The Best Islands in Asia in 2016

Palawan, Philippines
Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

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.

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No. 5: Luzon, Philippines

Luzon, Philippines
Mark Swallow

Score: 88.23

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No. 4: Bali, Indonesia

Bali, indonesia
David Noton Photography/Alamy

Score: 88.24

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No. 3: Cebu, Philippines

Cebu, Philippines
Junho Lee

Score: 88.65

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No. 2: Boracay, Philippines

Boracay island, Philippines
Flickr Vision/Getty Images

Score: 90.47

Book a trip to Boracay.

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No. 1: Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines
Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Score: 93.71

“Paradise” was the description readers most often used to describe this Asian island. Its steep limestone cliffs create staggeringly beautiful canyons around crystal-clear waters. Readers recommend the four El Nido sister resorts, set on small outlying islands, as well as a visit to the nearby Coron Island. Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its incredible biodiversity, impressive cave system, and five-mile-long underground river. As one reader wrote, “Palawan is every beach lover’s dream destination."

Book a trip to Palawan.

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