For those in search of the best spots to visit in Asia away from the masses, we’ve rounded up 16 breathtaking destinations that range from hidden beaches and charming fishing villages to jungle-clad islands.
At Japan’s Iriomote Island, you’ll feel as though you have an entire jungle to yourself. Nearly 90% of the largely undeveloped island is blanketed with dense jungle terrain and mangrove forests, offering travelers incredible scenery. Head to one of its beaches for prime scuba diving or tour the island's lush setting by boat.
Underwater enthusiasts often head to the sparsely populated Raja Ampat Islands, which are located on the tip of West Papua, Indonesia, in the heart of the Coran Triangle. The islands host three-quarters of the world’s coral varieties, and include a setting of jungles, white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, and thrilling caves.
Head into Champasak in Laos and you’ll see remnants of the kingdom that used to be here through the colonial buildings that remain. With a variety of accommodations and attractions like the nearby Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phu Champasak, it makes a nice alternatively to the crowded city of Pakse.
The Thai island of Ko Adang has managed to stay relatively under the radar, drawing in snorkeling tours from time to time but leaving its white sand beaches with only a few visitors. The 30-square-kilometer island is located within Tarutao National Marine Park and has everything from lush hills to stunning coral reefs.
The Mergui Archipelago is located in the southernmost part of Myanmar. Home to over 800 islands, the virtually isolated archipelago hosts tons of impeccable beaches to choose from, as well as waters that are ideal for diving thanks to their variety of marine life.
While the subtropical island of Yakushima has long been favored by the Japanese, it is only recently starting to catch the attention of visitors. Located off the coast of Kyushu, Japan, the island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosts mossy forests filled with trees dating back thousands of years and soaring mountains to explore.
Thailand is home to several stunning destinations that remain hidden from the masses, including the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea. All of the 11 islands are located in the Mu Koh Similan National Park and sit surrounded by clear shall waters and gorgeous coral reef, making it an idea place for diving and snorkeling.
Travelers often take a tricycle or motorbike to get to Nacpan Beach, located near El Nido in the Philippines. The beach is home to a few snack shacks, basic lodging options, a tasty local restaurant, and incredibly clear skies where you can enjoy stargazing in the evening.
As Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido is known for its display of volcanoes, its natural hot springs, and its stunning ski resorts. Thrill-seekers flock here to enjoy its many national parks and engage in activities that include bird-watching and hot air ballooning.
The remote Indonesian island of Sumbawa sprawls into the sea and offers visitors a setting
of volcanic ridges, terraced rice fields, and some of the best waves around. The island is famous among surfers, while its stunning coral reefs also make it ideal for diving. Tourism infrastructure isn’t heavy here, allowing you to get an authentic experience of the local culture.
Thought the island of Ulleungdo in South Korea does see some tourism, it’s still in small numbers. Hosting steep cliffs and a stunning scenery of volcanic terrain, harbor towns, and a rugged coastline, the island is breathtaking in its rainy season when it becomes covered in lush greenery.
In-the-know travelers visit the riverside town of Kratie in Cambodia to spot Irrawaddy dolphins. In the calm town, visitors will find French-era architecture, stunning sunsets off its expansive riverfront, and ancient pagodas to admire.
The remote fishing village of Bai Xep is located on a stretch of white sand near Nh?n, Vietnam. It’s ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, with a car-free village that includes a relaxing beach and plenty of fresh seafood. Visitors can rent the village's traditional circular boats, take cooking classes, and enjoy hiking trails that lead to waterfalls.
Thanks to the various steps required to reach Green Bowl Beach in Bali, you won’t find large crowds here. Instead, you’ll be treated to untouched glistening sands and various areas where you can swim in peace. Plus, the nearby caves offer a relaxing shaded area for when you want to unwind.
Popular among surfers, the remote Tai Long Wan bay in Hong Kong is home to sweeping vistas, clear waters, mountainside trails, and some of the best waves around. You can hike here to enjoy pristine cove and sites along the way, or you can also arrive via speedboat.
Myanmar’s Nabule Beach, which is located north of Maungmagan, is one of the country’s best kept secrets. With its golden sands, the beach is broken up by large granite boulders that add to its environment . At its north end, the beach also includes a hillside pagoda where you can access a small restaurant nearby and enjoy impeccable views of the sea.