8 Secret Island Getaways in Southeast Asia for Your Ultimate Beach Getaway (2023)

From Bali and Krabi to Indonesia's Banda Islands, Southeast Asia offers countless amazing locations for travelers looking to relax on the beach. Popular tourist spots can get very crowded, unfortunately, it's not a great trip!

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That's why we've rounded up some of Southeast Asia's most beautiful (and hidden) islands for anyone looking for a beach vacation!

1. Inselstil - Malaysia

we all know malaysia has thesedieBest food ever, but they're also known for having the best beaches! What's really cool about the Gaya Islands is that the island is mostly rainforest, with some beautiful beaches surrounded by protected coral reefs! Just a 10-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, even the main beach is far from crowded during high season.

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However, accommodation can be very expensive; the three hotels on the island are all upmarket. But if you're looking for a luxury villa getaway in a secluded location, is Gaya Island for you?

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reach there:Drive from Kota Kinabalu to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, take a boat to Gaya Island (about 10 minutes). Best to arrange with your hotel.

2. Koh Lipe - Thailand

Koh Lipe's picturesque beaches and some of the best diving spots in the country have always drawn tourists to this beautiful place. If snorkeling is your thing, just step out of the beach and you'll see the coral reef, home to all kinds of tropical fish!

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There is also halal food on the island to cater to the majority of Muslim tourists from Malaysia - Koh Lipe is just 30km from Langkawi.

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Finding accommodation can be difficult during weekends and high season, but if you're visiting in the low season (May to October), there's plenty to choose from.

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reach there:Year round: Take a bus or taxi from Hat Yai to Pak Bara, then take a ferry to Koh Lipe.

High season only (November to May): You can take a speedboat from Krabi Town in Krabi. For tourists from Malaysia, there are ferries to Koh Lipe from Kuah Jetty and Telaga Jetty in Langkawi during this period.

3. Lang Tengah - Malaysia

Most tourists flock to the popular Redang Island, but if you prefer an island less populated, why not head to Lang Tengah?

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Lang Tengah is one of the places in Malaysia where you can see the clear blue water. If diving is your thing, there are many dive sites on the island to explore. You can also snorkel in the waters around the beach or charter a boat to the coral reefs at Terengganu Marine Park.

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Or, if none of that interests you, you can relax on the beach and enjoy the sun ☀️

reach there:Drive from Kuala Terengganu Sultan Mahmud Airport or bus station to Merang Jetty. Take a speedboat to Lang Tengah Island (about 1 hour). It is best to arrange speedboat transfers with the resort or hotel of your choice.

4. Koh Yao Islands - Thailand

Time to skip Phuket and explore the islands!

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Located off the coast of Phuket, Koh Yao Noi is globally recognized for its eco-friendly homestay program with locals. It is absolutely perfect to experience the relaxed island life away from the crowds of over-developed tourist attractions ☺️

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Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai have their own beautiful beaches. If you wish, you can also take a boat to nearby islands such as the famous Hong Island.

reach there: You can reach Koh Yao Noi by boat from Phuket. Take a taxi from the airport to Bang Rong pier in Phuket, then take a longtail boat (1 hour) or speedboat (30 minutes) to Koh Yao Noi.

5. Lanta Island - Thailand

Although growing in popularity in recent years, the island of Koh Lanta is still less developed and far less crowded compared to the beaches of mainland Krabi or the famous Phi Phi Island!

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On the main island of Koh Lanta Yai, you have four sparkling beaches to choose from, some of which are quite remote. Picture yourself stranded (happily) on a beach on a beautiful deserted island, but know that comfortable accommodations and great food are not far away.

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Like most of Krabi, Koh Lanta has a large Muslim population, so finding halal food shouldn't be difficult.

reach there:You can reach Koh Lanta from Krabi Airport. You can drive/take a taxi to Koh Lanta (about 3 hours), or drive to the pier and transfer to a speedboat (about 1 hour and 30 minutes in total).

6. Bangka-Belitung - Indonesia

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Belitung Island, part of Bangka-Belitung Province in South Sumatra, caught the attention of the region when it was featured in a movie based on the famous Indonesian novel Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Troops). However, you don't have to be a fan of this movie to appreciate Belitung. Surrounding islands such as Belitung and Pulau Lengkuas have excellent beaches and snorkeling opportunities.

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reach there:You can take a flight to H.A.S. from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Hanan Jordin Airport.

7. Pulau Weh - Indonesia

This island, just north of Banda Aceh, is also known as Sabang, which is the name of its main town. It is a diver's paradise due to the diversity of marine life in the waters. Swim with creatures like manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles?

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If diving isn't your thing, relax in the sparkling waters of Capong, Iboih and Sumur Tiga beaches, or visit Pria Laot Waterfall, 15 minutes away from Capong.

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Available accommodation consists mainly of guesthouses and beach bungalows with only basic amenities. But with water like this, you probably won't be in the room for long!

reach there: There are flights to Banda Aceh from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. You can take a fast ferry from Ulee Lheu Port in Banda Aceh to Pulau Weh (about 1 hour).

8. Banda Islands – Indonesia

If diving is your thing this is definitely for you! Home to some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world, the Banda Islands greet you with a huge variety of marine life and countless areas of natural beauty above sea level. Is it any wonder this hidden gem attracts diving enthusiasts from all over the world?

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You can stay in Bandaneira, the capital of Pulau Neira, or charter a boat to the offshore islands for diving and snorkeling. Hatta and Koh Yai in particular offer pristine beaches and great snorkelling spots.

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#HHWT tip:Getting to the Banda Islands can be quite difficult. If you're looking for a destination off the beaten track, you're in the right place!

reach there:You can access the islands from Ambon. There are flights from Jakarta to Ambon. From there you can take a boat (8 hours) to Bandaneira, or take a fast ferry (5 hours) from Thulehu in Ambon. It is also possible to charter a flight from Ambon to Bandanella, but the number of places is limited and the flight time is irregular.

Have you already dreamed of soft sandy beaches and clear blue waters? You don't have to leave Southeast Asia to know some of the best islands for relaxation! Make your choice and start planning the ultimate island vacation ☀️

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