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Long time no sea: Best kept beach secrets in Southeast Asia

Long time no sea: Best kept beach secrets in Southeast Asia
PHOTO: Unsplash

Attention all you beach bums — tired of soaking up the sun at all the usual spots in Singapore? Sunbathed at all the hidden beaches on this Little Red Dot? Time to dig out that passport and discover hidden gems around Southeast Asia!

Whether you're looking to disconnect from the real world, seeking a thrilling adventure into the unknown, or a mix of both, these secret beach spots have got you covered. Add these getaways to your bucket list and go discover their stunning beauty for yourself. As they say, life's a beach, but don't let yourself get tide down.

Lang Tengah Island in Terengganu, Malaysia


Our first stop is across the Causeway, to the east of Peninsular Malaysia. Lang Tengah Island is tucked between the popular Pulau Perhentian Besar and Redang islands. You know this island is a quiet hideaway when there are no roads built here. Relax and unwind at its secluded beaches, or go diving at one of its many dive sites. The adventurous types should pack their hiking shoes and explore the island's scenic trails.

Getting here: From Kuala Terengganu, take a 45-minute bus or taxi ride to Merang. From there, it's a 30-minute ferry to Lang Tengah. Be careful not to confuse Merang with Marang, another coastal town in the state.

Best time to visit: March to October

Salagdoong and Paliton Beach in Siquijor, Philippines


Siquijor is a mystical island just south of Cebu, steeped in folklore and legends. It is known for its centuries-old tradition of witchcraft, healers, and spiritual rituals — you can actually buy a love potion here!

One of the best things about this place is how laid back and relaxed it is. Chill at Lugnason Falls, go for a cliff jump at Salagdoong Beach, then wrap up the night with a cocktail at Paliton Beach and enjoy the unobstructed views of the sunset.

Getting here: Make your way to Dumaguete City. Either fly in from Manila, or take a ferry from Cebu. From Dumaguete City, you need to go to Dumaguete Sea Port. Thereafter, it's a one hour ferry ride from the port to Siquijor.

Best time to visit: February to May

Lazy Beach at Koh Rong, Cambodia


There are many incredible beaches on the small island of Koh Rong Samloem, but if you're willing to hike for 40 minutes from central Koh Rong, you will be rewarded with crystal clear waters and postcard-perfect white sand at Lazy Beach.

Go snorkelling or sink into a good book by the beach. Time to laze around this tropical paradise listed among Nat Geo's 21 Best Beaches in the World.

Getting here: Fly or take a bus to Sihanoukville city, then book a ferry ride from Serendipity Pier to Koh Rong Samloem island. The ferry ride takes roughly 30-60 minutes, as it makes multiple stops to various surrounding islands.

Best time to travel: December to March — best in February

Ao Noi Beach at Koh Kood, Thailand


Despite being the fourth largest island in Thailand, Koh Kood aka Koi Kut remains a secret haven with clear waters, lush jungles, and secluded beaches. If you head south from the main beach of Haad Khlong Chao, you'll find Ao Bang Bao, a peaceful bay tucked between two cliffs that make the waters super calm and clear. While it's a quiet spot, it's not entirely isolated. Ao Bang Bao beach is simply stunning, with long wooden docks that make for great photo ops stretching out into the sea.

Getting here: Make your way to Trat, then book a ferry to Koh Kood from Laem Sok Pier. There are also boats from the nearby Koh Chang island.

Best time to travel: November to February

Tanjung Aan Beach at Lombok Island, Indonesia


Say goodbye to the crowded surf spots in Bali, and head to Lombok Island's hidden gem, Tanjung Aan. This secret bay along the south coast boasts rolling hills, cliffs, and pristine beaches. While the neighbouring Gerupuk Beach offers bigger waves, Tanjung Aan's swells are perfect for paddling out. Come for a surf sesh, snorkel, or hike up the cliffs for panoramic views of the turquoise water and pearly sand. Don't forget to bring your own lounger as the sand can get scorching hot.

Getting here: Fly in to Lombok, then book a ride to Tanjung Aan Beach. It should take about 45 minutes to get to paradise.

Best time to travel: April to October

This article was first published in

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