Anyone who catches up on world news will likely have heard about the ridiculous winter weather over in North America. For those of you residing in cold climate countries, I reckon you’re already sick of the freezing weather. Now I don’t know about you, but snow (more like slate grey slush) and sub-zero temperatures are only fun for so long before the yearning for palm trees and a sunbathing session on the beach kicks in. So here are my top 5 island getaways in Southeast Asia where it is glorious summer all year round.
1. Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
You know that movie The Beach starring a baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio that came out in 2000 (was it really 15 years ago)? Yup, that was filmed in Koh Phi Phi. Though it’s become incredibly popular, the government has done a pretty darn good job of keeping it clean and pristine. Expect picturesque beaches and cerulean waters, and also the opportunity to meet like-minded travellers like yourself. Take advantage of the exciting night life on the island, and who knows, you might go home knowing a few more friends from other parts of the world!
2. Mabul, Malaysia
Now we’ve heard of places like Langkawi and Sipadan, but here’s a small gem that is a little off the beaten path, if you will. Mabul was first made popular due to its’ proximity to Sipadan, but has still managed to retain its’ exclusivity. If you’re into diving and want something quieter, Mabul is your island. There are many choices for accommodation, from the budget homestays and lodges to high end bungalows. If you’re not into diving, the island is also small enough for you to explore entirely on foot.
3. Boracay, Philippines
This tiny island strip is divided into three different “stations”, each number corresponding to exclusivity – 1 being the most exclusive and 3 being the most budget friendly. All the better, as there is something for everybody’s price point. There is no shortage of activities on this little island, ranging from diving to parasailing. On top of that, there is also a thriving night scene for those of you party-going folk. What makes Boracay stand out from the others, though, is the numerous events that are hosted every year, such as the Boracay International Funboard Cup for the windsurfers, and the Boracay Open Asian Beach Ultimate Tournament for ultimate frisbee fans.
4. Koh Rong, Cambodia
Imagine hand-built beach bungalows on the beach, perched right on a white sandy beach. That’s the kind of view you see on postcards and in professional photography, right?… Or so you thought. Koh Rong is the kind of island you visit to escape the hustle and bustle of city life (why else would you go to an island anyway?). Spend your time there lazing around on the beach with a nice cocktail, or get moving with one of the many activities offered on the island – from water activities such as snorkelling and kayaking, to land based ones such as trekking and hiking, there is something for everyone.
5. Phu Quoc, Vietnam
If you love food, Phu Quoc is your place. Vietnamese food consists of so much more than pho. Ignore that food baby, go out and explore! Being an island, seafood is in abundance. Everything is fresh and simple, and while the restaurants look somewhat shabby, do not be fooled by their appearance – the rundown places are often the best and most authentic (and might I say, also the most inexpensive, heh).
With that said, be sure to pack a lot of sunscreen (I know you want that nice tan, but you still gotta take care of your skin!), a good durable pair of flip flops (extra emphasis on “durable”), and a few bathing suits because one is never enough!
Have you visited any of the islands listed above? If not, what are your favourite tropical islands? Do share your thoughts with us!