Millions of beach lovers head to Southeast Asia every year in search of sun, sea and sand, all hoping to find one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia for their vacation.
Having lived in Asia for 12 years and travelled extensively around the region, I am lucky enough to have experienced some of these beautiful Southeast Asia beaches myself.
And while I can’t claim to have been to every best beach in Southeast Asia, I have certainly done by best to try out as many as I can! (Tough job but someone’s got to do it.)
Another good thing about these beach destinations in Asia, is they are also home to some of the best beach resorts in Asia. So for each of these Southeast Asia beaches, I have tried to recommend at least one Asia beach resort to check out – and where possible a choice of resorts to suit different budgets
So here, from my experience some of the best beaches in Asia to add to your bucket list.
You may also like our article about the Best Family Holiday Destinations in Asia.
Datai Bay, Langkawi, Malaysia
Datai Bay in Langkawi is a gorgeous stretch of secluded sandy beach, and definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia.
And don’t just take my word for it – this beautiful naturally rugged beach has also been named amongst the ten best beaches in the WORLD by National Geographic.
Unfortunately this Southeast Asia vacation spot is a private beach with access only for guests at the two beach resorts located here: The Datai and The Andaman.
However if you are lucky enough to be staying at one of these resorts, you know that the beach will never get overcrowded.
Even if you aren’t staying at one of these top Southeast Asia resorts, you could always head here for lunch at one of the Andaman’s beachfront restaurants to check out the beach.
Datai Bay is also renowned for its incredible wildlife, as this is a beach where the rainforest meets the ocean. Keep a look out for monkeys playing in the nearby trees, hornbills nesting overhead and you might also be lucky to spot the cute flying colugo.
See our article: Where to stay in Langkawi.
Where to stay at Datai Bay
Mai Khao Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Mai Khao Beach is completely different to most other beaches in Phuket. The reason? There is hardly anyone there! Amazing.
While the majority of beaches in Phuket are swarming with sun worshippers, Mai Khao beach is blissfully quiet.
This is Phuket’s longest beach and as it is part of the Sirinat National Park, which is a protected nesting ground for turtles, it is noticeably underdeveloped compared to most other Phuket beaches.
You won’t find any sun loungers, juice stalls, seafood restaurants or beach bars here. Just 11-kilometres of sand stretching into the distance.
You will however find a good selection of some of the best resorts in Southeast Asia tucked in behind the trees, with easy access to the beach.
See our article: The Best Beaches in Phuket.
Where to Stay on Mai Khao Beach
- JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
- Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas
- Sala Phuket Resort & Spa
- Renaissance Phuket Resort
- Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach
Entalula Beach, El Nido, The Philippines
El Nido in the Philippines is renowned for its aquamarine water and dramatic rock formations. The sheer beauty of the natural surroundings and the crystal clear water that washes up onto the white sandy beaches here will blow you away.
No wonder it has the reputation as one of the best beach destinations in Asia.
There are so many incredible beautiful beaches in El Nido and you can easily join an island hopping tour to check them all out. For me, the most beautiful of all is Entalula Beach.
The colour and clarity of the water here is incredible – just like a swimming pool! And the soft white sand is perfect for relaxing on. The water is calm and shallow, so ideal for a gentle swim or a relaxed snorkel.
And the best thing about Entalula Beach? There is practically nobody here!
See our article: Things to do in El Nido.
Where to Stay in El Nido
Pulau Tengah (Batu Batu), Malaysia
The small island of Pulau Tengah is one of the best islands in Asia for a beach getaway. Home to the luxury private island resort Batu Batu, this beautiful island boasts some of the best beaches in South East Asia.
Just a 3-hour transfer from Singapore (you drive to Mersing and take a 20-minute speedboat ride from there), Batu Batu is a popular weekend destination for residents in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Barefoot luxury is the name of the game here, with sandy pathways winding through the coconut trees and villas set in amongst the rainforest, or gazing out over the powdery white beaches.
This small beach resort in Southeast Asia is home to 8 pristine white sandy beaches, including Sunset Beach, which as its name would suggest is the best place to watch sunset, as you kick back at the rustic beach bar here.
See our article: Islands near Singapore for a short getaway.
Where to stay on Pulau Tengah
Nusa Dua Beach, Bali
If you want white sandy beaches in Bali, you need to head to Nusa Dua. While many of the Bali beaches feature black volcanic sand, it’s all gleaming white down in Nusa Dua, with calm clear water.
There are a few different beaches in Nusa Dua to choose from, but Nusa Dua Beach gets our pick of the best. This long stretch of beach is home to some of the best beach resorts in Southeast Asia, offering a great choice of nearby dining options.
There’s not a huge amount of local Balinese culture here, as the area is mainly dedicated to large international resorts. But if you are looking for some downtime and to enjoy some beautiful beaches in Asia, then Nusa Dua is where to head to.
See our article: Where to Stay in Bali.
Where to stay Nusa Dua Beach
- The St Regis Bali Resort
- Novotel Bali Nusa Dua
- Courtyard by Marriott Nusa Dua Resort
- Grand Hyatt Bali
An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam
An Bang Beach is located just 3 kilometres north of popular tourist town Hoi An. Since the closer Cua Dai beach has suffered from ocean erosion, it has become the place to head to for your sand and sea fix in Hoi An and Danang.
This gloriously long 4km stretch of white sandy beach is home to some of best resorts in Asia, making it a popular choice for a beach vacation in Asia. And yet it never seems to feel crowded.
While many of the resorts have private stretches of beach in front of their hotels, there are plenty of beach bars and restaurants you can head to regardless of whether you are staying here or not.
See our article: Where to Stay in Hoi An and Danang.
Where to stay at An Bang Beach
Alona Beach, Bohol
Located on Panglao Island, just a 15 minute drive from Bohol airport, Alona Beach is a gorgeous 1.5km stretch of sand, lined by coconut trees.
As well as being a popular place to hang out, Alona Beach is also the main setting off point for most of the island hopping, snorkeling and diving tours in Bohol. You will notice the large number of boats moored just off the beach here.
Don’t expect to have this beach to yourself – this is one of the most popular beaches in the Philippines. But it has a good choice of nearby resorts, and local restaurants to choose from, making it a good spot for a beach vacation in Asia.
It’s also a buzzy, yet chilled place to head to for sunset.
See our article: Island Hopping in Bohol.
Where to stay at Alona Beach
Bophut Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
Gorgeous Koh Samui is famous as one of the most beautiful islands in Asia. However, even though Koh Samui is known as Phuket’s quieter cousin, a lot of the beaches here are now getting overrun with raucous party-goers.
For this reason, we love Bophut Beach as it is a relatively quiet Koh Samui beach, with calm shallow water, making it a great option or a relaxed Southeast Asia vacation. Unfortunately the sand here is coarse and not as soft as some other beaches on Koh Samui, but we are willing to overlook that.
We love the Fishermans Village here, which has a good range of restaurants, bars and boutique shops to browse. The Friday night market is always good fun too.
Don’t miss Coco Tam’s beach bar, where you can sip on pints of cocktails while you sit in a swing at the bar!
See our article: The Best Family Resorts in Koh Samui.
Where to Stay on Bophut Beach
Tanjong Beach, Singapore
It’s true that the beaches in Singapore can’t really compete with the other nearby Southeast Asia tourist spots.
But the fact that this beach is just a 20-minute drive from the centre of a big modern city like Singapore makes it pretty special. Plus, if you head here during the week you will likely have the place almost to yourself.
Of all the Sentosa beaches, Tanjong Beach is the most pristine. Although you can view the shipping lane from the beach, the curve of the sandy beach and the swaying palm trees around you make you almost believe you are on a tropical island elsewhere.
Tanjong Beach is home to the ever popular Tanjong Beach Club, the perfect place to grab a spot of lunch and chill out in their beachfront swimming pool.
See our article: The Ultimate Guide to Sentosa Island.
Where to Stay on Sentosa
- Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
- W Singapore – Sentosa Cove
- The Capella Singapore
- Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort
Gili Air, Indonesia
The Gili islands are three small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, located just off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia.
These small islands are popular for diving vacations. Known for their beautiful coral reefs, turquoise water and sea turtle population they offer some of the best snorkeling in Asia.
They are also known for their white sandy beaches that are noticeably less crowded than the nearby Bali beaches.
Gili Air is the smallest of the three islands and you could walk around the entire island in around two hours. Time your walk for sunset at Gili Lumbung, where you can watch the sun sink into the sea and have your photo taken on the swing in the water.
Where to stay in Gili Air
- Manta Dive Resort
- Gili Air Escape (children aged over 12 only)
- Gili Air Sanctuary Villa and Resort
Have you been to any of these best vacation spots in Asia? Or do you have any more suggestions to add to the top beaches in Asia? Let us know!
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