Underrated beach destinations in Asia

Underrated beach destinations in Asia

Asia has so much to offer to a traveler. There are beautiful monuments, rich heritage, cultural experience, natural places and above all some incredible beach destinations. Some of the beach destinations are more popular among travelers and tourist for parties. There are some underrated beach destinations in Asia, which are perfect for the people looking for a different feel.

Here is what other traveler bloggers from across the globe has to say about Asian beaches.

This is a list of some peaceful and underrated beach destination in Asia.

Flo S from Yoga Wine Travel recommend Tai Long Sai Wan beach in Hong Kong

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Though Hong Kong is thought of a dense concrete jungle in Asia, in reality out of the total 1,108 square kilometers of land, about three-quarters is countryside! There are dozens of beautiful beaches within a 20-30 minute taxi ride from the CBD, but my favorite has to be Tai Long Sai Wan beach in Sai Kung.

It is one of four beaches in the Tai Long Wan bay, and though its name means “Big Wave Bay” in Cantonese, it’s not to be confused with the other beach with the same name on Hong Kong Island which is much more easily accessible.

The beauty of Tai Long Sai Wan beach lies in the fact that it takes some effort to get to, which also means that it is far less crowded than many other beaches in Hong Kong, and offers pristine, crystal clear water as well as incredibly fine sand.

It’s the perfect weekend spot if you feel like getting away from the skyscrapers, and is also dog-friendly which means you can bring your pup here for a fun day out as well.

There are a number of small mom-and-pop restaurants on the beach if you’re feeling peckish, but your best bet is to grab some food in Sai Kung Town before hopping on a 20-minute speedboat to get to Tai Long Sai Wan from Sai Kung Pier.

Make sure that you buy your return ticket as the last speedboat leaves the beach at approximately 6:30 PM in the evening and boats fill up fast! Alternatively, you can also take the subway to Choi Hung MTR station, hop in a cab to “Sai Wan Ting” and hike 90 minutes (or so) to get to the beach.Tai Long Sai Wan Hong Kong Beach


Sarah from Fernweh Sarah recommend German Island (Port Barton) in Phillipines

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When we came to Port Barton on our three weeks itinerary through Palawan, I was quite surprised to learn that there is an Island called “German Island“ close to the shore of Port Barton.

Being German myself, I obviously got curious and asked one of the local boatmen gave me my answer: Apparently this tiny island was once owned by a German guy living there, but now belongs to the Philippine Government ago. According to Google, the correct name is “Inoladoan Island” – the
boatmen keep calling it German Island though.
Well, while the story about the name was not spectacular, the island itself is!

After having talked to the boatmen they offered to take us on a private tour around the small islands of Port Barton. They actually have pre-planned tours in Port Barton that are similar to the infamous ones in El Nido. Only that they are half the price, less crowded and much more awesome!
Since my husband and I already befriended two other travelers the day before, we decided to hire the boatmen to take us to German Island and then some snorkeling spots.

And the moment we saw the beach on this tiny island (it’s only around 400 square meters or something!), I knew it was a good decision! The island was completely deserted – with fine white sand beach and some of the clearest water I have seen in my entire life! It was also super calm – best
conditions for those split pictures with a GoPro and a Dome!

The four of us hopped off the boat and directly grabbed a (warm) beer at the small kiosk on the island. And while we were busy taking photos for my Instagram account (they even have a very instagrammable beach swing) and chilling at the beach, our boat captain was preparing our lunch.

Our new friends also flew their drone over the island and came to the conclusion, that the aerial view of German Island kinda looks like… a dick!
After lunch, we were pretty sad to have to leave this paradise island – but we were pretty quickly calmed by the fact that there was a snorkeling spot known for turtles super close!

And when we went into the water, it only took like 3 seconds until we saw a large majestic turtle swimming towards us! It was incredible to watch it (and luckily, capture it with the GoPro) and was the perfect finish for a beautiful island stop!

If you go to Port Barton (and I can highly recommend that!) – make sure you organize a trip that includes German Island! And bring photo equipment!German Island Port Barton Palawan Sarah


Cat Smith from Walk My World recomend Unawatuna in Sri Lanka

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Unawatuna is one of the most popular beach destinations in Sri Lanka. It’s a great place to base yourself to explore the area as many highlights are just a short tuk-tuk ride away. Less than a 10-minute drive from Unawatuna you’ll find two paradise beaches.

The first is Mihiripenna (the most secluded of the two), it’s likely you’ll have this gorgeous palm-fringed crescent of sand all to yourself. When you’ve had your fill of relaxing on the sand and swimming in the ocean, you can try out the palm tree rope swing at the eastern end of the beach. It’s a gorgeous spot for a swing, and you won’t have to queue up for a go!

At the other end of the beach are the famous stilt fishermen. Nowadays they are actors, making more money from tourism than from fishing, but it still makes for a great photo.

The second must-visit beach is the more famous Dalawella, it’s another beautiful stretch of golden sand. Dalawella has become incredibly popular, not for the beach itself, but for the palm tree rope swing that is an Instagram favorite. One look at the scene (especially at sunset) and you’ll instantly see why!

Whilst Unawatuna has its own huge beach, it is more developed than many in Sri Lanka. However, if you visit Mihiripenna and Dalawella during the day and come back to Unawatuna in the evening you get the best of both worlds.

Unawatuna has a wide array of great restaurants, bars and places to get a traditional Ayurveda massage, as well as loads of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury.

You can reach Unawatuna in around two hours by taxi from Colombo or take the gorgeous coastal train ride from Colombo to Galle, followed by a short ten-minute drive.Unawatuna beach Sri Lanka


Tasha Amy from Backpackers Wanderlust recommend Long Set Beach, Koh Rong in Cambodia

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Long Set Beach is another beautiful beach that the Cambodian Island of Koh Rong has to offer. A short 30-minute walk from the main pier in Koch Toch, the Long set beach is a truly magical spot of clear blue water and white sand. The beach itself was given its name from one of the local farmers, who uses the shore for growing coconuts and mangoes.

As the name suggests, at first viewing, the beach seems to go on forever, 3 kilometers to be precise, and with only a couple of small bungalow units, you can easily spend an hour walking along its shore encountering nothing more than the local hermit crabs. For a chance to get away from the crowds and enjoy what Koh Rong is all about, this is one of the places to be.

Not only is this beach a place to be during the day, but at night it shows off some more if its mystique, the bio-luminescent plankton, which while swimming can cause a shimmering light to go off throughout the water. Away from all the boats and noisy parties of the main town, long set beach allows you to enjoy all this in peace and quiet.

For those looking to stay, at the time of writing, there are only the 2 resorts located at the long set beach, although  I am sure more are being built as you read this.

Pura Vita Resort is a great place to stay located down the far end of the beach, or for something a bit fancier you have the Long Set Resort, boasting 4-star accommodation with features such as an outdoor pool, gym facilities, and a sundeck.Long Set Beach, Koh Rong in Cambodia

There are many other popular places like Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville

Holly Kent from Globeblogging recommends Boracay in Philippines

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Of the over 7000 islands that make up The Philippines, Boracay is amongst the most well known, ranked as the best island in the world on more than one occasion.

One side of the island is more popular with kite-surfers due to the winds, the other, sheltered side is the main tourist hub. White Beach stretches the length of this side, four kilometers of white sands and warm azure waters too inviting to resist.

The real estate alongside the beach ranges from large houses available to rent, a myriad of hotels, restaurants, shopping, and permanent bars. Lounge beds rest under draping palm trees staring out at the boats rocking on the water, punctuated by the boats pulling parasailers silhouetted against the blue sky. For a little over $10, you can have a massage on the beach as you are lulled by the lapping of the waves.

At night, the white beach becomes a different world, and it is FUN! Lounge beds get replaced by pop up bars that appear on the beach itself, waiters serving drinks to patrons on cushions.

Talented performers are present at every junction, ranging from musicians to dancers, to acrobats twirling fire and artists making sand sculptures. This is how many locals make their money, so tourists need to keep their coins handy for tipping.

It is worth the time to stroll to the very end of the beach at sunset to watch the spectacular colors of the sky shimmer on the water’s surface. There are so many restaurants to choose from that you never have to go to the same one twice, and the food was amazing! During happy hour you’ll secure two cocktails for the price of one, which is under $4!

While the locals are all friendly, bear in mind that this is a poor country and theft is a problem. Never leave valuables unattended on the beach. It is worth the investment of a couple of dollars for a waterproof pouch to wear round your neck, plenty big enough for your phone, room key, and some cash, meaning you can strip off and head into the water at a moments notice!Sunset stroll on White Beach Boracay in Philippines


Nuraini Arsad from Teja on the Horizon recommends Ko Laoliang in Thailand

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Ko Laoliang is a bit tricky to get to. Whether from Bangkok, or another regional hub, you must first go to Hatyai, the holiday hotspot in Thailand’s Muslim south. From Hatyai, you need to get transport to the jetty in the Trang province, and a boat transfer to Ko Laoliang.
But that’s probably why Ko Laoliang, and the other islands on this side of Thailand, are still quiet and nice.

If you’re not a fan of crowds and beach parties, and just want to have a low-key holiday on a secluded hideaway beach, but don’t want to rough it too much – pick Ko Laoliang at the turn of the season. Just after the rains have ceased, but just before most tourists (whether foreign or local) dare to wager their holiday time. You would almost have the beach to yourself. Almost.

The beach itself is not very big, but soft and pleasant. Cliffs of limestone rise to flank both ends, which you can climb with a rock climbing instructor.

The nearshore coral is mostly broken and degraded, but there’s still plenty of fish to be seen with a snorkel near the beach. It may be possible to snorkel further afield if you go for the island touring option. Rocky islets are scattered around the island. Raptors nest on them, and you can see them wheeling overhead in lazy spirals as you pass them by in the boat.

There are glamping facilities on this beach (including electricity inside the tents), and the food is catered. Comfy raised platforms under shady trees are perfect for enjoying breezy afternoons, perfect for a laidback time with family and friends. And at least once, drag yourself out before dawn to view the soft orange sunrise.

It is very easy to settle into doing absolutely nothing. And very hard to remember why you need to leave.Ko Laoliang in Thailand

If you are traveling via Bangkok then check out this 3 days Bangkok Itinerary

Nadia at Nomadic Nerd recommends Krabi in Thailand

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Krabi is honestly one of the most underrated places in Thailand. Sure, Koh Samui and Phuket are both beautiful, but Krabi is a hidden gem. Aside from being surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, Krabi is also home to one of my favorite beaches – Railay Beach.

Even though it’s one of the more popular beaches in Krabi, it’s actually a little hidden, and surprisingly not as crowded as you’d expect! To get there, you need to charter a boat from either end of Ao Nang Beach, which should only cost you 200 Baht. About 20 – 30 minutes later and you’ll find yourself at a bay of sorts, on either side limestone cliffs border the beach and it looks like a pure jungle as you look further inland.

The water comes crashing in gently and it’s incredibly blue! There are a few restaurants and resorts dotting the shoreline, as well as some (overpriced) shops. One thing I absolutely recommend though is the Nutella and Banana pancake, about a few steps away from the beach near the shops.

Apart from obviously, swimming at the beach, you can also venture further inland and to the other side, where you’ll be able to see more authentically, how the locals live. There is also supposed to be another beach, however, I didn’t find it.

One of my favorite activities here is actually sunset kayaking. Approach any of the men near the kayaks and you’ll find it very affordable to rent one. They would be more than willing to bring you around to another side of the beach, around the cliff where the sunset can be watched without disruption.

Just make sure you find out what time the last boat leaves back to the main beach or you’ll find yourself stranded there! If you want to spend longer here, then maybe choose to stay at a hotel here for one or two nights. It would feel a little bit like you’re on a semi-deserted island!Krabi in Thailand


Ellis Veen from Backpack Adventures recommends Gokarna in India

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Most people don’t think of India as a beach destination, but India has a long palm-fringed coastline. If people have heard about a beach in India it is often Goa. For years this was the place where all hippies went to the party the night away. This is a pity because India has so much more to offer if it comes to beaches. My favorite is not Goa, but Gokarna.

What makes Gokarna the best beach destination in Asia is the combination of a spiritual temple town and ample hiking opportunities to some of the most remote and idyllic beaches in India. The Gokarna Beach Trail connects five of Gokarna’s beaches over a rocky and hilly path with amazing views over the Arabian Sea.

Om beach is the most popular, because of its om shaped size. The holy symbol in Hinduism is clearly visible if you look down on the beach from the rocks above. This beach can get a bit crowded though and if you really want some solitude you should head to half moon beach or paradise beach. They can only be reached by hiking the Gokarna Beach Trail or by boat. This way Gokarna has something for everyone.

Another reason Gokarna is the best beach destination in Asia is that it has some great food and is easy on your budget. There is plenty of choice between backpacker hostels and more luxury resorts with views over the ocean from your own beach hut. Namaste café at Om beach has some of the best Indian food, including delicious fish curries.

Also, don’t miss the laid-back town itself. Gokarna is a very holy place for Indians and pilgrims come throughout the day to visit the important temples. If you are interested in culture this is a great place to witness some of the rituals going on including the mandatory dip in the ocean. Gokarna in India


Michelle at The Munching Traveller recommends Haeundae Beach, Busan in South Korea

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Busan is a city in South Korea that has been made popular by the 2016 Korean movie “Train to Busan”. Busan’s is located 4 hours from the capital Seoul by train and is in close proximity to the sea.

Needless to say, visiting one of its many beaches is definitely a must! Haeundae beach is said to be the most beautiful beach in Busan. It stretches up to 1.5 kilometers long and its the white sand creates a memorizing coastline before a shallow bay.

In the summer months when the weather’s more comfortable, people flock to the beach to bask in the sun. When it gets overwhelming hot, they then take a dip in the clear blue waters. You can find a plethora of accommodations, from the luxurious ones to the many private guesthouses that have sprouted up around the beach, making Haeundae Beach the perfect summer vacation venue!

The beach is also famed for its variety of cultural festivals and events that take place throughout the year. You can still place it in your list even during the winter months. Haeundae beach is still worth a visit as it grants a scenic view of Busan. Tall buildings are erected close to the beach and are a unique beach that you can hardly find elsewhere!

Haeundae Beach, Busan in South Korea

Shivani Sharma from The Wandering Core recommends Chandrabhaga Beach, Konark in India

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The east coast of India beginning from West Bengal till Andhra Pradesh sets a perfect example of exquisite beaches. The beaches stay unexplored by many due to the low influx of tourists as against the other parts of the country. This makes the east coast a perfect place for travelers to explore unseen India.

Chandrabhaga beach is one such beach, not known by many, is the primary beach of Konark. Konark is famous by history lovers for the iconic Sun Temple which is usually the highlight of the town. Konark is located 40 km north of Puri and the road from Puri to Konark is known as some of the best road trips in India. With the outskirts of the town starts the Marine drive, similar to one in Mumbai, although, less commercialized.

The Chandrabhaga beach has light golden sand, with trees alongside the road for an alluring view. The view is indeed unique primarily because of the trees. The (relatively) clean beach can be entered through the market with designated stairs to separate the beach from the market. What made the beach unique for me was literally numbered people, mostly locals and students hanging around.

The east coast is known for higher temperatures and which is why I wouldn’t recommend visiting the beach in the noon. The beaches of East India witness some of the best sunrises, and so is the case with Konark’s Chandrabhaga beach. I recommend staying a day in Konark to take in the history & beauty of this small yet beautiful town.Konark beach India

Also check Travel tips for India and What to wear in India

Shweta Singhal from Zest in a Tote recommends Da Nang in Central Vietnam

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If you talk about the best beaches in Asia, you can’t leave out Vietnam. And Da Nang in central Vietnam gives you access you some of the best beaches on the mainland country. Da Nang has an airport with flight options from many cities within.

Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city) and even a few international locations (Bangkok, Siam Reap). Da Nang boasts of a large number of beach resorts with fabulous private beaches, these can be accessed only by resort guests. Think white sandy strips of land, some palm trees swaying with the wind and unending views of the ocean. Da Nang does have a nice public beach as well but expects it to be more crowded than the private beaches.

I had stayed at the Four Seasons Nam Hai with my family as part of our two-week Vietnam Itinerary. Forbes has described the Nam Hai’s one-kilometer-long sandy stretch as one of the “best beaches in the world”. My daughter and I spent a couple of leisurely evenings on the beach – she busy making sand castles and a township with the sand toys provided by the resort and I lounging on a deck chair reading a book or just letting the ocean waves soothe me in a state of calmness.

There are water sports options available if you are more adventurous. I prefer the swimming pool but the ocean is available as well for a refreshing dip. It would get quite hot in the afternoon (at least from an Asian point of view where you are not thinking of getting sun tanned), but I highly recommend a long walk on the beach in the morning or evenings to sort your thoughts.Nam Hai Beach Storm Vietnam

This is an initial list of beaches one must visit while in Asia. If you have more recommendations, please feel to add and give your opinion.

Also, check most common travel mistakes & how to avoid them and Tips for Planning a Vacation by Travel Professional

9 thoughts on “Underrated beach destinations in Asia”

  1. A great compilation, Sapna. From my experience, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Philippines have the best beaches which are easily accessible and travel doesn’t cost a fortune.

  2. A great read here! My blog is all about India and I have visited several times but never to either of the beaches mentioned here. Great ideas for the next visit! Thank you.

  3. Hi Sapna, thanks for sharing this awesome list of lesser-known beach destinations in Asia. Truly, one can’t get enough of beaches and exploring these hidden gems is a part of every traveller’s dream. Great post!

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