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To ride a sea canoe in Phuket or gondola in Venice – that is the question

When you’re planning your next luxury travel escapade, it can be difficult to narrow down the list of potential vacation destinations because there are so many sumptuous spots to choose from.

Selecting a place to holiday is tricky because the world is your oyster and you have so many options, which is why a smarter strategy is to consider experiences over geographical locations. Where in the world can you indulge in the best lobster, and where is the prettiest place for sunset cocktails? Once you start planning in terms of experiences, you can begin to collect mesmerising memories.

In keeping with this strategy of assessing your holiday plans based on experiences, let us compare two amazing boating options: to hop onboard a gondola in Venice, or a sea canoe in Thailand? Read on for first-hand travel tips on both!

Ciao, Venezia 

Since Doge Orso Ipato first established rule in Venice back in 726 AD, the city has accumulated a unique and rich history over the centuries. However, one thing has remained constant over hundreds of years – the canals. With more than 150 canals and nearly 400 bridges, Venice is a spectacular urban city with winding streets and twisting waterways that can best be navigated onboard a gondola.

Although you may walk through the labyrinth of Venetian streets, a gondola can whisk through the city, dipping under bridges and whisking around corners with ease. Your gondolier acts as a tour guide, sometimes crooning softly in Italian, serenading you and your travel companions. In the narrow canals, you can brush your fingertips along the stonework of century-old architecture.

Since the most iconic architectural landmarks of Venice are built on the waterfront facing the Grand Canal, a gondola is the only way to appreciate the intricate details of buildings such as the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Campanile and of course, Doge’s Palace itself.

A highlight is travelling by gondola directly below the Bridge of Sighs, built in the 17th century and designed by Antonio Contino. The bridge connect the Old Prison and interrogation rooms inside the Doge’s Palace to the New Prison, where prisoners were executed. According to legend, it was the final sighing breaths of these souls as they headed towards their demise that prompted the eerie name of the bridge. Onboard a gondola is the only way to pass directly below this landmark, so that’s a must-do.

Sawadee ka, Phuket 

Thailand is perfect for a sunny escape, and Phuket is the ideal island getaway with shimmering sandy beaches, aquamarine waters as well as a bustling marketplace and nightlife. A sea canoe trip off the coast of Phuket along Phang Nga Bay is an excellent opportunity to see the warp and weave of this picturesque, green landscape.

Highlights include the famous James Bond Island, a precariously narrow and sharp formation resembling a tropical iceberg, and the crystalline limestone sea caves or “hongs”. Sea canoe is the best way to properly appreciate the rocky stalactites extending from the ceiling of the hongs, as the boats drift directly below and through the collapsed system of sensational limestone caves.

After you have canoed through the caves, jump off into the clear waters of the Andaman Sea as they are always warm in the tropical climate here, just eight degrees north of the Equator. Marine life abounds here, as fish in a kaleidoscope of colours dart past. It’s a snorkelling haven sure to delight kids on family travel.

Which boat trip is more up your alley? Of course, if you can’t choose, you can always do both!

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