Here Are The Best Offbeat Islands In Asia That You Must Check Off Your Bucket Lists


Nothing comes close to the bliss of taking a cruise to an island far-away, knowing that you'll be spending salty sunny days in the middle of nowhere. For all water babies who love exotic getaways to islands, here's a round up of the best islands in Asia that you must visit!

Image credit: Anastasia R

Photo of Nusa Penida, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Saumiabee

Where: Klungkung Regency District, Indonesia

Nusa Penida is the largest of the three Nusa group of islands located near Bali. Separated from Bali by the Badung Strait, the island is almost a hidden gem that has emerged as a must-visit. The island is known for its sprawling white-sand beaches that are ideal for those who want to relax and sun bathe. At the same time, the island's rocky terrain offers unique hiking experience to adventure- lovers. The best way to explore the island is to rent a bike or scooter so that you can visit the less popular and secluded spots. One can also hire guides or take guided tours to the island. If you want to experience the island in its full glory, plan to stay for 2-4 days at least.

Know before you go:

It's best to take the 7am ferry that leaves for Nusa Penida from Bali. If you're taking a day trip, then the last ferry back is at 5pm. Since the island attracts crowd, it is ideal to go to diving sites as early as possible and explore the beaches by later afternoon.

You can't miss:

Visit Kelingking Beach which is a pristine beach located at the distance of a 2 hour trek. This beach is ideal if you fancy swimming in calm ocean water. Other gorgeous ones that you must visit are the broken beach and crystal beache which have numerous shacks for drinks and food.

Image credit: Pixabay

Photo of Koh Chang, Ko Chang District, Trat, Thailand by Saumiabee

Where: Trat District, Thailand

While Koh Samui and Phi Phi Islands become increasingly mainstream, you can visit Koh Chang, Thailand's third largest island to escape the crowd. The island is lesser known and thus, a wonderful place to immerse into nature's beauty. The island is small, so within 3-4 days you can actually explore it all. Whether you're looking for tranquility or want to paint the town red, Koh Chang has it all.

Know before you go:

A 30 minutes' ferry ride from Trat will get you to the island. The ferry runs every 45 minutes, so you can plan your arrival accordingly.

You can't miss:

While beaches like White Sand Beach and Kai Bae Beach are obvious visits, it is interesting to note that most of the island is covered in forest. Visit Mu Ko Chang National Park where you can hike, swim in pools, witness waterfalls and also gain a close encounter with elephants! The island is known to be habitated by elephants and hence, you can watch them, feed them and even take a ride on them. You can visit the main market which is lined with restaurants offering Thai, Indian and continental cuisines. Live music all around the street makes for an extremely fun environment.

Image credit: Eddie Yip

Photo of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia by Saumiabee

Where: Malay Archipelago, Malaysia

Located in the Malay Archipelago in South east Asia, Borneo is the third largest island in the continent. The island belongs to three countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Surrounded by sapphire-blue waters of the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, the island is so picturesque that it can even put Bora Bora to shame. If you're a wildlife enthusiast, Borneo is the perfect choice for you as the island also has very rich equatorial rainforests.

Know before you go:

You can visit Bali and then opt for a guided tour to Borneo where you can add hiking, water activities, cycling and a cruise to the package.

You can't miss:

Visit Gunung Mulu National Park, a top-rated destination of Borneo for some of the most fascinating caves in the whole world. The park also gives you an opportunity to venture into the island's rainforest and witness its biodiversity in person. If you're passionate about hiking, you can climb Mt. Kinabulu located within Kinabulu National Park. The hike to Kinabulu is moderately-difficult as it is located at a height of 13,000ft. and is also the highest mountain in the archipelago. Borneo's Sabah coastline also features the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park where you can enjoy at its smaller and more pristine island. At Borneo's offshore is located Sipadan Island, which is renowned as the world's best diving site. Surely, swimming with turtles at Sipadan is an experience that you would not want to miss.

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Saumiabee

Where: Andamans Island, India

One of the largest islands within the Andamans, Havelock islands also makes to the top islands of Asia. Located amidst the shimmering seas of Bay of Bengal , Havelock has almost become synonymous to Andaman island. Offering a range of water sports, resorts to stay at and the most relaxing vibe, this one should be on your list.

Know before you go:

The best way to reach the island is to fly to Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair and then take a sea plane to the island which will make you reach in about 20 minutes. This service works on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. You can also take govt. ferries from Port Blair Harbour that operate at 6am, 11am and 2pm. Please note that getting to Havelock is not easy, so make sure you've booked your travel and accommodation well in advance.

You can't miss:

The island offers numerous attractions that will turn your tropical dreams into reality. Visit Radhnagar Beach which is ranked in the top-ten best beaches of the world. With endless blue waters on one side and a lush green tropical hill on the other, the view from the beach is too gorgeous to believe. You can also enjoy snorkelling at the beach. If you're travelling with children, Elephant beach is ideal for you since it is covered in silken sand; with no rocks and stones, the beach is safe for children to swim and jump into the waters without any fear. If you're lucky, you may even spot wild elephants sauntering about. Another fascinating spot is the Guitar Island Beach which, which as the name suggests, is in the shape of a guitar. This is a lesser-known beach and hence, ideal if you're looking for seclusion.

Image credit: Max pixel

Photo of Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Saumiabee

Where: Indonesia

One of the Lesser Sundar islands of Indonesia, Flores Island is a unique one located on the country's east-side. Once colonised by the Portuguese, the island is named after the Delonix trees that are fiery red in colour and endemic to the island.

Know before you go:

The Indonesian Rupiah is extremely weak, so don't be scared if a chocolate there costs you Rp. 6,000 (₹30)

You can't miss:

Komodo National Park is the most famous spot in the island and is flocked by tourists to witness the awe-inspiring Komodo dragon. Another attraction is taking a dive at the park and swimming with manta rays. You must also visit Kelimitu, a three crater lake which is actually a volcano. However, this isn't even the craziest aspect about Kelimitu Lakes. The three lakes are said to change colours due to the gas-bubbles at their surface, tourists have spotted the lakes in red, blue and green colours! You can also visit Padar Island which is another spellbinding sight. The island has a group of three bays where the beaches are coloured white, pink and black. You can also trek around these bays and beaches if you like. Flores is your ideal go-to if you want to witness the weird natural phenomena.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Pulau Pom Pom, Sabah, Malaysia by Saumiabee

Where: Samporna District, Sabah, Malaysia

This is an island rich in coral reefs and its landscape of clear blue waters and white beaches starkly resembles that of Bora Bora. The island is extremely low and is only 2m in elevation! It is a famous nestling spot for the uncommon hawksbill turtles and has the most famous diving pools is Samporna District.

Know before you go: There is no public transport to the island, so ensure that you have booked your stay at a resort before you reach. Your resort will arrange transport for you from Samporna.

You can't miss:

Diving into reefs is one activity that you just cannot miss here. The fringing coral reefs surrounding Pom Pom island are vertical and vary from 30m- 130m. The waters have excellent visibility, so you can expect to witness under-water life like never before. There are only two diving resorts, Pom Pom Resorts or Celebs Beach Resort where you can experience diving in reefs under professional guidance.

Image credit: Ray in Manila

Photo of Coron Island, Coron, Philippines by Saumiabee

Where: Northern Palawan, Philippines

This is the third-largest island in Calaiman group of islands. The island is known for numerous ships from WWII that lie wrecked at its shores. The island is located 30 minutes away from Coron town and is renowned not only as the most photographed location in Philippines but also the most beautiful island in the world.

Know before you go:

The ferries to Coron start from Manila as well as Puerto Princesa, and take about 15 hours to reach the island. This journey is longer than most other island destinations but this also means that the island is located far off, in the middle of nowhere.

You can't miss:

Visit Kayangan Lake, which has been termed as the clearest lake in all of Asia. At the lake, you can also enjoy a bamboo-raft ride. Another lake that you must visit is Barracuada Lake which is a must visit to experience its hot springs and underwater mountains. You can then head for shipwreck diving where you will witness 12 Japanese warships wrecked at the sea-bed. This is a wonderful opportunity for history-enthusiasts. A holiday at Coron is like getting a taste of paradise.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Agatti, Lakshadweep, India by Saumiabee

Where: Lakshadweep

This is an 8km island located in the Arabian Sea and forms a part of Lakshadweep's group of 36 islands. Agatti is one of the only ten islands that are inhabited and hence, an experience of Agatti will give you a peep into the authentic culture of Lakshadweep. The island is the best connected one as it has an airport of its own and an airstrip that is unbelievably gorgeous.

Know before you go:

In case you are planning to visit, please note that a permit issued by the Administration of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep is required. In addition, you need to apply for Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) before you send in your application for the permit.

You can't miss:

Like most islands, Agatti is known for water activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking as well as glass-bottom boat rides over the sea. Agatti is not as commercial as other islands in Lakshadweep and is thus, ideal for those who want to experience undisturbed, pristine beaches. Stay in lodges and gorge on amazing sea food as well as South Indian food like dosa and idli. You can spend your day exploring the island on foot or by cycles that you can hire. It's the ideal place to rejuvenate.

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