. Emoji Magnets

back to school diy magnets

Your tweens can add some personality — ahem, multiple personalities — to their teen lockers with these LOL-worthy magnets. All you need are round magnets and some paint (make sure you have plenty of yellow).

12. Splattered Watercolor Notebook

easy back to school diy watercolor notebooks

You can never have too many notebooks, especially when they have your name written across the front. Right, guys?

13. Gradient Calendar

back to school diy gradient calendar

Rumor has it that if her calendar looks like wall art, she might actually look at it every once and while. It’s amazing what washi tape can do.

5 Inspiring Ways to Create the Bedroom of Your Dreams

Regardless of your design aesthetic, you deserve a bedroom that promotes a good night’s rest. Relaxing hues, luxurious bedding, and carefully chosen bedroom accessories, like nightstands with the right amount of storage, are just some of the elements needed to craft a relaxing yet stylish bedroom.

  1. Experiment with a console table.
bedroom makeover ideas

Of course, you can settle for traditional nightstands, but why not mix things up by considering a low-profile console table instead? Spruce one up with your favorite bedside accessories, including an oversized mirror, petite table lamp and framed artwork.

2. Go for a black-and-white palette.

bedroom makeover ideas black and white palette

Warm up a classic black-and-white color scheme with stylish décor accents, like a woven planter or wooden bench at the foot of the bed. Introduce additional contrast with a black canopy bed and patterned textiles.

3. Install tassel hardware.

bedroom makeover ideas tassel nightstand

Bring a touch of sophisticated elegance to your bedroom with the addition of tassel hardware. It’s a simple way to dress up the most basic nightstand.

4. Arrange a statement gallery wall.

bedroom makeover ideas gallery wall

You can never go wrong with an eye-catching gallery wall, especially in a bedroom setting. Create a cohesive look with black frames that are perfect for displaying your favorite photographs, mementos, and more.

5. Consider a built-in bed.

bedroom makeover ideas, built in bed

Give your space a cocoon-like feel by going for a captain’s bed. The cozy style is also the perfect way to experiment with coastal-inspired décor.

25 DIY School Supplies to Make for Back-to-School

Back-to-school season can be an exciting, albeit hectic time. Every year brings a new list of school supplies, and these can quickly add up. This year, save money and get crafty instead. These easy ideas are a fantastic way to personalize your school or office supplies, and just wait for the compliments to pour in from your peers.

1. Embroidery Backpack Patches
Trim the Patch Pin Pieces

Make your embroidery patches to stitch onto your backpack (or jacket). There are 4 methods to this DIY project, so pick your favorite, choose your patch, and personalize your bag.

2. Eyelet Bound Notebooks

DIY Eyelet Bound Notebooks

You stare at your notebook every day during the school year, so why not make it something you love? This year make your own notebooks for you or your kids. For this DIY, bind together sheets of paper with eyelets for some stylish school supplies that fit perfectly into a three-ring binder.

3. Glitter Bow Locker Magnets

DIY Glitter Bow Locker Magnets

Before your teenager returns to school this fall, spend a summer afternoon making glittery magnets that they can use to decorate their locker. These easy to magnets are a great way for your teen to personalize their locker and will come in handy too as they can use them to hang things such as their class schedule on their locker wall.

4. Gold Leaf Brushed Clipboards

DIY Gold Leaf Brushed Clipboards

Break out the paint and gold leaf to refinish your old school clipboard for school this year.

5. Chalkboard Lunchbox

DIY school supplies

This chalkboard lunchbox is an adorable way to surprise your child with a sweet message at lunchtime. Transform any ordinary lunchbox with a little bit of chalkboard paint and you’ll be finished this project in no time. You can even create a matching set of school supply containers for your child’s homework station.

6. Printable Binder Covers

DIY Printable Binder Covers

Help your child find their binder for each class quickly with these beautiful printable binder covers.

7. Embroidered Pencil Case

DIY Embroidered Floral Pencil Case

Give your pens and pencils a stylish place to be stored by making your own embroidered pencil case. Even beginner stitches who are just starting can manage this project.

8. Lizard Keychain

beaded lizard keychain

Beaded keychains were probably all the rage when you were a kid. Let your kids enjoy the fun of making their own lizard keychain and attach it to their backpacks for a cute little accessory.

9. Donut Bulletin Board With Sparkle Push Pins

DIY Donut Pushpin Board

Keep all important papers and to-do lists in one place by making your own delicious looking donut bulletin board with sparkle push pins to help you stay organized throughout the school year.

10. Hexagonal Desktop Organizer

DIY Hexagonal Desktop Organizer

When it is time for homework keep everything on your child’s desk within easy reach with a handmade desktop organizer.

10 inspirational living room ideas

From on-trend looks to classic schemes, there are a wealth of ideas to steal whatever your style. Decorating your living room? I’ve compiled 50 gorgeous living room ideas to use as a starting point for your next decorating project. From décor to design to furniture, if you’re looking for living room inspiration you’ve come to the right place. You can also shop similar looks with our living room accessories.

  1. Modern rustic
New build cottage, Suffolk

This contemporary, open-plan living space embraces a modern rustic feel. The beamed ceiling is a nod to the rustic setting, while a mix of vintage pieces blend with contemporary designs including the sofa.

2. Victorian flair

Renovation of the Year 2016 winner: Claire Hart for Period Home

With Victorian-style paneling, this grey living room is light, airy and welcoming. A modern print, geometric rug and blue cushions add color to this neutral space.

3. Modern oriental

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
 Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.

Create a relaxing living room environment by choosing furniture with clean lines to allow light to circulate around the room.

4. Rich velvets

velvet style inspiration

A painterly floral wallpaper provides a delicate backdrop to a beautiful and rich deep-blue velvet sofa. For the perfect finishing touch, add velvet cushions with a contrasting trim for a truly wonderful living room scheme.

5. Relaxed layering

style inspiration inky bluesstyling by sally denning photography by mark scott

Keep it contemporary yet pared back by teaming drips, drops and splatter patterns for an impressionistic look.

6. Small change, big difference


A simple Roman blind and textured flooring has resulted in an elegant update for this neutral living room.

7. Go botanical

Style inspiration: Leafy prints and bold botanical patterns.
 Styling by Lorraine Dawkins, Photography by Rachel Whiting

Use vibrant shades of fern, forest green and moss to bring natural luxury to a neutral palette. Include touches of black for definition and depth.

8. Geometrical

Style inspiration – playing with patterns at home

Combine straight, curved and angular lines with splashes of color for a graphic look, keeping the background of this living room understated.

9. Bold backdrop

Judy Murray House Beautiful makeover. Styling by Lucy Birch. Photography by Dan Duchars

Abstract floral wallpaper creates a dramatic backdrop in this living room. The metallic ceiling pendant and table lamp bring a contemporary contrast, while the sweeping wooden frame of the coffee table and grey rug add texture and softness.

10. Naturally laid back


White walls, soft grey upholstery and pale wooden furniture create a relaxed and welcoming look. Choose a classic sofa as the centerpiece, then introduce pattern with a mix-and-match collection of patterned cushions and a geometric rug.

28 Best Bedroom DIY Ideas and Projects

I’m particularly obsessed with bedroom improvements at the moment (constantly craving that perfect night’s sleep!) so I’ve popped together 29 of the best bedroom DIY ideas and projects… perhaps you can bookmark a few for the weekend?

1. Book Planters

Book Planter DIY

Book Planter DIY

For the little book worms out there these gorgeous book planters will look divine on your beside table.

2.  Map Flowers


Even though these are technically a wedding DIY, a garland of these would look beautiful strung along a bed head.

3. Ikea Hack Mini Drawers


I really love an Ikea hack and this one is rad. Perfect to store your make up or trinkets on your dressing table.

4. Cut Out Work Art


Even though word art has been done to death in recent years I can feel a little resurgence coming on love this DIY.

5. Cinder Block Bedside Table

Cinder block bedside table. I love it, especially the salt lamp! | Cinder  block furniture, Bedroom decor pictures, Bedside table diy

A perfect lesson in how to not make cinder block furniture look cheap and tacky.

6. Washi Tape Picture Frames


Perfect for renters. Stick your favorite photos to the wall with washi tape frames and then peel it off when you move out.

7. DIY Dotty Wallpaper


I absolutely adore this wallpaper DIY. It’s literally little black stickers stuck to the wall. Brilliant. 

8. Sharpie Wallpaper


This is another wallpaper DIY but this one is done with sharpies. Some people are so clever, it’s almost irritating.

9. Gemstone Mirror Frame


I think we all got sick of birthstone décor in the 90s but I stumbled upon this little ‘gem’ and I thought it was quite a gorgeous little bedroom project.

10. Crochet Poufs


I may be delusional but these almost look achievable right?

11. Marbled Trinkets


I just loved this nail polish marble DIY – Something tells me there will be a lot of marbling going on this weekend.

12. Adult Hama Bead Mobile


I have buckets of Hama beads hiding in my craft cupboard and I’m so fired up to finally have a way to use them.

13. Wool Patchwork Cat


I really like cute cozy teddy bears and this little guy would look pretty cozy on almost any bed.

14. Washi Tape Vases


A super cheap and easy way to up-cycle old bottles and jars for your bedroom.

15. Cardboard Bedroom Silhouettes


How amazing are these furniture silhouettes? Perfect if you aren’t planning on staying in the same spot for too long.

16. Hanging String Table


Such a brilliant and simple idea for space saving. Hang a circular chopping board next to your bed as a bedside table.

17. Bed Head Art


A simple and temporary head board. Perfect for people who like to change their mind a lot.

18. Ikea Hack Malm Drawers


I own about three Malm sets of drawers and I’m definitely giving one of them a makeover soon.

19. Leather and Wood Organiser


I need one of these near my door to stop the avalanche of mail. It’s on my to-list. 

20. Hanging Notepad


Mr Smaggle and I sometimes have morning ‘stand up’ meetings where we talk about what we’re going to do that day and this would be perfect for stand up note taking. 

21. Hand Painted Cushions


Mr Smags is very funny about cushions for some reason but I think he’d quite like if I made a few of these. 

22. Gold Acrylic Clipboards


I’m an absolute glutton for stationary and rather than spend a bajillion dollars at Kiki K, I’m quite fond of an office bedroom DIY.

23. Painted Dresser


Love this painted dresser. Furniture is usually so bland so why not jazz it up with snazzy paint job?

24. Handwriting Statement Wall

beautiful mess

How beautiful to have a wall with your own handwriting on it? If we ever did this in the Smaggle House it would have to be Mr Smags handwriting. Mine is shocking.

25. Tote Bag Cushion Covers


How annoyed are you that you never thought of this yourself? I’d probably cut the handles off and sew them up but they look quite cute as it.

26. Type Felt Rug


I love a good rug and this would look amazing underneath a glass top table.

27. String Pendant Lamp


This is literally made from string and glue. So cheap and so awesome.

28. Copper Clothes Hanger


A brilliant solution if you have open cupboard spaces. 

10 Best DIY Room Décor Ideas for Teens

Sick of seeing the same 20 or so DIY ideas for teen room decor over and over on Pinterest? So were we, so we went hunting for some new, cool and super awesome DIY room decor ideas for teenagers, ones you can actually make and want to proudly display in your room. From wall art to fun accessories, rugs, lighting and bedding ideas, you are sure to find the perfect creative craft for your room. Girls, we have some crafty ideas for you, and some neat ones for boys as well. Try out the easy to follow step by step tutorials for simple room decor and make your bedroom extra awesome. Whether you are looking for free printable wall art, cheap lighting ideas, canvas painting tutorials, colorful signs to make for your teen’s room, or perhaps a gift for your favorite teen, try these 75 DIY ideas for creative room decor.


Best DIY Room Decor Ideas for Teens and Teenager - DIY Sliced Cake Wall Clock - Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

Want some cute new decor ideas for your room? When it comes to the best DIY teen bedroom ideas, this adorable pink clock is a winner. Wake up to a slice of cake every morning when you make this fun wall decor idea.


Creative Bedroom Ideas for Teens and Teenagers - Air Plant Pots Tutorial - Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

Cute DIY room decor does not have to be complicated or expensive. When it comes to our favorite DIY teen room decor ideas, creative projects like these crafty pots are some of our favorites. Add some air plants to them and create the perfect DIY gift idea for teens, as upkeep of the plants is super simple, no green thumb or babysitting required.


Cheap Room Decorating Ideas for A Teen Girl and Teenagers - DIY Easy Leather Strap Hanging Shelf -Tutorial Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

Color is great, but when it comes to cool DIY shelving ideas, we do love this minimal leather and wood hanging shelf. Sophisticated yet creative, we think. If you want to add some extra storage space for books, photos and frames or art, this is one of our favorite new DIY room decor ideas for teenagers. Whether you are wanting DIY projects for decorating a teen girls room or looking for DIY boys bedroom ideas, this crafty do it yourself shelf is a winner.


Cheap and Easy DIY Room Decor Ideas for Tweens and Teenagers - DIY Tape Picture Frames - Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

When it comes to cheap decorating ideas for teen rooms, I love washi tape. Whether you want to decorate the door creatively or add simple wall decor ideas like this one, washi tape is cheap and can be picked up at the dollar store, comes in lots of colors and patterns, and it will not harm the walls. Add washi tape frames around photos and prints to make a creative statement on the walls, then switch it up when you are ready for something new. These quick frames look just as nice over the bed as over the desk, why not create a whole wall of art with this fun DIY idea for teens.


Easy DIY Room Decor Ideas for Teens and Teenagers - Inexpensive Colorful Geometric Headboard for Girls or Boys- Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy DIY Headboard Ideas for Teen Rooms

Here is a colorful and creative DIY headboard idea for girls or boys, just choose the acrylic paint colors you want and grab some foam sheets to make this inexpensive decorating idea for a teen bedroom. Fun and playful but super easy to make, I found this project to be super enjoyable to make.


DIY storage Ideas for Bedroom - Creative DIY Decor for Your Room - Ottoman Storage DIY

Need storage ideas for the bedroom? Try making this DIY ottoman for seating that doubles as storage. Choose a fun fabric or a few prints to get a creative and colorful look. Learn how to make this seating and organizing idea for your room with the simple step by step tutorial and instructions from Brit and Co.


Cool Room Decor Ideas for Teens - DIY Bedroom Decor for Teenagers - Chalkboard Globe - Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

Have wanderlust? Make a cool and creative statement about your views on traveling the world with this DIY chalkboard globe. For that matter, make it say anything you want, as it is very easy to choose the quote or words of your choice and add them to this globe with chalkboard spray paint. Cheap and fun to make, this DIY decor idea for teens looks nice on an end table, a console table accent or pretty much anywhere in the room.


Creative and Inexpensive Room Decor Ideas for Teens and Teenagers - DIY Pom Pom Tassel Garland - Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

Looking for a super colorful but easy to make idea to decorate your bedroom or your teen daughter’s room? Make pom poms out of rainbow yarn and add them to the walls for decor. These look awesome hanging on any wall, but we love styling them over the bed and I’ve even seen them over a desk, adding a pop of color and creativity wherever you need it.


Cool DIY Room Decor Ideas for Teens and Teenagers - Dyed Faux Sheepskin Mini Rug

Pink, soft and oh so cozy. This DIY rug idea is dyed sheepskin, and it actually does not have to be pink. It can be turquoise, aqua, magenta, navy, orange, purple or lavender, blue or yellow, pretty much choose your favorite color and learn how to make this crafty rug that makes a nice place to put your feet when you get out of bed every morning.


Cheap Room Decorating Project for Teens and Teenagers Rooms - DIY Glam Bookends - Best Cool Crafts, Bedroom Accessories, Lighting, Wall Art, Creative Arts and Crafts Projects, Rugs, Pillows, Curtains, Lamps and Lights - Easy and Cheap Do It Yourself Ideas for Teen Bedrooms and Play Rooms #teencrafts #diydecor #roomideas #teenrooms #teendecor #diyideas

For an inexpensive way to decorate a bedroom on a budget, we love projects that cost almost no money to make but look as great as these DIY bookends made with spray painted rocks. Learn how to make a set or two for cool room decor that is super cheap and easy to make. This project would make a nice DIY Christmas gift idea for a teen girl or boy, just vary your choice of spray paint colors depending on who you are making this present for.

6 DIY Halloween Decorations You Can Make on the Cheap With Household Items

Dust off your decorative gourds, because the countdown to Halloween is on! (Some might say it’s always on…) There are pumpkins to be carved, candy to be purchased, costumes to be planned, Halloween parties to attend (virtual or otherwise) and tons of fun Halloween festivals to add to your calendar.

  1. Spooky Halloween Hand Soap

Give your guests a fright in the less expected place—the bathroom. There’s no molds required for this DIY—just a mason jar, some liquid soap, and eyeball ping-pong balls (yes, that’s a thing!).

2. Skull Vase

Create a scary, yet chic vase by carving a hole in the top of a foam skull, then coating the whole thing in a coat of charcoal paint. Finish the look with some contrasting white stems.

3. Paper Bats

There are plenty of cheap big-impact projects you can make out of paper. The most popular? A cascade of flying bats over the mantle.

4. Creepy Crystal Balls

The future is looking very…spooky! These crystal ball decorations are made using clear Christmas ornaments. Store them carefully and you can use them year after year. (It’s the DIY that keeps on giving!)

5. Paper Spiderwebs

Looking for a festive DIY idea that won’t break the bank? This adorable paper spiderweb project is for you. All you need is some paper, scissors, glue, and twine to make it happen.

6. Giant Spider Decoration

Spook up your doorstep with these larger-than-life spiders. They’re so easy to make you can even get the kiddos in on the fun. (Most of your time will be spent waiting for the paint to dry.)

15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Thailand

The “Land of Smiles” is one of the jewels of Southeast Asia. Thanks to a thriving tourism industry, Thailand is well-developed and provides all kinds of modern comforts—yet it’s also still wild enough to offer off-the-beaten-path adventure and once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. Whether you are here for the world-class beaches in the south or the mountain villages in the north, Thailand will not disappoint.

Cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai are bustling hives of activity and commerce, but you haven’t really seen the country until you’ve trekked in the mountains or enjoyed some face-time with elephants or the bold monkeys always ready to steal your lunch (or your camera, if you’re not careful). Thailand’s attractions are diverse, and each provides a rewarding and memorable experience in its own way.

For some inspiration when planning your trip, here’s our list of top tourist attractions in Thailand.

1. Railay Beach

Krabi province is home to some of Thailand’s most famous beach destinations—and Railay tops the list as one of the most stunning. Considered by many as one of the best beaches in the country, Railay delivers on promises of white sand, turquoise-blue water, and the feeling that you’ve found a slice of paradise even before your feet touch the sand.

The island can be reached by boat from Krabi town and Ao Nang—and the trip on a long-tail traditional boat is just as magical as what you’ll encounter when you reach the shores.

While the beach might be the main reason to visit the island, Railay is also a rock-climbing hot spot, with karst peaks drawing adventurers both experienced and novice, ready to take on the towering limestone cliffs.

Among the many other active things to do, Railay is well-known for its ocean rafting and kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving—but visitors can also try their hand at cooking classes or indulge in a massage.

There’s also the tourist-friendly Diamond Cave, reached via a beautiful trail with stunning views and ready to accommodate curious visitors looking to do some exploring between stretches of sunbathing.

2. Koh Phi Phi

The Phi Phi Islands are one of Thailand’s most popular resort areas for a reason—the clear blue waters, the soft sand, the breathtaking views that go on forever.

You can reach Phi Phi Don—the largest of the islands and the only one permanently inhabited—on a rented kayak or by hiring a small wooden boat to take you here.

Perhaps one of the most fun spots on Koh Phi Phi is Monkey Beach, where you’ll come face to face, literally, with plenty of macaques ready to steal your lunch.

Long Beach is another nice spot on the island; while not a secluded place where you can hope for privacy, it’s great for watching the sunset. If you’re lucky and the tide is out, it’s a beautiful walk back towards the main part of the island.

Tour operators offer packages for snorkeling and diving trips to the islands, as well as excursions to the famous Maya Bay, where the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach was filmed. Because Koh Phi Phi draws so many tourists, there are plenty of tour companies arranging tickets to other beach destinations, such as Phuket, Koh Chang, and Koh Lanta.

Phi Phi Don was one of the areas hit hard by the 2004 tsunami—but since then, guesthouses, restaurants, and markets have been rebuilt, and crowds still come in droves to the resort island. There is a small, somber memorial park to honor those who died in the tragedy, but the resort areas are otherwise revived and looking as beautiful as ever.

3. The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Even if your plans for Thailand mainly involve frolicking on a beach and eating as much Massaman curry and pad Thai as humanly possible, you’ll probably spend at least a day or two in Bangkok. There are plenty of things to see and do in the capital, but the Grand Palace should definitely be at the top of your list. This is the number one sightseeing attraction in the city, and it’s staggering in both historical significance and craftsmanship.

The grounds are a maze of royal halls, temples, and ancient relics, the most important being Wat Phra Kaeo (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), said to hold a fragment of either hair or bone from the enlightened Buddha himself.

Allow several hours to do the Grand Palace justice, but if you’re up for more walking afterward, you can easily take in some of the city’s other major landmarks nearby. The famous Wat Po and Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn (a great place to watch the sunset), are just a few minutes away.

4. Sunday Walking Street, Chiang Mai

Every Thailand visitor looks forward to cheap and delicious food—and that’s exactly what they can find in abundance at Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Street. Vendors sell all kinds of treats here: from the popular pad Thai and chicken satay to samosas, fried bananas, sweet roti, and fresh fruit shakes—often for less than $2 a piece.

Once you’ve satisfied your culinary cravings, you can peruse hundreds of stalls selling an array of unique goods such as all-natural soaps, hand-dyed textiles bearing the unique patterns of local hill tribes, incense and essential oils, musical instruments, paintings, wall hangings, and more.

The market gets crowded every week without fail, no matter what time of the year you’re visiting, so brace yourself and try to enjoy being part of the fun chaos. This is one of the must-dos in Chiang Mai, and an essential part of the Thailand experience. If you’re not around for the Sunday market, or just want to get a taste of other market experiences in Chiang Mai, check out the Saturday Night Walking Street or the Night Bazaar on Chang Klan Road, a daily event. For something less touristy, head to the daytime Warorot Market, near Mae Ping River.

5. Pai

Thailand’s reputation as a country of beautiful landscapes and friendly people is due largely to the world-renowned southern beaches. Because of this, most people don’t realize that the vast north is also home to entirely different but equally breathtaking landscapes.

Northern Thailand, particularly the western region near the Burmese border, is marked by mountainous jungle terrain that is both rugged and beautiful. Pai, in Mae Hong Son province, is the perfect starting point from which to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, as well as the famed Thai hospitality and cooking.

This small town has developed a reputation as a mecca for hippies and backpackers, though you will see plenty of families traveling in the area as well. There is a small walking street market that comes alive every night, a variety of local and Western foods, and easy access to nearby Buddhist temples, waterfalls, and the impressive Pai canyon.

There is an air of cheerfulness and relaxation as you walk through the tiny town center, a vibe that continues to draw crowds season after season despite its somewhat remote location.

6. Wild Elephants at Khao Yai National Park

Elephants are revered in Thailand, and statues and paintings of them can be seen everywhere you go, including the royal palaces and many temples. For the ultimate experience, however, nothing beats the chance to see elephants in their natural environment—and Khao Yai National Park provides a great opportunity to do just that.

Here, you’ll run into elephants roaming near rivers, exotic birds of prey, monkeys, and plenty of other tropical creatures that call the park home. The park is also home to many waterfalls, including the 150-meter-tall Haew Narok and the even more famous Haew Suwat, which appeared in the Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, The Beach.

If a one-day stay isn’t enough to take it all in, it’s possible to camp out at the park and get up early enough to watch the sunrise over the lush landscape.

7. Sukhothai Old City

A favorite stop for history buffs and photography enthusiasts, Sukhothai offers many lovely photo ops at a smaller scale than Ayutthaya. Ruins of this old city still stand proud despite enduring centuries of battle and exposure to the elements. Sukhothai’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and much has been invested to restore and preserve one of Thailand’s most significant historical sites.

Of the many wats in Sukhothai, Wat Mahathat is the most impressive. Founded some time in the 13th century, the temple was built to enshrine Buddha relics and is surrounded by massive standing Buddha images, stuccoed sculptures, stupas, and more.

8. Historic City of Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya offers a magnificent peek into the glory of ancient Thailand, where visitors can wander the haunting but romantic ruins of the former capital.

Ayutthaya was once the most important city in Thailand, and the old palaces and temples stand as a testament to this. Over a hundred wats, chedis (Thai-style stupas), prangs, and thousands of Buddha statues are spread around the park. Some sights—like the temple that houses the 12-meter-long reclining Buddha and the tree roots embracing a Buddha head—are particularly stunning and not to be missed.

Ayutthaya is located only a short bus trip or train ride from Bangkok, making it convenient for a day trip if you’re pressed for time. If you’re on a more leisurely schedule, plan on spending a few days exploring the ancient capital and rent a push-bike to tour both the old city and the new.

9. Doi Suthep

Perhaps the best-known wat in Chiang Mai sits atop Doi Suthep, a mountain overlooking Thailand’s second-largest city. A favorite destination of devout Buddhist followers and travelers from all over the world, Doi Suthep is a marvel of intricate religious carvings—a visit here means seeing monks praying, witnessing worship rituals, and a chance to gaze out over the ever-growing sprawl of Chiang Mai city.

Just be sure to bring a bottle of water and your walking shoes—you’ll have to climb a steep staircase to reach the top of the hill where the temple is. At the base of the stairs, vendors hawk everything from tasty local treats to goods handmade by villagers from the surrounding mountains. There’s also a shop selling masks, elephant carvings, and home furnishings, so you can do some shopping while recovering from the trek up and down the stairs.

You can combine your trip to Doi Suthep with excursions to Doi Pui, a small Hmong village in the mountains. Although far more touristy than other villages, this will still give you a taste of Hmong culture and a chance to learn more about the hill tribe communities in the region, not to mention purchase some beautiful hand-woven textiles. The Bhubing Palace, open to tourists, is on the way to Doi Pui from Doi Suthep as well.

10. Floating Markets

Thailand’s floating markets offer a unique way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors and getting a closer look into a traditional way of life.

While some of the markets do seem to cater more to the tourist crowds, others make for a nice authentic travel experience that involves getting in a boat and letting your guide take you through canals, where you’ll see traditional houses on stilts and run into sellers offering wares from their own boats. You’ll need to get up early to visit a floating market, as vendors are out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and tasty dishes.

There are several floating markets near Bangkok, with Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. You can visit the markets on your own or join a guided tour, which often includes visits to other local attractions and shops.

11. Climbing at Tonsai Beach

With its stunning limestone cliffs hugging sandy coastlines and turquoise waters, Thailand attracts plenty of climbers all year long—and while there are many destinations that offer stunning routes, Tonsai Beach has long been considered a climbers’ paradise. One of the great things about climbing here is that you can just as easily climb solo or find a climbing partner or club once you arrive—and if you need a refresher lesson, that won’t be a problem to find here either.

Because the area has many climbing and bouldering schools, the easier routes are often busy, and you might even have to queue to get up to the most popular viewpoints. If you’re an experienced climber—and can get around stalactites, overhangs, and tufa—you’ll fare much better and get the best spots with stunning open views over the bay (almost) all to yourself.

12. Kanchanaburi Bridge

Better known to many as “the bridge over the River Kwai,” the Kanchanaburi bridge is part of the Thai-Burma Railway that never came to be. During WWII, Japanese forces were intent on building a railway link between Thailand and Burma and used Allied prisoners of war (mostly British, Dutch, and Australian citizens) for forced labor. Over 12,000 Allied prisoners ended up dying during the one year the bridge was under construction—and reconstruction, as the bridge was bombed and damaged more than once—leading to it being known as the “Death Railway.”

While the Kanchanaburi bridge remained closed for years after the war ended, it is now again in operation and can be crossed by boarding a slow local train. About 130 kilometers of the original 415-kilometer railway route are in use today, a grave historical reminder of the horrific events that took place here.

Near the bridge, the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is the final resting place of Allied military personnel from many countries except the United States, which repatriated all remains. The Hellfire Pass Museum and the JEATH War Museum both offer insights on the history of the railway and the effect of the war in Thailand.

13. Waterfalls at Erawan National Park

Erawan National Park has much to offer to visitors, including a number of caves; paths that cut through thick deciduous forests; and fauna that includes wild elephants, gibbons, and great hornbills. But it’s the waterfalls here—and especially the seven-tiered Erawan Falls—that attract the bulk of the visitors.

The falls are named after the white elephant that travels with the Hindu god Indra because the tiers are said to slightly resemble the shape of an elephant’s head.

Each of the seven tiers also has its own name, and reaching them gets harder and harder as you go up—after the fifth tier, visitors need to use slippery ladders while pushing through thick vegetation in order to continue. You might not need to venture that far, though. The first three tiers are actually the most impressive, offering emerald green pools, a small cave, and cool cascading waters. Plenty of curious fish live in the pools, so don’t be surprised to feel them swimming between your feet.

14. Maruekhathaiyawan Palace

Built as the summer residence of King Rama VI, who reigned until 1925, this unique teak palace is stunning in many ways. The king originally ordered its construction following a suggestion by his doctor, who thought an airy seaside climate would help the king’s rheumatoid arthritis.

The palace was then built in Hua Hin, a sleepy seaside town about three hours south of Bangkok. Today, Hua Hin is a popular destination for families and travelers who want to enjoy the beach in a relaxed atmosphere away from the crowds.

Mrigadayavan Palace (Maruekhathaiyawan) was designed to stand completely on stilts, which allows the sea breeze to circulate on all sides and keeps the buildings cool. The palace complex consists of a number of buildings divided into three main groups: the official reception area; the king’s private quarters; and the ladies’ quarters, originally designed for the Queen and an area no other man, besides the king, could enter.

The palace is an exquisite mix of Western standards (which included a modern-for-the-time bathroom and a badminton court) and traditional Thai architecture that can be visited and enjoyed by everybody today.

15. Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is a unique mix of very diverse ecosystems. Home to rain forest that’s older than the Amazon, the park also contains a limestone mountain range covered in karst formations, many kilometers of trails, and even a river you can explore on canoes or bamboo rafts. The park is home to Malayan sun bears, tigers, and wild elephants—and sightings aren’t rare once you get deep into the evergreen rain forest.

The park is also famous for its eco-luxury camps, where tents come with en-suite bathrooms, deluxe bedding, their own kayak, and some of the best meals you’ll try in Thailand.

25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Dubai

Glitzy Dubai is the United Arab Emirates’ holiday hot spot. This city of high-rises and shopping malls has transformed itself from a desert outpost to a destination du-jour, where tourists flock for sales bargains, sunshine, and family fun. Dubai is famous for sightseeing attractions such as the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) and shopping malls that come complete with mammoth aquariums and indoor ski slopes.

But this city has many cultural highlights and things to do, as well as all the glamorous modern add-ons. Take a wander around the Bastakia district, and you’ll discover the Dubai of old, then cruise along Dubai Creek in a traditional dhow, and you’ll soon realize there’s more to this city than its flashy veneer. Learn more about the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions in Dubai.

1. Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Dubai’s landmark building is the Burj Khalifa, which at 829.8 meters is the tallest building in the world and the most famous of the city’s points of interest. For most visitors, a trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor here is a must-do while in the city. The views across the city skyline from this bird’s-eye perspective are simply staggering. The slick observation deck experience includes a multimedia presentation on both Dubai and the building of the Burj Khalifa (completed in 2010) before a high-speed elevator whizzes you up to the observation deck for those 360-degree views out across the skyscrapers to the desert on one side and the ocean on the other.

Nighttime visits are particularly popular with photographers due to Dubai’s famous city-lights panoramas. Buy your Burj Khalifa “At the Top” Entrance Ticket in advance to avoid long line-ups, especially if you are planning to visit on a weekend.

Back on the ground, wrapping around the Burj Khalifa, are the building’s beautifully designed gardens, with winding walkways. There are plenty of water features including the Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain.

2. Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is the city’s premier mall and provides entry to the Burj Khalifa, as well as the Dubai Aquarium. There is also an ice-skating rink, gaming zone, and cinema complex if you’re looking for more entertainment options. The shopping and eating is endless, and there are nearly always special events such as live music and fashion shows within the mall. The most famous of these are the annual Dubai Shopping Festival in January and February and the Dubai Summer Surprises Festival in July and August.

3. Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum

Dubai’s excellent museum is housed in the Al-Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 to defend Dubai Creek. The fort’s walls are built out of traditional coral-blocks and held together with lime. The upper floor is supported by wooden poles, and the ceiling is constructed from palm fronds, mud, and plaster.

In its history, the fort has served as a residence for the ruling family, a seat of government, garrison, and prison. Restored in 1971 (and again extensively in 1995), it is now the city’s premier museum. The entrance has a fascinating exhibition of old maps of the Emirates and Dubai, showing the mammoth expansion that hit the region after the oil boom.

The courtyard is home to several traditional boats and a palm-leaf house with an Emirati wind-tower. The right-hand hall features weaponry, and the left-hand hall showcases Emirati musical instruments. Below the ground floor are display halls with exhibits and dioramas covering various aspects of traditional Emirati life (including pearl fishing and Bedouin desert life), as well as artifacts from the 3,000- to 4,000-year-old graves at Al Qusais archaeological site.

4. Bastakia (Old Dubai)

Bastakia (Old Dubai)

The Bastakia Quarter (also known as the Al-Fahidi neighborhood) was built in the late 19th century to be the home of wealthy Persian merchants who dealt mainly in pearls and textiles and were lured to Dubai because of the tax-free trading and access to Dubai Creek.

Bastakia occupies the eastern portion of Bur Dubai along the creek, and the coral and limestone buildings here, many with walls topped with wind-towers, have been excellently preserved. Wind-towers provided the homes here with an early form of air conditioning — the wind trapped in the towers was funneled down into the houses. Persian merchants likely transplanted this architectural element (common in Iranian coastal houses) from their home country to the Gulf.

Lined with distinct Arabian architecture, the narrow lanes are highly evocative of a bygone, and much slower, age in Dubai’s history. Inside the district, you’ll find the Majlis Gallery, with its collection of traditional Arab ceramics and furniture (housed in a wind-tower) and the Al Serkal Cultural Foundation, with a shop, cafe, and rotating art exhibitions (located in one of the historic buildings).

5. Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House

Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was the Ruler of Dubai from 1921 to 1958 and grandfather to the current ruler. His former residence has been rebuilt and restored as a museum that is a fine example of Arabian architecture.

The original house was built in 1896 by Sheikh Saeed’s father, so he could observe shipping activity from the balconies. It was demolished, but the current house was rebuilt next to the original site, staying true to the original model by incorporating carved teak doors, wooden lattice screens across the windows, and gypsum ventilation screens with floral and geometric designs. Thirty rooms are built around a central courtyard with wind-tower details on top.

Inside are the exhibits of the Dubai Museum of Historical Photographs and Documents, with many wonderful old photographs of Dubai from the period between 1948 and 1953. The marine wing of the museum has photos of fishing, pearling, and boat building. Throughout the building there are many letters, maps, coins, and stamps on display showing the development of the Emirate.

Nearby is the Sheikh Obaid bin Thani House, restored with displays of traditional interiors.

6. Dubai Creek & Al Seef District

Dubai Creek

Dubai Creek separates the city into two towns, with Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. The creek has been an influential element in the city’s growth, first attracting settlers here to fish and pearl dive. Small villages grew up alongside the creek as far back as 4,000 years ago, while the modern era began in the 1830s when the Bani Yas tribe settled in the area.

The Dhow Wharfage is located along Dubai Creek’s bank, north of Al-Maktoum Bridge. Still used by small traders from across the Gulf, some of the dhows anchored here are well over 100 years old. You can visit here, watching cargo being loaded and unloaded on and off the dhows. Dhow workers often invite visitors onto the vessels for a tour, where you can gain insight into the life of these traditional sailors. Many of the dhows here travel onward to Kuwait, Iran, Oman, India, and down to Africa’s horn. This tiny remnant of Dubai’s traditional economy is still a bustling and fascinating place to wander around.

On the Bur Dubai side of the creek, rubbing up against the Bastakia neighborhood, the waterfront has been regenerated as the Al Seef district, with a waterfront promenade backed by traditional coral-block and limestone buildings, a floating market, and shops selling crafts. It’s a great place for a stroll with excellent water views.

To travel across the creek, you can either take a trip on one of the many dhows that have been restored as tourist cruise boats or take an abra (small wooden ferry) between the ferry points on the creek’s Bur Dubai and Deira banks.

7. Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Dubai’s mosques. An exact copy of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque, which is eight times its size, the Jumeirah Mosque is a fine example of Islamic architecture. This stone structure is built in the medieval Fatimid tradition, with two minarets that display the subtle details in the stonework. It is particularly attractive in the evening when lit with floodlights.

The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding (which also runs a program of tours, lectures, Arabic classes, and cultural meals) organizes guided tours of the mosque designed to try to foster a better understanding of the Muslim faith. Tours begin at 10am daily, except Fridays.

8. Deira


Deira lies on the northern bank of Dubai Creek, and the winding streets here unveil the melting pot of different nationalities that have come to call Dubai home. On the shore, ancient dhows load and unload with modern banks, hotels, and office buildings as a backdrop.

For travelers, Deira is most famous for its traditional souks (markets), which bustle with shoppers at all times of the day. Deira Gold Souk is world-renowned as the largest gold bazaar in the world. The Deira Spice Souk sells every imaginable spice, with stalls overflowing with bags of frankincense, cumin, paprika, saffron, sumac, and thyme, as well as the fragrant oud wood, rose water, and incense. The fish market provides a much less touristy experience.

While in the district, culture lovers shouldn’t miss two of Deira’s finely restored architectural gems. Heritage House was built in 1890 as the home of a wealthy Iranian merchant and later became the home of Sheik Ahmed bin Dalmouk (a famous pearl merchant in Dubai). Today, it’s a great chance to see the interior of a traditional family home. The Al-Ahmadiya School, constructed in 1912, is the oldest school in Dubai and is now a museum of public education.

9. Dubai Frame

Sitting slap-bang between Dubai’s older neighborhoods clustered around the creek and the city’s modern sprawl, this ginormous 150-meter-high picture frame is one of Dubai’s latest sights. Inside, a series of galleries whisk you through the city’s history and explore Emirati heritage before you travel up to the Sky Deck, where there are fantastic panoramas of both old and new Dubai to be snapped on the viewing platforms.

Afterwards check out Future Dubai gallery, which imagines what a futuristic vision of the city will look like.

10. Sheikh Zayed Road

Sheikh Zayed Road

Sheikh Zayed Road is the main thoroughfare running through Dubai’s modern downtown business district. This wide, eight-lane highway is rimmed with towering glass, chrome, and steel high-rises along its entire length. It’s one of the best on-the-ground vantage points for Dubai’s famed skyscraper views.

Main attractions are along, or just off, the strip between the roundabout and the first intersection, and most of Dubai’s famous malls are located along the road’s route. The Dubai World Trade Tower has an observation deck on its top floor, which offers visitors panoramic views (a cheaper option than the Burj Khalifa), and the Gold and Diamond Park (Sheikh Zayed Road) is a one-stop shop for jewelry lovers, with 118 manufacturers and 30 retailers all under one roof.

11. Heritage and Diving Village

Heritage and Diving Village

Dubai’s architectural, cultural, and maritime heritage is showcased at the Heritage and Diving Village, with displays related to pearl diving and dhow building — two of old Dubai’s historic economic mainstays. There are also recreations of traditional Bedouin and coastal village life, with Persian homes, a traditional coffeehouse, and a small souk where potters and weavers practice their handicrafts at the stalls. Local music and dance are performed from October to April, and visitors can get advice from practitioners of traditional medicine.

12. Dubai Aquarium

Dubai Aquarium

One of the city’s top tourist attractions, the Dubai Aquarium houses 140 species of sea life in the huge suspended tank on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall. As well as free viewing from the mall, if you enter the Underwater Zoo, you can walk through the aquarium tunnels.

Different activities help you get a closer look at the sea life. Glass bottom boat tours (on top of the tank) are particularly popular. Cage snorkeling and shark diving activities are also on offer.

13. Burj al-Arab

Burj al-Arab

The Burj Al-Arab is the world’s tallest hotel, standing 321 meters high on its own artificial island on the Dubai coastline. Designed to resemble a billowing dhow sail, the exterior of the building is lit up by a choreographed, colored lighting show at night. Decadent in every way possible, the Burj Al-Arab is one of the most expensive hotels in the world, with the most luxurious suites costing more than $15,000 for one night.

For those without unlimited credit, the way to experience the over-the-top opulence is to go for dinner at the underwater Al-Mahara restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling glass panels in the dining room walls allow you to view sea life while you eat, or you can enjoy lunch at California-style fusion restaurant Scape. For the ultimate panoramic views over the city, book afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar (a minimum spend is required) on the 27th floor.

14. Jumeirah Beach

Jumeirah Beach

This strip of sandy white bliss is the number one beach destination for Dubai visitors. Hotels are strung out all along its length, with this being one of the most popular places to stay for tourists. The beach has excellent facilities, with plenty of sun loungers, restaurants, and water sports operators offering jet skiing.

While in the area, brush off the sand for an hour and visit the Majlis Ghorfat Um Al-Sheef, just a short hop from the beach. Built in 1955, this was the summer residence of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum. The residence, made out of gypsum and coral-block, has been restored and maintains much of the original beautiful décor, giving you a better understanding of the opulent lifestyle of Dubai’s rulers. The Majlis Gardens feature a reproduction of an impressive Arab irrigation system and many shady date palms.

15. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

You don’t have to go too far away from the skyscrapers to soak up a more natural vista. The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary incorporates the mangrove forests and wetlands of Dubai creek. An important stop-off on the migration routes, it’s a prime place to spot flamingos in winter when massive flocks of these majestic pink birds wade through the lagoons, backdropped by soaring high-rises. Various hides in prime spots have been set up within the park to allow bird-watchers good views of the bird life.

16. Crossroads of Civilizations Museum

This museum explores the United Arab Emirates’ historic role as a trading center between Asia, Africa, and Europe long before oil became this region’s most prominent industry. Located inside the old residence of Sheikh Hashr bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, who was a member of Dubai’s ruling family, the exhibits trace this coastal area’s history as part of the global trade routes, with displays of artifacts and manuscripts. Also on-site is the Rare Books and Manuscripts Museum and the small Armory Museum.

17. Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates is one of the city’s most famous malls, with the spectacular (and surreal) Ski Dubai facility inside. The indoor ski slope is complete with chairlifts and a penguin enclosure, all at a continuous temperature of -4 degrees Celsius. There’s also a cinema complex and a family entertainment center with a whole host of rides aimed at both the big and small. The shopping opportunities are boundless, as are the eating options, offering every conceivable world cuisine.

18. IMG Worlds of Adventure

This theme park, near Global Village, is immersive entertainment at its finest and has thrills and spills for both kids and big kids. With one zone devoted entirely to Marvel’s iconic characters; another to dinosaur-themed rides; and a zone where the Cartoon Network takes the helm, with gentler rides and activities for younger children, there’s something here for every age. Whether you want to help the Avengers battle Ultron, scare yourself silly in a haunted house, or join Spider-Man as he swings through the city, this is heaven for families looking for a fun-filled day out.

19. Dubai Opera

For nighttime attractions, look no further. Opened in mid-2016, Dubai’s classy new opera building is the centerpiece of the waterfront Opera District in downtown Dubai and set to become the city’s major cultural hub and main entertainment venue. The Dubai Opera hosts a year-round program of famous musical theater productions, concerts by world-class musicians, opera, ballet, and classical music, as well as smaller productions, comedy nights, and concerts.

The 2,000-seat theater building itself is an astonishing piece of architectural mastery and one of Dubai’s new landmarks, with its highly-contemporary glass and steel walls jutting out over the waterfront, built to resemble the curves of a traditional dhow.

20. Kite Beach

Kite Beach

This long stretch of white-sand beach, south of Jumeirah beach, isn’t just a top destination for sunbathers looking to lap up a lazy day of swimming and soaking up the rays on the sand. Kite Beach is renowned as Dubai’s premier destination for kitesurfers and is home to an array of water sports operators. This is where you come to get out on the water kitesurfing or try your hand at stand up paddle boarding, with equipment hire and lessons all easily arranged on the beach.

21. Alserkal Art District

Alserkal Art District

Part of the old Al Quoz industrial district, centered on Alserkal Avenue, has been regenerated to become Dubai’s main arts hub and is home to some of the city’s most important contemporary art galleries. Established gallery names such as the Green Art Gallery, The Third Line, and the Ayyam Gallery have made their home here, while a host of smaller gallery start-ups have also moved in. The district’s program of rotating collections focuses both on the work of major artists, as well as highlighting new Middle Eastern talent.

This emerging district is also the place to come for fashion and accessory boutiques by local designers, pop-up restaurants, and café life, and it showcases the energetic and youthful buzz of a city, which is usually more noted for its corporate face.

22. Dubai Parks and Resorts

At Dubai Parks and Resorts, your entertainment needs are all rolled together into one location. The only problem here is choosing what you want to do. This mammoth project incorporates a swag of world-class theme parks providing something for everyone, whatever your age. Motiongate takes its theme from Hollywood productions, with rides based around movie blockbusters; Bollywood Parks brings the world of India’s famous movie industry alive on its rides; and Legoland Dubai and Legoland Waterpark provide younger visitors with a fun-packed day out on its interactive rides, water slides, and wave pool.

The district’s attached Riverland Dubai dining hub means that there’s no need to leave after you’ve exhausted yourself with theme park pursuits, as there’s plenty of evening entertainment here as well.

23. Aquaventure Waterpark

Aquaventure Waterpark

This waterpark, based at Atlantis, The Palm on the Palm Jumeirah — Dubai’s famous man-made island development — is a great place to cool off after a few days of hectic shopping and sightseeing. The waterslide action here is excellent and world-class, with the Aquaconda, the world’s longest water slide; a nine-story-tall slide, aptly named the Leap of Faith; and water coaster rides. There’s also underwater safaris using Sea TREK helmets; a dedicated water play area for smaller children with slides; and for when all your energy has been used up, a 700-meter sweep of white-sand beach.

24. Dubai Miracle Garden

This is the zaniest garden ever. Not content with constructing the world’s largest buildings and malls, Dubai has created the world’s largest flower garden, spanning 2,000 square meters and home to a reputed 100 million flowers. Everything that can be covered with flowers has been, from twee English-style cottages to windmills and trucks. There’s even a flower version of the Burj Khalifa. Stroll the walkways and enjoy the riot of color and the wacky flower displays.

25. Dubai Butterfly Garden

Escape the city’s skyscrapers for an afternoon here. For a slice of nature, this vast butterfly garden, with around 15,000 butterflies flitting under the domed enclosures, can’t be beaten. It’s a great chance for kids to get close-up views of butterflies as they often land on visitors’ shoulders and hands. There’s a museum here, too, with plenty of information on butterfly varieties, their habitats, and life cycle.

17 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Canada’s cities and towns offer travelers a diverse choice of experiences, from chic, cosmopolitan centers to mountain resorts and maritime cities. Determining the best places to visit may depend on your interests and the type of trip you’re hoping to create.

In the heart of the country is Toronto, Canada’s biggest city and the highlight of Canada’s arts and cultural scene. Nearby, Niagara Falls is a must-see attraction for visitors to Canada that never disappoints. In the neighboring French-speaking province of Québec, Montreal is known for fashion, culture, and history.

In the West, Vancouver and Victoria offer two very different perspectives on West Coast cities, but each has something unique to offer. The mountain towns of Whistler and Banff are places to immerse yourself in beautiful mountain scenery and enjoy a little of the great outdoors.

Eastern Canada has a culture all of its own, with a rich maritime heritage and friendly people. And scattered throughout the country are other popular cities and lesser known gems to explore. For ideas to help plan your Canada itinerary, see our list of the best places to visit in Canada.

1. Vancouver

For beauty, climate, a fun atmosphere, and plenty of things to do, you can’t go wrong planning a trip to Vancouver. Set on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and backed by snow-capped mountains, this is an active city, where locals enjoy the outdoors year-round.

Sunbathers can bask on the beaches in summer, and skiers can hit the nearby ski resorts in winter. At any time of year, you can walk the seawall or stroll through the towering trees in Stanley Park, enjoy fine dining or a casual meal while watching the sunset, or find fabulous shopping, from the markets of Granville Island to the high-end shops in the city center.

If you are spending more than a couple of days in the city and looking for some interesting outings, take a day trip from Vancouver to some of the nearby hotspots such as Whistler, Victoria, or some of the small towns in the mountains or Fraser Valley.

2. Niagara Falls

Canada’s most famous natural attraction, the majestic Niagara Falls has been drawing sightseers almost since its discovery. The great wall of water pounding over the falls is an amazing sight, and the view and access afforded visitors is astounding. You can literally walk up to the edge of the falls, separated only by a cast iron railing, and see the water as it disappears over the crest.

The city that has developed here, also named Niagara Falls, has been greatly influenced by the people and atmosphere the falls have created. Stuntmen and daredevils have been tempting their fate on the falls throughout the decades, and as a result, a carnival-style atmosphere has come to define this unique city. Just a short drive from Toronto, Niagara Falls is easy to reach, and the city is a fun place to spend a day or two.

3. Toronto

As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is the country’s cultural hot spot, with ballet, opera, symphony, and Broadway shows. It’s also home to the landmark CN Tower. Add extraordinary shopping, fine dining, and fantastic museums, and there is no end to the entertainment.

In recent years, Toronto’s waterfront has experienced ongoing development and now boasts beautiful walking areas, restaurants, and in summer, outdoor concerts and cultural performances.

Just outside the city center, in either direction from the city, are beautiful beaches, perfect on hot summer days. In winter, a public skating rink springs to life outside city hall, and unique winter events, including the popular Winterlicious, add to the fun. You can find ski resorts near Toronto as well.

4. Montreal

Montreal is a unique city, with a beautiful old historic district dating back to the 1600s and a modern city center with extensive underground shopping. Old Montreal is the main tourist hub, with cobbled streets and fantastic old buildings.

Montreal is also home to a large number of fashion designers, and high-end boutiques line the historic streets, along with quaint hotels and restaurants. Located in the French-speaking province of Québec, Montreal has its own cultural identity, but English-speaking visitors will have no trouble communicating with anyone in the tourist industry.

5. Banff

The charming mountain town of Banff, in the stunning Banff National Park, is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the Rocky Mountains and see some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada. This is undeniably a tourist town, catering to international travelers from all over the globe.

Just a short distance from the town are Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village Ski Resort, two of Canada’s best ski resorts. In summer, the nearby turquoise lakes, including Lake Louise, and glacier-capped mountains are a glorious sight.

But you don’t even need to leave the town to enjoy a gondola ride to the top of a mountain for dinner, soak in a hot springs-fed pool, find fabulous shopping, discover lovely walking trails, and possibly see elk and woodland caribou that frequently make their way into town.

6. St. John’s

In Canada’s far eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the historic and friendly city of St. John’s. This is the main gateway for air travelers to the island of Newfoundland, but many people come simply to enjoy the city.

Colorful buildings line the sloping streets that run along hills, with views out over the harbor. The city also has numerous historic sites and attractions, including Signal Hill and George Street, but the real appeal is the vibrant atmosphere, the people, and the maritime culture that makes this city so unique from mainland Canada.

7. Ottawa

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is home to some outstanding national museums and historic sites, as well as Parliament Hill, and it enjoys a beautiful setting along the Rideau Canal. It is also a small city, making it easy to navigate and fun to explore.

Summer is a wonderful time to visit, with a whole host of events held throughout the season, including the Tulip Festival in spring and the always lavish Canada Day Celebrations on July 1st.

In winter, when the weather is cold enough, the canal transforms into a 7.8-kilometer-long skating rink and in February, the annual Winterlude celebrations draw huge crowds. There is no bad time to visit Ottawa, and it is only a few hours by car or train from Toronto.

8. Victoria

British Columbia’s beautiful capital city has a quaint, small-town atmosphere, perhaps due to its island location. Set at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the city has a mild year-round climate, with wet mild winters and warm, glorious summers. Views are stunning in every direction, looking out over the harbor, south over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Washington State, or across to the mountains on mainland British Columbia.

Most of the tourist activity is focused around Victoria’s Inner Harbour, where the Parliament Buildings and the historic Empress Hotel are located. A stroll along the waterfront on a sunny day is gorgeous. Just outside the city center are beaches and lovely coastal areas, as well as parks and hiking trails.

9. Halifax

Halifax is a great city for anyone looking for an introduction to Canada’s Maritime Provinces. The Halifax waterfront is the main tourist hub in the city, particularly during the summer months, with a few historic buildings and plenty of activity. Overlooking the city is the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, one of the city’s main attractions.

Outside the city are a number of small coastal villages that offer a good glimpse of life in the Maritimes. One of the most famous villages is Peggy’s Cove, home to the most photographed lighthouse in the Maritimes. A little further afield are Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, also well worth a visit. Taking a day trip from Halifax is highly recommended.

10. Québec City

Like Montreal, Québec City is loaded with history and located in the French-speaking province of Québec. This is the provincial capital and a city with a history dating back to the early 1600s. The old buildings and curving cobbled streets make this one of Canada’s most charming capital cities.

One-third the size of Montreal, Québec City is also relatively small and easy to navigate. While summer is the busy season, the famous winter carnival, the Carnaval de Québec, attracts huge crowds and is the city’s most well-known event.

11. Whitehorse

A visit to Whitehorse offers a chance to see life in Canada’s far north. This is the capital of the Yukon and also a gateway to areas farther north, including Alaska and the beautiful Nahanni National Park.

The city’s history dates back to the Klondike gold-rush, when prospectors made their way through here on their route to Dawson City. Many of the city’s attractions offer insight into the gold-rush days, and beyond the city limits are some beautiful natural areas to explore. If you are lucky, the night sky will come to life with a display of northern lights.

12. Whistler

Whistler has long been known as a world-class ski destination and was the site of many of the skiing events during the 2010 Winter Olympics hosted by Vancouver. Despite this reputation, Whistler is an equally impressive and popular summer destination, with hiking, biking, golfing, and many other activities on offer.

The village has grown over the years and is now a vibrant, high-end resort town with a great selection of hotels, restaurants, and shops. The Whistler-Blackcomb mountains are famous for their incredible terrain and bring in skiers from around the world. The Peak-2-Peak Gondola, which joins the two mountains, is an 11-minute, 4.4-kilometer-long ride, with spectacular views, and is open to skiers or non-skiers year-round.

13. Charlottetown & Prince Edward Island

If you are going to visit Charlottetown, you might as well take the time to explore the whole province of Prince Edward Island. PEI is a summertime playground, with beautiful beaches and interesting historic sites, including the fictional home of Anne of Green Gables in PEI National Park.

Charlottetown is the capital and main city but has an almost small-town feel, with numerous Victorian-style heritage buildings. PEI is small enough that you can see the whole island on even a short vacation. Many visitors, particularly families, rent beach houses or cottages on PEI during the summer months.

14. Tofino

The unofficial surfing capital of Canada, the small town of Tofino on Vancouver Island is one of the most unique places to visit in Canada and draws a mixed crowd of visitors. People come here to surf, hike in the old growth forests, and enjoy the beaches in Pacific Rim National Park; see wildlife; kayak; storm watch in November; and relax at one of the quaint oceanfront lodges.

The town itself is tiny and has an end-of-the-world type feel about it, but you can find fine dining at some of the lodges or a few of the restaurants around town. A handful of stores, galleries, and coffee shops give the town a special character.

Despite the town’s small size, the area feels big. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to plan at least a few days here, although it’s easy to fill up a week or more. Not far away is Ucluelet, another small town, which you can easily visit on an outing from Tofino.

15. Kelowna

In the interior of British Columbia is the lovely city of Kelowna. This city is a favorite spot for Canadians but less well known internationally. Picturesquely set on the shore of Lake Okanagan and surrounded by rolling mountains, Kelowna draws tourists during the summer months, when it’s possible to hike, golf, or enjoy the lake.

Renting a houseboat to explore the surrounding waters is a popular summer vacation in this area. In winter, the surrounding mountains are a hotspot for skiers, with the popular nearby ski resorts of Big White and Silver Star within easy reach.

16. Revelstoke

Revelstoke is one of the best places to visit in Canada for adventure. Although it’s a favorite destination among Albertans and British Columbians, it is still undiscovered on an international scale, making it a good place to escape the crowds associated with sightseeing destinations like Banff and Lake Louise. Beautiful mountain scenery surrounds this small town in the interior of British Columbia, but much of the appeal comes from the activities available for outdoor lovers.

In winter, skiers come here to enjoy the skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort or to go heli-skiing in the Purcell Mountains. In summer, mountain biking and hiking are the most popular things to do. Nightlife here has been expanding over the last number of years, and you can find plenty of places to frequent after a day of skiing or hiking.

17. Winnipeg

This thriving city in the prairies of Central Canada may not be the first image that jumps to mind when thinking about the best places to visit in Canada, but if you are traveling in summer, Winnipeg is worth a stop. Surrounded by fields, many of which glow yellow in summer with canola or sunflowers, and set along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the city is surprisingly scenic.

The Forks, at the confluence of the two rivers, is a major tourist area, with the huge Forks Market, restaurants, and outdoor walking trails (a skating rink in winter) and is one of the first places tourists should visit. Also in this area is one of Canada’s premiere museums: the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Within a couple of hours of the city is Grand Beach, a huge stretch of beautiful beach on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, and Whiteshell Provincial Park, an area of boreal forest with lakes and rivers. People come here to camp, hike, or spend time at a cottage.

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