A beach holiday can be the ultimate relaxing vacay…or a complete nightmare, if the spot you land up at is full of sandflies, coarse sand, murky waters – you get the picture.
But how do you make sure you get exactly what’s in the brochure? How to guarantee that all that white sand, crystal-clear blue waters and gently swaying palm trees will be lined up for you to Instagram when you arrive?
There’s trial and error, of course…or you could just go by TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Beaches in Asia. After all, thousands of happy, non-sandfly-bitten travellers can’t be wrong...right?
Read on for this year’s list of Asia’s best beaches from the world’s largest travel site, plus the recommended value hotels nearby to stay at when you’re there.
#10: Radhanagar Beach
Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar, India
Visitors to this beach will be treated to a stunning shoreline and gorgeous coral reefs that are perfect for snorkelling. The nearby restaurants, meanwhile, offer fresh seafood with an unparalleled sunset view. One TripAdvisor reviewer raved, “This beach is beautiful…the water is perfectly clear and blue for tens of metres, the forest is lush and wild and the sand is soft and white.”
Recommended nearby hotel: Munjoh Ocean Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $301/night*.
#9: Otres Beach
Sihanoukville, Sihanoukville Province, Cambodia
This gem offers laidback and leisurely vibes, and is located south of the Serendipity area. It’s divided into the more developed Otres 1 that boasts clusters of beachshack bars and restaurants, and Otres 2, which offers a quieter retreat.
Recommended nearby hotel: Tamu Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $160/night*.
#8: Palolem Beach
Canacona, Goa, India
A stunningly beautiful beach, Palolem stretches between two magnificent headlands and is lined with towering coconut palms. It’s largely unspoiled and inhabited by fishermen, though it’s also known for its photo-worthy beach hut accommodations.
Recommended nearby hotel: The Fern Gardenia Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $106/night*.
#7: Sunrise Beach
Ko Lipe, Satun Province, Thailand
True to its name, this beach on the eastern side of Ko Lipe offers brilliant sunrise and sunset views. Go snorkelling and you’ll get an equally stunning view of the corals. “Prepare your cameras and snap away for hours. The scenery is just too much for my eyes - awesome and amazing,” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.
Recommended nearby hotel: Serendipity Beach Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $272/night*.
#6: Nai Harn Beach
Rawai, Phuket, Thailand
A quaint gem in hotspot Phuket, Nai Harn overlooks a number of tiny islands and offers a panoramic view of them. Beachgoers can visit shacks offering delicious grub, exotic fruit and rejuvenating massages, or just stroll from one end of the smallish beach to another.
Recommended nearby hotel: Navatara Phuket Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $93/night*.
#5: Yapak Beach
Boracay, Visayas, Philippines
Located on the tropical paradise of Boracay, Yapak offers a level of intimacy and seclusion that you don’t easily come across elsewhere on the island. Puka seashells that are often used to create trinkets and accessories are found aplenty on its shore, which explains its nickname: Puka Shell Beach. A TripAdvisor reviewer shared, “I can’t explain the beauty of this beach. It’s relaxed and has loungers and little food outlets – everything you need for a day of unwinding in the glorious sunshine. The shell beach is like nothing I’ve seen or felt underfoot before; a must!”
Recommended nearby hotel: Henann Lagoon Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $211/night*.
#4: Agonda Beach
Agonda, Goa, India
Agonda is wide, quiet and a great spot for sunbathing and relaxing, with relatively few tourists around. While the waters here aren’t the most ideal place for swimming (the surf can be rough), this scenic spot is romantic Goa at its best. Another plus: No touts!
Recommended nearby hotel: Maria Paulo Guest House, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $65/night*.
#3: Kata Noi Beach
Karon, Phuket, Thailand
Kata Noi is on Phuket’s southwest and is an idyllic oasis with incredibly clear blue waters. Need a retreat from the frenetic town centre? You’ll get it here, whether you choose to swim, snorkel, read a book or just watch the waves wash against the sandy shoreline. “Whenever we’re in Phuket, it’s hard to visit other beaches. This one offers clear water, a long coastline, seclusion and is not that popular with drunk tourists,” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.
Recommended nearby hotel: Kathathani Phuket Beach Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $217/night*.
#2: Nacpan Beach
El Nido, Mimaropa, Philippines
The gorgeous coastline of Nacpan rewards visitors with its spectacular views of nature, kilometres of soft sand and crystal waters that sparkle in the sun. It can be challenging to get to because the only roads that go there are dirt ones, but the trip is worth it – particularly for beachgoers looking for solitude. The best part? The beach isn’t rocky at all, so leave those water shoes at home.
Recommended nearby hotel: Cadlao Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $294/night*.
#1: Ngapali Beach
Ngapali, Rakhine State, Myanmar
A picturesque palm-lined paradise offering breathtaking views of golden-white sand and the pristine waters of the Bay of Bengal – it’s no wonder this was voted Asia’s top beach and the world’s eighth-best. Beach resorts and restaurants nearby provide a soft buzz, but travellers agree this doesn’t impinge on the overall tranquillity of the beach. A TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “Lovely soft sand and clear blue water that laps gently at the shore. The best thing is that it isn’t too built-up yet, so there are hardly any people around. Bliss!”
Recommended nearby hotel: Bayview The Beach Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for an average of $194/night*.
*All hotel rates are based on TripAdvisor data for 1 February through 31 July 2016, aggregated from booking partners and converted via xe.com on 17 February 2016.