Where to Find the Most Affordable Yet Beautiful Beaches in South-East Asia [Slideshow]
South-East Asia brings a taste of the exotic to a beach holiday, with a price tag that won’t break your travel budget.
Holiday deals to the top destinations, including Bali and Thailand, are available all year round.
In terms of weather, you can’t really go wrong. Even in the rainy season – typically from October to March – you’re likely to catch a refreshing afternoon shower to cool you down, rather than upset your plans for the beach.
Once there, your budget stretches a long way, with food, drinks and shopping at bargain prices. Don’t forget to haggle in markets – it’s expected and a whole lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
Let’s take a look at where to find the most affordable yet beautiful beaches in South-East Asia.
The Philippines is still an incredibly cheap travel destination, however its star is on the rise. Namely, the white sands and aqua seas of Boracay. Here, you can do everything from sailing to diving and golf. However, most holiday-makers simply sit back on the beach, sip on a cocktail and float with the balmy breeze.
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Gorgeous reefs fringed with white sand and inland tropical jungles makes Phu Quoc Island one of Vietnam’s most alluring destinations. The once-sleepy village now offers resorts, tourist activities like kayaking and diving and scrumptious seafood dining.
Malaysia’s Langkawi has long been a favourite among travellers to chill out by the beach – for a fantastic price. Beach shack bars offer cheap drinks and tasty eats like chicken satay. Explore caves within limestone cliffs, hike through ancient forest and discover unique wildlife.
Bukit Peninsula, Bali, Indonesia
Arguably home to Bali’s best beaches, the Bukit Peninsula offers soaring cliffs, some of the world’s best surf breaks and hidden coves with turquoise water lapping gently on white sand. Uluwatu’s Balangan, Bingin and Padang Padang beaches are among the most stunning, especially at sunset. You’ll find cheap hotels, restaurants and scooter rental across the region.
Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Phi Phi is a group of six islands, just a short speed boat ride from Phuket. A favourite set for movies, including ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo Di Caprio, the bays, emerald-covered limestone cliffs and fish-filled waters are pure, tropical bliss.
Hai Hoa Beach, Vietnam
Vietnam isn’t necessarily on the tourist radar for beach destinations, however this is exactly why you should go. Hai Hoa literally means ‘peaceful’ and the beach lives up to its name, even when it’s holiday season. It’s located in the province of Thanh Hoa and you’ll experience local life with seafood, coconut juice and utter relaxation.
When you’re looking for stunning coastal vistas, the province of Krabi delivers. Beautifully blending jungles, limestone cliffs and the iridescent Andaman Ocean, everywhere you look is a happy snap opportunity. Don’t miss Railay Beach, as it’s only accessible by boat and there are no motorized vehicles on land.
If you’re in Cambodia and need a break from temple-hunting, Sihanoukville offers sandy beaches, seafood shacks and a party vibe at beach bars. Offshore, there are plenty of islands to explore, for snorkelling, diving and escaping the crowd.
Gili Islands, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air offer that pristine, palm trees and white sand landscape from island holiday dreams. There are no motorized vehicles, but, you can explore by horse cart. Snorkelling and dive spots are world-class and the islands are easily accessed from major tourist centres in Bali.
Patong Beach, Thailand
Patong Beach isn’t a spot to escape the crowds. However, if a beach party is what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in spades. Hop from bars, to the beach, to restaurants and back again, before venturing to the infamous Bangla Road at night.