GBA Lifestyle News
Travel Outside HK Section
By Gayatri Bhaumik | April 12th, 2018

Sometimes, the 24/7 pace and concrete jungle city of Hong Kong gets to be a little too much. So next time that moment strikes, book a getaway to these beach destinations, unplug, and recharge your batteries.

White sand and crystal blue waters on Jeju's Hyeopjae Beach.
Hyeopjae Beach on Jeju. Photo: Kin Mun Lee / Flickr CC

Jeju, South Korea

You’ll get a little bit of everything at this does-it-all, UNESCO-listed island in the Korean Peninsula. Photogenic beaches are, of course, the star. Seobin is a sprawl of white sand, and Korea’s only coral beach; Jungmun’s hard-hitting waves make it perfect for surfing; while Hyeopjae is more relaxed. Perfected your tan? This UNESCO-listed island has plenty more to offer. Wander the 25 routes of the Jeju Olle that wind through forests, volcanic coves, villages, and mountains, then cool off in the Cheonjeyeon Waterfall. Or, hike the dormant Halla volcano and explore the surrounding Hallasan National Park. When you’re done, fresh seafood and the island’s famous Black Pork barbecue await.
Flight time: 3 hours
Stay: The Shilla Jeju
Best for: A variety of beaches.

 

An eco-friendly beach-front villa on Cempadek Island.
Cempadek Island.

Cempedak, Indonesia

Sister island to nearby Nikoi, this environmentally-conscious private island sits in the Riau Archipelago in northern Indonesia. And on this unspoiled paradise,  beaches are just the start. Take to the waters by kayak, stand-up paddle board, dive kit or boat to glimpse bottle-nose dolphins and green turtles, or explore the island’s rocky coves and sprawling jungles while keeping an eye out for inquisitive wildlife. When it comes to relaxation, you’ll find airy bamboo villas built to sustainable designs, hefty full-board menus that fuse Asian and Western flavors, the Dodo bar that specializes in rums, gins and spectacular sunsets, and indulgent in-villa spa treatments (at least until the onsite spa is complete). For an extra treat, book a trip to picnic on (or enjoy a Champagne sunset from) a nearby uninhabited island.
Flight time: 4 hours to Singapore (plus 2.5 hours ferry/car/boat transfer via Bintan)
Stay: Cempedak
Best for: A private island experience.

 

Palm trees on a beach on Phu Quoc.
A beach on Phu Quoc. Photo: Falco Emert / Flickr CC

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

One of Vietnam’s best-kept secrets, Phu Quoc is a serene island in an archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. On this untouched haven, you’ll find 150 sprawling kilometers of empty beaches, including Bai Kem, nicknamed ‘ice-cream beach’ for its powdery white sand. When you’ve had enough of lazing on the sand, take a diving or snorkeling expedition to get up close to the 135 species of inquisitive marine life that includes dugongs, hawksbill and green turtles, or explore the UNESCO-approved Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve.
Flight time: 5 hours, 50 minutes (with stopover in Ho Chi Minh City or Bangkok)
Stay: Salinda Resort
Best for: Beaches and underwater wildlife.

 

Sunset over Langkawi's Pantai Beach.
Pantai Beach on Langkawi. Photo: Clark & Kim Kays / Flickr CC

Langkawi, Malaysia

This Malaysian island’s sweeping coastlines mean there are – of course – plenty of beaches on which to grab a perch and work on your tan. But should you feel the need to venture further, there are also three UNESCO-listed geoparks which you can explore on foot or by zipline, mangroves to boat through, or limestone caves to explore. Need more? There are cable cars to ride, a mountain to scale (that would be Gunung Raya), and the Pulau Payar Marine Park to snorkel.  With tourism to this lush tropical island spiking in recent years, a plethora of luxury hotels are popping up, making this the perfect spot for sunseekers and luxury lovers.
Flight time: 6 hours (with stopover in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore)
Stay: The St. Regis Langkawi
Best for: Nature nuts and luxury lovers.

 

A tranquil beach scene on Okinawa.
Idyllic beaches of Okinawa. Photo: Jennifer 真泥佛 / Flickr CC

Okinawa, Japan

You’ll fly into Naha, the capital of the Okinawa-honto prefecture, but this cutesy Japanese city is just the jumping-off point for the region’s spectacular secret islands and beaches, all of which can be reached by ferry. Go full-on Robinson Crusoe at Gahi-jima, a pair of uninhabited islets where you’ll find nothing but sand, surf and sun – just remember to pack sunscreen and a picnic. In easy, breezy Kume-jima, you’ll snorkel colorful reefs and rock formations – the island of Ojima is particularly intriguing.
Flight time: 2 hours, 30 minutes to Naha
Stay: Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa
Best for: Island-hopping.