It’s everyone’s dream. A deserted island. Warm sand. Lush trees. Clear blue water as far as the eye can see. A place where you and your loved one can relax in your own private version of paradise.
We give you four secret islands in Asia where you can do just that.
Arriving at this World Heritage Site in south Japan is like stepping back in time. Everything is impossibly peaceful.
Maybe it’s the presence of some of the world’s oldest trees or the wild deer and monkeys that roam free (and in fact outnumber the island’s inhabitants). Perhaps it’s the sound of the waves or the awe-inspiring mountains.. You can decide for yourself as you luxuriate in the hot springs, see giant turtles or meet the oldest ‘being’ you’ll ever meet: Jomonsugi, a tree that’s estimated to be between 2600 and 7200 years old.
Accommodation: Options run the gamut from deluxe ecologies to traditional guesthouses and modern hostels.
Con Dao, Vietnam
This archipelago 177 kilometres off Vietnam’s southeastern coast has an unlikely history. Once the home of political prisoners and other undesirables, it is now a scenic chain of 16 islands and islets ringed by breathtaking beaches, coral reefs, bays and thick virgin forest that is yours to explore. Hike on deserted beaches and dive among the best marine life in Vietnam. The most remote places on the island can also be seen with a local guide.
Be warned though, that since the arrival of the swanky Six Senses Con Dao resort (pictured below), the island is getting the attention it deserves, and while the number of tourists remains small, who knows how long it’ll last.
Getting There: Arrive by plane at Con Dao Airport; the destination is served by VASCO (Vietnam Airline Services Company). Check out the latest cheap flights from Singapore to Con Dao on Expedia.
Accommodation: Options range from beach bungalows to guesthouses and luxury resorts (see Six Senses above).
Made from a series of volcanic eruptions this rugged island offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Korea. With its jagged coastline, shoreline cliffs and thick natural forests, it is known for its excellent hiking and you can walk all the way to the top of Seonginbong – a peak more than 984 metres above sea level.
It also offers beaches (although not the sandy kind), with clear waters and scenic views, and is known for its cultivation of medicinal herbs and the quality of its squid, which you will definitely see (and smell!) in abundance, on racks where it’s hung to dry.
Getting there: Ulleungdo is only accessible by ferry from Gangneung and Mukho in Gangwon, and Pohang and Hupo in North Gyeongsang.
Accommodation: As tourist numbers are relatively small accommodation is limited to motels and pensions, while camping is an option during summer months.
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Located in Sihanoukville Province about 25 kilometers off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand, is an island paradise in every sense of the word. The island’s interior is almost completely forested, concealing a number of seasonal waterfalls, and there are no less than 23 beaches with clear water that’s ideal for diving and snorkeling. This place is truly untouched – there are no real roads just tracks and even ATMs and electricity can be scarce.
However, there are some doubts as to how long this will last as the Cambodian government has leased Koh Rong to a Cambodian-based investment group, which plans to build an airport and ecological resort.