During these difficult times, we’re all dreaming of some much-deserved R&R in the sun. Whilst you might not be able to escape just yet, here are some of the best beaches in Asia to visit once we can travel again.
Where are the best beaches in Asia?
1. Miyako Island, Okinawa – Japan
It may come as a bit of a surprise, but Japan offers some of the best beaches in Asia. Miyako Island in Okinawa is home to beautiful beaches and offshore snorkelling adventures. This calm island is ringed by beaches, including the popular Maehama beach, a perfect swimming beach for the whole family and famed for its sunsets, and Yoshino beach, which is great for snorkelling, with a reef mere metres from the shore. Don’t forget to try Okinawan delicacies here, including soba noodles and goya chanpuru, which is stir-fried bitter melon.
Read more: Discover the secret spots of Okinawa
2. Parai Tenggiri, Pulau Bangka – Indonesia
Parai Tenggiri is located on Pulau Bangka, a little-known island halfway between Singapore and Jakarta. It’s blessed with some of the best beaches near Singapore. The most spectacular beach is Parai Tenggiri with turquoise waters, pristine sand and gigantic limestone boulders, which further add to the drama. Tourists are few and far between, so chances are, you’ll have the sea to yourself.
3. Mirissa – Sri Lanka
When life gets too busy and the simple pleasures of a hammock, a freshly opened coconut and the soundtrack of crashing waves beckon, head to the gorgeous crescent beach of Mirissa and chill to the max. The beach is lined with great value accommodation and restaurants serving generous portions of scrumptious Sri Lankan curries. Nearby attractions include historic Galle. Join whale watching trips from the beautiful beach of Unawatuna to ensure you have a memorable beach vacation in Sri Lanka.
4. Padang Padang, Bali – Indonesia
Looking for a beach holiday near Singapore? Bali should automatically come to mind. If you want a change from the beach scene in Kuta and Seminyak, then head to the dramatic beach of Padang Padang. With funky guesthouses, surf shops and shacks serving up superior grilled seafood, you could well be in beach heaven. Come here on a Saturday night or a full moon and you’ll find yourself raving until dawn at one of the numerous beach parties in Bali.
5. Cottesloe Beach, Perth – Australia
Family-friendly Cottesloe Beach is over 1000m long and is perfect for a family beach day. The beach is informally divided into three parts, so choose the part which most suits your vibe; surfers and kite surfers head to rocky South Cottesloe, whilst snorkellers hang out at Peter’s Pool. The area is packed with activities from cycling and surfing, and free music is available at the Cottesloe Esplanade – perfect as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.
6. Palawan – Philippines
Get away from it all at the Bacuit Archipelago in Palawan, home to some of the best beaches near Singapore. A short distance away from El Nido in Palawan, its 45 enchanting islands are riddled with karst cliffs, limestone formations and gorgeous lagoons. This is beachcomber paradise; charter a boat and go island-hopping! Start your trip planning now!
7. Phi Phi Islands – Thailand
Featured in the movie “The Beach”, the Phi Phi islands are the jewel in Thailand’s island crown and perfect for a quick beach holiday near Singapore. Even with all the hype, you’ll be hard-pressed not to be impressed with the glittering turquoise waters and sheer cliffs. Phi Phi Don, the largest and only inhabited island, doesn’t even have roads! To get to the Phi Phi islands, you can fly to Phuket and get a ferry from there onwards to the islands.
8. Goa – India
Where to begin with Goa’s spectacularly scenic beaches? Goa has everything from adrenaline to adventure, solitude to sunbathing. Our picks are Mandrem Beach for honeymooners, Agonda Beach for relaxing, Baga Beach for parties and seafood, and of course, the former hippie enclave of Anjuna Beach for trance music and colourful flea markets.
9. Soneva Gili – Maldives
It wouldn’t be a list of the best beaches in Asia if we didn’t include the paradise islands of the Maldives. As expensive as it is gorgeous, Soneva Gili in the Maldives is the ultimate in luxury retreats. Rustic-chic rules at this tiny coral atoll set in a sparkling lagoon, complete with spacious villas, fine dining and private butlers.
Read more: Amazing animal islands in Asia Pacific
10. White Beach – Boracay, Philippines
There’s a good reason why Boracay, developed as it is, still makes it on this list. It boasts some of the best beaches near Singapore that we would happily return to over and over again. Boracay’s White Beach is simply stunning, with extraordinarily pure powder sands that extend forever into azure blue waters. From water sports and diving to spas and shopping, there’s something for everybody.
11. Whitehaven Beach – Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Often voted Australia’s best beach, Queensland’s iconic Whitehaven Beach is a 7km stretch of crystal clear waters and pristine sands. Explore the colourful cove of Hill Inlet, or hike up to the lookout at Tongue Point for a stunning, much-photographed view.
12. Sipadan – Malaysia
Possibly one of the best dive sites in the world, Sipadan’s lush and healthy coral reefs support thriving populations of sea turtles and reef sharks. However, conservation regulations mean that only 120 diving permits are allowed every day, so book your dives early. You can get to Sipadan by domestic transfer to Tawau Airport.
13. Koh Rong – Cambodia
Idyllic and picturesque, this island off the coast of Sihanoukville is an unspoiled tropical paradise. With over 40km of white sand beaches and turquoise-green waters, Koh Rong offers the simple pleasures of relaxing with a cold beer and freshly-caught seafood. Get to Koh Rong by ferry after flying into Phnom Penh.
14. Haad Rin Beach – Koh Phangan, Thailand
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, few places can beat the hedonism of Koh Phangan’s infamous Full Moon parties. If while there you need to recover from a hangover, there are quieter beaches perfect for taking it easy. Get to Koh Phangan by ferry after flights to Koh Samui, or consider alternative airports in Chumphon or Surat Thani.
Read more: 7 most beautiful lakes in Asia
15. Mui Ne Beach – Vietnam
For those who love the heady contrast of excitement and relaxation, Mui Ne Beach is right up your alley. With strong winds, big waves and clear skies, Mui Ne is ideal for wind-surfing, kite-surfing and all sorts of physical activities. Mui Ne also has some dramatic scenery: giant sand dunes, perfect for dune-trekking. Find flights from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, then grab a train, taxi or bus to Mui Ne beach.
Read more: An itinerary for Central Vietnam
16. Hot Water Beach – Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Not far from Auckland is the truly unique Hot Water Beach. The presence of hot springs along the coast means that hot water bubbles up through the sands, allowing visitors to dig their own personal, steaming spa pool to relax in… at least until the tide comes in.
17. La Digue – Seychelles
OK, this beach isn’t really in Asia, but we couldn’t resist adding this gem to the list. The exotic islands of the Seychelles are on many travellers’ bucket lists, attracting famous honeymooners like Prince William and Duchess Kate. Their pick? The exclusive and exquisite island of La Digue, home to L’Anse Source D’Argent, one of the world’s top beaches.
Originally published in March 2018 and updated in May 2020. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.