Asia is famous for its pristine beaches and natural settings. When we visit Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, we want to experience first hand those "postcard settings" they are well known for. Sometimes, though, these settings are crowded with tourists or have already lost their charm due to overdevelopment or lack of upkeep.
There's still hope! There are several more beaches that are unknown to most tourists, but that offer a similar, if not better, idyllic experience without the crowds, pollution or development. Here are six you should add to your list.
Morakot Cave in Koh Muk, Thailand
Wait, aren’t we talking about beaches? Yes, we are. Koh Muk Island has a very unusual beach that isn’t known to many people. It is not open to the ocean, but hidden inland! To access it, you must kayak along the shore until you reach a cave opening towards the sea. Then you’ll kayak through the narrow cave tunnel – also know as Emerald Cave – until you reach the opposite end, where you’ll find a beautiful, secluded, hidden beach inside a natural canyon. The beach is very small, but what it lacks in size it makes up with its unique characteristics. Just relax and enjoy the rising vertical rocks and vegetation surrounding you.
Samabe Beach in Bali, Indonesia
I’m calling this one Samabe Beach after the resort with said name located next to it. While Samabe Beach is said to be private, it is accessible and open to the public via the temple located next to the resort. The best thing about Samabe is that it offers the same gorgeous qualities of Mengiat Beach – often called the most beautiful beach in Bali – just 3 miles north, but without the crowds. And when I say without the crowds, I mean it – literally.
This beach is mostly unknown, except for resort guests. Naturally, when visiting this beach, you should take your own snacks and drinks since there’s nothing around it (except for the private resort atop the cliff). There are several restaurants along the main road leading to this secluded beach, but that’s it.
The beach’s calm crystal waters, white sand, rocky cliff backdrop, and lack of people make this beach one perfect place to relax. To find this beach, you should look for Samabe Bali Suites on Google Maps and get directions to the small temple located next to it.
Yalong Bay in Sanya, China
A beautiful white sand beach is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of China, but that’s precisely what you’ll find in Sanya, located on the southern tip of Hainan Province.
Yalong Bay’s seven kilometers of white sand, clear water beaches were once rimmed by fishing villages and rice farms, but today these have been mostly replaced by resorts catering both to local and international tourists.
The beach and hotels are popular with honeymooners, but offer all kinds of activities for families and watersports enthusiasts. Due to its location in the South China Sea, this beach stays warm and sunny year round, giving you a quick taste of the Polynesian experience offered in many other beaches in the Pacific Islands.
Ngapali Beach in Thandwe, Myanmar
Myanmar isn’t a renowned beach destination. In fact, Myanmar is a country that is just starting to welcome mass tourism after its decades-long ban on tourism. Due to that, most sites and experiences in Myanmar are mostly unknown to the general public.
Ngapali Beach, while one of the most popular beaches in Myanmar, still falls under the radar for most tourists – even the ones visiting Myanmar. Ngapali Beach though can truly be described as the perfect place to get way from it all.
Its pristine white sands and clear blue waters of the Bay of Bengal offer a setting that is no longer easily found in Asia – a beach with "postcard beauty" without the crowds or excessive development.
Ngapali continues to maintain a charming fishing-village vibe, as evidenced by the ox-drawn carts seen along the beach and the small boats lying on its shores. Still, there are a few hotels and resorts that make this place easily accessible for most people.
Dungun Beach in Dungun, Malaysia
Dungun is one of the least exploited places in Malaysia, and that is pretty evident in its gorgeous red-sanded beaches lining the town. Macaque monkeys can still be seen swinging through the tree canopy bordering the beach. Offshore, you’ll find Tenggol Island, which is part of the Terengganu Marine Park, where you can snorkel and dive with turtles, jacks, groupers and many other exotic species.
Occheuteal Beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
While Sihanoukville is a popular beach spot for many travelers, especially backpackers, Occheuteal is not necessarily the beach they go for in the first place. Sihanoukville has five fine beaches, with Sokha being the best one. Unfortunately, Sokha is reserved for hotel guests. But, there is Sokha’s sister beach, Occheuteal, which comes a close second with its long stretch of white sand and pine trees. Since the beach is somewhat farther out of town, it is quieter, cleaner and nicer than some of the other beaches in the area. Still, it is not completely secluded, so you’ll find BBQ stalls and several accommodation options nearby.
Get ready your sunscreen and bathing suit, because these beaches are waiting for you!
Fun is part of any travel experience, but so is staying protected. Learn more about our policies here!