One of Asia's many idyllic beaches.
If your idea of the perfect holiday is lying about on a beach soaking up some sun, then Asia is the place for you. You're positively spoiled for choice.
To rank one destination above another would be impossible. Each beach has its own special qualities. So, the list below is our own selection of the best beaches in no specific order.
When selecting a destination, one thing to keep in mind is the season. The range of options straddles the equator, so while destinations in the north are hot and wet, in the south they are cool and dry. This makes the best time to visit beaches in Thailand, Cambodia or the west coast of Malaysia roughly November to February, while the best time of year to visit Bali is June to August.
Chawaeng Beach, Samui, Thailand
Samui island is off the east coast of Thailand, about halfway between Bangkok and the Malay border. Its roughly opposite Phuket, which lies off the west coast across the peninsula. This means that when its the rainy season in Phuket, Samui is relatively dry and vice-versa. Samui is much smaller than Phuket, but is the largest of a group of about 80 islands.
Samui has several popular beaches, but Chawaeng is our favorite. The beach is protected by a small reef, which gets exposed at low tide. The protected lagoon behind the reef is excellent for swimming, although shallow at low tide. Its the perfect beach for sipping cool drinks interrupted occasionally by a cool dip to cool off.
Traditional boats landed on Railay Beach
Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand
Railay in Thailand's Krabi province gets my vote as possibly the most spectacular beach destination in Thailand. Although on the mainland, Railay is completely isolated by sheer cliffs and only reachable by boat. More huge rock stacks form Railay into three separate beaches, with probably the best being Phranang, facing southwest.
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Picking the best beach on Bali is perhaps the toughest job there is. We definitely need to do a lot more "research" on this topic. But for now our choice is the beach at Seminyak, just north of the main Kuta area. Yes, if you want to surf or watch people surf, then Kuta/Legian is the place to be. While we like a bit of people watching, we also like the feeling of have an entire beach to ourselves. That's exactly the feeling we had at Seminyak. We also like good eats, and after a long day at the beach, its hard to beat dinner and drinks at La Lucciola at the north end of the beach near the Hindu temple.
Tioman Island, Malaysia
If snorkeling is what you're really looking for in a beach, then consider Tioman Island. The island, which stood in for Bali in the original Bali Hai film, features lush jungles fringing sandy beaches lined with simple bungalows. Granted, it can be a little difficult to get there, but who says the best destinations have to be easy?