If you already visited the beaches here at Florida or California then you might consider turning your next beach escapade into an overseas one. Mexico is an obvious choice, and the Caribbean have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world as well, but since some people want to spice their vacation with adventure – Asia might be the best place to go to.
The islands listed here all provide a solid mix of adventure, fascinating culture and stunning beaches to relax at. Some are more suitable for families, while others are more romantic or better for young people who are looking for the best parties in the world. So just read below and you will surely find the best island for your next vacation.
Attribution: Alexey Komarov
We start off this list with Boracay not because it is necessarily the most beautiful or most exciting, but because it has the most interesting story right now. Between 2014 and 2016 Boracay was crowned “the best island in the world” by Condé Nast Traveler, turning it from one of Asia’s best kept secret into a tourist mecca. More than 2 million people visited this tiny island each year, and the tourism industry went through the roof.
Things got so crazy over there that the government was left with no choice but to completely shut down the whole island. They had to spend 6 months on an extensive rehabilitation project, during which time no visitors were allowed to set foot on the island. Now, with better infrastructure and stronger regulation, it is very interesting to see if Boracay can handle the new surge of tourists better. It will be fascinating to test whether sustainable tourism is possible even in super popular islands, or maybe tourists really do destroy every piece of heaven we find here on earth.
Ko Tao, Thailand
While Boracay is a huge tourist hot spot with amazing nightlife and full of young people looking to have fun, Ko Tao stands in stark contrast. Located right next to Ko Samui and Ko Phangan, two of the most popular island destinations in Thailand, Ko Tao serves as a respite from the hustle and a quick escape from the crowds.
The island is not completely undeveloped and offers some very good accommodation choices, excellent dining options and a nice, laid back nightlife scene. That said, the vibe there is really all about relaxing and taking it easy. Ko Tao is also one of the best diving locations in Thailand, and a great place to get certified at. If you are keen to start scuba diving, consider spending 4-5 nights there and enjoy everything this wonderful place has to offer.
Attribution: Bernard Gagnon
Sri Lanka is an island just south of India, and a country which has been ripped apart by social and political turmoil for decades. Now, with the civil war finally coming to an end, the country is poised to become a huge tourist destination for many years to come. Just recently, Lonely Planet Magazine named Sri Lanka the number one country primed to shine through 2019.
Sri Lanka does indeed offer the best mixture of attractions and is sure to cater to any type of traveler. You can stay at luxury 5 stars hotels, or camp outdoors in the jungle. Spend your days beach bummin’ or go on wild adventures. Rich with culture and beautiful nature, this country is undeniably one of the most interesting places on earth.
Another place which consistently wins prestigious awards is the island province of Palawan. An hour’s flight from the capital Manila, this large island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and lagoons you’ll see anywhere. With tons of different places to visit, it offers an extremely well-rounded experience and really makes you feel like you have arrived to paradise.
The 3 main locations are Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron. Puerto Princesa is the provincial capital and has more of a city vibe to it, the beaches there are underwhelming. Still, most people choose to spend a day or two there, if only so they’ll be able to see the underground river – one of the new 7 wonders of nature. El Nido and Coron have much of an island vibe to them, and these places are where you’ll see the most beautiful lagoons and beaches.
According to Philippines Travel Package, El Nido is about to receive the same treatment Boracay did. For now, all the government had done was re-organize the island-hopping tours and make them much more regulated – for example there’s a limit to daily visitors and you can only visit either the big or small lagoon but not both on a single day. Hopefully this will be enough to rehabilitate the island and they won’t have to shut the whole place down for who knows how long.
Lombok is located just east of the much better-known island of Bali, and so people often combine a visit to both on the same trip. While these two places are quite similar, they also offer some very distinct differences and thus compliment each other very well. Bali is much more developed, and possibly even over commercialized, while Lombok is still raw and authentic.
Lombok offers the classic package you expect from any island in Indonesia – unique culture and stunning landscape. Shrines are located everywhere and there are also many yoga and meditation retreats. When you feel like being active, all you have to do is choose from literally hundreds of different islands, waterfalls, caves and mountains you could climb.
Lombok is a fairly large island so the options for activities and attractions are really endless. You can easily spend a week or two there and never run out of things to do. It might be the least known name on this list, but also one of the most exciting and special places on earth.