The vaccines are finally starting, so it’s time to look ahead. It has been a tough year, but sand, sun, and adventure await on Asia’s beaches. Whether you’re looking for an overwater villa surrounded by turquoise waters or snorkeling and private islands, Remote Lands has a beach destination for your 2021 travel dreams.
One of the most famous island paradise destinations in the world, the Maldives is a playground of luxurious villas and clear water. From the One&Only Reethi Rah to Soneva Jani, this is a must-visit destination for 2021.
It’s paradise on earth, so the question of Maldives isn’t “why” but “where”. Composed of 1,190 coral reef islands forming an archipelago of 26 atolls, the Maldives are acclaimed as a tropical paradise of pristine beaches and clear cobalt and turquoise waters. The country was formed from ancient volcanoes now hidden under the Indian Ocean. It is the planet’s lowest country, resting at just 4 feet 11 inches above sea level. They cover 35,000 square miles, making it one of the world’s most dispersed nations.
A rare mix of cultural immersion and beach, new resorts like Anantara Quy Nhon and the new Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho join Four Seasons Nam Hai to create a travel frontier for luxe travelers to Asia.
The Remote Lands favorite in the region is The Nam Hai, Four Seasons. Stretching along the white sands of China Beach this resort — with one of the coolest pools in Vietnam — features unspoiled views of the South China Sea and the Cham Islands. Anantara Quy Nhon is breathing life into a new beach destination, and while it’s still a little early to say, Zannier at Bai San Ho promises to be a gamechanger. Also, beyond the beach, don’t forget to check out the desert dunes of Mui Ne nearby.
From El Nido to Amanpulo, the islands around Palawan are dotted with white sand, diving treasures, and luxury resorts. Travelers can take boats around the stunning karst mountains and dive in the crystal water.
Overtaking more developed places like Phuket, Palawan is one of the most beautiful places in the Philippine. Its raw natural setting evokes images of paradise, from its limestone karst islands, hidden lagoons, white-sand beaches and world-class dive sites. There are dense forests and valley deltas amid the diverse topography. Best of all, most of it remains undeveloped. More importantly the waters here are perfect for diving, snorkeling and island hopping.
Koh Samui, Thailand
Found in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is a tropical island destination for white sand, luxury resorts, and Thai cuisine. The inland rainforest makes for excellent hiking to waterfalls and secret jungle views.
Much of South Thailand can seem over developed these days, but Koh Samui maintains a balance of ultra-luxe resorts and Thai charm. Sunbathing on Nathon, Laem Yai, Mae Nam, Bophut, Bang Rak, Choeng Mon, Chaweng and Lamai are all highly recommended, and as for hotels, travelers have their pick of the litter, from hillside style at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui to Anantara on Bophut Beach.
Revel in a barefoot-luxe experience highlighted with a spa safari, horseback riding, and ancient village exploration. Travelers to Nihi Sumba can ride Occy’s Left, known as the best surfing wave in Southeast Asia, and sample the ultra-luxe villas, chocolate, and experiences at the island’s best resort.
Just a 50 minute flight from Bali, Sumba boast, among other things, the signature NihiOka spa safari experience starts at dawn with a 90-minute trek through the countryside to a traditional Sumbanese village, followed by a private coastside breakfast. Swim in the ocean and indulge in spa treatments; bodywraps, scrubs, massages and facials, then head back to the resort for sunset. Also, don’t forget to check out the horseriding on the beach, a singularly unique Sumba experience.
Mergui‘s 800 islands offer rainforests, and mangroves in the cerulean waters of the Andaman Sea. Isolated and undeveloped, the islands of the Mergui archipelago are home to hundreds of hidden, private beaches.
These islands are a bit of a travel frontier — so undeveloped that the only way to see them is by liveaboard. Or, at least it used to be. If you’re looking to rest on land a number of luxury options have become available in recent years. Awei Pila Resort is nestled in virgin forest on Pila Island, which is located 80 kilometers from the shoreline of Kawthaung and is only accessible via private boat. Similarly, Wa Ale is found on a 9,000-acre wildlife reserve on the Andaman Sea; few places in the world can rival the isolation, serenity, and sheer natural beauty offered by the Wa Ale Island Resort.
Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Located on the southeastern coast, Tangalle is home to stunning, rugged beaches best absorbed from the vantage of the secluded Amanwella Resort. Travelers can enjoy nearby colonial Galle, Buddhist temples, and wildlife at Yala National Park.
Designed by one of Sri Lanka’s most important architects, Geoffrey Bawa, Amanwella is situated in the midst of a coconut grove on a secluded bay and a perfect crescent of white-sand beach. The Amanwella restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, and uses its location next to the ocean to cook up fresh Asian- and Mediterranean-style seafood.
Zighy Bay, Oman
Perched on the pretty Musandam Peninsula, the northernmost point of Oman, this luxurious resort features sumptuous sea views along a dramatic coastal cliff face that towers overhead, an ideal destination to combine adventure and beach.
Oman isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of Asia’s beaches, but maybe it should be. This is the first Six Senses resort to open in Oman, a brand renowned for their wellness offerings. For the adventurous, Six Senses Zighy Bay is a mix of adventure and relaxation. Travelers can wake up and head out for a swim or sunbathe on the beach, then take full advantage of the wealth of activities available inland, such as hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or even take a microlight flight, if you’re brave enough.
Featuring the best of Okinawa’s diving and water experiences, Ishigaki is surrounded by clear water more often associated with Southeast Asia. This tropical island paradise is one of Okinawa’s hidden gems.
Okinawa in general plays host to a number of tropical pleasures most casual travelers wouldn’t think of, from underwater monoliths to swarms of hammerhead sharks. An archipelago of 65 islands that spread across the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea, Okinawa is steeped in history and culture, and blessed with a wealth of natural sights
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal are home to nearly 600 islands, only nine of which are open to foreign travelers. With luxury hotels like the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Andamans, this isolated region is a mix of India and Southeast Asia.
It is getting easier to visit these isolated islands every year, as they slowly open to tourism. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Andamans is the first luxury beach resort to grace this tropical collection of picturesque islands, and it was created with the utmost care for the environment. Not a single tree was felled during construction, and an on-site bottling plant was erected to prevent the use of plastic bottles and to cement the resort’s status as eco-friendly. Fringed by a strip of mangroves and a river, the resort gloriously opens up to the famed Radhanagar Beach.