South East Asia, a region of unparalleled natural beauty; long white sandy beaches, coral reefs, lush green forests and turquoise blue waters. One of the hottest travel destinations of the year, it promises unique and enchanting remote destinations, and many islands untouched by mass tourism. The best way to explore is undoubtedly by boat, to reach the most beautiful and secluded spots. Come with us as we take a look at the top 8 islands you must visit…
1. Palawan, The Philippines
Recently voted as the world’s most beautiful island, Palawan is truly exceptional in its natural beauty. Jungle topped mountains arise out of the ocean, and turquoise lagoons reflect the glimmering sun. This group of islands have some of the most important ecological sites according to UNESCO, and there are hundreds of rare species of birds, fish and insects.
2. Phuket, Thailand
This large island may have seen tourism boom in its major cities, but head off the beaten track, charter a yacht and sail around the north of the island and there are still many islets and coves ready for you to discover for yourself. Its towering white ocean cliffs covered in green vegetation hide tranquil turquoise lagoons and bays which are truly breathtaking. Head ashore and explore the Sirinat National Park, a vast area of exceptional flora and fauna!
3. Palau, The Philippines
A truly breathtaking formation of islands in the western Pacific Ocean, comprising mostly volcanic islands covered in rich green vegetation. It is not hard to see why diving is one of the most popular activities here, and indeed the underwater landscape boasts intriguing shipwrecks and an exceptional variety of plant and fish life. One highlight is the ‘jelly fish lake’ a land-locked lake full of thousands of harmless jelly fish – swim amongst their undulating forms and enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Island of tranquil rice fields, breathtaking volcanoes and endless beaches, Bali is captivating in its diversity. A prime spot for diving and surfing, it offers the chance to explore a myriad of underwater life in its clear waters. Or pause for reflection at one of its many ancient monuments and temples. We are told however, that it’s the wonderful smiling people of the island which will make the most impact!
5. Flores, Indonesia
Explore the island of Flores, quickly becoming Indonesia’s hottest destination. Its breathtaking volcanic turquoise crater lake, and the Komodo National Park where Komodo dragons roam free, are just some of the things that make this island truly spectacular. The harbour town of Labuanbajo is irresistible in its charm, and offers glimpses of many of the other stunning offshore islands. Flores offers a taste of another world!
6. Langkawi, Malaysia
An archipelago of around 100 islands in the Andaman sea, Langkawi is a must see destination on any visit to South East Asia. Here you can glimpse local life as it really is, and even anchor at uninhabited islands and islets. You will be captivated by its pristine beaches and clear blue waters. We recommend the ‘sky bridge’ on the main Langkawi island which offers the chance to see the jungle and waterfalls below from a unique angle. This bridge, suspended in the air, 700m above sea level, is an exhilarating way to explore the landscape of the island.
7. Gili Islands, Indonesia
The Gili Islands have recently been featuring on many top world islands lists, and it’s not hard to see why! A perfect blend of untouched natural landscapes and the gentle buzz of growing tourist offerings on the island mean it is the perfect place to discover and unwind. Take a yacht charter and you will have the freedom to hop between the 3 unique islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. You may be lucky enough to find one of its breathtaking beaches partially deserted, so you can relax under its coconut palms and enjoy a taste of paradise.
8. Tioman, Malaysia
Tioman, located off the East coast of Malaysia, has enchanted visitors for many years, and offers new marvels at every turn. Whether your idea of paradise is relaxing on the endless white sandy shorelines, or enjoying a challenging hike through the ancient Juara jungle, this island has it all. Enjoy the relaxed pace of life and savour the local delicacies in one of the many excellent restaurants offering exceptional fish, squid and prawns, freshly caught from the ocean around the island.