Top 10 Island Destinations in Asia

Whether you want a wild night raving on the sands, beach sports galore or just a swaying hammock, head to Asia’s islands. The region comprises of some of the world’s most beautiful islands. Tourists from every corner of the world visit these islands to explore their hidden natural beauty and relax along their lovely coastlines.

Here is a list of the top 10 island destinations in Asia.

1. Bali, Indonesia

Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colourful stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth.

With world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations, this is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. Bali has something to offer a very broad market of visitors from young back-packers right through to the super-rich.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia. Photo by Sunova Surfboards

2. Palawan, Philippines

When you’re spending time fantasizing about the places you’d go if you had unlimited time and money, you might be picturing Palawan. This remote province of the Philippines offers gorgeous beaches, aquamarine waters and secluded coves.

For nature lovers and adventurers, the coasts on the west side of the island with their rock formations and the underwater river near Sabang, are real attractions. Palawan island distinguishes itself too by its tropical jungle. The rainforest on the island is well known because of its huge trees. Many are rare. And with a little bit luck, you’ll meet here some of the typical tropical animals, who live in this still original tropical rain forest.

Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Photo by Christian Ronnel

3. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Lying just 21 km off the northeast coast of Terengganu in Peninsular Malaysia, this beautiful island is famous among travelers for its palm-fringed white sandy beaches, turquoise blue sea and a laid back lifestyle. The island comprises Pulau Perhentian Besar (The Big Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (The Small Island).

A trip to this exotic tropical island is a must for all nature lovers and those who enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, swimming, wind surfing, sailing, boating, and canoeing. It is surrounded by a virgin jungle, swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches, warm sapphire blue waters, and a colorful coral garden. Perhentian Islands is renowned as one of Malaysia’s marine paradise.

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Long Beach, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia. Photo by Achilli Family | Journeys

4. Boracay, Philippines

This itty-bitty island (10 square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to the tropical idyll ideal as you’ll find in the Philippines, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets. For beach connoisseurs it competes with the best beaches of more popular destinations such as the Caribbean and the South Pacific as well as neighbouring Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The more active will appreciate water sports and activities such as sailing, wind surfing, snorkelling, diving and jet skiing. The fun in Boracay doesn’t end when the sun sets. Boracay night-life pulsates with many bars and restaurants serving food, drink and fun until dawn.

Boracay, Philippines

Boracay at dusk – Philippines. Photo by Chewy Chua

5. Ko Tao, Thailand

The palm-fringed island of Ko Tao (“Turtle Island”) takes its name from the abundant sea turtles that reside on its shores.

The island is well known for scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as hiking, rock climbing, and bouldering.

The most popular place for tourists is Sairee on the west coast, which has a white sandy beach of 1.7 km interrupted only by a few huge boulders and a scattering of medium budget resorts and restaurants. Visitors to Koh Tao are spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches, but our personal favorite will always be Sai Nuan. Accessible only by a longtail boat, this bungalow-backed strip of sand is truly paradise. It’s the perfect place to relax and swing in a hammock.

Boracay, Philippines

Sai Nuan Beach, Ko Tao, Thailand

6. Langkawi, Malaysia

Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 Malaysian islands in the Andaman Sea. Surrounded by turquoise sea, the interior of the main island is a mixture of picturesque paddy fields and jungle-clad hills. This premier vacation destination is an absolute tropical paradise endowed with a beauty that only nature’s variety can offer.

Aside from enjoying the sights, there is no shortage of things to do in Langkawi. Head up the thrilling new cable car to the summit of Mount Mat Cincang – Langkawi’s second highest mountain – for an unrivalled view of the entire main island and beyond.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Cable Car Langkawi – Malaysia. Photo by Joseph Younis

7. Lombok, Indonesia

Thirty-five kilometres east of Bali at its closest point, Lombok in many ways lives up to or exceeds the promotional term, “an unspoiled Bali”. With beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani combined with relatively few tourists, Lombok is indeed a paradisaical tropical island.

Come here to surf the massive breaks on the south coast. Challenge yourself with a trek up steep volcanic peaks. Hire a bike and cycle through lush evergreen rice paddies. Whichever way you choose to spend your time you won’t be disappointed with the spectacular natural beauty on offer here.

Kuta Beach, Lombok, Indonesia

Silent Hill, Kuta Beach, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Fadil Basymeleh

8. Phuket, Thailand

Thailand’s largest island is an international magnet for beach lovers and serious divers, who enthusiastically submerge themselves in the Andaman Sea. Tropical sunsets, warm blue oceans and fiery sunsets await you in this beautiful haven. Hills dominate the island and the views from the top shouldn’t be missed.

Wherever you are on the island, there are plenty opportunities to immerse yourself in local culture and tradition. Swimming, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, kite surfing, yachting, jet-skiing, parasailing and deep sea fishing are just a few active options wait to be explored.

Ko Tapu, Phuket, Thailand

Ko Tapu (Tapu Island), Phuket, Thailand. Photo by Diego Delso

9. Maldives

There’s more ocean than land in the Maldives, a chain of tiny islands and coral atolls far out in the Indian Ocean. Scattered across the equator, the gem-like islands of the Maldives depict the rare vision of a tropical paradise. Palm fringed islands with sparkling white beaches, turquoise lagoons, clear warm waters and coral reefs teeming with abundant varieties of marine flora and fauna, fascinates visitors as it has for thousands of years.

The Maldives is also one of the most appealing dive destinations in the world with its relaxed atmosphere, year-round warm water and sightings of great pelagics. Scuba diving in the Maldives is a dream!


Constance Halaveli Resort & Spa – Maldives. Photo by Mac Qin

10. Koh Samui, Thailand

This island isn’t for everyone, particularly not if what you’re after is an unspoilt, serenely beautiful corner of the world to relax in.

But if you don’t mind your tropical paradises filled with blaring night clubs, crowds of tourists, international fast food chains and a bit of a seedy underbelly, then there is actually plenty of fun to be had on Samui – especially in the form of watersports.

Koh Samui, Thailand

Coral Cove Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo by Fabio Achilli

Whether looking for spectacular scenery, adrenaline-pumping adventure or a cosy, secluded location, the islands around Asia have much to offer.

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