Aug 1, 2017
If overcrowded beaches and selfie sticks are your idea of a nightmare, you’ll be glad to know there are secret slices of sand and sea across South-east Asia waiting to be explored.
Rustic river retreat: Don Daeng Island, Laos
Most folks don’t think of beaches when it comes to landlocked Laos but, in the dry season from November to May, the 4,000 islets known as Si Phan Don appear as the Mekong river recedes. Further north is Don Daeng, a tranquil 8km-long car-free island that’s a 10-minute boat ride from Champasak town. The long golden sand beach here seems untouched by man, save for a bamboo walkway running up to the island’s lone resort. Besides relaxing and cycling, visitors can learn about basket weaving and rice farming.
Remote hideout: MacLeod Island, Myanmar
Beach escapism doesn’t get much better than this. The lovely white sand sprawl on MacLeod was, until recently, inaccessible. Located in the Mergui Archipelago, which opened to tourism only in the past few years, MacLeod is the first island to feature a resort with its own dive centre certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Expect to see everything from ghost pipefish to whale sharks on a dive in the waters around MacLeod. You can also hike up to its lone peak, go kayaking and even visit sea gypsies who live around the archipelago of more than 800 mostly unexplored islands. The island is a 90-minute boat ride from Kawthaung jetty.