What to see and do at the 2018 World’s Best Islands in Asia

Asia represent! Hurry before flights get booked up


Cloud 9 surf break in Siargao. Photo by Francisco Guerrero

A US-based luxury travel publication recently released its annual Readers Choice Awards survey, naming five islands in Asia on its 30 World’s Best Islands for 2018. 

Philippines islands took the top three spots from the survey by Condé Nast Traveler, with Siargao in the lead, followed by Boracay (re-opening on October 26) and then Palawan. Malaysia’s Langkawi took the fourth slot and Indonesia’s Bali placed fifth.

Planning trips to these islands soon? Whether it’s for another adventure with friends, a more chill holiday with family or even a destination pick for your pre-nup photoshoot, we give you plenty of reasons why you should definitely go:

Read more: Why you should join environmental efforts to save Siargao


We wrote about the concerted environmental efforts in keeping the paradise feel of Siargao that warps all sense of time. We joined Jasmine Curtis-Smith in raving about how this teardrop-shaped island has a playful and colorful vibe and is perfect for both avid and beginner surfers, as well as adventurous families. There are even options for alternative things to do if surfing isn’t your thing, including wakeboarding and volunteering. We also recommended cool digs and eco-friendly accommodations. While Cebu Pacific Air flies directly to Siargao from Cebu city, it’s not too late to book that direct flight from Manila until March 30, 2019.


Leaping off the Boracay Suncruiser (Photo: Jorem Catilo)
Leaping off the Boracay Suncruiser. Photo by Jorem Catilo

Following Boracay’s closure to the public six months ago to “heal”, the Philippines’ summer capital is scheduled for a phased re-opening to the public beginning October 26, f. Tourism chief Berna Romulo-Puyat said Boracay, globally celebrated for it’s talcum powdery white sand, is now aimed to serve as an example of sustainable tourism. In a cordial response to journalist Lourd de Veyra’s open letter, she also wrote “no to casinos” on the island and agreed with Lourd’s suggestion to ban karaoke. While the island is still recovering, its idyllic charm remains unchanged. We’ve rounded up activities including diving, food options, as well as several reasons why it’s ideal for a beach holiday with your friends and family.


3.40am, the Milky Way over Tubbataha
3.40am, the Milky Way over Tubbataha. Photo by Tommy Schultz

We gave an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at a BBC World News special with BBC wildlife specialist Mike Dilger and broadcaster Rico Hizon. The two-part show highlighted Palawan as one of the country’s diversity hotspots. Palawan is also Nico Bolzico‘s vote for best beach when we asked him about his travel life. Got 12 days to spare? We suggested cycling across the islands. You can also try falling for the charms of Cuyo island and Port Barton, kayaking in El Nido, getting away from it all in Coron. If you’re looking into traveling with the environment in mind, why not try turtle-tagging at one of the country’s last wild frontiers Tubbataha, going on a rare animal sighting, or visiting Cagayancillo, the largest marine-protected area in the Philippines. We’ve also listed Palawan as one of the areas where you can dive ethically in the country.


Langkawi’s not currently on our CEB network radar, but when we asked Australian actor Chris Pang, he described Langkawi as the most “Instagrammable” place he’s been to, as well as his favourite location shoot for the film Crazy Rich Asians.


Tegalalang rice terraces. Photo by Francisco Guerrero

We wrote a five-day itinerary to help guide you around Bali, with essential things to do in the heart of Balinese culture: Ubud. We rounded up the best hidden spots, best dive sites and where to shop for furniture and homewares. We also recommended eating in Canggu and checking out Petitenget, discovering the ‘bucolic beauty’ of Jimbaran and where to go for white water rafting

Over 429,000 readers voted for this year’s list, which was broken out by region, with a separate list for the US.  In 2017, the list included Boracay, Cebu and Palawan from Asia.

Written by

Elka Requinta

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