10 Instagram-Worthy Beaches In Southeast Asia
Bai Dai Beach, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Pronounced as "bye-yai"—which translates to "long beach"—this beach is well hidden from the hustle and bustle of the city and the busier beaches in town. A local favourite, it is the place to go for fresh seafood, soft white sand, and water sports—from jet skiing to speedboating on the turquoise waters. Bai Dai is an up-and-coming resort hot spot, and there are plans to introduce 39 luxury resorts by the shore in the coming months and years.
Gili Meno, Indonesia
While the partygoers head to the neighbouring Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, Gili Meno is for vacationers who prefer a laid-back holiday—against the backdrop of azure waters and undisturbed shores. Avid divers and marine life lovers will also find a haven in Gili Meno’s dive sites and snorkelling reefs, where you can encounter turtles, crustaceans, cuttlefish, and many other critters. Don’t forget to explore the underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor as well.
Hikkaduwa Beach, Sri Lanka
A beautiful beach best known for surfing, Hikkaduwa is also home to breathtaking coral gardens and endangered sea turtles. The beach destination has a generally laid-back vibe, perfect for lounging by the sea, snorkelling, or taking a swim. In fact, you won’t have to venture far to admire the island’s abundance of corals. Sea turtles also tend to wander up the coast to feed on seaweed in the mornings, so if you want to capture that for the ‘gram, be prepared to rise and shine early.
Otres Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Sihanoukville in Cambodia is home to many white-sand beaches, but its most beautiful has to be the Otres Beach, a quiet and pristine strip lined with tamarisk and casuarina trees. Furthest from the city among the other beaches like Victory Beach, Ochheuteal Beach and Independence Beach, Otres Beach is less developed and populated, making it an idyllic escape—but it might not be long before resorts flood the as-yet unspoiled coast.
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Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
If you are looking for a beach to chill out at, Ngapali is the place for you. Touted as Myanmar’s premier beach destination, the white sand and turquoise waters of Ngapali do not disappoint, and the quiet, rural strip remains unspoiled by tourism—no noisy bars, pestering hawkers, and tourists crowding up the beach. Instead, there are authentic fishing villages, mountain walks, or water sports like kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving, so you're spoilt for choice for how to idle your time away. The beach also faces west, which means you get to enjoy the beautiful sunset as you lounge under a palm tree with a drink in hand.
Parai Tenggiri, Pulau Bangka, Indonesia
One of the most beautiful beaches on Bangka Island in Indonesia, Parai Tenggiri Beach stands out because of the granite rock formations that dot its shoreline. Clean and tranquil, the beach is managed privately, so there’s a fee for entrance which also includes a welcome drink. Parai Tenggiri's soft, cream-coloured sand and the turquoise waters of the Southern Chinese Sea set the scene for a myriad of water activities, from snorkelling and diving to riding in a glass-bottomed boat.
Pink Beach, Komodo National Park, Indonesia
There are only seven pink beaches in the world, and one of them can be found in Kodomo National Park. The light pink hue of the sand is said to come from coral rubble, shells, and calcium carbonate materials from microscopic foraminifers that live in coral reefs. The small stretch of beach is unpopulated, and boasts an amazing variety of corals and marine life for snorklers and divers to enjoy. As for photographers—you can be sure that you will capture the dreamiest photos at this natural wonder.
Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand
Flanked by its signature limestone cliffs, Railay Beach is cut off from the mainland and only accessible by boat. Located between the towns of Krabi and Ao Nang, Railay is actually a peninsula made up of four beaches—Phra Nang, West Railay, East Railay, and Ton Sai. The action happens mainly at West Railay, with a beach club, hotels, bars and restaurants, though Phra Nang Beach in the south is arguably the most beautiful—think soft sand, clear waters, picturesque limestone cliffs, and vibrant coral reefs.
Sipadan, Sabah, Malaysia
Sipadan is a favourite with divers, and it’s not hard to see why. The only oceanic island in Malaysia also happens to be at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, blessing it with one of the richest marine habitats in the world. Manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and hawksbill turtles are just some of the many amazing species that you can find in its vicinity. The beach itself is beautiful and pristine, and because it is a protected heritage site, overnight stays are not allowed.
White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
Here’s one for the partygoers. White Beach on Boracay may seem unassuming in the day—with fine white sand, and turquoise blue waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving—but come nightfall, the beach transforms into party central with beachfront bars and clubs showcasing a myriad of acts from fire dancing to drag queens. The best photos, however, are taken at sunset, when the coast is awash in a golden glow.
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