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Asia’s Top 5 Beaches

Best to visit with friends

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Get the squad together for a Thai adventure in Phuket. There’s something at Nai Harn for everyone in your crew – the foodie, the nature lover, the shopaholic, the surfer, the photographer and even the culture vulture.

Pros

  • Long beach with clean, golden sand
  • Crystal clear, warm water ideal for swimming and snorkelling
  • Good waves for surfing (surfboards available to hire)
  • Patrolled by lifeguards
  • Rockpools
  • Shady areas
  • Surrounded by lush green hills
  • Beautiful sunsets
  • Quieter and more secluded than many other Phuket beaches
  • Lounge chairs, sun umbrellas and toilet facilities available for a fee
  • Nearby temple
  • Markets with street food, clothing, massages etc
  • Plenty of good food options available, e.g.
    • roaming vendors selling beach snacks like corn on the cob and ice cream
    • several street food stands with tasty seafood options like fried or boiled squid, crab sticks and refreshments
    • nice cafes and restaurants selling mostly…you guessed it, seafood!

Cons

  • The water can sometimes be choppy with strong currents and big waves, so it’s not ideal for children or inexperienced swimmers
  • Can get a little crowded at peak times

Climate & when to go

Temperatures are fairly stable throughout the year thanks to Thailand’s tropical climate and proximity to the equator, with highs around 32°C and lows around 25°C. However, it’s best to avoid the wet season and its monsoons from April to November. If possible, plan your trip for the dry season from December to March.

Best for families

Radha Nagar Beach, Havelock Island, India

Round up the ankle biters this summer and head to the Bay of Bengal for a beach break with a difference the whole clan will enjoy.

The beachside village of Radha Nagar, nestled on picturesque Havelock Island in the Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal, is home to just 637 residents. Radha Nagar is also known as Number 7 Beach, but it’s definitely numero uno according to those in the know! It was named Best Beach in Asia by TripAdvisor in 2017 and by Time magazine in 2004.

Pros

  • Radha Nagar is a pristine place that the locals are proud of and really look after
  • The crystal clear, turquoise water and gentle waves make it a perfect swim spot for swimmers of all levels, including children
  • Long white sand beach patrolled by lifeguards
  • Rockpools
  • Stunning sunsets
  • Surrounded by scenic forest
  • Beachside markets with shopping and street food stalls selling local delights like fish curry

Cons

  • There isn’t a lot of shade, so bring a hat, sunnies and your own source of shade like a beach tent or sun umbrella if you plan on staying a while
  • Changing and toilet facilities are very basic

Climate & when to go

Havelock Island’s climate is textbook tropical island weather – warm and balmy with refreshing sea breezes. Avoid the monsoon season from late May to mid-September when strong winds, frequent rain and reduced water clarity could spoil your trip. Early November to mid-May tends to offer the best weather and diving conditions, with sunny days and calm seas.

Best for couples

Mae Nam Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand

Image credit: www.samuiislandvillas.com

Out to impress someone special? Ko Samui should do the trick! Mae Nam’s relaxed vibe, magical sunsets and intimate beachside restaurants make for the ultimate romantic getaway.

Pros

  • Mae Nam Beach is relatively quiet with fewer tourists than other spots in Ko Samui
  • Amazing sunsets
  • The water is clean, warm and quite deep
  • The ocean here is also calm with no strong currents, so it’s great for swimming
  • Not too many hawkers
  • Shady spots
  • Sun lounges available for a fee
  • Massages available
  • Also good for kids
  • Plenty of restaurants and bars along the beach

Cons

  • The sand is a little on the coarser side, so take thongs if you have sensitive tootsies

Climate & when to go

Ko Samui is warm and humid with perfect beach weather for most of the year. The only months it’s wise to avoid are October and November during the wet season.

Best for surfers

Selong Belanak Beach, Lombok, Indonesia

Image credit: www.cascada-lombok.com

If ‘learn to surf’ is sitting atop your New Year’s resolution list, pack your bags and head to Selong Belanak for a truly special experience. The beach is on a huge U-shaped bay with a cute fishing village at one end, local buffaloes sharing the sand with travellers and great waves. Don’t worry – nothing too hectic for beginner surfers!

Pros

  • Good small waves for swimmers, body surfers or beginner to intermediate surfers (surfing lessons and surfboard hire available)
  • This beach is quiet and peaceful compared to others nearby, which means it’s relatively clean and untouched
  • Long, wide beach with soft, white sand
  • Crystal clear blue water
  • Scenic mountain backdrop
  • Sun lounges available to hire
  • Several street food options and a few cafes and restaurants nearby
  • Spot the local buffalos enjoying a beachside stroll every morning and evening

Cons

  • Can be difficult to access – you’ll need to arrange your own transport there and back

Climate & when to go

Lombok’s tropical climate means consistently warm weather year-round, in the range of 20-32°C. Plan your trip for the dry season around August if possible and avoid the wet season around January.

Best for fun!

White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

Image credit: www.myboracayguide.com

Like to party? Look no further than Boracay for your dream holiday. There’s so much to do at White Beach during the day and into the night, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just want to chill, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Pros

  • Relaxed party atmosphere and great nightlife
  • An array of bars and eateries with excellent food, especially seafood
  • Lots of activities on offer 24/7 including adventure sports e.g.
    • Parasailing
    • Diving
    • Jetskiing
    • Banana boat rides
    • Island hopping tours
    • Good shopping
  • Massage and spa tents on the beach
  • As the name suggests, White Beach boasts fine, white sand. Bonus: it stays surprisingly cool underfoot even in hot weather
  • Crystal clear, warm water with a mild current and small waves – great for swimmers of all levels
  • Amazing sunsets

Cons

  • Can be crowded, but you should be able to find quieter spots if you head away from the main walkway
  • Somewhat touristy and commercial, for example there is a Starbucks
  • Street vendors, hawkers and beggars can be pushy
  • Mosquitos can be troublesome around sunset

Climate & when to go

The weather in Boracay ranges from warm to sweltering! You can expect temps of around 25-38°C although it sometimes drops as low as 20°C. Go from October to May when the weather is cooler and there’s less chance of rain and storms.