One can't possibly write about all the beautiful beaches of Southeast Asia.
I've been lucky enough to have been to quite a few. I'll make six recommendations in this series spanning several countries.
Caveat: I'm mostly a city gal. Although I do like my beaches, I need a good balance of beach and town or cultural activities. That's why I've picked these six places to share with you. I feel they each have a mix of both in varying degrees.
I would consider myself a moderate adventurer -- someone willing to go somewhere as long as there is decent public transportation to get there.
Most of my holidays last only a few days, or they're over a weekend, so the spots listed below are totally doable for the weekend traveller looking for an easy casual getaway but still want to avoid the super touristy spots.
If you're a hardcore intrepid traveller bent on finding the last beach on earth where there's no one but you, stop reading.
1. Koh Muk: Trang, Thailand
Home of the famed Emerald, or Morakot, Cave.
This is my most secluded pick.
Okay, full disclosure, when I went to the Morakot Cave, there were several local Thai school groups on a field trip. So, not quite as relaxing as what you see in the picture.
But I also went on a weekend where it was a long public holiday in Thailand. It's always a good idea to check whether the weekend you're traveling to a different country is a local public holiday to avoid large crowds at otherwise quiet destinations. Public transportation may also not be running as normal. So, check!
Koh is the word for 'island' in Thai. Many beach destinations will begin with koh. Koh Muk is in Trang province in Southern Thailand. It's one of many islands that dot the Andaman Sea off the west coast of the country.
Image from The Lost Passport.
It's white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. It really is.
And of all the Thai beach destinations I've been to, this was the least touristy, with the least number of people. But that also means there's really not much to do here except... beach. There's no night life to speak of and not much in the way of cultural activities or sight-seeing. I honestly cannot even remember what we did at night. If that's your thing, this is your spot: seclusion with very little distraction.
I got my 'town' fix when we went back to Trang and spent a night there before flying back to Bangkok.
I stayed at the Sivalai Beach Resort and had a little villa right on the beach. Ahhhhh. The resort is flanked on either side by beautiful waters and white sand. Waking up to a sea view in your own waterfront villa for a very reasonable price, about USD $200 per night, is something that is unique to Asia. I booked it on Agoda.
Fly into Trang on AirAsia from Bangkok then take a one-hour Tigerline ferry from Hat Yao Pier. Josh from The Lost Passport has a lot of good detailed information on transportation to and from the airport in Trang and a list of things to do and other beaches to visit while you're here. Go check it out.
Part II - Railay Beach: Krabi, Thailand