13 Unforgettable Beach Destinations in Southeast Asia

By: MICHAEL AQUINO | Pulished on 2023-12-05

13 Unforgettable Beach Destinations in Southeast Asia-Trip Advise

Pack your bathing suit and sunscreen—these Southeast Asia beaches are some of the most popular tourism destinations in the region, attracting visitors with their white-sand beaches, clear waters, and sizzling nightlife. We've put together a list that represents Southeast Asia's best, covering a range of budgets and seasonal availabilities (beaches in Bali are wide open when beaches in Thailand are rained out, and vice versa).


You'll find some surprises in the list below: Phuket in Thailand makes it, as does Ngapali Beach in Myanmar, about as laid-back as Phuket is busy. Reopened Boracay keeps its place on the list (work in progress as it is), alongside up-and-comers El Nido and Malaysia's Perhentian Islands.

El Nido, Philippines

13 Unforgettable Beach Destinations in Southeast Asia-Trip Advise

The islands of El Nido are, perhaps, one of the Palawan Island’s best places to visit. El Nido town looks out to Bacuit Bay and a collection of gorgeous limestone islets (ideal for several days’ worth of island-hopping and beach bumming).


There’s a lot you can do in El Nido, well worth the long jaunt to get here—kayaking at Miniloc's Big and Small Lagoons, watersports around Bacuit Bay, and hiking amidst the karst outcrops off El Nido town. At any time of the day, you can hop through El Nido town’s bustling restaurants, and cafes, and have dinner right on the beach after dark!


Thanks to the El Nido Pumpboat Owners and Operators Association, boat-hopping rates have been largely standardized, ranging from PHP 1,200-1,400 (US$ 23-27).


Visit El Nido from the months of November to May when the Philippines’ weather is at its yearly driest and coolest (relatively speaking). To get here, you can take a bus, van, or plane from the island capital Puerto Princesa, or ride a turboprop from Manila. Read about transportation to El Nido, and compare rates on El Nido budget resorts.

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