When a country has more than 7,000 islands, there are bound to be some gems. That’s certainly the case with the Philippines, which this year dominated the list of Best Islands in Asia, nabbing four out of the top five spots.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands on their natural attractions and beaches, activities and sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.
The country’s largest island, Luzon, home to Manila, made the list. So did Cebu, which offers excellent diving, and, being roughly in the middle of the archipelago, makes a good launching pad for island-hopping. Of Boracay, the runner-up in the category, one reader wrote: “Nothing beats the feeling of sinking your feet in the cool powdery white sands.”
And then there's Palawan, an island province in the western Philippines with untouched beaches and lush jungle.
The only island to crack the top five that isn’t in the Philippines is Bali, a tried-and-true beach destination in Indonesia that’s beloved by honeymooners, backpackers, and families. “Wonderful history and architecture, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and very sweet people,” said one survey-taker. “High up on my list of favorites.”
When you start planning your next vacation, keep in mind that you don’t have to choose just one of the winners—it’s not hard to create an itinerary that includes all five.