The 5 Best Islands in Asia

The best islands in Asia, according to Travel + Leisure readers, are beguiling tropical paradises with soft-sand beaches and wildlife-rich waters.

Travel + Leisure readers fondly recalled pre-COVID-era visits to the best islands in Asia. Now that the region is reopening, they're surely eager to return to these five ports of call, including the islands of the Maldives, as well as those found in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

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 cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

Drone view of adult couple on a beach, Maldives. Getty Images

Three of this year's top picks also made the list last year, while two return after a hiatus: the lively, tourist-friendly Phuket (No. 3), in Thailand, which has more than 30 stunning beaches, and the Philippines' Boracay (No. 4). Two and a half miles of Boracay's four-mile length consist of the aptly named White Beach, which is dotted with restaurants and lodgings for visitors looking for easy access to ideal snorkeling and diving. The Shangri-La Boracay has its own private beachfront; resort guests who stay in one of the 219 rooms or villas can take advantage of the resort's dive center. One reader called Boracay a "tropical paradise that boasts azure waters, powdery white sand, abundant flora and fauna, and diverse marine life."

The same praise could be given to the ever-popular Palawan (No. 5), in the Philippines, and Indonesia's Bali (No. 2), both of which offer blissful beachfront experiences. One WBA voter called Bali the "most amazing island ever."

But it seems like there's one island group in the region that T+L readers find even more amazing. Read on to find out why the Maldives took home the top spot among the best islands in Asia.

1. The Maldives

scuba diver and the underwater world of Maldives. Getty Images

The Maldives — also voted by readers as No. 2 among the World's Best Islands overall — is actually made up of around 1,200 islands. Choosing among them is made easier by the fact that less than a sixth of them are inhabited, but even those that welcome visitors remain blissfully secluded. The feeling of getting away from it all is heightened at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which sits on its own private island (and is this year's No. 3 hotel in the world), but every snorkeler and diver on any of these atolls will feel they have a prime spot from which to enjoy the incredible scenery. "Beautiful beaches and good food," one reader summarized, adding that the "flight to our island by sea plane was wild."

Score: 94.44

2. Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan in Bali, Indonesia. Getty Images

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 92.51

3. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand
Aerial View Of the beautiful Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand. Getty Images

Score: 91.90

4. Boracay, Philippines

Boracay, Philippines
Bulabog Beach, Boracay, Philippines. Getty Images

Score: 90.89

5. Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. Getty Images

Score: 90.81

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