It’s always a treat to jet off to Bali, Phuket and Ko Samui for their beautiful beaches and vibrant entertainment and dining options. Besides these popular favourites, why not seek out a secret island getaway for a blissful vacation away from the madding crowd? We present our pick of the best hidden gems in Asia to set your wanderlust on fire.
Rebak Island / Vivanta by Taj
Once you set foot on this idyllic retreat, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a different world. This lush island is home to the exclusive Vivanta by Taj resort, where you can spend all day basking in the sun on a private sandy-white beach and admiring the surf – without having to deal with noisy tourists or pesky street peddlers.
If you’re in the mood to indulge, you’ve just lucked out. Rebak Island is also where the only fully equipped marina in Malaysia is located, so you’ll have plenty of chances to gawk at the luxury yachts and even charter a private cruise, should you desire it.
To get as close to the natural environment in all its raw, untouched glory as you possibly can, find your way to the Con Dao Islands in Vietnam. These islands once served as a prison hold, but all that remains today are the prison complexes, which tourists can visit. This cluster of remote islands is famed among intrepid explorers for their bounty of natural wonders.
From ancient rainforests to pristine beaches with emerald-blue waters, and mind-blowing coral reefs that are home to delightful sea creatures including turtles and dolphins, you can find it all here. Best of all, because there are only a few resorts on these islands, you’ll have this entire wide open expanse all to yourself.
The Japanese may travel to Hawaii for their tropical holiday fix, but little do they know they’ve got some of this sun-kissed beauty right on their home turf. The volcanic Yaeyama Islands, which are even further south than Okinawa, are blessed with warm weather, picturesque jungles and, of course, fantastic swathes of ocean to dive into.
The main island of Ishigaki has all the conveniences of the modern world, including excellent Okinawan restaurants, paved roads and an airport. But all you need to do is ask a local for directions to their secret beach haunt (there’s plenty to go around) and you will feel like you’ve been moored on a desert island.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time once you’ve arrived at Havelock Island, part of the Andaman Islands in India, so savour your time here.
With charming auto-rickshaws as the main mode of transport, rustic-looking buildings and plenty of laid-back locals for good measure, you will feel your stress levels drop almost instantly. After all, the main attraction here is the beautiful powdery sand beach and, of course, some of the best diving sites on the planet.
Don’t forget to pack sufficient supplies such as sunscreen and insect repellent – when we say this secret island is the real, untouched deal, we mean it!
This island’s for all the beach bunnies out there whose idea of a dream escape comprises endless days of worshipping the sun, with an occasional dip in the ocean to cool off. Off the coast of Phuket, you can expect the same picture-perfect sandy-white beaches and emerald green waters, but minus the crowds.
The Racha resort
The Racha and Rayaburi Resort are popular accommodation options among holidaymakers. Ko Racha Yai is also a popular diving site in Phuket, but don’t worry if you don’t have your diving certification. What most people are not aware of is that this protected cove is also surrounded by crystal-clear snorkelling sites, so you can get up close and personal with the marine life – without having to dive deep into the ocean.
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