The best Asia-Pacific beaches of 2016

Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Philippines. Pic: Wikimedia Commons.

SUN, surf and sand – the Asia-Pacific region has it all, and plenty of it! It should come as no surprise then that beaches in the Asia-Pacific rated on TripAdvisor’s annual ranking of the world’s best beaches

TripAdvisor selects the beaches based on the quality and quantity of ratings and reviews over a 12-month period. The beaches are all places that are untouched and tranquil with gorgeous long coastlines, aquamarine waters and a ‘wow’ factor that makes them unforgettable. However, TravelWire Asia readers might be surprised which beaches from the region made the list, as well as how they placed. Let’s take a closer look.

Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Philippines

“The most cleanest and most beautiful beach I’ve seen in the Philippines” said Sam C, one of the more recent reviewers of this beach on TripAdvisor. Located 17km north of El Nido, Nacpan has creamy sands, coconut trees and was long considered an out of the way spot that didn’t attract the crowds other parts of El Nido did. This may have changed if it’s been reviewed enough to be ranked 10 on the TripAdvisor list, but it still promises a picturesque coastline for ardent beach lovers.

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Ngapali Beach, Burma (Myanmar)

Pic: Wikimedia Commons.

So what makes this place so special and how on earth do you even pronounce it? Ngapali (na-pa-lee) probably isn’t even on the radar of most tourists as they simply haven’t heard of it, and Burma itself isn’t particularly known as a beach destination, but perhaps that’s what makes Ngapali so special. The three kilometre long beach has all the usual idyllic trimmings you would expect of a beach on this list- swaying palms, crisp white sands, and calm blue waters. And despite a tourism boom in Burma in recent years, Ngapali retains a relaxed vibe and only a couple of dozen resorts. The best time to visit is November-March.

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Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

Pic: Wikimedia Commons.

At number 12, Australia’s untouched Whitehaven beach makes a solid entry. And it should. The Whitsunday islands are a popular tourist destination with idyllic islets, sandy beaches, fringing coral reefs and all kinds of gorgeous panoramas that are par for the course. But even in that mix Whitehaven is something more still, with quite possibly the whitest sand you’ve ever seen. There are no stores, no restaurants, no structures of any kind on this beautiful arc of white sand and even dogs and cigarette smoking are prohibited. Given the mild climate here it can also be visited year round.

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Kata Noi Beach, Karon, Thailand

Pic: Epicurien-OLLN / TripAdvisor.com

“Waves and water like baby bear’s porridge: not too hot or cold, not too big or small. Simply perfect in every way. Really.” This TripAdvisor review of this beach, ranked 19, kind of sums it all up, particularly if you want to avoid the overcrowded stretches of nearby Patong or Kata on the touristy island of Phuket. It can be hard to beat the crowds in such a popular spot but Kata Noi is far less commercialised and busy, the sea is clear and it’s the perfect spot for drinks at sunset.

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Agonda Beach, Goa, India

Pic: Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps a surprise entry at 22, Agonda has out ranked more well known beaches in Goa like nearby Palolem or even the party central location of Ancona. Agonda is considered one of the most pristine beaches in Goa. Located just 15 minutes from the tourist centre of Palolem, it’s a cheaper, quieter alternative that has a more local feel and is home to the endangered Olive Ridley turtle. Bungalows are either side of the road that runs along the beach.