Top 10 beaches in Southeast Asia

IMG_813710. Sumur Tiga beach, Pulau Weh, Indonesia

This 3km long white sandy beach is located at the east coast of Pulau Weh, just 5 minutes’ drive from Sabang town. Sumur Tiga is the ideal getaway as it remains fairly secluded, with a couple of resorts like Freddie´s and Casa Nemo, that cost about 25€ a night. Its beautiful clear turquoise water makes it a great place for snorkeling in the afternoon, when the tide is low and the waves calm down.

IMG_4054.JPG9. Sunset beach, Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

The whole island of Koh Rong Samloem, situated 45km offshore Sihanoukville, has a tropical beach feeling. Sunset beach lies on the western side of the island and is the most secluded on the island, as the 40 minutes’ walk through the jungle from Saracen Bay keeps the crowds away. If you are not willing to trek the jungle, you can strike a deal with a fisherman and go by boat from M´Pai Bay or another part of the island. This super relaxed beach has only three backpacker resorts: Huba huba (private 20$, dorm 5$), Sleeping trees (tents from 30$) and Robinson Bungalows (privates from 20$) and a dive shop with a couple of dorms for 5€ a night.

IMG_72898. Cemara Kecil, Karimunjawa, Indonesia

Karimunjawa Islands are one of Indonesia´s best kept secret. This tourist free complex of 27 islands are located 45km north of Central Java. During my 10 days in the main island I had the change to take few boat rides to explore the surrounding islets, including Cemara Kecil. This tiny piece of paradise left me speechless for its bright turquoise calm water and powder-like white sand. The island doesn’t have a pier or any kind of business, just a few hammocks spread around the beach and some private bungalows. There is a few snorkeling spots in the surrounding coral reefs.

bamboo island7. Bamboo beach, Bamboo Island, Thailand

I discovered Bamboo Island during a boat tour from Koh Phi Phi and loved the washed-up coral, pinky golden sand and pristine blue water.Bamboo Island, also known as Koh Mai Phai, is very different to the rest of Koh Phi Phi Islands for its flat landscape and lack of palm trees. This small islet remains a gem despite being saturated with tourists and long tail boats, specially during the high season from December to March. The only building in the islet is a basic snack bar.

IMG_19136. Paliton beach, Siquijor, The Philippines

Located on the west side of Siquijor Island, Paliton is a paradise beach with white sand, clear water and palm trees leaning perfectly over the shore. It remains relatively undeveloped with no buildings and just a few fishermen boats. This boats leaning on the horizon contributed to enhance the beauty of a magical sunset. The only downside of Paliton are the seaweeds covering the sandy bottom just a few meters from the shore.

Clearwater bay5. Clearwater bay, Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

This idyllic turquoise water beach in Koh Rong Samloem is the perfect scapefrom the outside world. Clearwater bay it´s only reachable by boat or by a 40-min trek from the backpacker village M´Pai Bay. This secluded 2km beach has no shops and only one hostel: Driftwood, offering ded dorms (5$) and private rooms (30$). If they get fully booked you can rent a hammock or set your tent for 4$. Driftwood has limited electricity, no Wifi and a basic food menu serving 3 meals a day, so is convenient to stock up plenty of goodies before getting there.

IMG_51904. Nui Bay, Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Phi Phi islands became a top tourist destination after the movie The Beach was filmed in Maya Bay. The film captures the indisputable tropical beauty of Maya Bay, a white powder sand beach with emerald waters surrounded by palm trees and limestone karsts. While most people find Maya bay the most beautiful beach in Koh Phi Phi I found Nui bay more charming and far less touristy. This mini Maya Bay is located in the north-west coast of Phi Phi Don and has similar features. It is only accessible by boat or kayak and has no accommodation facilities.

IMG_4023.JPG3. Saracen bay, Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

Saracen Bay is the main beach in Koh Rong Samloem with most of the island´s luxury resorts and the main docking station for boats from Sihanoukville. This beach has the whitest and softest sandI have ever seen. Its clear water varies from turquoise to blue and the vegetation remains relatively untouched. Saracen Bay is not where backpackers tend to congregate because prices are higher than other parts of the islands and doesn’t have a layback feeling.

kanawa island2. Kanawa beach, Kanawa Island, Indonesia

Kanawa is a small island located in Flores, Indonesia, about 15km from Labuan Bajo. Its fascinating natural beauty lays on the beaches and underwater world, being one of the best diving sites with stunning colorful fishes and beautiful coral reefs.  The only accommodation available is Kanawa Island Resort, with basic bungalows from 50€ per night.

Napcan beach 21. Napcan beach, El Nido, The Philippines

Napcan beach is a located 40 min north of El Nido in Palawan. The charm of this beach lays on its breathtaking location, being surrounded by mountains and islands, that you can admire from a viewpoint nearby. With clear turquoise blue water, golden sand and perfectly aligned palm trees, this nature beach remains relatevily undiscovered. There are just a few huts and restaurants selling philippino dishes and tropical fruit smoothies. The sunset from Napcan is also not to be missed. 


  1. Hi, do you realise your comments are closed on very recent posts? I wanted to comment on how lovely your Sumatran post was because I’ve just added my photos of a trip from about 12 years ago.


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