TripAdvisor announced in April the winners of its inaugural 2011 Travelers’ Choice® Beaches awards. Top beach spots were named in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Mexico, and Central and South America.
If you love beaches like me, you should check out the Top 10 Beaches in Asia list which we are more likely to visit than beaches outside Asia.
1. Boracay, Philippines
Boracay beach in Philippines is ranked the second best beach in the world in TripAdvisor’s awards.
Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. The Boracay Island and it’s beaches were awarded for many times.
A number of accommodation types are scattered all over the island, ranging from luxurious hotel types to budget, spartan rooms. Along White Beach, location is often specified in relation to three boat stations. Station 2 is roughly in the center of the beach, with Stations 1 and 3 respectively to the north and south. The whitest and finest texture sand is found in the Station 1 area at the northern end of the beach.
The Station 3 area is where most of the cheaper lodgings are located, while Station 2 is meant for those who want to be within closer proximity of the bars. Station 1 is where you can find higher-end and mid-tier accommodations. While previously targeted toward the more upscale vacationers, as of 2010 there are more mid-tier options in this frequently photographed section of the island.
Most Boracay hotels and resorts have seasonal price levels, with high season prices generally coinciding with Amihan Season dates. Some have peak period pricing during periods of heavy tourism (usually including Christmas / New Year, Easter / Holy Week, and Chinese New Year periods).
Leisure activities available on or near Boracay include scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, cliff diving, and beach relaxation.
Boracay is the site of a world-class 18-hole par 72 golf course designed by Graham Marsh. In addition, as of 2010, Boracay has in excess of 350 beach resorts offering more than 2,000 rooms ranging in quality from five-star to budget accommodations, so tourists are sure to find whatever they are looking for.
In addition, Boracay offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
The Maldives, officially Republic of Maldives, also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India’s Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and Chagos Archipelago.
It stands in the Laccadive Sea, about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka and (250 mi) south-west of India. During the colonial era, the Dutch referred to the country as “Maldivische Eilanden” in their documentation, while “Maldive Islands” is the anglicised version of the local name used by the British, which later came to be written “Maldives”.
The Maldives was largely terra incognita for tourists until the early 1970s. Strewn across the equator in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives archipelago possesses a truly unique geography as a small island country. Nature has fragmented the archipelago into 1,190 tiny islands that occupy a mere one per cent of its 90,000 km2 territory.
Only 185 islands are home to its 300,000 population, while the other islands are used entirely for economic purposes of which tourism and agriculture are the most dominant. Tourism accounts for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives’ foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.
Most visitors arrive at Malé International Airport, on Hulhulé Island, adjacent to the capital Malé. The airport is served by an array of flights to India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe. Many flights stop in Colombo (Sri Lanka) enroute.
3. Ko Phangan, Thailand
Ko Phangan is an island in the Gulf of Thailand in South East Thailand. It is famous for its full moon party at Haad Rin Beach and as a backpackers destination. Ko Pha Ngan has two sister islands: the larger Ko Samui to the south and the smaller Ko Tao to the north.
The infamous Full Moon Party, which often involves electronic music, occurs on Ko Pha Ngan every full moon of the month. Recently, though, steps have been taken to make Ko Pha Ngan into a more family-friendly tourist destination. Several razzias and police raids on all beaches and on the streets at night and at daytime helps to prevent drug-abusing. Motorbike accidents are the rule because of drunken or drugged partygoers.
4. Koh Samui, Thailand
Ko Samui island of Surat Thani Province, or often, simply Samui as it is referred to by locals, is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, close to the mainland Surat Thani town.
It is Thailand’s second largest island, with an area of 228.7 km2 and a population of over 50,000 (2008). It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees.
5. Khao Lak, Thailand
Khao Lak is a seaside resort located in the Takua Pa district in the Phang Nga province, Thailand and popular as a departure point for liveaboard scuba diving trips to the Similan Islands.
What differentiates Khao Lak from neighboring tourist destination like Phuket, is its quiet up-scale secluded coastal resorts; lack of over-crowded masses; family-friendly nighttime environment and the provincial ordinances prohibiting structures to build beyond the height of a coconut palm (albeit, more or less), keeping Khao Lak pristine.
Beach boundaries vary with local hearsay, official government documents and resort claims, but it can be agreed that Khao Lak beaches extend from south of Khao Lak mountain south of downtown proper (near the Merlin Resort) and extending north to Bang Niang Beach, just two kilometers north of downtown proper. All beaches are public.
6. Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand
Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest of the Phi Phi Islands, in Thailand. It is the only island in the group with permanent inhabitants.
Like the other islands in the group, Ko Phi Phi Don is a non-volcanic island largely made of limestone. It is almost separated into two islands, but a strand of flat land connects them. On this strand lies the largest town on the island, as well as most of the resorts.
Accessible from Phuket and mainland Krabi province, all tourists must arrive by boat. (The trip from Phuket takes around 90 minutes.) This has essentially turned the island into a rush of day trippers who overpopulate the island from 11AM-3PM.
The island still holds much charm that can be enjoyed in the hours that the flocks from Phuket are not there. While in former times, Ko Phi Phi Don was a serene paradise, parts of it (especially the Ton Sai Bay area) have been exploited for tourism. Restaurants, shops, internet cafes, and shanty towns abound.
7. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan is the largest of Lombok’s Gili Islands and the only one to rise significantly above sea level. Measuring 3 km long and 2 km wide, it has a population of around 700.
Trawangan means Terowongan (Tunnel) due to there is a cave tunnel built in Japanese occupation. Of the Gilis, Trawangan has the most tourist facilities; the pub Tîr na Nôg claims that Trawangan is the smallest island in the world with an Irish pub.
The most crowded part of Trawangan lies on the eastern side. It was previously administered under Lombok Barat Regency along with Senggigi until 2010 when the Gili islands came under the jurisdiction of the new North Lombok Regency (Kabupaten Lombok Utara)).
On Gili Trawangan (as well as the other two Gilis), there are no motorized vehicles. The main means of transportation are bicycles (rented by locals to tourists) and cidomo (a small horsedrawn carriage). For traveling to and from each of the Gilis, locals usually use motorized boats and speedboats.
Some of the first inhabitants of Gili Trawangan were from Sulawesi who are fishermen and farmers. Previously Gili Trawangan was covered in forest and deer lived on the island.
8. Krabi Town, Thailand
Krabi is a small city with a population of around 18,000. Located just upriver from the coast, it has no beaches and most visitors make a beeline for Had Yao, Ao Nang or Rai Leh (Railay).
Nevertheless, Krabi is a relaxed place which is pleasant enough for travelers to spend a night or two and one can certainly better experience Thailand here than in Ao Nang or the other beach resorts.
Go get a relaxing but powerful (and wildly inexpensive) massage, or couples massage, at Dhara Massage and Spa. The two women working there must have real certifications and training, and they are very focused in their work.
Just off Thanon Issara on the small street near Soi Ruamjit. If you’re walking away from the water on Issara, pass major street Th. Ma Ha Rat on your right, then take your first left and it will be on your left.
9. Ko Lanta, Thailand
Ko Lanta consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Ko Lanta Noi (เกาะลันตาน้อย, “Small Lanta Island”) and Ko Lanta Yai (เกาะลันตาใหญ่, “Big Lanta Island”). However, Ko Lanta Yai is where all the tourist action is, so this article will refer to it simply as “Ko Lanta”.
Ko Lanta is popular with tourists seeking a holiday away from the parties. It’s popular with a significantly older crowd than nearby Ko Phi Phi: more walking on the beach and watching the sunset than drinking and dancing.
However, there are plenty of bars and the longer term stayers are friendly and know how to party! It is also popular with families with young children, and of course, with divers. Ko Lanta can provide a party if you know where to look.
10. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Phú Quốc is the largest island in Vietnam. The island is part of Kiên Giang province, has a total area of 574 square kilometres (222 sq mi) and a permanent population of approximately 85,000.
The district of Phú Quốc includes the island proper and 21 smaller islets. The district seat, Dương Đông, is located on the west coast, and is also the largest town on the island. The economy is centred around fishing, agriculture and a fast-growing tourism sector; Phú Quốc being one of the most popular tourist destinations of Vietnam.
Travelers’ Choice Beaches Award-winning World Beach Destinations
1. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
2. Boracay, Philippines
3. Palm/Eagle Beach, Aruba
4. Negril, Jamaica
5. Tulum, Mexico
6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
7. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
9. Cape May, New Jersey
10. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica