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Golden evenings: sunsets, bungalows and gold-shopping

Thursday, September 2, 2010
Here's a Getaway experience with a difference. Our presenters visited 22 wonderful locations in 17 countries on five continents to bring you 24 Hours Around the World.

Evening

Thailand

Jason Dundas' evening adventure was on Thailand's third largest island, Koh Samui. It's on an isthmus on Thailand's east coast and boasts white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut palms.

It's a pretty chilled-out place, and even though backpackers "found" it in the 1970s and around a million tourists go there every year, it's worth checking out. There's all sorts of accommodation, including cheap beach bungalows.

Days are passed snorkelling, relaxing on deserted beaches and discovering other islands. However, the big attraction is whizzing around on a state-of-the-art jetski.

Jason said he could jetski all day — it's the best way to see the surrounding tranquil bays and tropical lagoons not accessible by big boats. You just need to be older than 18 to hire one, you don't need a licence and the weather is warm year round.

Dubai

It's no surprise that Catriona Rowntree spent her evening in a real-life Aladdin's Cave. She wandered around Dubai's Deira gold souk. At around 6pm, after prayers and the fierce heat of the day has lessened, the souk is a magnet with everyone looking for a bargain.

Mothers and daughters are there dowry shopping, families window shopping before dinner and travellers looking for a good deal on something shiny or sparkling.

Deira souk is a glittering epicentre of bling. More than 600 shops are there to tease and tempt and offer the best prices in the land. Dubai doesn't have sales tax, but you need to bargain like crazy to get the price down. Start out halving the price you are offered.

It's handy to know a bit about gold before you go to the souk. Twenty-four carat is the most expensive but tends to be soft. Eighteen carat is more hardy, and it glows. The choice of designs is confounding, but if you don't find something readymade, they will create the piece of your dreams.

The bargaining and excitement made Catriona a little peckish, so she finished her evening with a shawarma, a local favourite similar to a kebab. They are filled with lamb or chicken, tomato, salad and sauce.

Western Australia

Back in Australia, Kelly Landry thought the best way to enjoy her evening was to experience a sunset over the Indian Ocean.

She was in Yallingup, 270km south of Perth, and met local resident Australian Hall of Fame pro-surfer Taj Burrows. He said there is no way he takes those sunsets for granted. There's just something about the fiery globe disappearing into the watery horizon.

Kelly lapped up the luxury of Smiths Beach Resort. It's between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin and is temptingly close to the Margaret River wine region. The resort has pristine beachfront and a good range of accommodation choices. There's a 25m-long pool, wading pool and tennis court.

Enjoy meals at Bathers Café/Restaurant and a drink or two at Bouzy Champagne Bar. Whatever you do, don't miss the sunset!

Related: Top five beaches in Australia

Location

Thailand, Dubai and Western Australia.

For further information

Koh Samui Tourism
www.samuitourism.info

Deira Gold Souq
Old Deira
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Smiths Beach Resort
Lot 2, Smiths Beach Road
Yallingup 6282
Ph: (08) 9750 1200
Fax: (08) 9750 1272
www.smithsbeachresort.com.au

Thailand

Visas: Australians may stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa.
Electricity: 220V with European plug of two circular metal pins or Japanese plug with two parallel flat blades.
Time zone: GMT +7.
Currency: The baht.
International dialling code: +66.

Dubai

Visas: Visas are not required for entry into Dubai but passports must be valid for at least six months.
Electricity: Plugs are British with three rectangular prongs forming a triangle.
Time zone: GMT +4.
Currency: The UAE dirham.
International dialling code: + 971.

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