Exploring the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal

solo travel in Yemen beach
The Indian Ocean plays host to some of the most culturally diverse countries on earth. What are the best travel destination's with views of Earth's third-largest ocean?


The Indian Ocean is possibly the most idyllic stretch of water on earth, reaching from the East Coast of Africa, around and under India, and lapping against Australia and Indonesia on the west. It is the smallest of the three oceans found on Earth, comprising one-fifth of the world’s total ocean area.

In last week’s Women Who Solo Travel column, I interviewed a solo traveler who ventured to Yemen and her photos from Socotra, which is located on the Indian Ocean, blew me away with their beauty.

exploring the indian ocean

Unfortunately, Yemen isn’t a safe destination for travelers these days, so I wanted to research alternative destinations with Indian Ocean to add to my travel bucket list. Right in the heart of the Indian Ocean is the Bay of Bengal, a huge cove that stretches up the coast of India, and down past Burma, Thailand and Malaysia. Let’s take a look at some of the most stunning places to visit in the Bay of Bengal!

Exploring the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal

exploring the Indian Ocean


exploring the indian ocean

Of course, India is the beating heart of this region, with the ocean named after the vast country. Travelers often say that the first thing that strikes you about India is the sheer density of people! The sights, the sounds, and the smells are unlike anywhere else on the planet. When you leave the cities and head into the countryside, it’s a little different. The culture shines through and the people are said to be wonderful and friendly.

Sri Lanka

exploring the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka is the teardrop shaped island that drips from the mainland of India. Although much of the culture and religion here is the same as India, it feels very different. The environment is much more relaxed. The country is very religious, and incredibly spiritual. It also has a natural beauty that isn’t always easy to see in India itself! If you’ve got a little bit of money saved up, I suggest finding a luxury hotel and spa to treat yourself. The beaches are stunning, and the ocean is magnificent.


exploring the Indian Ocean

Thailand is one of the premier destinations for solo travelers and gap year students. It has grown a reputation for backpackers, and with good reason. The country is still one of most fascinating in the region. It has a tumultuous history, alongside its neighbors Vietnam and Laos. You can explore this history, as well as the beautiful religious temples and epitaphs. Of course, there are always a few full moon parties on the beach as well!

The Maldives

exploring the Indian Ocean

The Maldives is generally considered a luxury destination. It’s often out of budget for the average traveler. But, if you can afford, it’s well worth a visit, and often hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful places. The Maldives are a collection of hundreds of islands in the Indian Ocean. As a tourist destination, each island has its own hotel and resort, surrounded by crystal clear waters. If you prefer to see how the locals live, the capital island of Male has wonderful fish markets, and a fantastic vibrant feel.


exploring the indian ocean malaysia

In the western corner of the Indian Ocean, you’ll find Malaysia. It’s a mix of dense rainforests, and burgeoning cities. The capital city of Kuala Lumpur is home to the iconic Petronas towers, the tallest twin towers in the world. In the countryside, colonial villages offer a slower pace.

The Indian Ocean plays host to some of the most culturally diverse countries on earth and I am eager to explore this region of the world. Have you been? Please let me know about your experience in the comment section!


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