There are thousands of beaches in Thailand alone, never mind Asia. Not all beaches are created equally though – if you’re planning a visit to the continent you’ll need to have a good idea of the best beaches for your holiday intentions. After all, you don’t want to find the family wandering onto a nudist beach, do you?
- Best for partying
Haad Rin in Ko Phangnan is the home of the renowned Full Moon Party – South East Asia’s biggest lunar celebration. Check the schedule for the next instalment and book your accommodation early, it’s the number one party spot in the whole of South East Asia.
- Best for families
The beautiful and popular Cavelossim Beach in Goa is a perfect holiday destination for families, who love being close to nature, but also close to the comforts of resorts and hotels. The black rocks and white sand make for an interesting place to spend your holiday and there’s plenty to do in the vicinity to keep the kids entertained.
- Best for Instagram
If you’re looking to boost your Instagram profile photos, any of the 23 white sand beaches on Koh Rong Island in Cambodia will do it. The paradise island is the second largest in Cambodia and with no roads or traffic everyone wanders freely. The cute bungalows, turquoise waters, and jungle vegetation will definitely have your army of followers clicking that Like button.
- Best off the beaten path
Kapas Island in Malaysia has an absolutely stunning beach, out of the way of the usual holiday trail in the country. The whole island is only 2km long and 1km wide, it’s so small it’s often overlooked. Visit and you’ll find the perfect spot for relaxation, sunbathing and snorkelling. It’s so remote here there are no ATMs, Wi-Fi or phone connection – a great way to escape it all.
- Best for sunrise
Orchid Island in Lanyu, Taiwan, has some amazing beaches. Surrounded by magnificent mountains and lush rainforests, Dongcing Bay in particular makes for a beautiful spot to get up and watch the sun rise over the island.
- Best for swimming with sea turtles
The Gili Islands in Indonesia are a pilgrimage for anyone seeking the most beautiful beaches in the world. But if it’s beyond the beach, and under the sea that interests you, you’ll need Gili Trawangan beach in your life. The locals here have been working hard to conserve and support the sea turtle population, and now you can snorkel surrounded by the little fellas.
- Best to get away from it all
Heard of Ko Lipe in Thailand? Thought not. It’s one of the most underdeveloped islands, and therefore one of the best. White sandy beaches with crystal clear water and a healthy marine life will greet you here. With no Wi-Fi and basic resources there’s nothing to do but relax and enjoy your surroundings, without emails pinging and Facebook requests to play Candy Crush Saga every five minutes.
- Best for nudists
Sogod, Cebu, in the Philippines is home to the Cebu Club Pacific Resort, one of the most popular, yet discreet, places for nudists. It’s not really acceptable in the rest of the Philippines to sunbathe naked, so if you like to feel the air on your skin, you’ve found your haven.
- Best for somewhere a bit different
Myanmar may not be the first place you think of when you think of beautiful beaches, but the country definitely has its fair share of sandy shores. Ngwe Saung Beach on the west coast of the country has the prettiest sands, mostly undeveloped. Just relax and enjoy all the fun the beach has to offer.
- Best for divers
Love diving? You’ll love Sipadan Beach in Malaysia. It’s often voted the best dive site in Asia, thanks to the lush corals and opulent marine ecosystem, complete with reef shark and green turtles. They’re so keen to conserve the beauty of this area that only 120 diver permits are issued for the area per day – at least you can wait it out on the beautiful beach if it’s not your lucky day.