Sihanoukville — by Prapti Dangwal
When you think of a tropical vacation in South East Asia, there is a high chance that you imagine yourself on a white sand beach, staring at the turquoise blue sea, listening to the waves gently crash as you sip on your fruity cocktail from a glass with a tiny umbrella in it. This image is pretty close to reality cause Southeast Asia does boast of some of the most beautiful beaches along with balmy warm weather pretty much all year round. However, what may not have featured in this lovely picture are the tourists and the noise and traffic that comes with them. So if you would like to give the crowds a miss, then perhaps you'd want to consider one of these pristine beaches for your uninterrupted vacation.
Otres II is a peaceful beach with soft golden sand. The sea is shallow so you can walk in quite a bit into the water. It is the southernmost tip of Sihanoukville, and perhaps it is due to its small size that this beach has escaped the mindless construction that has crept up on most other beaches in Cambodia. There are some bars and restaurants along the stretch, so you get a decent selection of food and drinks. You can also rent out kayaks and paddle boards if you are looking for a bit more action. However, be careful not to confuse this place with Otres I beach, which is the complete opposite. It is noisy and packed with loud bars and concrete buildings. I would say though, that the choice of restaurants and bars makes the tuk-tuk trip to Otres I worthwhile.
Getting there: The closest international airport is Pnom Penh. From there take a local chartered flight to Sihanoukville or make the journey by road in about 4 hours. Eat at: Papa Pippo Italian bar and restaurant for handmade pizza and great cocktails Secret garden for fine dining on the beach Stay at: Tamu - https://www.tamucambodia.com/ Ren resort - http://ren-resort.com/
Gili Meno is a remote island in Lombok. It is the quietest and most untouched of the Gili Archipelago. The sand is powdery white, and the turquoise waters are rich with corals. It is the perfect beach for Instagram and uninterrupted sunbathing. The water is ideal for snorkeling. Other attractions on the tiny island include a bird park, a turtle hatchery and perhaps a walk around the salt water lake. If you prefer some more action, your resort should be able to arrange ferries to the two other islands close by – Gili Trawangan for the party people and Gili Air for more cafes and restaurants on the beach.
Getting there: Fly to Bali or Lombok and book a speedboat or ferry from the several services available. Eat at: Adeng Adeng for delectable seafood platters Ya Ya Warung for authentic seafood Diana Café for coconut pancakes Stay at: Mahamaya Gili Meno - http://www.mahamaya.co/ Avia Villa - https://www.aviavillaresort.com/
Gili Islands — by Prapti Dangwal
Joyo is a private island with all you could need. There are just eight bungalows to choose from. The island resort refers to these as palaces. They have a rustic look and feel with no air conditioning but great ventilation. The soft white sand can be yours alone if you book the entire island for a group holiday or occasion. You can use kayaking and canoeing equipment for free and also use their chartered boat to cruise the emerald waters. Joyo also provides the luxury of a kid's club daycare facility and massages available to let you kick back and relax.
Getting there: Ferry from Singapore Tanah Merah Terminal to Tanjung Pinang (90 minutes) Land transfer to the private dock (45 minutes) Speedboat to Joyo (20 minutes) Eat at: Food is part of package Stay at: Pulau Joyo Resort https://www.pulau-joyo.com/
This beach is not just un-spoilt, but also very striking. The pristine white sandy stretch is surrounded by lime rock formations covered with patches of lush greenery towering over the turquoise waters. Palawan has some fantastic spots for scuba diving and is also home to 600 different species of birds. Perfect for bird-watching enthusiasts. Take your kayak or canoe to go exploring the beautiful lagoons and the marine life. You can see right through the crystal clear waters. There are also many tours available on boat or helicopter to enjoy the breath-taking views of the island.
Getting there: Fly from Manila to Lio Airport (1 hour) or Fly into Puerto Princessa Airport and drive to El Nido (4 hours) Eat at: Taverna Agape for the best Greek food on the island Republica Sunset Bar for sundowners Stay at: El Nido Resorts - Lagen island http://www.elnidoresorts.com/lagen-island/ Qi Palawan http://www.qipalawan.com/
Koh Samui is one of Thailand's most famous and developed beach destinations. It is hard to find a quiet beach on this island, but if you need to break away from all the action, then you can head to the north-western tip of the island to Laem Yai Bay. The beach is gorgeous, with golden sand and clear shallow water, perfect for swimming or sunbathing. Enjoy the slow-ness and get a massage. The dense greenery of the hills in the background makes for a very picturesque and tranquil sight. The bay boasts of some of the best high-end resorts. The road connectivity through the island is excellent, and if you do itch for a bit more action, you can get a taxi or a car rental and head over to the other side.
Getting there: Fly into Koh Samui Airport and drive down to your destination. Eat at: Pla Pla for Mediterranean and seafood Koh Thai Kitchen and Bar for the breathtaking view Stay at: Four Seasons https://www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui/ The Passage Samui http://www.thepassagesamui.com/