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Ngapali Beach, Myanmar. Photo: Shaun Dunphy.

Top five little-known romantic beaches in South-East Asia

A guide to five of the best slices of paradise in South-East Asia

Finding a gorgeous beach hidden from throngs of tourists can be a very time-consuming process without some insider leads. Here is our guide to five of the best (and least popular) slices of paradise in South-East Asia.

Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

The simplicity of an earlier time is still evident at Ngapai Beach (featured image), where locals rely on ox-drawn carts to transport their freshly caught fish to the market. Visitors to this this long, quiet beach in a remote area of Myanmar get a taste of the simple life while enjoying the amenities of a low-key resort.

Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Philippines

Getting to Nacpan Beach, located in a remote corner of Palawan Island, involves renting a motorcycle or riding a bus on a bumpy road from El Nido. Tourists who reach this powdery paradise can stay overnight in a nearby spartan resort.

Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Philippines
Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Philippines. Photo: Allan Ascaño.

Bamboo Island, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Although there is no place to stay on Bamboo Island, part of Thailand's Phi Phi island chain, visitors can briefly retreat from the sun at a bar serving drinks and snacks. Chartered boats leaving from Ton Sai Beach on Ko Phi Phi Don Island can drop you off for an hour; if you really fall in love with the island, you can rent a tent and camp out for the night.

Bamboo Island, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Bamboo Island, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. Photo: Mark Fischer

South Beach, Perhentian Besar, Malaysia

People who want a remote-beach feel in close proximity to high-end accommodations head to the island of Perhentian Besar, where resorts promise crystal-clear South Beach waters and luxurious comfort.

South Beach, Perhentian Besar, Malaysia
South Beach, Perhentian Besar, Malaysia. Photo: Christian Holmér

Gili Meno, Indonesia

The Gili Islands are three small islands off the coast of Indonesia near Bali. The most relaxed of the three—no crowds, no cars—is Gili Meno, whose 400 locals keep the vibe mellow. Visitors can walk all the way around the island in about an hour and a half.

Gili Meno, Indonesia
Gili Meno, Indonesia. Photo: Yeowatzup