Southeast Asia is a stunning backdrop of turquoise and white sand beaches teeming with small islands, scuba diving paradises, and hiking trails for all tourists. Activity level is off the charts, with every group of islands a personality fit for nature lovers and Full Moon Party revelers.
Here are our picks for top 5 South Asia beaches.
Ko Lanta, Thailand – Thailand’s islands are slowly being overpopulated with mass tourism and overpriced stays. Ko Lanta stays true to its roots, quickly establishing itself as one of Thailand's best peace spots with $9 a night bungalows along the beach, budget accommodation, and a mix of mountainous and rugged gravel and sand beaches. It’s also a welcome refuge from noisier and overdeveloped hotspot, Ko Phi Phi, the island made famous by the movie "The Beach" by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand – Arguably the most picturesque island in Thailand, Ko Phi Phi is an eccentric mix of white sand beaches, cliffs, and forest giving it a tropical feel. A downside is that this section has been overdeveloped with the "The Beach: movie bringing tourists in record numbers. Although expensive, you can still find places to stay for less than 10 dollars a night.
Olhuveli, Maldives – Its two-kilometer coastline is teeming with aquatic life with sharks cursing freely in a vibrant scuba diving scene. This area is known for having the best variety of coral reefs on the planet with more than 300 species of fish and countless species of turtles, sea grass, and sharks.
Boracay, Philippines – Boracay has been ranked among the top 10 beaches in the world by countless publications and for good season. Its super fine white sand along a 4-kilometer beach matches scenic beauty with the best in nightlife and food. It is also home to the Asian Windsurfing Tour, one of the largest windsurfing events in the world.
Lombok, Indonesia – Lombok is one of the most versatile beaches in the world, with a sprawling ecosystem consisting of waterfalls, volcanoes, and roots of a strong indigenous culture that keeps the entire beach “in house.” This 80 km by 80 km island is also home to good surfing and is not overcrowded with tourists that are quickly becoming the story in Southeast Asia.
Photo credit – AP: Malacanang, Jerry Carua