Our Brand Ambassador Gretka Milkovic has spent a lot of time living like a local in Southeast Asia. Here's her advice for finding the best beaches around, and a look at the top beaches she explored last year.
Maybe some of you know, but for many people I did something really crazy this summer. I quit my corporate job and decided to pursue my dream, which is to see the world. Me and my fiancé moved out from our flat, packed our things into (many) boxes and bought one-way tickets to Bali. From there, we traveled through Southeast Asia. So far, we spent 6 weeks in Indonesia, 1 month in Malaysia, 1 month in Vietnam, couple of days in Thailand and now we are in Cambodia. During our 4 month trip we visited many beaches and I narrowed it down to my TOP BEACHES. They are all really loved and I can’t wait to share them with you.
I am very grateful for this year and I still can’t believe that we have seen so many amazing places. Our world is so beautiful and everyone should see its beauty.
I am not going to rate these places from 1 to 10 as all of them are wonderful and special in their own way.
THESE ARE MY TOP BEACHES I VISITED IN 2017:
Karimunujawa is still considered a hidden gem of Indonesia and I definitely recommend to visit it. It has perfect white sand beaches with turquoise waters. I really liked the beach on Gleyang Island. The beach is absolutely breathtaking and an absolute paradise. We took a snorkeling trip to get to this island and I highly recommend for you lovelies to do the same. You will love it. Make sure to swing around in those heavenly blue waters.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ABOUT KARIMUNJAWA HERE.
Gleyang Island, Karimunjawa, Indonesia
Ujung Gelam Beach, Karimunjawa, Indonesia
As you will be staying on the main land you have to go to Ujung Gelam beach. This is the prettiest beach with azure water and incredible surroundings. Make sure to visit in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Gili Air, Indonesia
If you are looking for a relaxed retreat, then the Gili islands are perfect for you. The Gili Islands or simply the “Gilis” are a very popular destination when visiting Indonesia. It is also a very popular place to visit when you are staying in Bali as it is quite close. And there are many reasons for that. Relatively easy to reach, surrounded by pure white sand beaches and clear water. It is indeed a tropical paradise.
I highly recommend to go to the beach during high tide. Then the water will have the most beautiful shades of blue plus it is easier to swim. I really enjoyed the beach which is more on the right side of the harbor when approaching from the inside of Gili Air. We walked for 3o minutes and there was barely anyone.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ABOUT THE GILI ISLANDS HERE.
I remember when I saw the pictures from Padar Island for the first time. I just couldn’t believe that such a place exists. It is a very extraordinary island where you can see 3 beaches from above. So obviously I had to go and see it for myself. And this is not everything. Every beach has a different color of sand. On the right side there is a white sand beach, this is where you will arrive with the boat and on the left side pink and black sand beaches. It was one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen.
Padar Island, Flores, Indonesia
One of my last islands I visited this year was a small island in Cambodia. It is 25 kilometers away from Sihanoukville and lies in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Rong is is the second largest island of Cambodia. But it is still very peaceful with a laid back atmosphere. It has such an amazing powdery white sand that you think you are walking on sugar. What is really cool about this place is that at night you can see luminescence of plankton. I felt like a little fairy when we went for swim. Really amazing experience. This beach is called Coconut Beach.
Coconut Beach, Koh Rong, Cambodia
BIDADARI AND KELOR ISLANDS
These two small islands were part of our boat tour while we were visiting Flores in Indonesia. They are deserted islands and have one of the best beaches I have seen in Indonesia. Both islands have perfect white sands and are surrounded by turquoise waters.
If you visit Kelor Island, make sure you climb up to the hill for this view. It is not very easy to climb up as there is only a very steep and dusty path. But that shouldn’t stop you from going up there. The view was so amazing, I could not believe how beautiful it was.
Kelor Island, Flores, Indonesia
Bidadari Island was our last stop during our boat trip. It has a lovely pink sand beach and barely any tourists. It was definitely the cherry on top during our boat tour to Rinca Island where you can see unique animals called komodo dragons. When you go snorkeling you can see so many tropical fish, just 2 meters away from the shore. Snorkeling and diving is truly amazing in Flores.
Bidadari Island, Flores, Indonesia
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ABOUT THESE ISLANDS HERE.
This is one of the most beautiful islands I visited in Thailand. You can reach Ko Lipe quiet easily from Langkawi in Malaysia. It is a very small island surrounded by white sands and turquoise waters. An absolutely breathtaking place. Ko Lipe has three main beaches: Sunset Beach, Sunrise Beach (my favorite one on Ko Lipe) and Pattaya Beach. I guess I don’t have to explain why you should go there. Just look at this picture!
Pattaya Beach, Ko Lipe, Thailand
One of the prettiest islands in Malaysia with some of the best beaches in the world. This island is so peaceful, beautiful and with outstanding diving locations. I felt so overwhelmed during my snorkeling trip as I have never seen so many types of tropical fish before, even a couple of humongous bump head parrot fish swam around me. This beach is called Turtle Beach and if you are lucky you can see turtles in the waters near by you can get here only by boat taxi. That also means less tourists. As you can see, I am the only one on the picture.
Turtle Beach, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
AN THOI ISLANDS
An Thoi Islands, an archipelago of 15 islands and islets just off the southern coast of Phu Quoc, were one of my highlights while visiting Vietnam. You can reach them by boat from Phu Quoc. We hired a speed boat for a whole day, bringing us to 3 islets Hon Xuong, Hon Gam Ghi and Hon Vong.
Hon Vong, Vietnam
Would you like to see baby turtles running into the water? If you know me well, you know that I love turtles. Turtles are the most adorable creatures ever. So coming to this island was a ‘must do’ for me.
If you are visiting Malaysian Borneo you have to visit the island Selingaan. On this beach you can observe a mother turtle laying eggs and also baby turtles being released into the sea. Selingaan Island is located on the eastern part of Borneo and we combined our turtle island trip with Kinabatangan River jungle trekking and few days of diving on Mabul Island. A perfect week of exploring the eastern part of Borneo.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ABOUT TURTLE ISLAND HERE.
Selingaan Island, Borneo, Malaysia
One of my favorite beaches in Bali is Karma Beach. Yes, karma is a (you-know-what), but in this situation Karma is an awesome and beautiful beach. It reminded me of the Caribbean because of its beautiful turquoise waters. You will find an enchanting beach with an excellent view of the Indian ocean. Surrounded by terrific rocks with barely people around makes this place very quiet and relaxing. The water is azure, clear and the beach stretches a long distance. Definitely one of the top beaches in Bali for me. Don’t believe the people who say there are no nice beaches on Bali. It is not true!
Most of those beaches are not as easy accessible as Kuta for instance, and you will need to walk down long staircases. But as you can see, it is definitely worth it.
Karma Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Mabul island is a very small island just on the south east coat of Sabah, 15 km away from Semporna. It is a very famous place for diving. Together with nearby Sipadan is one of the best diving spots in the world. Seeing humongous turtles or rare tropical species is absolutely guaranteed when diving and even snorkeling around Mabul and Sipadan islands. On top of everything we experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets.
Mabul Island, Borneo, Malaysia
CON DAO ISLAND
Côn Đảo is a group of 16 islands off the southeast coast of Vietnam. Dam Trau beach is one of my favorite beaches on the island Con Son. Rent a scooter and explore this peaceful island. To get to these islands can be either expensive or will take forever. We found a way to get there other guides don’t mention (currently), so stay tuned for my new article ‘How to get to Con Dao islands easily and cheap.’
Dam Trau Beach, Con Dao, Vietnam
Have you already visited some of the places I mentioned? Did you like it? Please let me know in the comments which place you would like to visit.