Island hopping in South East Asia is on many a bucket list, and for a good reason. The sheer variety of beautiful places, each within an easy boat or plane ride from one another, makes for a tempting trip. It’s a popular option for spring break, a graduation trip, a honeymoon, or even a multi-generation trip, because between the fantastic hotels, great food, and no lack of activities, there’s something for everyone.
In recent years, the increased airlift has also made it much more easier for Americans to visit. Most opt to fly into Hong Kong or Singapore, and then take smaller, regional planes from there to the many islands in the area. Whether you’re planning a girls’ trip to Thailand or a family getaway to Malaysia, the beach will certainly be the star of the trip. And while you could certainly string several of these beaches into one vacation, if you’d prefer to stay in one place and be pampered, there are great resorts with private beaches on this list as well.
Travelers are also starting to move past the tried-and-true spots in Bali and Phuket, to islands that are more off the beaten track, from the Philippines to Borneo. And in countries that aren’t known for their beaches, like India and Cambodia, lovely sandy resorts have popped up as a great addition to any trip.
And best of all, many of these trips can be done in a completely affordable way. If you can avoid Christmas or Chinese New Year, there are often flight deals to Asia that range between $500 round-trip from the West Coast to $700 round-trip from the East Coast. Hotels, especially the three- and four-star options, are relatively cheap, and of course, you’ll be able to eat like royalty for a fraction of what you’d pay stateside.
There may be plenty of beautiful beaches closer to home, but these spots are a must for any Asia itinerary, and provide a nice escape from the bustling urban areas. Read on for our list of the best beaches that should be on every traveler’s list.