I don’t know about you, but I know I am ready to pack up, leave the city, and fly to any of the gorgeous islands in Southeast Asia to holiday in. Preferably for the next three months without returning to reality, but I am also fine with three days if I must settle.
With the pandemic having clouded our countries since March 2020, and the ebb and flow of multiple different viral variants, we are all long overdue for a lovely holiday away from it all.
Luckily, there are thousands of islands to consider visiting in Southeast Asia. There are your usual staples like Langkawi in Malaysia, the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand, and of course, Bali in Indonesia, but perhaps you want something… more.
Here are 5 islands in Southeast Asia that you can consider adding to the itinerary for when you want to travel to one:
Siargao Island, Philippines
Islands that come to mind when Philippines is mentioned are often Boracay or Palawan. However, a growing spotlight is shining on Siargao, a teardrop-shaped island that is located in the east of the country. Nominated the Best Island in Asia for 2021 according to the 34th Readers’ Choice Awards by Conde Nast Traveler, one can expect Siargao’s popularity to soar up once more when international travel resumes.
The island is great for surfers, and people visit for the white sand beaches, gorgeous sunsets, and natural lagoons and rock pools. If you don’t surf, you can swim in cave pools, or rent a bicycle/ motorcycle to explore the island at a leisurely pace – and goodness knows we all need leisure these days.
When I was in Bali in 2020, my Grab driver told me that Lombok is way better than Bali. It may not surprise you that his hometown is Lombok. In honour of his advice, Lombok made this list.
Lombok is located right next to Bali, and likewise frequently gets travellers – though not as much as Bali. Think of it as a much laidback version of Bali, without the tourist traps. Come to relax in nice villas and hang out with
If you are interested in hiking – and I mean, hardcore hiking, not daytrip hiking – Lombok is also home to Mount Rinjani. It is steep with soft ground, and hikers camp overnight on the mountain to catch the sunrise, which is a great way to get in touch with Mother Nature and to get away from the daily grind.
Pulau Tiga, Malaysia
To get to Pulau Tiga, one would need to take a 2 hour ride to Pulau Tiga Jetty, and another 40 minute or so boat ride from the jetty to the actual island itself. Once there, you will be able to enjoy the feeling of smooth white sand between your toes, take a dip in a mud pool after a short trek up the hill, and enjoy azure blue seas that are clear.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
With a name that means “Descending Dragon”, Ha Long Bay has emerald-green waters and dotted with around 1,600+ limestone islands (or islets) with gorgeous green rainforests. Rather than chill on one island, it is best to enjoy Ha Long Bay by booking a boat tour to go by these islands and admiring them by boat.
You can take a day trip and visit caves located on different islands, kayak through lakes to gawk at monkeys (though truthfully, it is for the monkeys to gawk at you), and even stay overnight on overnight luxury cruises and wake up surrounded by sea water. It is truly an experience to try at least once.
Ko Lipe, Thailand
Right near between the borders of Malaysia and Thailand lies the island of Ko Lipe, which is 90 minutes away from the island of Langkawi by direct ferry sailings. A small island that is more for relaxing rather than partying, you can rest and relax in a space that is not crowded.
The waters are clear, and great for snorkelers to explore the Andaman Sea, or to just chill on the beaches with nothing to do for the rest of the day. I wish someone would bring me there already.
Whichever island you end up on, I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and stay safe and healthy. Happy holidays!
Important: please note that the countries listed have different rules for when it comes to international travel as of writing, so do check governmental rules before making plans.