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Underrated beach destinations in Asia for the perfect weekend getaway

Some days you find yourself dragging your feet to work and sighing heavily while stuck in traffic, wishing you were sipping martinis at the beach instead. However, you’ve been to Langkawi or Bali one too many times and have exhausted your list of options. Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with a list of the lesser-known beach destinations in Asia to go to.

Unlike overly crowded and popular beaches where you can barely walk a minute without another tourist in sight, these underrated spots the likes of Cebu and Lombok offer untouched coasts, crystal clear lagoons and tranquil surrounds — all the makings of a relaxing beach vacation.

We don’t know about you, but we think there’s no better way to indulge in the ultimate beach vacation than staying in an opulent villa offering awe-inspiring views of the endless ocean, with your own personal chefs and butlers to cater to your every whim and fancy. Treat yourself to the perfect luxury villa with HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace, which connects property owners with travellers who seek the space, value and amenities of holiday homes.

Here’s a guide to the most underrated beach destinations in Asia for the perfect weekend getaway, and some of the most luxurious villas listed on HomeAway that will allow you to enjoy your holiday in complete privacy.

North Bali, Indonesia 

Bali is a destination that needs no introduction. The Island of the Gods is known for its turquoise waters, luxury resorts, lively beach bars, and ever-evolving culinary scene. North Bali, however, is a lesser-known gem armed with authentic culture, serene black-sand shores, and pristine nature with tranquil, rural surroundings.

Known as ‘the other side of Bali’, the island’s northern area consists mainly of the district of Buleleng, which is sheltered by the mountains that divide Bali from east to west — isolating the northern region from the rest of Bali. It still has its own rites and customs, especially at Buleleng’s main town (Singaraja), which was the former colonial capital of Bali. Today, there are still a number of buildings that remain, such as the majestic Royal Palace of Singaraja — where descendants of the old kings of Buleleng still live.

Dolphins at Lovina Beach during sunrise.

The quaint north Bali coast is also home to Lovina Beach, a combination of smaller beaches spanning several local villages in between two districts in Buleleng. Here, you can enjoy calmer waves and serene black-sand shores — a great alternative to the crowded beaches of south Bali such as Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. The beach is a popular starting point for dolphin watching tours, where you can catch a glimpse of the different species in the waters (such as the dark-skinned spinner dolphin).

Where to stay

This villa in Bali boasts its own private beachfront.

Set in between the sea, mountains and lush rice paddy fields, this luxury hideaway in North Bali makes the perfect accommodation for bigger groups. It boasts four bedrooms, an 18-metre swimming pool and jacuzzi, an expansive living space with balconies and terraces, and its own beachfront. In fact, all but one bedroom overlook the sea and feature open-air bathrooms.

For more information, you can view the property here

Lombok, Indonesia 

Located a 25-minute flight (or a two-hour fast boat ride) away from the main island of Bali, Lombok feels like a world away. The island is predominantly Muslim, differing considerably from its Hindu neighbour. It boasts wide open spaces, unspoilt beaches, active volcanoes, picture-perfect lakes, and less traffic and pollution.

Mount Rinjani in Lombok.

With its vast landscapes, Lombok is a great alternative for adventure-seekers who are looking for more than just a relaxing beach getaway. One of the more popular activities on the island is trekking the magnificent Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia, which is surpassed only by Mount Kerinci in Sumatra. If you’re a beginner, don’t be intimidated. Instead, you can take the easiest trail — a two-day trek that starts from Senbaru and ends at the crater rim opposite the summit.

Where to stay

HomeAway’s palatial villa in Lombok.

Set high above the sea, the Cliff Villa is a contemporary villa that boasts exclusive access to its private beach, and spectacular views that extend across the ocean to the peak of Bali’s mystical Mount Agung. The chic property features five bedrooms, open-concept living spaces, an 18-metre infinity pool that appears to drop straight into the ocean, a terrace where magnificent sunsets unfold each evening, and luxurious bathtubs offering some of the best views in the house.

And while the villa offers an idyllic retreat away from it all, it’s only a ten-minute drive to the bustling bars and restaurants in Senggigi, the main tourist town on the island — as well as a short boat ride to the gorgeous Gili islands. So you do get the best of both worlds.

For more information, you can view the property here

Cebu, Philippines 

Boracay may be closed for six months, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy the beaches in the Philippines this summer. Instead, head on to Cebu, an island province in the Pearl of the Orient. One of the most beautiful and exciting places in the country, Cebu is home to over 150 islands — making it the ultimate beach destination for ocean lovers.

Known for its numerous dive sites, the island province is one of the few places in the world where you can swim next to gentle whale sharks.

Swimming with whale sharks in Cebu.

Where to stay

This palatial villa, nestled in the lush hills of Cebu City, provides a once-in-a-lifetime stay — complete with magnificent views of Cebu. The heart of the property is home to a restored plantation house originally constructed in 1920, lending the property a historical and artistic prestige.

HomeAway’s hillside villa in Cebu city.

The villa has been designed and furnished down to the smallest detail with the sophisticated jetsetter in mind. We love its outdoor areas which overlook the hills of Cebu, idyllic for enjoying magical Cebu sunsets over cocktails and canapés prepared by your own private chef.

For more information, you can view the property here.

Okinawa, Japan 

Japan is known for its cherry blossoms during sakura season, numerous UNESCO heritage sites, beautiful temples, sushi restaurants and sake bars, and vast mountainous landscapes. However, Okinawa in Japan’s southernmost prefecture is something else. Consisting of a few dozen small islands, the region is characterised by crystal-clear blue waters and dazzling white sand.

Lighthouse Hirakubo in Okinawa.

While the prefecture’s main island has several beautiful spots, head to Okinawa’s outlying islands for even more breathtaking beaches such as Furuzamami Beach on Zamami Island or Kondoi Beach on Taketomi Island — the possibilities are endless.

Where to stay

Villa Omoro located in Nakijin Son, a village in the Okinawa prefecture, has everything you need for your Japanese beach getaway. A barbecue pit for nights you choose to stay in? Check. Jacuzzi space facing the beach? Sorted. The highlight of the villa is undoubtedly its beautiful living room that looks out to panoramic views of the endless blue ocean. You’ll probably never want to check out.

For more information, you can view the property here.

Underrated beach destinations in Asia for the perfect weekend getaway

Dewi Nurjuwita

Senior Writer

Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.


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