In this case, we beg to disagree: It’s actually not about the journey, but about the destination.
Should you hesitate for a moment when it comes to booking a flight that might take a day (and possibly a night) of your life, consider this: the No. 1 island in Asia is also the No. 1 island in the world this year. So this is as fine time as any to download a few seasons of shows you’ve been wanting to binge-watch and high-tail it to Palawan, an island province in the Philippines. “Point and shoot anywhere, and you’ve got the best sunsets and vistas,” said one reader. Added another, “Palawan is a beautiful paradise with its limestone islands, clear waters for snorkeling, coral reefs, and variety of underwater life. There is so much to see.”
And while you’re there, considering calling in sick to work for a couple of weeks and squeezing in a visit to Boracay, Panglao, Cebu, and Luzon, since these Philippine islands — renowned for their pristine white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and prolific marine life — also made the top 10. Luzon also happens to be home to Manila, the nation’s capital, where days can be spent recovering from jet lag wandering the Spanish-colonial monuments and museums.
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.
Two iconic destinations in Thailand — Koh Samui and the island that quite possibly put tourism to the country on the map, Phuket — also ranked high on the list. They’re a quick flight from bustling Bangkok, and have luxurious resorts that share the beach with shacks offering feasts of grilled fish and ice-cold beers. Other islands worth flying for include the cultural mecca that is Bali and the coral atolls that make up the Maldives; both are evergreens on this list, and destinations that many book for honeymoons even before making a deposit on a wedding venue. “Absolutely worth the long trip,” wrote in one reader of the Maldives. “Nowhere else in the world is the same.”