Asia is the world’s largest continent. With dramatic coastlines from Russia right up in the north, down below the equator in Indonesia, and out to the isolation of island nations of Japan and the Philippines, it’s covered in beaches. Whether you’re looking for white sands and swaying palm trees to karst dotted coastlines or super scuba spots, Asia has got you covered. But where do you go first?
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most visited beaches in Asia. It should help you to plan your travels and decide where you’re going to take your next vacation. Let’s go!
If you’ve ever seen an advert for Thailand, then you’ll probably have seen Railay Beach without knowing. The towering karst rock formations are the backdrop to longtail boats, white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. Particularly popular with honeymooners there are a bunch of high-end luxurious resorts here. Budget travellers and backpackers should head to the off the beaten track Ao Nang – where there are a smattering of beach huts and hostels. During the high season, the swimming and snorkelling here is spectacular.
Another iconic Thai Beach, Maya Bay in the Ko Phi Phi Islands starred alongside Leonardo di Caprio in The Beach. Since then, millions of tourists have descended on this tiny secluded bay which is often included in boat trips of the islands. You’re going to struggle to get any part of this stunning stretch of sand to yourself – but if don’t mind crowds too much then get ready to have your breath taken away!
When you arrive in Bali, Kuta Beach will surely be one of your first ports of call. There’s no shortage of things to do here – with world famous beach clubs and restaurants catering to the nightlife side of things. However, if you don’t want to spend the day lying around in the sun, try something a little more active. There are several surf schools, or if you want something a little less intense, stand up paddle boarding. Learn the basics here before heading to a quieter area like the Gili Islands to SUP between secluded coves and deserted beaches. You can bring your dog to Kuta beach, but he’ll need a good PFD if he’s going to get on your SUP!
There are quite a lot of White Beaches in Asia – but Boracay’s is arguably the most famous. The 4km stretch of sand is on a tiny island that measures just 7km by 500 metres. This place is so popular that a few years ago the Philippines government closed the island! Now, the beaches are back to being pristine and the little island is more environmentally sustainable. It’s also one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to surf.
The largest lizards on earth aren’t the only reason to pack your bags for Komodo in Indonesia. In the island’s jaw-dropping national park, you’ll find one of only seven beaches in the entire world with pink sand. Don’t spend all your time marvelling at the brightly coloured sand though – it’s an incredible place for snorkelling and scuba diving. Probably one of the best in the world, as you’ll see colourful coral reef, tropical fish, and perhaps sharks. Back on land, wildlife lovers will see the fearsome komodo dragon, which outnumbers humans on the island!
Goa is India’s most popular beach destination and there are a whole lot of sublime beaches to visit here. Mandrem is a stretch almost 6km long in the northern part of Goa between Arambol and Ashvem. As well as a stunning beach, there are important historical landmarks nearby such as Terekol Fort and Chapora Fortress. Enjoy yoga on the sand at sunrise from your stand up paddleboard for an unforgettable experience.
Other popular beaches in Goa include Palolem, Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna.
Not so much a beach, this huge bay is one of Vietnam’s gems. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is best visited from a boat – where you can explore floating villages, ancient caves, and deserted sandy beaches just to name a few. If you want to avoid the crowds of Ha Long Bay, head to Cat Ba Island and take a trip around the similarly stunning Lan Ha Bay.
Koh Rong has some of the best beaches in southeast Asia, without the crowds seen in neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam. There are more than 40km of white sand beaches to explore during the day – and if you’re brave enough to hit the sea in the dark, you may even be lucky enough to see phosphorescent plankton. If you don’t want to spend all of your time at the beach, Koh Rong also boasts a jungle where you can hike and search for wildlife.
When people think of Asian beaches, they usually have Thailand, the Philippines and Bali in mind. However, the United Arab Emirates has some stunning beaches of its own. While kite beach has kite surfing, the most popular in the city is JBR Open Beach. Here, you can ride camels, go jogging, or head to one of the nearby family-friendly attractions such as a water park. It also has many of Dubai’s retail and entertainment complexes just a stone’s throw away.
Despite the difficulty of getting of Okinawa’s Miyako island, it’s worth it for Yonaha Maehama Beach. Set on a tropical archipelago between Japan and Taiwan, it is often mentioned as not only one of the best beaches in Japan but the entire world. The sand stretches for 7km around Yonaha Bay and is famed for pristine white sands and azure waters. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as this might just break your Instagram account!