Welcome travel lovers. On this episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast we’re getting seriously tropical with Favorite Beaches in SE Asia. We’ve done other episodes about beaches, including Episode 11 – Asia’s Somewhat Secret Beaches, but this time we’re going to touch on some of our favorites we’ve been to in the region. Many listeners in the west are going into winter and no doubt getting cabin fever so we thought this would provide a nice tropical escape. 

Scott and Trevor chat about how they selected ‘best beaches’, talking about their experience exploring beaches in the island and what they do and don’t like in a beach.

Having spent many years as a travel writer, particularly beaches and islands, Trevor understands that different people are looking for a different thing in a beach. Consequently, what he considers “the best beach” isn’t necessarily the best beach for everyone, not even Scott it turns out!

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Scott and Trevor then move around country by country, sharing some of their favorite beaches, some they’d like to revisit since they may have recovered a bit from a break from tourists, and a few  they’d really like to visit.

Golden Buddha Beach, Koh Phra Tong, Thailand
  • Thailand
  • Trevor
    • Golden Buddha Beach, Koh Phra Tong
    • Bottle Beach, Koh Phangnan
    • Laem Haad, Koh Yao Yai (where they filmed The Mechanic Resurrection) 
  • Scott
    • Ao Yai, Ko Phayam, stayed at Green Beach Hut in April 2019
    • Ao Pai, Ko Samet, always stay at Samed Villa
    • Want to go: Ko Mak in Trat, Thailand, near the Cambodia border and near to Ko Chang. Always heard it’s awesome, never been likely because it takes about eight hours to get to but always heard great things.
Scott and wife Erika at Welligama Beach, Sri Lanka
  • Malaysia
  • Trevor
    • Perhentian Besar: not sure which beach as it was 25 years ago! I think it was Coral Bay. That’s a crazy story for a Tantalizing Travel Tales 4. Looks a lot more developed from the satellite google map I found it on the other day. This could go on my list below (beaches that are probably awesome again).
    • I also stayed somewhere along the coast in Terengganu (Think it was Tanjong Jara), on the mainland south of Perhentian and spent a day on the beach near an estuary, building a sand castle all day. It was gorgeous. When I got back to the guesthouse they told me I was lucky I didn’t get eaten by a crocodile. 
    • Monkey Beach, Penang National Park
  • Scott
    • Stayed at Long Beach Perhentian Kecil in about 2014 which was quite nice. Stay at Bubu Resort which was decent. 
    • Teluk Datai Beach on the NW of Langkawi was very nice; spent a couple hours on this beach while inspecting a hotel, quiet and very nice.
    • Tanjung Rhu Beach in the NE corner of Langkawi was gorgeous but must bring your own chairs or rent some overpriced ones, but it looks exactly like you would think a tropical Malaysian beach would look – gorgeous. Went here with my parents one afternoon.
    • Also had a charming stay at the treehouses at Permai Rainforest Retreat north of Kuching, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Small but nice beach and good hiking in the jungle outside. A neat experience. 
Perhentian Island Malaysia
  • Indonesia:
  • Trevor: I KNOW these aren’t the best beaches in Indo, but I haven’t been to enough so these are simply my fave
    • Gili Meno Sea Turtle Sanctuary Beach
    • Bingin, Bali (including the stretch of beach to Dreamland at low tide) – could also almost go on my list below of places that have gotten a bit too popular and therefore not as awesome, but it’s still amazing and deserves to be on this list. There are a few other more secret spots on Bali that are more beautiful, but for the surf and the vibe, etc, it’s the best on the Bukit at least (save perhaps Green Bowl).
    • Amed coast. Remote, spectacular snorkeling, Japanese shipwreck..
  • Scott
    • Very limited experience in Indonesia despite being to Bali three times. I haven’t been to any incredible beaches and found it a bit odd how many are not swimmable when the tide goes out as there is tons of coral. That said, I did have a very nice morning walk around Gili Air, which is just off the NW coast of Lombok and was quite nice. I’ve heard the other two Gili islands are nice.
    • Had a fantastic stay at the very nice at Quinci Villas, one of the best run hotels I’ve ever been at on Senggigi Beach. 
    • Would really like to check out diving and beaches around Komodo National Park – looks incredible.
Kelly’s Warung, Bingin Beach, Bali, Indonesia
  • Trevor
    • Sok San Beach 
    • Bamboo Island Beach (Alila Villas)
    • Lazy Beach, Cambodia.
  • Scott
    • Limited experience here as well but really enjoyed the 5-nights we spent at Long Set Resort on 4K Beach, Ko Rong in December 2019 with my parents. 
    • Royal Beach on Ko Rong, along Soksan Beach was super nice too. I think the entire series of beaches are about 8km long and very undeveloped at the moment. Keep in mind this island is very large. 
    • Song Saa Private Island was pretty neat. Not a huge beach but exclusive and super swish. 
Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Sanloem: Back on Trevor’s fave beaches in Cambodia list
  • Vietnam
  • Trevor
    • Nha Trang (Anantara there is nice). The beach itself is not spectacular (didn’t find any beaches in Vietnam spectacular) but a lot of cool things to do in and around the beach: mud baths, Cham temple, great seafood, cable car to an island waterpark…
    • I explored almost every beach on the island of Phu Quoc with my mom and dad a few years ago and there were two that stood out: 
    • Vung Bau Beach: Walk past the Fusion Resort (which is great for happy hour/sunset) and there’s a few small shady spots to set up a blanket and spend the day. 
    • Bai Khem (southeast tip) was pretty nice too. JW Marriott there. Huge development going up on the north could cause some problems but with only three huge resorts it’s likely to remain nice. We really liked the beach in front of Premier Residences: they let us use the hammocks and paddleboards in exchange for eating and drinking all day. 
  • Scott
    • Very little to no experience here. I went to Nha Trang about 25 years ago. I would like to go to Bãi biển Cửa Đại beach outside of Hoi An.
    • Also Bãi biển Đất Dốc beach on the island of Con Dao. 
Trevor’s Mom & Dad on Vung Bao Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam
  • Sri Lanka
    • Scott: Weligama was a nice beach but very good for learning to surf as it has a sandy bottom and small waves. 

Trevor’s bonus beaches:

It was tricky to make a list of my favorite beaches because some of my faves fell off my favorite list because they’d become too developed. So that means they’re likely quite nice again right now with no one having visited them in a while. This means I’d put these on my list again to go to again as soon as possible:

Thailand: Railey Beach (the whole peninsula), Koh Nang Yuan (all of Koh Tao probably), Chaweng and Lamai, Samui

Indonesia: Dream Beach, Nusa Lembongan (so small and now discovered) 

Cambodia: Saracen Bay and Lazy Beach

Long Set Beach, Koh Rong, Cambodia in 2011

Check out a Google map of the beaches from this episode!

Links

About Scott & Trevor:

Theme Music by Jamie Ruben

Talk Travel Asia is brought to you by Trevor Ranges and Scott Coates, every two weeks(ish) from wherever in the Asia they happen to be. Alternating episodes feature a guest or the two hosts, cultivating travel insight through intelligent conversation. If you enjoyed the show, please donate, even just a dollar a month: that’s only .50c per episode(ish). 

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