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Best Beaches in Asia

Best Beaches in Asia

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Jul. 18, 2022

When talking about the best beaches in Asia, Southeast Asia’s — especially Indonesia (Bali), Thailand, and Malaysia’s — will definitely win the contest.

For most travelers, a beach resort is usually added at the end to a 10–15-day Asia trip. Some beach time is the perfect way to finish a trip.

A “best beach” doesn’t only mean beautiful scenery, but also being less crowded, conveniently reached, and particularly suited to a certain group of visitors (whether couples, families, water-sport enthusiasts...).

Among over 1,000 beaches in Asia, we have selected 11 top options. They’re located in Thailand (Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui), Vietnam (Phu Quoc), Malaysia (Sabah) and Indonesia (Bali). No matter what you’re looking for (romance, privacy, seclusion, surfing, diving, snorkeling, sunbathing...), you will certainly find a “best beach” option for your tropical oceanside holiday.

Best Beaches in Asia 11 Best Beaches in Asia

1. Bang Tao Beach, Phuket, Thailand — Many Luxury Resorts

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: November to April (dry season)
  • How to get there: around 30 minutes’ driving from Phuket’s airport
  • Nearest airport: Phuket International Airport (HKT). There are no direct flights to America or Europe, but the airport provides flights to/from plenty of other major cities such as Sydney (SYD), Doha (DOH), Singapore (SIN), Hong Kong (HKG), Seoul (ICN), etc. for connections.
Bang Tao Beach, Phuket, Thailand Enjoy an amazing sunset view on Bang Tao Beach.

Bang Tao Beach is home to a famous resort complex known as ‘Laguna Phuket’, with some of the best resorts of all southern Thailand, such as Banyan Tree Resort, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Angsana Laguna Phuket Resort, and SAii Laguna Phuket Resort. 

Staying at any of the Laguna Complex resorts, you can enjoy tons of activities offered by the hotels: sailing, kayaking, archery, immense swimming pools, massages, and amazing spas. There are many local restaurants and bars to enjoy food and drinks at.

Some reviews copied from TripAdvisor:

“Awesome beach with nice waves and Sunset. Less crowded and peaceful and enjoy long walks in the evening.”

“Nice Beach — if you like it quiet. Very nice and quiet beach. When we were there it was not very busy and the beach was very clean...very relaxing...”

Unlike beaches in other countries, all beaches in Thailand are public according to local tourism policy. No hotel has a “private beach”. However, the beaches in Bang Tao are mainly visited by the resort clients, thus they provide more privacy.

Send an inquiry to find the most suitable resort for you.

Suggested ReadThings to Do (and Not to Do) in Phuket

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2. Freedom Beach, Phuket, Thailand — Well-Hidden Wonder Near Busy Patong Beach

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: November to April (dry season)
  • How to get there: 15–20 minutes’ boat ride or 1 hour’s walking from Patong Beach
  • Nearest airport: Phuket International Airport (HKT) 
Best Beaches in Asia Enjoy a quiet sun-bathing afternoon on the Freedom Beach.

Patong Beach is the earliest developed beach in Phuket and is still its busiest beach. It’s popular with those who’re looking for budget or mid-range hotels, numerous local restaurants, lively night bars, fun water activities, etc.

If Patong is your type of beach, but you’re still looking for a quiet sun-bathing afternoon, nearby Freedom Beach is definitely an ideal choice. It is blessed with soft white sand and bright blue water, dotted with granite rocks and surrounded by hills covered by a thick jungle. Besides sun soaking, snorkeling, swimming, picnicking, and walking in the jungles near the beach are also popular.

Not in front of a resort area, Freedom Beach is seldom visited by groups of visitors. Getting there via a 10–15-minute long tail boat ride from Patong Beach after breakfast, you might be the only one in this 100+-meter-long little paradise.

If you’re keen in personal challenges, walking to the Freedom Beach from Patong is another option. It takes about 1 hour each way, including 15–20 minutes of climbing up and down the stairs and rocks from the main road to the beach.

Tips:

  • Wear proper walking shoes if you plan to walk to Freedom Beach.  
  • There are not many sea activities, like motorboats or paragliders, at Freedom Beach. But food and drinks are available.

Where to stay near Freedom Beach:

  • Novotel Phuket Vintage Park Resort **** (from US$90)

Must ReadHow to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand

The Best Southeast Asia Tour for First-timers

3. Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand — Extremely Family Friendly

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: November to April (dry season)
  • How to get there: 1-hour driving from airport in Phuket
  • Nearest airport: Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Best Beaches in Asia Show the world in the sea to your kid when snorkeling.

With white sands and clear waters, but not as noisy and crowded as Patong Beach, Kata Beach is very popular with families. You can find great restaurants, lively but not raucous nightlife, and varied accommodation options — all close to the beach.

From sunbathing or swimming to adventurous sports like surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking, the plentiful activities will no doubt enrich your family vacation.

In addition, Kata Beach is famous as being a great place for sunset views. Many of the pictures on Phuket postcards were taken there.

For couples or honeymoon travelers looking for secluded atmosphere, you can choose a resort for adults only or a resort in the cliff area.

Where to stay at Kata Beach:

  • The Shore at Katathani **** (from US$80): It is only for adults.  
  • The Shore at Katathani ***** (from US$350): It is only for adults, with a more luxurious 5* atmosphere that’s ideal for honeymoons.
  • Pamookkoo Resort **** (from US$70): Family rooms for 2 adults and 2 children are available.
  • Katathani Phuket Beach Resort ***** (from US$130): It is family-friendly and close to the beach.

Must ReadPlanning a Trip to Southeast Asia: A Beginner’s Guide

Recommended Itinerary

4. Khao Lak Beach, Phuket, Thailand — Best Value for Money, Similan Islands Gateway

  • Rated 4.0 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: November to April (dry season)
  • How to get there: 1 hour and 20 minutes’ driving from Phuket’s airport
  • Nearest airport: Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Dive in Similan Islands from Khao Lak with turtles. Dive in Similan Islands from Khao Lak with turtles.

If you’re looking for a quiet beach not far from the airport, but still with crystal water, welcoming cost-effective resorts, soft and clean white sand, amazing sunset views, and a long beach for morning running, then Khao Lak Beach will be your ideal choice.

It is also a popular destination for honeymoons and a popular wedding destination for affluent Thais.

Khao Lak is the closest beach to the Similan Islands. You can take a day trip by ferry to this isolated paradise, which is one of world’s top ten diving sites. Staying overnight (on a liveaboard boat) is also possible. For marine life protection, the Similan Islands are only open for visiting from December to May.

Where to stay at Khao Lak Beach:

  • The Waters Khao Lak by Katathani Resort **** (from US$60)
  • The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani ***** (from US$75)
  • JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa ***** (from US$140)
Recommended Itinerary

5. Phra Nang Cave Beach, Krabi, Thailand — Rock Climbing, Spectacular Landscapes, Youth Choice

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: November to April (dry season)
  • How to get there: 15–20 minutes’ longtail boat ride from Ao Nang Beach (the most famous beach in Krabi).
  • Nearest airport: Krabi International Airport (KBV). It is directly connected to many major cities in Asia, such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Dubai, Seoul, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Rock Climbing by the Sea Take a rock climbing at the Phra Nang Cave Beach in Phuket.

If you’re keen on outdoor activities near the sea, such as hiking and rock climbing, Krabi, instead of Phuket or Koh Samui, is more suitable to you.

With soft white sand, clear shallow water, and a calm sea surface for swimming and snorkeling (weather dependent), huge cliff faces for climbing, Phra Nang Cave Beach is one of the best places in Krabi for you to challenge yourself or enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

When the tide is out, the bay water is around 1.4 m (4’8’’) at the deepest, and you can walk and swim or kayak to the small island opposite the beach

In the morning, there are usually less visitors and the water is cleaner.

Some reviews from TripAdvisor:

“My favorite beach in Thailand. Stunning views, a cave with a vertility temple, rock climbing, monkeys and much more. The best beach.”

“Almost a Dream beach.....nice view..calm turquoise Water...not overcrowded due to pandemic restrictions while traveling...”

Where to stay near Phra Nang Cave Beach:

  • Twin Bay Resort *** (from US$50)
  • Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort **** (from US$85): big rooms of minimum 40 m2
  • Bhu Nga Thani Resort and Spa **** (from US$70): big rooms of minimum 50 m2 with Lanna Thai style architecture

Suggested readPhuket vs Krabi: Which Is Better? (All-Aspects Comparison)

6. Choeng Mon Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand — a Best Beach for Honeymoons

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: year-round
  • How to get there: 10–15 minutes’ driving from Koh Samui’s airport
  • Nearest airport: Samui International Airport (USM). It’s privately owned by Bangkok Airways, thus flights are limited. Currently non-stop connections to Bangkok, Singapore, and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) are available.
Koh Samui, Thailand Have a romantic beach dinner with your lover in Koh Samui, Thailand

Compared with Phuket, Koh Samui wins a reputation for being much less crowded and having more high-end resorts.

Choeng Mon Beach is close to the airport and Chaweng beach (the busiest beach in Koh Samui), yet it is the quietest and most secluded. It is the best choice if you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing beach holiday with soft white sand and calm waters.

Sunrise views are amazing there as the beach is at the easterly end of the island.

Besides beach relaxation, spending a day exploring the interior of the island’s secret gardens, waterfalls, and jungle paths is another gorgeous reward.

Tips

  • There is with minimal water-sport activity in the vicinity of Choeng Mon Beach, but swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding are available. For more activities, you can easily rent a bicycle, electric bike, or even a motorbike to go to Chaweng beach.
  • There are lots of sun beds along the beach for you to enjoy relaxing afternoons with cups of drinks.
  • The roads on Koh Samui are not as developed as on Phuket. You’ll use some bumpy roads when driving from the airport to your resort, which, to some extent, adds to the secluded feel of this small island.  

Where to stay at Choeng Mon Beach:

  • Imperial Boat House Beach Resort **** (from US$150)
  • Royal Muang Samui Villas ***** (from US$115)
  • Sala Samui Choengmon Beach (from US$220)
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7. Nusa Dua Beach, Bali, Indonesia — Luxury Resort Complex, Great for Honeymoons, Families, and Yoga

  • Rated 4.0 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: April to October (dry season). December and January are the rainiest months.
  • How to get there: about 30 minutes’ driving from Bali's airport
  • Nearest airport: Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). It is the second largest airport in Indonesia with convenient flight connections to major cities in Asia, such as Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, and Kuala Lumpur.
Best Beaches in Asia Enjoy a relaxed holiday in a luxury resort with your lover in Bali.

Located on the east side of Bali, Nusa Dua Beach is a perfect place for a romantic sunrise view.

Designed as a complex for luxury resorts, while retaining pristine beaches, Nusa Dua, with its soft white sand and clear water, provides you and your loved ones with a laid-back, peaceful holiday environment.

This beach is mainly enjoyed by resort customers, thus it’s less crowded than Seminyak Beach. Enjoy tasty food/drinks in the restaurants/bars beside the seashore while listening to the ocean waves.

Compared to most other beaches in Bali, Nusa Dua Beach has less small coral and rocks, thus it is safer for young kids and a good place for morning runs as well.

Where to stay at Nusa Dua Beach:

  • Courtyard by Marriott Bali Nusa Dua Resort **** (from US$120)
  • Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa Bali **** (from US$130)
  • The Westin Resort Nusa Dua ***** (from US$145)

Suggested readTop 15 Tourist Attractions in Bali: Beaches, Temples…

8. Bingin Beach, Bali, Indonesia — Surfing Paradise for Young People

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: May to October (dry season)
  • How to get there: about 1 hour’s driving from Bali’s airport
  • Nearest airport: Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS)
Best Beaches in Asia Enjoy one of the best surfing experiences in Bingin Beach, Bali.

If you come to Bali for surfing, less-crowded Bingin Beach, with its challenging waves, is made for you! At high tide, the waves can reach a height of 5–8 meters.

Located on the west coast of Bali, Bingin Beach is also a stunning place for a romantic golden yellow sunset view and an unparalleled view over the Indian Ocean.

Snorkeling among unique rock formations, coral reefs, and tranquil caves in the cove is an additional reward. You will need to walk about 15 minutes from the parking lot to the beach via narrow and deep stairs, but the scenery along the way is beautiful.

Where to stay near Bingin Beach:

  • SAL Secret Spot *** (from US$120)
  • Morabito Art Cliff **** (from US$230)

Suggested readBali Rice Terraces: The Best 8 Rice Terraces in Bali

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9. Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia — Convenient for Island Hopping

  • Rated 4.0 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: April to October (dry season)
  • How to get there: about 30 minutes’ driving from Bali’s airport
  • Nearest airport: Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS)
Penida Island Island hopping from Sanur to the isolated Penida Island.

Being close to the airport and the capital city Denpasar, Sanur Beach is a well-developed resort beach full of resorts, restaurants, and water facilities in a relaxed atmosphere. The water is clean and calm without big waves, thus it is very safe for families with little kids and/or senior travelers.

Sanur has the most convenient port providing the fast/speed boats to Penida Island and/or Lembongan Island, which takes about 1 hour each way. 1–3 days’ island hopping are very popular with those who would like to discover some interesting and isolated bays (Kelingking Bay has a T-rex-head-shaped headland), snorkel/dive in extremely clear water to interact with marine lives, and visit the locals at their primitive seaweed farming villages.

Where to stay in Sanur Beach:

  • Artotel Sanur - Bali **** (from US$70)
  • InterContinental Bali Sanur Resort, an Ihg Hotel ***** (from US$170)
Recommended Itinerary

10. Mataking Island, Sabah, Malaysia — One of the Top 10 Diving Spots in the World

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: all year around
  • How to get there: fly to Tawau via Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur, drive to Semporna Town (around 1½ hours), then take a speed boat to Mataking Island (around 45 minutes).
  • Nearest airport: Tawau Airport (TWU)
Best Beaches in Asia Dive in the Mataking Island to know new sea friends.

What makes Mataking special is that it is privately owned with only one resort (The Reef Dive Resort) on the island, so there are no crowds, no long queues, and no boat groups.

Being isolated, the sea around the island is calm and so clear that it is like glass with different colors from light blue to Tiffany blue. It is ideal for kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Sipadan Island is believed to be the best diving spot, where there are a large number of barracuda, jack fish, sharks, turtles, bumphead parrotfish, etc.

At low tide, don’t miss walking on the romantic thin sand bar connecting Mataking Besar (Large Mataking) and Mataking Kecil (Small Mataking). The walk is around 20 minutes each way.

The other most popular reasons to visit Mataking, after diving, are to propose marriage at the church by the sea and to celebrate honeymoon. Sit on a swing in the sea with your beloved to enjoy one of the most tranquil sunsets in your lifetime. Or dive (for licensed divers only) to the underwater post office to send a postcard to your lover.

If you’re traveling with kids, they will be excited to see turtles laying eggs on the beach.

Tips:

  • February and July are the low season while August and December are the busiest months.
  • The visibility under the sea is around 20 m on average. From April to June (the hottest time), the visibility might reach 40 m.
  • May to August are the best months to see turtles laying eggs on the beach.

Where to stay on Mataking Island:

  • The Reef Dive Resort **** (from US$400)

11. Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam — Very Clean and Quiet in Vietnam's Most Beautiful Island

  • Rated 4.5 on TripAdvisor
  • Best time to visit: October to March (less rain and small waves)
  • How to get there: about 40 minutes’ driving from Phu Quoc’s airport
  • Nearest airport: Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC)
Best Beaches in Asia Bring a book and a towel to sit down, and enjoy a relaxing day in Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island.

Phu Quoc is a small island located in south Vietnam. It is the only area in Vietnam providing visa free entry. Compared to other beach areas such as Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Danang, Phu Quoc is much less crowded.

Among 10+ beaches on this isolated island, Ong Lang Beach is believed to be the most quiet and cleanwithout too many commercialized activities. The water is shallow. The current is calm. It is one of the best beaches to go for a quiet stroll or find a spot to relax at.

Bring a book and a towel to sit down, and enjoy a relaxing day in this little paradise with your family.

Where to stay near Ong Lang Beach:

There are some mid-range hotels by Ong Lang Beach:

  • Camia Resort & Spa **** (from US$90): 15 minutes’ walk from Ong Lang Beach
  • Mango Bay Resort *** (from US$80): 25 minutes’ walk from Ong Lang Beach
  • Coco Palm Beach Resort & Spa Phu Quoc *** (from US$70)

If you’re looking for a 5-star resort, the following are recommended. Though they’re not located on Ong Lang Beach (about 10–30 minutes' driving away), they all provide excellent service and occupy private beaches. Taking a taxi or renting a motorbike to go to Ong Lang Beach for a relaxed afternoon is possible.

  • Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island ***** (from US$120)
  • Fusion Resort Phu Quoc ***** (from US$290)
  • JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa ***** (from US$330)

Must read: How to Plan a Vietnam Travel

Extending reading: Vietnam vs Thailand: Which to Visit (A Helpful Comparison for You)

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