I travel a lot within Southeast Asia, it’s a beautiful place and I am proud of being an Asian myself. As a beach fanatic, I’ve visited all the popular beach destinations that our budget airlines have got to offer and since my last visit to Cebu, I am finally able to round it up and pen this post down.
Singapore’s strategic location makes it easy for us to travel. White, sandy beaches are easily accessible within a two to four-hour flight away and our strong currency makes it affordable. Here, I summarise the top beach vacations that Singaporeans love and you can decide which to go during your long weekend this year.
The outlier in this list as it is accessible via coach. The journey by coach takes approximately 3 hours, followed by another 1-1.5 hours by ferry.
Many Singaporeans take up their PADI Diving license in Tioman and there is little reason to doubt. While the beach is not the best, it still serves a pretty decent deal and snorkelling is amazing here. Fishes are huge and aplenty you may even spot turtles or sea urchins if you are lucky.
Frankly, this ranks the lowest on my list. I’ve had bad experiences in Bali when I visited in 2014. It was my first trip to Bali and most likely my last. People around me similarly held the views I had. It just wasn’t enjoyable and I highly doubt I’ll revisit again.
Food and transport is the priciest amongst all the destinations on this list. The only redeeming factor that comes off the top of my head is the beautiful resorts overlooking the paddy fields.
Beaches in Bali are more suitable for surfing, if you’d like to pick the sport up, this is the place to be in. If you’re looking for a nice beach, try Jimbaran beach and grab a good dinner at Menega Cafe thereafter. Otherwise, get a decent resort with private pool for a respite from the city.
Phuket was the destination that made me fall in love with Thailand’s beaches. It is still an amazing place for me, if it weren’t for the hyper-commercialization of it. Phuket’s air tickets are often on sale and there are quite a number of flights offering the route every day.
Unless you are a big fan of nightlife and people, avoid Patong. Instead, stay in Kata. The area is less busier than Patong but there are an abundance of restaurants and massage places. Karon is another alternative but the beaches are less attractive than the ones in Kata. You can find extremely clear water and white sand at Kata Noi beach itself.
If there’s one tour to take up, it is the Raya Island snorkelling trip. Raya Island is the most beautiful place I’ve been to. Never have I encountered water so clear you can see your own shadow cast on the ocean bed.
A new favourite on my list. Initially, I thought Krabi would be a place similar to Phuket but I was absolutely wrong. Krabi is definitely less crowded and busy as compared to Phuket. Prices of restaurants along Aonang beach is high, but on average, it is probably still lower than the ones you find in Phuket. If you’d like to save money, take a long walk further down the street and you can easily get a fried rice for less than 60 baht instead of 150 along Aonang beach.
Take the longtail boat for 100 baht and visit Railay beach. Go kayaking to see the limestone rocks up close or simply explore the other side of the island and visit Phangan beach. At 6pm, the last boat leaves and you can watch as the sun sets into the sea. One day on Railay is definitely not enough, it is worth a revisit.
Alot of backpackers have told me how overcommercialised Boracay is, but I was captivated the very first time I visited. It was even typhoon season when I was there but that didn’t dampen my spirits or robbed away my fun.
White beach is too crowded and I would say avoid it. The locals told me about Puka beach and it is only a 20-min ride away. The beach is definitely better there but you’ll need to get a drink to rent the lawn chairs. However, some of the vendors offer free usage of floats and standup paddle board so that makes it worth the money for a full day spent on the beach.
Cebu is amazing! There’s so much to do. We went on a South Cebu trip for 4 days and swam with sardines, visited waterfalls, and snorkeled with whalesharks. The people in Cebu are as hospitable as the ones I met in Boracay and safety is never compromised. This is a place I can imagine visiting and re-visiting again, especially the northern part since I haven’t been there.
The “issue” with Cebu is the same as the one in Boracay. While it is easy to travel from one place to another, time is a huge problem. If you only have 4-5 days to spare, I suggest heading to the islands in Thailand instead. The total time spent commuting can easily take up almost half a day. However, if you have more time, Cebu is a must to add onto your list.
I still remember the reason why my blog domain is called Sunnyislander. While I’m born in Singapore where it is sunny all-year long, there is no real beach here. It’s a well-known fact that most of our beaches are man-made. Island life is my calling and it allows me to stop and pause whenever I am underwater hearing the silence around me.
There are many more islands around Thailand and Philippines and they are definitely on my to-do list. Not only that, other destinations around Southeast Asia are also introducing their versions of the perfect island life, like Ngapali beach in Myanmar and the beaches in Da Nang, Vietnam. So now, go forth and explore!