Anyone who knows me well will know that I am somewhat of a beach-bum at heart. There is nothing that makes me happier than sitting on a deserted island, cocktail in hand while watching the sun glimmer all shades of pink and red as it sets above the sparkling ocean. In fact, I think I am destined to live on a tropical island one day (perhaps when I’ve won my millions, I’ll buy my own #lifegoals)
So as I sit here at home planning my next exotic getaway (while shivering my ass off as the English winter finally comes to a close!!) I thought why not share with you some of my favourite islands to date.
It was a toughy, but here goes…
5. Koh Lanta, Thailand
Thailand has an abundance of fantastic islands that are easily accessible and affordable, making it a popular place among budget backpackers. I’ve done the rounds, and I think that Koh Lanta should make the top of anyone’s island hopping itinerary around Thailand. What sets this island apart from the likes of its neighbouring islands, is its beautiful rustic charm and chilled out vibes – it’s the perfect place to hang up your hammock and get some much-needed relaxation after partying on Koh Phangan or Koh Tao. Hire a motorbike and you’ll discover so many hidden gems and deserted beaches on this underrated island.
4. Koh Rong, Cambodia
Koh Rong was my biggest surprise during my two weeks in Cambodia. I only planned to stay a few nights to get some down-time after hopping from town to town in Vietnam and ended up staying a week! The pace of life here is incredibly slow and laid back – I don’t think I’ve ever smelt so much marijuana in all my life (ahem…) Not only does its picturesque sugar-cane sand beaches and turquoise waters draw you in, there’s a lot to be said for the sense of community on this island. Due to its size, you’re guaranteed to know most people by the end of the week. Another thing I will never forget is its magical plankton – take a dip in the waters on a night-time fishing trip and you’ll sparkle away like The Little Mermaid (every girl’s childhood dream right?)
3. The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
It’s been almost ten years since I set foot on these islands, so I can only comment on what my experience was like at the time. But I had to include Malaysia’s gem The Perhentians in my round-up because this is where my love for travel (and beaches!) truly began. Rugged tropical jungles lined unspoilt, quiet beaches and they had glowing purple/red sunsets like I had never seen before. To this day, it is still one of the best places I have ever been snorkelling, discovering turtles and little nemos galore in its crystal clear waters. It also has some awesome trekking opportunities – go high enough and you’ll get some stunning views of the island. I do find myself wondering how much it must have changed in this time, but after stumbling across Jade’s article on All That Happens I’m glad to see that it still looks and sounds like complete paradise despite its growing popularity!
2. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Zanzibar is undeniably a postcard-perfect destination and very almost made the top spot. From the fantastically decrepit buildings and winding streets of Stone Town, to the blindingly white feet-sinking sands and perfectly turquoise waters of Kendwa – Zanzibar certainly boasts diversity and offers the perfect blend of culture, history and relaxation. Every day you’ll see locals casting their nets for fish along the sandbanks, and at night they’ll meet up on the shore to play a game of football as the sun sets above the ocean. To top things off Zanzibar is a heaven for foodies —it’s not called the “Spice Island” for nothing! The night markets in Stone Town are the best place to sample local food, from freshly-caught seafood to the famous Zanzibar pizza. Locals say that you can find all the magic of Africa concentrated in one place here, and while I haven’t seen all of this incredible continent (yet) I certainly agree that it’s a truly magical and unique place.
1. Matacawalevu , Fiji
When I visited last year, Fiji felt like the closest to complete paradise I’ve ever been. But what really makes this island a truly special location is its people – they are probably some of the friendliest and happiest people I have ever had the fortune of meeting. It is so hard to pick a favourite island (as I only visited three out of over 300!) but Matacawalevu has to be one of the prettiest islands I have ever seen – it’s the kind of place you feel like you need to pinch yourself just to make sure it’s real. A hilly, volcanic island, it has one of the longest white sand beaches in the Yasawas. On one side you look out to the open ocean, and on the other you can bathe in the warm beautiful blue lagoon. If you really, REALLY want to feel completely away from it all, then this remote island is definitely the place to go.
There are so many amazing tropical islands in the world and while I would LOVE to visit them all, that would probably take multiple lifetimes! However, I think these five are a good start if you’re looking for your next island getaway. What are your favourites?
Liked this post?
Pin it below!