It’s hard to pinpoint on which continent you would find the best beaches in the world, but Asia is definitely a contender for the top spot. From the islands of Indonesia to the shallow reefs of the Philippines, the well-trodden beaches of Thailand and everything in between, Asia has some of the softest, whitest sand and unspoilt, clear blue oceans on earth.
Whether you’re after a romantic honeymoon beach or a beach to spend a few days relaxing on your latest backpacking adventure, one of these beaches in Asia will win you over. Activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, coral conservation and swimming with whale sharks are all a given at many of these beautiful Asian beaches, so dig out your swimming costume and sunnies.
- 20 Best Beaches in Asia
- Our Top Beaches In Asia Ranked From #1 To #20
- 1- Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia
- 2- Boracay, Philippines
- 3- El Nido, Palawan, Phillippines
- 4- Koh Phangan, Thailand
- 5- Northern Beach, Koh Rong, Cambodia
- 6- Soneva Gili, Maldives
- 7- Gili Air, Indonesia
- 8- Mirissa, Sri Lanka
- 9- Sandira Beach, Philippines
- 10- Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
- 11- Butterfly Beach, Goa, India
- 12- Railay Beach, Thailand
- 13- Pom Pom Island, Malaysia
- 14- Maya Bay, Thailand
- 15- Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam
- 16- Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
- 17- Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
- 18- Kelingking Beach, Bali, Indonesia
- 19- Bawah Island, Indonesia
- 20- Sentosa, Singapore
- Our Top Beaches In Asia Ranked From #1 To #20
20 Best Beaches in Asia
Our Top Beaches In Asia Ranked From #1 To #20
1- Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia
This makes it to the top spot on the list simply due to the unique nature of this beach.
You may have heard of pink lakes, found in Australia and Mexico.
Pink Beach is similar, but it is the sand that’s pink rather than the water.
Not only does this create a fantastic photo opportunity, but it is also something you won’t find anywhere else.
Shaded by palm trees and hills, which offer breath-taking views if you fancy going for a hike, the sand is just as soft as you’d imagine, tinged pink by microscopic red organisms which wash up onto the beach.
2- Boracay, Philippines
Easily the Philippines’ most famous island (and beach), Boracay is 7km of postcard-perfect white sand – and in fact, its main beach is called ‘White Beach’ for just that reason.
The government temporarily closed Boracay for six months to restore it to its former glory, so now is the perfect time to see it almost completely untouched once again.
Beach yoga, kite-surfing and diving are all on offer among other activities, and at night, the bars and restaurants come to life with live music, fire-breathers and dancers to keep you entertained well into the evening.
Try this walking tour with a local to discover Boracay’s cultural gems.
3- El Nido, Palawan, Phillippines
El Nido is located in Palawan, made up of famous and beautiful limestone karsts.
Each of these little outposts has its own stunning beaches and crystal waters for you to explore.
Some of these include Corong Corong and Nacpan beach, which are great places to stay while you do a boat trip around the islands.
Visiting the beaches of Palawan will feel as close to a desert island as you can get: rocky outcrops, deserted white sand, and reefs filled with thousands of colourful fish.
There’s rarely any decent WiFi here, so your attention will be solely on enjoying these beaches.
For more beaches around the world read:
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- 20 Sunshine Coast Beaches
- 20 Best Beaches In Italy
- 20 Best Beaches In Spain
- 12 Beaches In Australia
- 20 Nordic Beaches
- 21 Longest Beaches In The World
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- 20 Best Beaches In Asia
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- 20 Indonesia Beaches
- 20 Best Beaches In Vietnam
- 20 Dominican Republic Beaches
- 21 Malaysia Beaches
- 20 Cambodia Beaches
- 20 Maldives Beaches
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4- Koh Phangan, Thailand
Koh Phangan is Thailand’s fifth-biggest island and one of the most well-known for a reason.
Aside from the lush jungle and soft sand, you’ll have over 20 different diving sites to choose from and this is the perfect spot to learn if you’re a beginner.
If you’re wondering where you’ve heard of Koh Phangan, it has become famous for its ‘Full Moon Parties’, which draw travellers from around.
There is nowhere better in Asia to make friends, have fun and feel the sand in your toes than here.
During the day, beach volleyball, jet skiing and other water sports will easily fill your agenda or you could just sit back and enjoy the sunshine.
5- Northern Beach, Koh Rong, Cambodia
If you prefer your beaches truly Robinson Crusoe, Koh Rong’s northernmost beach is the place to be.
Separated from the main part of the island by a long boat trip, and cut off from the nearest town by a humid 30-minute trek through the jungle, there is truly nothing to do here except relax.
WiFi is extremely sporadic, although the hostels usually switch it on for a few hours a day, making it an excellent place to meet new people.
You may not find adrenaline sports, but you will find some great food, fun parties and most importantly, bioluminescent plankton (best seen late at night when there are clear skies).
6- Soneva Gili, Maldives
Also known as Gili Lankanfushi, this is actually one of many resort islands in the Maldives.
Each one is spectacular, and all are very high budget, but for a special occasion, booking an overwater bungalow here is an experience you won’t forget.
Located in the middle of shallow, crystal-clear waters, the Maldive islands all play host to some of the best beaches, sunsets and holiday activities in the world.
Whether you want dinner on the beach (or actually in the water!), to help plant coral on the reefs, or jump from your bedroom into the ocean, you’ll find it all here.
7- Gili Air, Indonesia
There are actually three Gili islands: Air, Trawangan and Meno.
All of them are tropical paradises worthy of a spot on this list.
Gili Air makes the list because it is a little further than the others therefore, it is much quieter, with a more relaxed beach hammock vibe.
You won’t find lots of parties here, but you will find chilled beach bars, great snorkelling and fresh food.
As with many places in Indonesia, the best way to get around is by bicycle, so grab your beach gear and head to your nearest stretch of sand for some yoga, SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) and cocktails.
The Gili Islands have the perfect beaches to add to your Bali vacation. Check out this tour.
8- Mirissa, Sri Lanka
A remote teardrop island just underneath India, Sri Lanka has no shortage of beautiful beaches but the best is in Mirissa.
Golden sand lined with palm trees, surf shops, beach clubs and coffee bars, this is a backpacker’s dream.
Most people go there to learn to surf but the activities on offer are endless.
If you’re lucky, you might spot some turtles among all the other marine life in the waters.
Alternatively, you can have a massage or ayurvedic treatment at one of the beachside parlours, before grabbing some fresh seafood for lunch.
This is a popular spot for digital nomads, so you will also find strong WiFi, great lattes, smoothie bowls and brunch spots.
9- Sandira Beach, Philippines
Located on Bantayan Island, Sandira beach is more of a hidden local gem than many of the ones on the tourist trail, and many miss it when visiting Cebu.
The best way to get around the island is by renting a scooter, which will allow you to make the best use of your time.
What greets you on this beach is nothing short of paradise – Sandira actually translates as ‘Paradise’!
Impossibly clear waters, endless coral reefs, palm-fringed beach huts and small caves to explore line the area.
As so many of the hotels here have beach bungalows and huts, it’s best to stay here a few nights and wake up to paradise.
10- Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
There’s no doubt you have already heard of the Phi Phi islands.
Although not strictly one beach, this can’t be missed off the list due to all the beautiful islands that make up this archipelago which have their own stunning stretches of sand.
The best ones to visit include Maya Bay (which has its own spot on this list), Monkey Beach and Mosquito Island.
As the name suggests, Monkey Beach is home to quite a few small and friendly apes who’ll be happy to play with you and steal your sunnies on the beach.
Mosquito Beach, while having the downside of requiring bug spray, is home to some of Thailand’s best diving spots, including a beautiful shipwreck you can explore.
Here’s a fun island-hopping day trip to Phi Phi.
11- Butterfly Beach, Goa, India
Heading further north to India, Goa is the home of yogis, surfing and the country’s best beaches.
Named after the butterflies that are found flying in the surrounding flora, you can also find colourful fish, crabs and even dolphins here.
Due to Butterfly Beach being more secluded than many others in Goa, the marine life and shoreline are more protected so you will see wildlife in a more natural habitat.
There are also spectacular sunsets here if you stay later into the evening.
12- Railay Beach, Thailand
Located in Krabi, Railay beach is only accessible by boat, so it isn’t overcrowded by tourists in coaches or cars.
Activities here (aside from relaxing) include island-hopping boat trips, rock climbing on the stunning limestone cliffs (check out this tour), and exploring the nearby Princess Cave.
Head up to the Railay Beach viewpoint before sunset for spectacular views across the beach, but make sure to wear trainers.
13- Pom Pom Island, Malaysia
Named after its abundance of Pom Pom trees, this tiny island off Malaysia is regularly reported as one of the world’s most beautiful.
This is mainly down to the extensive scuba diving opportunities here.
If you are an avid diver or even a beginner, you won’t find a better place to dive or a more diverse and abundant array of tropical fish and marine life.
There are actually seven islands in total in the area, so even if they weren’t secluded (they are!) you will be sure to find an empty stretch of golden sand for yourself.
14- Maya Bay, Thailand
Previously mentioned on this list, Maya Bay gets its own spot out of sheer fame.
Drawing tourists since being used as the filming location for The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio, Maya Bay, unfortunately, had to close for a long time due to too many visitors.
However, it has reopened to a limited number of people each day which is great news, as if you manage to get there, you will experience it refreshed and in all its glory.
The coral reefs have returned, the sand cleared and even sharks have come back to the area, so make the most of this beautiful island. See this tour.
15- Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam
This beach is connected to another (An Bang Beach), and you can walk from the tip of one to the end of the other in an hour or two.
The first is more local, while Cua Dai is spotless and stunning.
Just outside the historical old town of Hoi An, this is the perfect place to relax after a day of history (and shopping for tailor-made clothes).
Lined with sun loungers and beach umbrellas, and flanked by lots of local restaurants and bars, head here for breathtaking sunsets and dinner with a view.
16- Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
The Perhentians consist of two islands, Besar (big) and Kecil (small). Both have amazing beaches, but which to choose depends on your budget.
Besar is more expensive and home to resorts, perfect for honeymooners.
Kecil, on the other hand, is a tranquil stopping point great for backpackers, with two beaches: Coral Bay and Long Beach.
Whichever you decide to visit, you will be greeted by the sound of softly lapping waves and soft white sand – the ideal place to take a break for a few days.
17- Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
Pronounced Napally, this is consistently voted one of Asia’s best beaches, and yet due to its location in Myanmar, many people don’t end up going there.
Although you may think more of temples and jungles in Myanmar, its little-explored coastline is just as beautiful as any others on this list.
As tourism is still quite new in Myanmar, this isn’t the beach to visit if you’re after partying and water sports.
You will find fresh local cooking, bicycles for hire and small fishing boat trips here.
This is the place to book a guest house, enjoy some fresh seafood and take in a stunning sunset.
18- Kelingking Beach, Bali, Indonesia
There is no doubt you’ll have seen photos of Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida, famous for its unique shape, which resembles a dinosaur.
The trek to the top can be hot and sweaty, but the view and beach make it worthwhile.
This is an extremely popular beach for tourists, but if you arrive early enough (the hike down takes around an hour), you’ll have the beach to yourself.
There are no cafes and shops in the tiny cove, just soft sand and blue ocean, so bring some supplies. This tour will get you there.
19- Bawah Island, Indonesia
This is a cluster of five islands, of which Bawah is the largest.
During low tide, the water is so shallow the islands are almost interconnected so make sure you’re up for exploring barefoot.
The water is so clear that you can see schools of tropical fish even from the surface, but snorkelling or diving is the best way to experience the area.
The reason these islands are lower on the list is not due to lack of beauty, but because of the difficulty of getting here.
Multiple planes and boats are required to reach this stunning outpost, but the people who make it are rewarded with the best beaches in the world.
20- Sentosa, Singapore
Sentosa Island is a purpose-built island resort that features great beaches and activities for all the family.
There is a butterfly park, museum, small theme park, cable car, and dolphin lagoon.
It’s the perfect Asian beach destination for a family trip, as you can combine both tranquil beaches with exhilarating activities.
For a good photo opportunity, stand on the most southerly point on continental Asia.
The Singapore Go City All-Inclusive Pass will get you into many of those attractions.