12 Secret Beaches in Southeast Asia You Probably Didn’t Know About

12 Secret Beaches in Southeast Asia You Probably Didn’t Know About

If they’re a little hard to get to, that’s only part of the fun.

Southeast Asia is studded with hidden beaches that bob out of sight. While these tropical gems offer a scenic respite from the hustle and bustle of tourist spots; hopefully, they’ll remain out of harm’s way, too. Looking for more under-the-radar destinations for your next beach trip out of town? Let these islands and hidden beaches in Southeast Asia take you on secluded, unforgettable journeys!  

Also read: 12 Tropical Airbnbs in Asia to Experience the Best of Island Life

Hidden beaches in Southeast Asia for your next tropical vacation

1. Sai Nuan Beach – Koh Tao, Thailand

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Nestled in the southwest corner of Koh Tao, Sai Nuan Beach is a far cry from the partying beachgoers at Phuket. No full-moon raves here, only a lush tropical jungle, rustic bungalows, and long-tail boats venturing out to sea. 

Wade into an aquamarine sea and snorkel at your own leisure without butting into any human heads. You can encounter moon wrasse, butterflyfish, and plenty of undersea wonders in this palm-fringed haven, which stays reclusive any time of the year. 

Also read: 15 Unique Airbnbs in Thailand — From Beachside to Mountain Getaways!

2. Cresta de Gallo – Romblon, Philippines

beaches in southeast asia

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So many hidden isles and beaches in Southeast Asia, but it would be remiss of us to leave out the Philippines. You probably don’t need another guide pointing you towards the high-profile shores of Palawan, Boracay, and Siargao. But Cresta de Gallo, a sandbar in the province of Romblon, is a mystery — even to those who have been living in this country for their entire lives. 

You have to catch the 6am to 8am ferry from Romblon to Sibuyan Island. Then, you must rent a pump boat at the port in San Fernando Town, which will carry you across the sea to Cresta de Gallo.  

Upon arrival, you’ll find a remote island of crystalline water and sugar-white sand. You can even hear your own footfalls as you walk; so tranquil and surreal is its atmosphere, that a few hours can feel like stepping on sacred ground. If this doesn’t take your breath away, we don’t know what will. 

Also read: 10 Underrated Philippine Beaches to Add to Your Bucket List

3. Ky Co Beach – Quy Nhon, Vietnam

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Surrounded by dramatic cliffs in the east of Quy Nhon, Vietnam’s Ky Co Beach enjoys a natural splendour that remains untarnished all these years. Breathtaking aquamarine coves and smooth grains of sand that slip right through your fingers continue to enchant visitors.  

Watch the local fishermen drift along in their boats, plucking the day’s bounty straight from the abundance of the ocean. They may even lend you their fishing nets, so that you can learn to catch your own fish. 

Easily one of the quietest, most secluded beaches in Southeast Asia, this pristine retreat has managed to keep its treasures hidden, though we can’t say for how long this will last. 

Also read: 11 Best Beaches in Vietnam You Must Know About

4. Rawa Island – Johor, Malaysia

beaches in southeast asia

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Known as a coral island, Rawa Island is a calm, discreet escape for travellers who wish to admire the colourful marine life and healthy reefs. The turquoise waters are so clear, you can see all the way down to the rocks and living coral below. Meanwhile, the sand is almost blindingly white. 

To get to this island, you must take a 20-minute speedboat ride from Mersing, a small town on the east coast of Johor

Also read: 14 Top Islands in Malaysia for the Perfect Beach Getaway

5. Bingin Beach – Bali, Indonesia

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Just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Uluwatu “Sea” Temple in Bali, Indonesia lies a gorgeous surfer’s paradise called Bingin Beach. While it may not be as popular as other surfing spots like Balangan Beach or Padang Padang Beach, it offers an idyllic respite from the crowds. On top of that, its beautiful limestone formations scattered throughout the beach add to its already impressive exotic beauty! 

Also read: 10 Unique Airbnbs in Bali to Live the Luxe Life

6. Kep Beach – Kep, Cambodia

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Of course, there’s more to Cambodia than exploring its marvellous temples and historical landmarks. For your off-the-beaten-path beach getaway, escape to the coastal town of Kep, southwest of Phnom Penh. Here, you’ll find the small yet charming Kep Beach, which features a relaxing atmosphere backed by lush green hills. Its main draw; however, is the delectable dining spots and fresh seafood vendors near the beach. 

Also read: Unpopular Opinion: Underrated Destinations Should Stay That Way 

7. Morong Beach – Batanes, Philippines

beaches in southeast asia

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Situated between the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean is the coast of Sabtang Island, one of the three inhabited islands in the Province of Batanes. If you’re seeking a unique beach getaway in the Philippines, this is definitely the place to be! Even if it’s way up north, the weather here is still pretty warm.

On Sabtang Island, you’ll find Morong Beach, a small strip of powdery white sand backed by low verdant rolling hills. Soak in the sun and go picnicking by the shore or strike a pose by the iconic Nakabuang Arch for the ’Gram!

8. Pha Daeng – Bang Sphan Noi, Thailand

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In the small town of Bang Saphan Noi in Thailand, you’ll find unspoiled, secluded beaches that are free of crowds. One coastal beach that is particularly distinct from the others is Pha Daeng Beach (or Fung Daeng to most locals). What sets itself apart from other natural beaches in the area? Over the years, its red cliffs eroded and have made it a brilliant scarlet-tinted coast! 

Also read: 10 Best Islands in Thailand for a Beach Getaway

9. Mabul Island – Sabah, Malaysia

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While this next one on our list of secret beaches in Southeast Asia isn’t exactly a beach per se, we believe its natural beauty deserves just as much attention as the other destinations. Tucked away in Sabah is Mabul Island — every muck driver and underwater photographer’s dream! 

Rightly so, as it boasts an abundance of diverse marine life habitats. Aquatic wildlife spotters will find all sorts of small yet interesting critters: from frogfishes and scorpionfishes to blue ring octopuses and colourful nudibranchs. Now, that’s definitely a sight to behold, no doubt!

Also read: 4D3N in Sabah: Things to Do & Eat in The Land Below The Wind

10. Bai Dai Beach – Nha Trang, Vietnam

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Located northwest of the popular Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam is a promising destination for a secluded beach holiday. Enter Bai Dai Beach, one of the four most beautiful beaches in the quaint and quiet Cam Ranh Bay! Much like the other hidden beaches in Southeast Asia, it lets you escape the bustle of popular coasts and enjoy a peaceful day in the sand. It also features everything a beach bum could possibly want: clear waters, fresh winds, golden sand, and an IG-worthy beachfront. 

11. Ngapali Beach – Ngapali, Myanmar

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Gaze into an azure horizon at Ngapali Beach, where the windswept palm trees hang so close to the ground, you can climb and sit astride one of them. The town itself, pronounced “napally,” takes after the Italian city of Naples. 

While Ngapali is not entirely hidden from residents in Myanmar, this quaint seaside paradise nonetheless deserves a spot among beautiful yet highly underrated beaches in Southeast Asia. That said, it also makes for an ideal destination for those who want to experience Myanmar like a local!

For now, it lingers somewhere between intimate and immaculately preserved.  It has just enough accommodation options and seafood restaurants to keep foreigners entertained. Yet a laid-back charm that’s hard to find these days. 

12. Tanjong Rimau Beach – Sentosa Island, Singapore

Unbeknownst to many (including locals) is the secret Tanjong Rimau Beach on the resort island of Sentosa. Quite reasonably so, as it only makes itself visible during low tide. Here, you’ll find lots of hidden nature spots like small caves and shallow tidal pools where you might find tiny marine animals. If you’re looking for unspoilt beaches in Southeast Asia for some peace and wildlife spotting, this hidden gem is definitely not one to be missed. 

Also read: 20 Underrated Things to Do in Singapore If It’s Not Your First Time

Obviously, there exist more secret beaches in Southeast Asia than what we featured on this list. However, just think if we pooled together the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines — the count would easily rack up to more than twenty, even thirty beaches! But, maybe we want to keep those a secret, too. 

Now, you might be itching to explore these tropical gems, but we’re hoping that we can treat these beaches in Southeast Asia with care as well! With all the islands that we’ve lost to climate change and mass tourism, we owe it to our Earth to practice eco-friendly habits and slow, mindful travel.

About Authors

Andrea Larice Yap
Andrea Larice Yap

Andrea is a writer and creative individual based in Manila. This tiny human runs on iced coffee, music and films. You’ll probably catch her daydreaming in a park or jotting down random words to to put in a song. Otherwise, expect her taking a dive in the pool of uncertainty called “life.”


Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany wrote articles on travel, food, and pop culture for TripZilla. As she plans her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.