Are you dreaming about an unforgettable trip to Southeast Asia filled with palm-fringed islands, warm sand under your feet and crystal clear water?
Are you thinking about a beach vacation in Asia and feel slightly overwhelmed with a wide choice of options available?
I’ve put together a quick list of the best destinations for a beach holiday in Asia, places where you can relax, soak in as much sun as you wish and leave the stress of everyday life behind.
Redang Island in Malaysia
Redang Island, located off the coast of Terengganu in Malaysia, is a real paradise on earth with the bluest water I’ve ever seen in my life. In fact, soft white sand, turquoise sea and clearly visible marine life seem to be the norm in this part of the world.
The main activities on this calm and relaxing island include sunbathing, swimming and kayaking while I suggest trying snorkeling for anyone who wants to come face to face with some of the most beautiful tropical fish in the world.
When it comes to the accommodation, there aren’t many backpacker options on the island while there are a few 4 and 5 star solutions available. My favorite is certainly the Taaras Beach & Spa Resort I stayed at. I fell in love with its private beach and cute bungalows surrounded by greenery.
The tranquil island of Redang is an ideal destination to unwind and recharge on the Vitamin Sea.
Palawan Island in The Philippines
Palawan Island is located in the Mimaropa region of the Philippines and it’s a paradise filled with stunning bays, incredible beaches and coral reefs swirling with colorful fish.
The island is home to not one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The waters of Palawan Island are rich in beautiful species of tropical fish that you can admire while doing diving or snorkeling.
Make sure to try the delicious local cuisine as well, enjoy the vibrant street food that offers the best bites and the yummiest traditional dishes.
If you’re longing for shimmering white sands, palm trees and nature that ignites the senses, you should definitely consider Palawan Island as one of the best options available in Southeast Asia.
Phuket Island in Thailand
Thailand’s biggest island continues to experience a huge number of visitors from all over the world and is one of the most popular locations in entire Asia.
Located by the Andaman Sea, Phuket offers a wide choice of picturesque beaches and charming bays with idyllic scenery and amazing resorts nearby.
The beaches on the island are simply begging to be explored, my favorite picks include Nai Harn Beach, Kata Beach and Ya Nui Beach – all located in the south-western corner of Phuket – but the list of dreamy spots there is truly endless.
If you want to include some fun activities or a bit of nightlife between one beach day and another, you’re certainly in a perfect place to do so.
Phuket’s array of attractions involves discovering waterfalls, visiting the Big Buddha statue, enjoying a typical market shopping in Phuket Town and experiencing the vibrant Patong nightlife in the Bangla Road.
Of course, being in Thailand, one of the most recommended things to do is to try the mouthwatering typical Thai food. There are many restaurants in Phuket to explore all kinds of dishes such as the famous Pad Thai, the delicious Khao Pad Sapparot, all the regional fish food and also the international cuisine.
Koh Rong in Cambodia
Koh Rong is located off the coast of Sihanoukville in the south of Cambodia and is a real gem characterized by an earthy beauty and serene atmosphere.
Given that for years the islands of Cambodia have been overshadowed by those of the neighboring Thailand. Most of them managed to maintain their natural charm and escape the mass tourism.
Although Koh Rong is becoming more and more popular recently, the island still offers many undeveloped and quiet spots ideal for relaxing and forgetting about the entire world.
Apart from Koh Touch Beach, which is the main party location over there, the island is all about swimming, snorkeling and taking sun on the white soft beaches.
If you’re longing to reconnect with the nature and with your inner self, relax and totally unplug, I think Koh Rong is an absolutely perfect place for you to go.
Bali in Indonesia
The list of the best destinations for a beach holiday in Asia wouldn’t be complete without Bali. The Indonesian island next to Lombok is famed for its numerous temples, breathtaking nature, long beaches and for the kindness and hospitality of its people.
If you’re planning a romantic getaway filled with secluded beaches and tranquility, you should consider Nusa Dua – a lovely and relaxing area of Bali.
If on the other hand you’re party-oriented, the regions of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are certainly more suitable for you with many great clubs and bars, ideal for a fun night out.
There is no shortage of cultural experiences in Bali too as the island offers some of the most amazing ancient temples I’ve ever came across in Asia. The list of those stunning landmarks includes gems such as Tanah Lot Temple, Garuda Wisnu Kencana and Uluwatu Temple just to name a few.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on Balinese cuisine as well which is an incredible blend of spices, traditions and influences and contributes to making your stay there even more magical and unique.
Koh Lanta in Thailand
Koh Lanta is located in Thailand but is definitely smaller, more peaceful and less developed compared to its bigger sister – Phuket.
The road infrastructure is good however and you can easily go around the island and explore it on a motorbike.
The choice of lovely beaches is really wide, from a tranquil Bamboo Bay Beach and mesmerizing Nui Beach to my personal favorite, the beach of Mu Ko Lanta National Park – just to name a few.
The nightlife and parties are practically nonexistent, but there are other fun things to do in Koh Lanta such as visiting the old town, taking a cooking class, enjoying snorkeling and kayaking or going for a day trip to one of the nearby islands.
If you have a free morning, I recommend you go to the heavenly island of Koh Rok that is located only 40 min away by a speed boat.
When it comes to the accommodation there is something for everyone, from the unpretentious and laid-back bungalows to high-end resorts with infinity pools and fashionable rooms.
About the author
Barbara is the founder of crabintheair.com, a travel blog where she shares her passion for exploring the world. She loves writing about all the hotels visited, the wonderful cities discovered and the unique people met along the way.