When it’s time to run away from the hustle and bustle, we won’t fault you for immediately thinking of travelling to Koh Samui, Cebu and the Maldives but forget those if you’re looking for the perfect combination of rarity, privacy and true luxury. Instead, find your way to these lesser trodden paths in Southeast Asia.
From sandy white beaches and lush green landscapes to crystal clear water and raw nature, these exclusive (and totally Insta-worthy) hideaways provide you an empty itinerary that you can fill up with various island activities as well as a private sanctuary to unwind and recalibrate. Forget reality and go offline now, it’s time to chill out, indulge in some barefoot bliss and soak in much-needed #vitaminsea.
Koh Rang Noi, Thailand
When it comes to this 10-acre (4-hectare) tropical paradise that is a short boat ride away from the Royal Phuket Marina, ‘gorgeous’ may be an understatement. And with a total of three villas (yes, you read that right), Phuket’s only private island is as exclusive as it gets.
While here, you’ll find yourself constantly in awe with murals or sandstone carvings crafted by Thai artisans – some of the lights were even fashioned from original Thai shadow puppets. Choose from jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks, small sailing catamarans or even yachts as your preferred ride during your stay.
Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam
Situated in Con Dao’s 16-island archipelago off the south coast of Vietnam is this luxury superstar that is a 45-minute flight away from Ho Chi Minh City.
Imagine waking up to unobstructed breathtaking views of the sea and surrounded by tropical mangroves in one of the resort’s 50 eco-friendly villas. Oh, and did we mention that each villa comes with its own private infinity pool?
Song Saa, Cambodia
When it comes to Cambodia, it’s no surprise that Angkor Wat and all the other majestic temples immediately come to mind while this eco-luxury resort – the country’s first certified marine reserve that is a 35-minute boat ride away from the seaside town of Sihanouk – flies under the world’s radar.
Spread across two virgin islands, Koh Rong and Koh Oun, travellers will find within this natural oasis 27 thatched-roof suites designed using driftwood, bamboo and local stones, a gym, spa and overwater restaurant, plus a long list of complimentary activities.
The staff are also more than happy to organise a bespoke outing for you and your loved ones to experience local Cambodian culture.
Vivanta by Taj, Malaysia
Langkawi is arguably Malaysia’s most popular island but most sun worshippers either flock to Cenang Beach or Tanjung Rhu. Skip those and head to this five-star resort that is floating on Rebak Island instead. Less than 30 minutes away from the airport, it is hidden behind 390 acres (157 hectares) of forested hills and stunning rock formations.
Over here, there’s a bit of everything for everyone. Like to break a sweat even while you’re on vacation? There are complimentary nature walks and an exhaustive list of sport activities, including tennis, volleyball, yoga and biking. For those who want to experience marine life, opt for snorkelling, diving or a trip to Underwater World Langkawi back on the main island. When it’s time to eat, you can either dine in at any of the eight restaurants and bars or choose from several private dining options around the island – we highly recommend the romantic Moon Deck, a wooden jetty where you can enjoy good food while overlooking the Senari Straits.
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3.5 hours away from Singapore is this rustic-chic haven sitting within a collection of six islands, three lagoons and 13 powder white beaches that is only accessible via seaplane. If you think the 35 villas – 11 of which are overwater bungalows – made from recycled teak and local bamboo are impressive enough, just wait until you see the jellyfish chandeliers and an octopus-inspired décor made from discarded fishing line that enliven the main building.
To make sure that guests have a worry-free stay, the resort charges all-inclusive rates which cover everything except alcohol and diving. Spend your day getting your tension kneaded away with Thai and Balinese treatments in the spa, snorkelling with the diverse marine life or catching a movie under the stars at the open-air cinema.