Your Guide to the Best Sands of Southeast Asia and Beyond


No matter where you travel, nothing says ‘holiday’ like laying your towel on a beautiful, far-flung beach. From California to the Mediterranean, the Sunshine Coast to South Africa, we’re blessed with some truly beautiful stretches of sand – and none more so than those found amid the colourful paradise lands of Southeast Asia.

One of the many joys of cruising is that you’re never far from a utopian beachfront. And, given that you normally travel to multiple destinations in a single, uninterrupted journey, it’s often possible to experience two or more world-class beaches in one holiday – so you’ll get more beach for your buck.

But with so many beautiful beaches out there, how do you know which ones are worth your downtime? To help you find your ideal stretch of sand, we’ve put together a collection of our favourite beaches in Southeast Asia and the Far East – from Japan to Myanmar.

Kata Beach, Thailand

Phuket in Thailand

Thailand has arguably some of the world’s most beloved beaches, favoured by sunseekers and backpackers the world over. And many of the country’s finest are found in Phuket, a hugely popular region on Thailand’s irresistible eastern shore.

Phuket province is home to 30+ enticing beaches, but none display such paradise-appeal as Kata. Here, clear waters lap white sands, beyond which palm trees sway in the gentle sea breeze. There are amenities nearby, too, including child-friendly restaurants and bars, making it the perfect option for sun-seeking families.

Palawan Beach, Singapore

The beaches of Sentosa island in Singapore

Singapore may be globally-renowned for its glittering cityscape, but there’s more to the country than skyscrapers. Head to Singapore’s coastline at the very tip of southern Asia, and you’ll be surprised by how many beautiful beaches you find. The sands here range from busy sunbathing hotspots to quiet dunes brimming with rare flora and fauna, so it really depends what you’re after.

One of our favourite Singaporean beaches is Palawan Beach. This serene stretch combines a natural setting with ample facilities, without being overly busy. One of the best things about Palawan Beach is that there’s a kids’ club, so you can enjoy some uninterrupted seafront snoozing without worrying what the little ones are up to.

Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam

Binh Dinh province, Vietnam

With well over 2,000 miles of subtropical coastline, Vietnam has its fair share of stunning beaches, many of which are unspoilt and far-removed from the tourist trail. During a cruise along the coast of this colourful country, odds are you’ll make a pitstop in the Colonial city of Hoi An – giving you the perfect opportunity to visit one of Vietnam’s most beloved beaches, Cua Dai.

One of the best ways to reach Cua Dai beach from Hoi An is to rent a bike and pedal the spectacular coastal path, or else climb aboard a traditional tuk-tuk for the taxi ride of a lifetime. Once there, lay your towel on the soft white sand and watch the surf break against the Cham Islands, located just offshore. There are a couple of bars by the sand for when you feel thirsty, and we’re struggling to think of a better place to enjoy your favourite cocktail.

Jimbaran Bay, Bali

Jimbaran Beach, Bali

‘Paradise on Earth’ may be bandied about a little too liberally these days, but if anywhere lives up to the term’s hype, it’s Bali. This Indonesian isle is a rare jewel beloved by travellers from across the world, and as you’d expect, its beaches really are second-to-none in the beauty stakes.

But while the likes of Seminyak and Nusa Dua beaches may be the most popular with visitors, we think Jimbaran Bay clinches the title of Bali’s best beach. From its soft white sand to its connection with local seafood, Jimbaran Bay has retained an authentic feel that makes it the perfect place to experience the very best of island life on Bali.

Ngapali, Myanmar

Ngapali beach, Myanmar

Myanmar may be less well-travelled than the likes of Thailand and Vietnam, but this should take nothing away from its beaches. Indeed, the lack of tourists in former-Burma means that the country’s sands are yours for the taking, and with over 2,000 miles of coast hemmed in between Thailand and Bangladesh – there’s no shortage of places to lay your towel.

For white sands and safe surf which rivals that of neighbouring Thailand, make for Ngapali. This four-mile stretch of sand is quiet even at peak times, so you’re guaranteed matchless peace and quiet. However, if you want to experience Ngapali at its most untouched, we’d do it soon, as the beach’s glorious sunsets are earning it an ever-growing reputation.

Serendipity Beach, Cambodia

Cambodia, Asia

As you’d expect from a country which shares a coastline with Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia has some wonderful beaches to choose from. But, while Thai and Vietnamese sands tend to get swamped by tourists during peak times, Cambodia’s are much less crowded – so it’s easier to escape the hustle and bustle and find a pocket of beach that’s pretty much all yours.

Take Serendipity Beach, for example. While it’s one of Cambodia’s most popular, it rarely gets unpleasantly busy, so you’ll always find plenty of space to spread out and relax. This wonderful beach is located in a secluded bay, making it a safe place to swim as a family. There’s also plenty to do in the area, with a nearby golf course and selection of restaurants and bars.

Yalong Bay, China

beach huts on white sandy beach

China may not be all that renowned for its beaches, but if you know where to look, there are some desirable ribbons of sand to be found. One of the country’s best-loved beaches is Yalong Bay, a four-mile-long, crescent-shaped beach in Sanya, on the isle of Hainan.

Affectionately dubbed the ‘Oriental Hawaii’ by Western sun-seekers, Yalong Bay has a surprisingly-authentic paradise feel, with white sands and turquoise swells flanked by rolling green hills. It’s the perfect place to escape the hubbub of China’s often chaotic cities, and is also becoming more popular on the international surf scene – so be sure to check it out.

Kerama Islands, Japan

swimming turtle

Like China, Japan is rarely thought of as a destination for sun-worshippers – with most visitors being too distracted by its incredible culture, heritage and dynamic cities to bother too much about lounging on its coastline. But, if you’re blessed with a moment’s downtime during your visit to the land of the rising sun, it’s well worth heading to the sea, where you’ll find some incredible beaches, bays and coves to enjoy.

For those looking for the ultimate coastal experience in Japan, it has to be the Kerama Islands. Combining serene natural beauty with soft, golden sands and crystal-clear waters, these pristine islets are found around 25 miles from Okinawa, due south of the main Japanese archipelago. Perfect for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling alike, Kerama is encircled by colourful corals and reef, with sea turtles regularly spotted frolicking just offshore. A day at the beach or the ultimate marine adventure? The choice is yours.

Wherever you choose to travel in search of the perfect beach, Cruise1st can help get you there. We have thousands of cruise deals to destinations across Southeast Asia and beyond, so you can start planning the trip of a lifetime. To browse our complete collection, visit our website or call us now on 1300 857 345.



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