We are sorry for your Winter holidays, Europe and America. For you, as they say in Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.”
But for us here in Southeast Asia, the months of November to March are the best time of year, with perfect beach weather and plenty of sun.
So if you’d rather work on your tan this winter than bundle up in the cold, read on for some of our favorite paradise beaches for fun in the sun in South-East Asia.
Before going, be sure to choose the best time to go to these countries:
One of the more quiet and family-friendly of Thailand’s beach destinations, Khao Lak is a wonderful place to relax, soak in the sun, and spend some quality time with the family.
With idyllic coastlines on the sparkling Andaman Sea, plenty of accommodations for all budgets, and the Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park nearby, this coastal destination makes for a great sun-drenched winter holiday in paradise.
Snorkel, swim, dive, hike, volunteer, discover waterfalls, explore local markets, nap in a hammock, eat fresh seafood or perfect your tan on the beach—you name it, and you have access to it in Khao Lak. If you want a short and sunny 4-day island getaway, you might like our Khao Lak Beach Holiday tour.
But, be aware that Khao Lak is quieter and more wholesome than places like Pattaya and Phuket. If you’re looking for a raging nightlife scene or a walk on the wild side, you won’t find it here.
The easiest way to get to Khao Lak is to simply fly to Phuket, then take a shared van or taxi to your hotel. It’s roughly an hour drive from Phuket International Airport.
The smaller of a pair of islands near Phuket and Krabi, Koh Yao Noi is not only beautiful but also well known for its many community-run eco-tourism outfits. This is also the best time of year to go to Koh Yao Noi, with its perfect 80-degree beach weather.
With lots of outdoor and cultural activities, such as fishing with locals, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and rubber tapping, Koh Yao Noi offers a lot of unique experiences. But we also love to just take it easy here and revel in the laid-back vibe. It’s nice to mimic the locals and spend the entire afternoon lazing in a hammock.
Ferries run daily from Phuket. Once in Koh Yao Noi, you can get picked up by a hotel shuttle from the ferry terminal, or take a tuk-tuk to your final destination.
Although it’s close to world-famous Krabi and surrounded by the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay, the island of Koh Jum is still quite undeveloped and serene. This off-the-beaten path tropical island is a wonderful place to unwind and refresh for the new year, and it’s a great destination for families.
This is a central jumping-off point to go island-hopping to uninhabited limestone outcrops with deserted white-sand beaches, as well as to the lively beaches of Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, and Railay. Aside from the usual beach activities, you can also mingle with locals and haunt the fishing villages to really see southern Thai island life here. For a more luxury stay, you’ll find all the best resorts at Golden Pearl Beach towards the south of the island. To tailor the perfect Koh Jum winter holiday for your tastes, check out our Koh Jum Beach Holiday tour.
The most common way to reach Koh Jum is to take the ferry that runs daily between Krabi Town and Koh Lanta, which makes a stop at Koh Jum about halfway through. Fly to Krabi and get transport to the ferry terminal. The daily ferry only runs during the high season of November to roughly April, so if you’re traveling outside of this timeframe, you’ll have to hire a local longtail boat.
Vietnam’s secret island just south of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand has a wondrous mix of rugged nature, beautiful beaches, and luxury developments for all types of winter holiday appetites. But because it’s growing in popularity, it would behoove you to go to Phu Quoc now, before it becomes the next overcrowded island destination.
What is there not to do in Phu Quoc? This island is home to a UNESCO-listed World Biosphere Reserve. The rugged jungle of the island’s interior is worth trekking or exploring by motorbike. Book far enough in advance and you can enjoy a private, tailored jungle tour. There’s some great snorkeling and diving here, as well as an option to cruise to the deserted beaches of the An Thoi Islands nearby. We offer a customizable 4-day tour to Phu Quoc that’s the perfect way to relax. And if you should need a quick fix of luxury, you can head to the golf course or casino of Vinpearl Resort.
Fly in from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. You can even enter Phu Quoc without a visa if you fly in on a same-day connecting flight. Alternatively, cruises are available from the Vietnamese coastal cities of Hon Chong, Ha Tien and Rat Gia.
Another of Vietnam’s tropical gems, the archipelago of Con Dao marries pristine beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, lush jungle, and a complicated French colonial past with a laid-back island vibe. Very few tourists visit this stunning archipelago of 16 islands, which means if you go, you’ll likely enjoy nearly deserted beaches all to yourself.
In addition to great snorkeling, diving, and some of the best beaches for lazing the days away, Con Dao also has an intriguing—though painful—history. French colonists used the Con Dao Islands as a prison for political dissidents. You can visit the remains of these prisons for a dose of history. And we also offer a convenient, totally customizable 4-day tour of Con Dao that can be tailored to your interests.
The easiest way to reach Con Dao is to fly to the main island, Con Son, from Ho Chi Minh City. Alternatively, there’s an overnight ferry to Con Son from Vung Tao Port, but be warned that the schedule changes often.
Perhaps Southeast Asia’s best-kept secret, Myanmar’s Mergui Islands in the sparkling, azure waters of the Andaman Sea offer a truly isolated and stunning beach getaway. With the weather reaching its most ideal temperatures in the winter months of November to March, the winter holidays are the best time to visit these untouched islands.
These islands were inhabited seasonally by the nomadic Moken people, known as “sea gypsies,” who lived most of their lives aboard houseboats, sustaining themselves by fishing. If you get tired of sunbathing and swimming, you can visit a Moken village. Our 9-day yacht cruise of the Mergui Archipelago is the perfect way to explore these wild, untouched islands, with included snorkeling trips, jungle treks, and island exploration.
From Yangon, you can fly Air Bagan every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday to Kawthaung, the jumping off point to visit the archipelago. Less frequent flights are also available on Yangon Airways.
If it’s been a tough year at work and you need a bit of “me” time to destress, unwind and refresh, Ngapali’s tranquil white-sand beaches along the Bay of Bengal are for you. These pristine beaches are a magical place to drink in the sunset. Still relatively undeveloped and home to charming fishing villages, the relaxed vibe here is something akin to true serenity.
Eat fresh seafood on the beach. Take a boat tour of the nearby black-sand island of Zalat Htone. Check out the bustling local markets and sample regional delicacies. For a bit of culture, hike to the Standing Buddha on Ahmata Hill or visit Zalun Monastery. You can even hire a hot-air balloon and drink in the tropical scenery from above. For an all-inclusive, relaxing winter vacation in the sun, you’ll love our Ngapali Beach Holiday tour.
To save yourself a bumpy bus ride, fly into the town of Thandwe, which is only about 6 kilometers away. Then take a hotel shuttle, taxi, or shared van to your final destination.
If you’re dreaming of a sizzling winter holiday with plenty of beach time during the day and some lively nightlife after the sun goes down, then Phuket is for you. With a variety of beaches and vibes to choose from, a holiday in Phuket caters to almost every tourist desire. But if you’re looking for a wholesome, quiet holiday with kids, Phuket can strike the wrong note.
For non-stop parties on the beach and in nightclubs, head to the party capital of Patong Beach. If you want to do a bit of island-hopping, head to Chalong Bay or the southern islands, which have convenient boats bound for the many jaw-dropping limestone islands in Phang Nga Bay. Virtually any beach on Phuket Island will offer white-sand beaches for sunbathing, swimming and lazing with a fresh coconut under a parasol. For the perfect combination of beach time and island adventures, check out our Phuket Beach Holiday.
Fly directly to Phuket International Airport, then take a shared shuttle that will drop you at the door of your hotel.
Krabi offers all the necessary tourist amenities without that overly touristy feeling. Transportation is also easy—just rent a scooter and off you go to explore the many crescent beaches and local villages.
The beaches are beautiful and provide a gateway to the surrounding islands of Phang Nga Bay. If you want a bit of adventure, Krabi is also home to vast mangrove forests that you can explore by kayak to discover lush, hidden coves and local wildlife.
Fly directly to Krabi Town, then take a shared shuttle or van that will drop you at the door of your hotel.
Considered one of the most beautiful islands on the planet, this Malaysian getaway offers coral reefs teeming with marine life, shock-white beaches and some fascinating local flora and fauna, including the giant monitor lizard. The bold flavors of the regional cuisine are also an excellent reason to visit any part of Malaysia!
If you’re looking to get in touch with nature, you’ll love Tioman’s incredible jungle treks through lush rainforest and lovely waterfalls. There are also multiple places on the island to visit the native monkey populations. But if you want to just swim, snorkel and be a beach bum, we don’t blame you. This is an excellent place to do just that.
Most arrive by ferry from the town of Mersing, located in Johor State of Peninsular Malaysia.
It’s no wonder Koh Lipe is one of Thailand’s most famous islands. The crystal-clear waters and crescent beaches you’ll find here are hard to beat, even with tourist crowds. The amenities here also cater to a wide variety of tastes and proclivities, from rustic beach bungalows to luxury resorts.
Snorkel, swim, scuba and gorge yourself on fresh-caught seafood barbecued on the beach. Koh Lipe is a beach bum’s paradise combined with world-class amenities and service. After a hard day of snorkeling, don’t forget to treat yourself to a lovely Thai massage. Or, for a truly indulgent winter holiday, you can hit the tropical trifecta of Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi—three of Thailand’s must-see islands—on our 9-day Amazing Thai Islands tour.
The pier in Pak Bara is the only place to catch a ferry to Koh Lipe year-round, but during the peak season of November to May, you can also take daily boats from Pattaya Beach to any drop-off point in Koh Lipe.
Langkawi actually refers to an archipelago of 99 Malaysian islands just south of the Thai border. But the largest island of the archipelago is also called Langkawi, and it’s home to a fabulous tropical setting of sand, sun and sparkling seas. We love Langkawi Island because it offers a lot more than just sunbathing and swimming for those who like a bit of variety in their winter holidays.
There’s a lot to see and do in Langkawi, like exploring the densely forested interior, visiting the aquarium, jet-skiing, riding a banana boat, trekking to waterfalls, and taking the cable car to enjoy spectacular views of Pantai Cenang.
You can take a direct flight to Langkawi from Singapore and several Malaysian and Thai cities. Alternatively, there are several boat services, including the Langkawi Ferry that travels to and from the Malaysian cities of Satun, Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah and Penang.
Ever heard of Macleod Island? No? Good. That’s what makes this stunning tropical island in the Mergui Archipelago such a hidden gem. Think sparkling azure waters, empty white-sand beaches, and palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze. This is the deserted tropical getaway of your dreams—but it’s also a private island run exclusively by the luxe eco-tourism outfit Myanmar Andaman Resort.
When you’re on Macleod Island, all you’ll want to do is kick back, relax and listen to the lapping of the waves. Our short-but-sweet 4-day Macleod Island Beach Holiday includes a stay at the elegant, eco-friendly Myanmar Andaman Resort. If you wish, you can always add a boat trip to some of the surrounding islands or a hike up the island’s central mountain. With such little development, this is also a fascinating home to wildlife.
Transport to and from the island is arranged by Myanmar Andaman Resort. Just fly to Kawthaung and you’ll be met by one of the resort’s representatives, who will escort you to Macleod Island on a speedboat.
Are you daydreaming about your perfect winter vacation in sunny Southeast Asia yet?
To ask a burning question or to make sure you get exactly the kind of holiday you want, just contact our Travel Specialists to tailor any one of our beach or island tours.
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