The Best Winter Escapes in Southeast Asia

Teluk Dalam beach on Pangkor island in Malaysia
Teluk Dalam beach on Pangkor island in Malaysia | © Anna Bieniek / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Edira Putri
1 November 2017

There is no better place to escape frosts and the glooms of winter than this tropical region along the equator, blessed with year-long summers and by never being kissed by the winter’s snow. From island paradises to a charming riverside town, discover the best places to escape winter in Southeast Asia.

Krabi, Thailand

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Beaches of Railay in Krabi, Thailand
Beaches of Railay in Krabi, Thailand | © AJ Adelmari / Alamy Stock Photo
Thailand is widely famed for the abundance of idyllic beaches, with extensive white sands, clear shades of emerald ocean, majestic cliffs, and scenic small islands scattered just kilometers off the coast. Imagine all those scenes, only on a larger scale, a more pristine state, and minus the crowd; that’s what tourists can expect in Krabi, a less-traveled tourism gem in southern Thailand. Not that anyone will ever get bored of the beach scene in Krabi, but the area also has other unmissable attractions, from lush tropical jungles to ornate cave temple. Krabi is also the hub for many island tours, including the coveted Phi Phi Islands.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

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Nha Trang cable car over sea leading to Vinpearl amusement park, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang cable car over sea leading to Vinpearl amusement park, Nha Trang, Vietnam | © Elena Ermakova / Alamy Stock Photo
The sunny seaside town of Nha Trang is the direct opposite of gloomy winter. In this beach resort town, the modern city landscape melts together with stunning, pristine nature around the expansive coastline. Tourists can easily lose themselves in one of the luxury beachfront resorts for days, or come out for an adventure of scuba diving or water sports. One of the most unmissable Nha Trang experiences is enjoying the vast blue ocean and town landscape from the cable car.

Palawan Island, Philippines

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Areial view of bay, Coron island, Philippines
Areial view of bay, Coron island, Philippines | © Andrei Bortnikau / Alamy Stock Photo
Even among the country’s stunning 7,000+ tropical islands, Palawan still stands out for its raw natural magnetism, making it frequently top of various lists of the world’s most beautiful places. This stunning small island has an astonishing number of natural attractions packed closely together. From idyllic beaches to a massive underground river, crystal-clear lagoons to shipwreck diving spot, you will never run out of sunny outdoor adventures in Palawan. The island paradise is also home to a wide biodiversity you can encounter while hiking the lush hills or diving into the clear blue and emerald ocean.

Nusa Islands, Indonesia

Everyone knows Bali, one of the world’s most-prized islands with exotic beaches and iconic rice terraces. But the tropical charms extend (some would even say intensifies) to Bali’s surrounding islands, including the rising star Nusa Islands, an island constellation of three off the southeast coast of Bali. The trio are home to an extensive wildlife biodiversity, from birds to fish and corals, making each of them a diving paradise. From hills to beaches, there are countless spots still waiting to be discovered, hiding unspoiled beauties and charms. Tourists can stay in affordable luxe beachfront accommodations and extend the exploration every single day, doing adventures from cliff-jumping at Nusa Ceningan to diving around a shipwreck at Nusa Lembongan or the Crystal Bay at Nusa Penida.

Turquoise paradise beach at Nusa Lembongan island, Indonesia | © Ana Flašker / Alamy Stock Photo

Thandwe, Myanmar

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Ngapali beach in Rakhine state, Myanmar
Ngapali beach in Rakhine state, Myanmar | © Boaz Rottem / Alamy Stock Photo
Myanmar may be known more for its cultural heritage than tropical wonders, but the country has its share of mesmerizing coastline to laze the days away. The ancient town of Thandwe is home to a major seaport and the famed Ngapali Beach, one of Myanmar’s rising tourist destinations, continuously added with new resorts and tourism spots. The beach is lined with lush palm trees, stylish daybeds and umbrellas, smooth white sand, and the strong surf of the Indian Ocean constantly making waves. Tourists can also spend the day shopping for fresh seafood and beachwear in the local market or visiting pagodas.

Kampot, Cambodia

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Kampot. Prek Kampong Bay River. Kampot RiverKampot's river, which is actually an estuary, in combination with the Bokor mountai
Prek Kampong Bay River, Kampot | © Sergi Reboredo / Alamy Stock Photo
The riverside town of Kampot offers a lively but relaxed atmosphere to enjoy active days outdoors, from strolling through the picturesque river bank or to hiking for encounters with wildlife and a view of the city from the hilltop. Aside from the natural charms, being Cambodia’s up-and-coming tourist destination calls for rapid developments in the tourism sector. Facilities and establishments such as hotels and restaurants are being built across the city. Even so, though the formerly sleepy town appears to be waking up now, Kampot still holds its old-fashion style from the French colonial period, such as abandoned buildings and neighborhoods.

Pangkor Island, Malaysia

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Beach at Palau Pangkor Islamd in Malaysia
Beach at Palau Pangkor Islamd in Malaysia | © Toby Williams / Alamy Stock Photo
Conveniently located just three-hours drive away from the capital Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Island offers a whole other world of natural wonders. The beaches are among the country’s greatest and most stunning, including the popular Nipah Bay. You won’t even realize the days passing by while relaxing on the white sands. Go kayaking, diving, and embarking on various adventures around the island.

Sentosa, Singapore

This popular island resort in Singapore doesn’t need an introduction. Packed with fun adventures and modern attractions, Sentosa is perhaps everyone’s favorite part of the small country. But beyond theme parks and amusement centers, Sentosa also has a charming natural side to explore, from the hip party beach of Siloso to the hidden caves on the western side of Tanjung Rimau. The island also boasts Singapore’s unique mixture of modern city scene and blissful nature view.

Picturesque Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island, Singapore | © / Alamy Stock Photo

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