Surfin’ South East Asia
Mithila Mehta takes you on a tour of the South East Asia’s best beaches.
Calling all you beach bums! Endless stretches of sun kissed beaches, clear seas and the blue skies overhead—South East Asia’s beaches have all this and more to offer. Whether you want to simply relax by the sea or dance the night away at a wild beach party, you are promised a fantastic holiday. Water sports and beautiful sunsets complete the postcard-perfect picture. So grab your sunscreen and put on those beach flip-flops as we list South East Asia’s favourite beach destinations—some well-known, others offbeat, but all breathtaking beautiful.
Bintan – Batam, Indonesia
Located 45 minutes away from Singapore by ferry, the Indonesian island of Bintan provides an instant getaway from the city. The tourist-friendly Bintan Resorts section of the island (laughingly referred to as a Singaporean outpost) allow you to relax and rejuvenate in carefully manicured surroundings. Head to Indonesia’s Batam Island, known for its wild and naughty wildlife, if you want a more riotous holiday. Batam is also famous for its tantalising seafood fare.
Thailand’s Phuket has become a regular stopover for those wanting to enjoy the sand, sea and surf. From quiet, untouched beaches to beaches bursting with a carnival-like atmosphere, Phuket has it all. Patong Beach is famous for its wild nightlife, while Banana Beach is home to hornbill rainforest birds and other wildlife. Nai Han Beach located in Southern Phuket is perfect to enjoy a quiet, cosy sunset. Sailing is a favourite tourist activity. Abundance of corals and marine life makes Phuket perfect for snorkelling. Offbeat adventure sports such as kite surfing and wakeboarding are also popular.
Tioman Island, Malaysia
With rolling green landscapes and virgin beaches, Malaysia’s Tioman Island is paradise. Tioman’s beach coast is divided into North and South by a small rocky hill. Local folklore demands that tourists stand on this hill (and perhaps pose for the camera) as it is believed to be the oldest area of the island. North Beach is popular with tourists, abounding with shops and tiny cafes, while South Beach is relatively deserted. Scuba diving is a popular activity at Tioman, thanks to the unspoilt clear waters.
With its irresistible mix of beautiful temples, colourful festivals, endless beaches and adventure sports, Bali packs in something for everyone. Culture junkies will enjoy touring the island’s many temples, with their towering pagoda-shaped roofs with multiple tiers. Every Balinese temple is unique, which adds to their beauty. Water sports, right from scuba diving to surfing, abound on Bali’s white sand beaches. Adrenalin junkies can trek to the top of Mt. Batur, an active volcano situated in North Bali. Get a real feel of Bali by enjoying an evening of traditional local dance, or by treating yourself to a Balinese massage by the beach.
Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
It is not only the white sand beaches, picturesque fishing villages and marine adventures that bring tourists to Koh Pha Ngan. This Thai island is best known as for its infamous Full Moon Parties. Haad Rin beach is converted into a swinging, dancing, substance-fuelled blur of sinful decadence and merriment. With pulsing music, guests from all over the world, fire eating, strobing lights and the sand below your feet, this is one heck of a party!
Mui Ne, Vietnam
This extremely unexplored beach in South Vietnam (near Ho Chi Minh City) is perfect for travellers looking for a relaxed, cosy holiday. Do visit the Sand Dunes, a short drive from the town. Slide down the dunes if you’re up for an adventure, else admire the coastal view from your sandy vantage point. Don’t miss seeing sunset from the dunes, it is a phenomenal sight. The Mui Ne fishing harbour is a delightful place, where you can purchase fresh seafood or watch the bay with hundreds of colourful boats happily bobbing.
Pic: Mithila Mehta