The Top 5 Islands in Asia – Conde Nast Traveler Survey 2018

Conde Nast conducts a reader survey each year to determine the best islands in the world. This year, the Philippines, my home in Asia,  score the top 3 slots and I very much agree with the chosen islands as wonderful beach destinations. Find out which islands scored top honors, read my personal tips and start planning your next beach getaway to Asia!

Conde Naste conducts the survey among their readers, which is a mostly American, English-speaking and fairly wealthy audience. So, if you disagree with the choices, it’s ok – your taste might differ from American mainstream ideas of the perfect beach destination. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 Islands in Asia:

5. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is one of my favorite islands. It not only has endless sandy beaches for every budget, you can also retreat to the cooler mountains of Ubud to relax among the rice paddies, visit fascinating temples in small villages or hike sacred mountains. And despite its popularity, it’s not very difficult to escape the crowds and walk along the beach or through the rice fields by yourself!

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Bali

4. Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is the most popular island destination in Malaysia. I have been once and was underwhelmed. Your best bet is a resort vacation at a luxury hotel to enjoy a quiet beach, luxurious pampering and great food. Be prepared to pay luxurious prices though – it’s not a bargain destination!

3. Palawan, Philippines
Palawan has topped many “best island” lists of various publishers and it’s well deserved: Puerto Princessa is the gateway to the world’s best diving at the Tubbataha Reef as well as the longest underground river. 
But what most people have in mind are the collection of tiny islands in the North of the province where you can hire a local outrigger boat to take you to your very own island for the day. Having lunch, stretching out in the fine sand or swimming in the warm water is amazing and a chance for non-millionaires to have a private island experience! Your best base to explore that privacy are the island resorts of Coron!

Coron Boat Trip

2. Boracay, Philippines
Boracay has been high on these beach & island lists for years as well. The famous White Beach has some of the softest sand you’ll find, the sunsets are memorable and the hospitality of the Filipinos is legendary. 
Unfortunately, Boracay has been so popular that it became overcrowded and the environment was at risk, resulting in the closure of the island for visitors this summer. It is scheduled to reopen on October 26, 2018 for the beginning of the dry season. Hopefully, a more sustainable and responsible management of the island will allow many more people to experience this island paradise!

Winner: Siargao, Philippines
The surprise winner is my personal favorite island in the Philippines, Siargao, in the South. Surprise, because I still though of it as not-yet discovered and far from the mainstream, but here we are, the secret is out! Siargao is known as a surfing destination with world-renown Cloud 9. But even if you don’t surf, it’s worth the trip for quiet beaches, great food, cool lagoons and an overall relaxing atmosphere. If you are not quite ready to splurge at the Nay Palad Hideway (starting from $1,400/night), you can stay in your private pool villa steps from the ocean at the Isla Cabana Resort for a fraction of it!

There you have it – the World’s Top 5 Islands of 2018, according to Conde Nast. What’s your favorite island in Asia – feel free to add it in the comments below!
Stay tuned for the Top 5 Islands in other regions of the world.
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