What’s the best island in South East Asia ?

So, What’s the best island in South East Asia then?

This question is really tricky one. So many to choose from so many different needs to forefeel.  Of course everyone must find out on his own  what is that dream that he’s chasing around the globe. Below are just few of the numerous jewels from the crown that south east Asia wears so proudly.

PALAWAN, Philippines

This slither of an island is true perfection – with lush rainforrest, beautiful beaches and amazing diving. El Nido has a really chilled backpacker vibe unlike anywhere in the Philippines – you could stay here for months!

palawan 1


BORACAY, Philippines

The whitest sand you have ever seen in your life on this tiny Filipino island – as well as great kite-boarding, awesome nightlife and cocktails – this is all despite the fact that there’s a Starbucks on the beach!

boracay 1

widescreen boracay dreams dream wallpaper beach

CORON, Philippines

Of all the Philippines’ 7,107 islands – it would be hard to beat the amazing paradise island of Coron. If you’re a diver – check out the amazing World War II wrecks and the amazing Twin Lagoon.



KOH TAO, Thailand

It’s a popular choice for backpackers and families too. Koh Tao  has a little bit of everything – great diving, nightlife, cafes, gorgeous beaches, quad biking, yoga and lots more.



KOH LIPE, Thailand

As beautiful as Thailand’s islands are, everyone seems to tread the same well-worn trail – Phuket and Phi Phi, followed by a few weeks on the Gulf coast islands, diving on Koh Tao, partying in Phangan and chilling on Samui. But if you fancy something different – head south to Koh Lipe, a tiny island is located off Thailand’s west coast, close to the Malaysian border. Most backpackers don’t venture this far south, leaving Lipe blissfully uncrowded and uncommercialised compared to other islands.




Most people only glimpse Vietnam’s Cat Ba Island as their old Chinese junk chortles through Halong Bay on one of the many cruises of the watery paradise. Yet, stop a few days on the rugged island and you’ll find plenty to do – from rock climbing, to trekking and mountain biking. An adventure lovers’ heaven – without the crowds!



FLORES, Indonesia

The Indonesian Island of Flores has, until recently, been a destination too far for most tourists, although backpackers have been going there since at least the 1970s, Its remote location, a challenge for large scale tourism, is quickly vanishing thanks to low cost air carriers such as Air Asia. This long, narrow, volcanic island is bursting with gorgeous beaches and amazing attractions, probably the most famous being the legendary Komodo Dragon, that you can find on neighbouring Komodo and Rinca Island.  Although Flores will never become another Bali, if you want to experience the place before it is inundated with package tourists, then now is the best time to go!




That South East Asia is littered with beautiful islands is unquestionable. Few that register on the backpacker’s radar, however, remain as untouched and in rude health as Perhentian Islands Besar and Kecil. They are found 50km off the Eastern Coast of Northern Malaysia, a stone’s through from the Thai border, and this pint-sized paradise is exactly as its name suggests. It’s a mouthful to pronounce, a mission to get to, but worth every bit of effort you put in to find.


KOH PHAYAM, Thailand

I really don’t want to tell you about this hidden Thailand gem – I still can’t believe more people don’t go here! It’s an eco-friendly, solar-powered, practically deserted paradise with white sandy beaches to die for – I just hope it stays this way!

koh phayam

koh phayam 1

PULAU WEH, Indonesia

Out of this world island on the northern tip of Sumatra, Banda Aceh, this island is a heaven for divers, nature lovers and those who want to disconnect and get back in touch with nature. Devestated by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunamai – trickles of tourists are now heading back to the island to explore its treasures!

pulau weh

pulau weh iboih beach

KOH RONG, Cambodia

Although Cambodia just can’t compete with Thailand for the sheer number of tropical islands – the tiny island of Koh Rong Saloem off the coast of Sihanoukville stands out – which is at the moment in danger of rapid transformation! Rickety bamboo huts line the shore line, palm trees sway in the breeze as the ocean laps on the shore. This is a true paradise island that won’t be paradise much longer!

koh rong samloem

MOALBOAL, Philippines

For divers or snorkelers, this island is a must! The coral reef stretches just 20-30m out from shore and then drops spectacularly to over 30–70m deep! The star attraction are the huge sardine shoals, gathering right at Panagsama beach – a natural wonder!

s_panagsama_beach moalboal

KOH PHANGAN , Thailand

Many people write off Koh Phangan as the debaucherous island famous for the Full Moon Party and thousands of drunken, face-painted backpackers making a fool of themselves. Yet there is much more to Koh Phangan than meets the eye.  90% of the island is national reserve and that there are many deserted beaches which only accessible by boat. Koh Phangan has some of the best beaches in Thailand and – aside from the Full Moon Party – there are many more low-key events such as the popular Maya Party or Loi Lay Floating Bar which has a much cooler crowd. Stick around the island a little while and it will show you all the different sides of its personality.

koh phanagn

koh phanganđ

PENANG, Malaysia

This Malaysian island has something for everybody! You can lie on the beach one minute, trek in the rainforest the next, wander the old Chinese streets in the afternoon – then hit the shopping malls and the cinema later on. But the real magic of Penang can be found in its amazing food! Spend your evenings amidst the food hawker stalls or at the night food market savouring all of the local delicacies – make sure you try bloody clams!

hindue temple penang


Penang georgetown

8 thoughts on “What’s the best island in South East Asia ?”

  1. Don’t forget about Koh Jum, Thailand. I’ve been there few years back and I’m glad I got to see it before the word gets out and crowds start coming in. This place is like nothing you are used to in other tourist popular Thailand islands. If you’re not fond of the crowded beaches, full moon party goers and all you want is relaxed time on the beach without the vendors messing up your quiet time, this is the place for you:)

    1. Yes, Jackson, you are absolutely on spot with Koh Jum. It really is a gem and it deserves an place on the list. Our experience there was one of the best we have ever had and you can read all about it on our “Thailand 2013” chapter. Thanks for your comment, just travel and stay safe!

  2. Great list! I’ve always heard wonderful things about Boracay’s white sandy beaches. If I had to choose an island to visit in South East Asia, that is definitely where I’d go.

  3. Dear Annie,
    Our plane for this year are Philippines so we’ll keep you posted about that wonderful white sand on Boracay and other beautiful spots that this country has to offer. But truly you can’t go wrong with any of the countries on this list so just go and travel and of course stay safe!

  4. Honestly, I would choose to go to ANY of these right now! As I’m writing this, I’m sitting by the window watching the snow fall and knowing that by tomorrow at this time there’s supposed to be three feet on the ground! So if I had to choose between getting ready for this blizzard, and visiting any of the sunny, beautiful places in this post… I’d gladly pick the sun! Cambodia looks like a gorgeous place to visit!

    1. Hi Chris,
      I kind of know how you fell because in Slovenia we have similar weather situation, just minus the snow currently. But winter months are always planning period of the year for us. Looking at our summer photos and making plans usually gets us through 🙂 So make yourself a great summer plan and just go and travel!

  5. Im going to Koh Phayam with my daughters next week. Do you know of there are more mosquitos there than other islands in Thailand?
    We look forward to a great holiday anyway

    1. Hi Cecilia,
      well as you know the tropics offer up lots of bugs and mosquitoes, and the more natural the environment the more bugs there will be. Koh Phayam has its share, and the smaller, cheaper bungalows have different ways of combating the problem. Most supply mosquito nets, however, if you are allergic to bites and stings you should carry your own remedies.

      There is little danger of catching malaria on this island, though there is some dengue fever in this part of Thailand. Happily, there are few, or no, sand flies.

      I don’t have a doubt on my mind that you and your family will have a great holiday there. Just stay safe and travel!

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