Top 10 Beaches In Asia

Posted April 16, 2013 by Nick in Top 10

We’ve spent about 18 months traveling in Asia, which has given us an idea of which beaches are beautiful, and which are not. Asia boasts stretches of powder white sands, aquamarine waters and sheer soaring cliffs, which undoubtedly make for an amazing day at the beach.

A beach is not only rated by its aesthetic beauty, but also by its vibe, its surroundings and the feeling it gives you when you float on your back in its dazzling waters and stare up and the sky. Here is our list of the Top 10 Best Beaches in Asia:

1. Koh Rong – Cambodia

The sand on Koh Rong is as white as it gets and the water is crystal clear with a turquoise glow that makes it hard to take your eyes off of it! The beach stretches on for 8 kilometers and dips down into the sea at a gradient perfect for swimming. There’s not a rock or piece of seaweed in sight and the water is a perfect temperature. In our opinion, this ranks at the top of the best beaches in Asia.

top 10 beaches in asia

The best beach in Asia! Beautiful Koh Rong, Cambodia

2. Kuta Beach – Lombok, Indonesia

Not the main beach in Lombok, but the peaceful stretch of sand that you need to take a motorbike to reach. Pass by some small villages, dodge water buffalos and enjoy the rice paddies along the way. You’ll end up at a very quiet, very beautiful cove with clear waters and white sands.

top beaches in asia

The stunning cove at Kuta, Lombok…no one around!

3. Haad Rin Beach – Koh Phangan, Thailand

We spent a month on this island and couldn’t peel ourselves away from here! This has to be one of the best beaches in Asia. The water is crystal clear, the sand is white and the vibe here is fun as well. During the Full Moon Party, this place is packed, but outside of that time, you will have the beach almost to yourself. Grab a beer, a book and a frisbee and enjoy a day at this gorgeous beach.

best beaches in asia

Going for a dip! Swim, read, relax & repeat here at Koh Phangan, Thailand

4. White Sands Beach – Koh Chang, Thailand

Funky huts line the far end of this stretch of pure white sand. This aptly named beach is a great chill out spot. The water is rock and seaweed free and a perfect temperature. Staring back at the lush jungle from the water and daydreaming is a must.

top beaches in asia

The aptly named White Sands Beach, Koh Chang, Thailand

5. Perhentian Cecil – Malaysia 

There are two Perhentian islands. Perhentian Cecil is the funky island with clear waters and sandy shores. There are some good beach bars here, volleyball nets and a cool backpacker vibe. Keep your eyes out for massive Monitor Lizards!

best beaches in asia

The super clear waters of Perhentian Cecil, Malaysia

6. Unawatuna Beach – Sri Lanka 

This cove of blue water is heaven. Depending on the time of year, the waters can be wavy (perfect for boogie boarding or surfing) or completely calm (ideal for relaxing and floating). The beach here is quiet, there are a few restaurants and guesthouses and a beautiful temple at the far end.

top 10 beaches in asia

Gorgeous view from our guest house at Unawatuna Beach, Sri Lanka

7. Phra Nang Beach – Railay, Thailand

Another one for Thailand! The limestone karsts here are stunning, the water is very clear and the sand is white. There are some caves that you can swim through, rock climbing can be done here and it’s a good spot for a picnic. We had booked a hotel in Koh Samui and took a ferry to this island for the day. The only downside of Railay is that during certain times of the day, people come from surrounding beaches for a day trip and it can be a bit busy.

best beaches in asia

Beautiful Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Thailand (Photo courtesy of Flikr – Alasdair Milne)

8. El Nido and Surrounding Islands – Philippines

The islands around tiny El Nido are gorgeous. Perfect for snorkeling, swimming and relaxing. We highly recommend spending the night on a deserted island, sleeping under a mosquito net and living like a castaway for a couple of days!

beautiful beaches

Living out our castaway fantasy on a stunning, deserted island near El Nido, Philippines

9. Kapas Beach – Malaysia

It seems as though hardly anyone knows about Kapas Island…which is fine with us! The beach here is great for swimming, the sunsets are stunning and the sand is nice and soft. The perfect Malaysian getaway.

best beaches in asia

View from the lighthouse at Kapas Island Beach, Malaysia

10. Maluk Beach – Sumbawa, Indonesia

Sumbawa is an off the beaten path island in Indonesia. Typically known for its excellent surfing!  However, if you’re not a surfer, you can come here and enjoy the empty and stunning beaches.

top beaches

The empty beach at Maluk, Sumbawa, Indonesia

Asia is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world. Whether you’re interested in activities or just laying on the sand and reading  a book, there’s a beach to suit everyone’s needs. This list could have gone on and on.

For where to go and what to do in this fantastic region, check out our list of 10 Off The Beaten Path Places In SE Asia.

Where are your favorite beaches in Asia? Where are the best places to swing a hammock, sip on a cocktail and soak in the sea? Share with us below!

About the Author


Nick and Dariece have left everything behind in search of cultural experiences, beautiful beaches and off the beaten path adventures. They call themselves Goats On The Road and they want to encourage others to pack their bags and leave the ordinary behind. You can also follow their adventures on Twitter and Facebook.



    Great set of beeches. All of them look amazing. Didn’t realise that Sri Lanka has one of the top ones as well.


    Excellent list of beaches. I also had the privilege of seeing most of the ones listed here and I have to say that Koh Rong in Cambodia is by far one of the best beaches in Asia.


    Great round up! My favorite was definitely Phra Nang Beach in Railay, Thailand. It was so hard to leave Railay. It’s such a good spot with a nice mix of beautiful beaches, affordable accommodation and fun nightlife.


    And when you do get to White Sand Beach, Koh Chang Thailand visit Rock Sand. Great food and sleeping.


    I’m delighted to note that I have made it to 7 out of 10 of these beaches, and I have to agree with Tripeese – the combination of PhraNang Beach and neighbouring Sunset Beach on the Railay peninsula out from Krabi in Thailand is possibly the most stunning beach environment I have ever seen.
    Isolated, gorgeously beautiful, tons of great bungalow accommodation for all budgets, lots of side trips, warm water, rock climbing, monkeys, caves, and fantastic sunsets. Every box ticked!


    1. Boracay, Philippines 2. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand 3. Phra Nang Beach, Thailand 4. El nido, Philippines.. Setting popularity or the numerous tourists aside, certainly these are the best beaches in Asia per se.


    There are many beautiful places/beaches in Asia. But definitely one of the most beautiful and certainly most famous is Maya Bay beach (The Beach – movie with Di Caprio). True, after the mentioned movie, the beach has lost the recognizable exclusivity and probably a little part of its beauty due to arrival of a large number of people. But anyway, still one of the most beautiful, definitely.


    It’s Perhentian Kecil not Cecil.


    El Nido in Palawan is certainly the next big thing in the Philippines! I also suggest the beaches in Bohol or in Putipot Island in Zambales! They’re also nice!!!


      Excellent! Next time (and there will be a next time) we’re in the Philippines, we’ll have to check those out :)

        Andrew Agunod

        If you want the perfect quiet beaches in the Philippines, here are the top 5 in mind:

        1. Palaui Island in Cagayan Province (northern Luzon) – hard to get to, but worth the hassle!
        2. Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte (southern Luzon) – this place is Boracay 20 years ago :)
        3. Biri Islands in Samar Province (central Philippines) – its rock formations are a bonus!
        4. Kalanggaman island – tiny but such a beauty. This is near Cebu’s famous Malapascua (where the thresher sharks are seen)
        5. Siquijor – an enigmatic little island province located south of Cebu.

        These ones only have a few tourists, and are largely unknown by the Boracay crowd. There are a lot more in the Philippines, but as starter you may refer to above :)


    Beautiful. Being a beach bum has some stigma to it, but no one has ever said anything about a teleporting beach bum. I’ve just decided to visit each one of these this year as I’m kicking of a life long round-the-world trip. Thanks for sharing!


    That first beach in Cambodia is stunning!


    This is a great list, as I am always looking for fab beaches. I think some of these are seasonally great. When we were in Koh Phagnan it was the dry season and the beaches were nice, but not great, and not swimmable. And, get yourselves to Myanmar! Ngapali beach is my favorite in all of Asia!

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