Many tropical places like the Maldives but cheaper in Asia offer breathtaking landscapes. These Asian tropical islands offer stunning views of crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and lush vegetation.
There are many factors when choosing a travel destination. If you’re looking for a place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature, these are some great options to consider.
Or you can also try these destinations to combine with the Maldives tour.
Tropical destinations are particularly found in Southeast Asia, so I’ll cover that part of Asia more in this listicle. Do your research and find the perfect spot for you. Let’s start.
Tropical Places like the Maldives in Indonesia
Indonesia is a country located in Southeast Asia. It comprises more than 17,000 islands, making it the largest archipelago in the world.
The country is home to various cultures, languages, and religions. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or a more action-packed vacation, you’ll be able to find it here.
Also, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re a scuba diving or snorkeling fan. Indonesia is a great place to visit all year round.
However, the best time to go is between May and September when the weather is dry and sunny.
Let’s find out the top islands and beachy places in Indonesia.
1/ Pulau Weh, Indonesia
Weh Island is a small volcanic island located off the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is also known as Sabang, after the city in which the island is governed.
The island is well known for its clear waters, white sand beaches, and lush jungle landscapes. That’s why it’s often compared to the Maldives.
But, Weh Island is less developed than the Maldives, making it a more authentic and affordable tropical destination in Southeast Asia.
While some of Weh’s beaches may be crowded with tourists, there are still many hidden coves and pristine stretches of sand you can enjoy!
2/ Pasir Timbul Sandbar, Indonesia
Pasir Timbul is a sandbar off the coast of Indonesia that has become a popular tourist destination in recent years.
Compared to the Maldives, Pasir Timbul offers visitors a chance to experience pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and imposing limestone cliffs.
You can visit this sandbar beach only during low tide.
There are also many small islands nearby that you can explore. What makes Pasir Timbul unique is its proximity to the capital city of Jakarta, making it a perfect day trip for city dwellers.
So, if you’re looking for a Maldives-like experience without traveling too far, Pasir Timbul is the perfect destination.
3/ Pulo Cinta, Indonesia
Pulo Cinta is one of the best places like the Maldives in Asia, because of its clear blue waters and white sandy beaches. There are also many coral reefs around the island, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
But wait, there’s more. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, biking, and other activities on Pulo Cinta.
Pulo Cinta is an uninhabited island off the coast of Sulawesi and is one of the best secret escapes for romantic couples or honeymooners.
You can celebrate your love amidst the serene and natural beauty of Pulo Cinta.
4/ Gili Islands, Indonesia
The Gili Islands are a group of three small islands located off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. They are well known for their clear blue waters, white sand beaches, and lush vegetation.
Visitors can enjoy many activities on the island, such as snorkeling, diving, swimming, and sunbathing. You can also explore the small towns on the island and learn about the local culture and way of life.
The Gili Islands are a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. If you’re looking for a Maldives-like destination in Indonesia, the Gilis are worth a visit.
5/ Sulawesi, Indonesia
Sulawesi is an Indonesian island that is located east of Borneo. This island is made up of several long peninsulas that extend out from the mountainous center of the island.
Sulawesi is known for its coral reefs and dive sites, which include locations such as Bunaken National Park, the Togian Islands, and Wakatobi National Park.
The largest city in Sulawesi is Makassar, also home to Fort Rotterdam. The Dutch originally built this fort, but it now houses two museums.
There are also several other interesting places to visit outside of Makassar, including Leang-Leang Historical Park, which is home to prehistoric cave paintings.
Malaysian Tropical Islands in Asia
Malaysia is a modern Southeast Asian country made up of two parts, the peninsula, which is attached to mainland Asia and the island of Borneo.
The country is home to several cultures, languages, and religions. And it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It’s a great place for both solo travelers and families. The country has something to offer everyone.
6/ Rawa Island, Malaysia
Rawa Island Resort is one of the most beautiful Maldives-like resorts in Malaysia. The island embraces stunning natural beauty, turquoise waters, and pristine beaches.
The island is about 4 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible views.
The island is surrounded by crystal clear water and has beautiful white sandy beaches, making it look like something straight out of a postcard.
However, Rawa Island is unique, offering visitors a chance to experience Malaysian culture and hospitality. There are two resorts on the island and restaurants and cafes serving traditional Malaysian food.
The island is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, as there is abundant colorful fish and coral found in the reefs.
In addition, there are plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained, from snorkeling and diving to swimming with turtles. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or an adventure-filled getaway, Rawa Island is the perfect destination.
7/ Mabul Island, Malaysia
Mabul Island is a small oval-shaped island off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The island is known for its clear waters and beautiful coral reefs.
Mobul offers the world’s most accessible snorkeling experiences with tons of huge sea turtles and corals. Many divers come to Mabul Island to see the amazing underwater life.
There are over 3,000 species of fish and 600 species of coral on the reef. Mabul Island is also a great place to go snorkeling.
While Mabul may not be as well-known as some other islands in Malaysia, divers and lovers of tropical destinations love this place.
Mabul Island is a hidden gem thanks to its beautiful beaches, world-class diving, and friendly locals.
There are many shallow water areas where you can see colorful fish and coral. Mabul Island is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
The island has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury resort hotels.
Many restaurants and cafes on the island also serve local and international cuisine. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adventurous diving trip, Mabul Island is the perfect place.
8/ Pulau Tioman, Malaysia
Pulau Tioman is an island located in the state of Pahang, Malaysia. The island is about 32 kilometers long and 12 kilometers wide.
Pulau Tioman is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. It is known for its clear water, beautiful beaches, and diving spots, just like the Maldives and Bora Bora.
The island is also rich in flora and fauna, with many rainforest areas and animal species. One of the main attractions on Pulau Tioman is the Juara Turtle Project, an incubator that protects sea turtles.
9/ Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
The Perhentian Islands are a popular tourist destination, especially for people from Malaysia and Singapore.
The smaller, uninhabited islands of Susu Dara, Serengeti, and Rawa lie off Kecil. The islands are in Besut District, Terengganu, Malaysia.
The Perhentian Islands offer beautiful white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and crystal-clear waters, similar to the Maldives or Mauritius.
There are various accommodation options available, from budget guesthouses to luxurious resorts. The islands are also home to marine life, including turtles, dolphins, and sharks.
The easiest way is to fly into Kuala Terengganu Airport and take a taxi or bus to the jetty in Kuala Besut. From there, you can take a ferry to the islands.
10/ Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 Andaman Sea islands off the northwestern coast of Malaysia. The largest island is Pulau Langkawi, with a population of about 100,000.
The islands are a popular tourist destination known for their sandy beaches, clear waters, and lush vegetation.
It’s not like the Maldives, but it offers more than that with its cable car ride, duty-free shopping, and mangrove tours.
Langkawi is also home to some wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, making it a great place for nature lovers.
The best time to visit this Asian tropical island is between December and February, when the weather is dry and sunny.
Asian Tropical Islands & Places in Thailand
Thailand has long been a popular destination for digital nomads and travelers worldwide. And it’s no wonder why! Thailand has something to offer everyone with its stunning beaches, friendly people, and delicious food.
Thailand has many beautiful islands and tropical places like the Maldives in Southeast Asia. Let’s find out which ones are the best!
11/ Koh Lipe, Thailand
One of the best-kept secrets of Thailand is the island of Koh Lipe.
Often called the “Maldives of Asia,” Koh Lipe is a small island in the Thai Andaman Sea. The island boasts clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and lush jungle foliage.
Visitors to Koh Lipe can enjoy various activities, such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. There are also many restaurants and cafes on the island and a few small shops.
Koh Lipe is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Like the Maldives, it’s known for its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals.
12/ Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao is a small island located in the Gulf of Thailand. The island has clear waters, beautiful beaches, and a laid-back atmosphere.
That’s why I’ve enlisted the island as one of the best places like the Maldives in Asia. Koh Tao is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling.
There are many dive shops on the island that offer PADI certification courses.
In addition to its underwater attractions, Koh Tao is also home to some hiking trails. These trails wind through the jungle and offer stunning views of the island and the Gulf of Thailand.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Thailand, then Koh Tao is the perfect destination.
13/ Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
Ko Pha Ngan is a small Thai island listed as one of the best places in Thailand for digital nomads and travelers.
The island is best known for its Full Moon Party, one of the biggest beach parties in Southeast Asia. The party is held every month on the beach and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Ko Pha Ngan hosts other festivals, such as the Black Moon Party and the Half-Moon Party.
Ko Pha Ngan is the perfect destination if you’re looking for an island with beautiful beaches, clear waters, and a lively nightlife scene.
Vietnamese Tropical Places in Asia
Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country known for its beautiful beaches, rivers, and mountains. The country has a long coastline along the South China Sea and is home to some of the best beach resorts in Asia.
Vietnam’s beaches range from secluded coves to bustling towns. Visitors can find everything from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses, just like in the Maldives.
The country’s tropical climate means the beaches are open all year round. However, the best time to visit is from November to April, when the weather is cooler and drier.
14/ Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang is a coastal city in central Vietnam known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters. The city is located on a long stretch of coastline and is a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers.
Nha Trang’s beaches are world-renowned for their soft white sand and clear turquoise waters. Visitors can enjoy various activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing.
There are also many restaurants, cafes, and bars in Nha Trang and a thriving nightlife scene.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation with a little bit of everything, Nha Trang is a cheap alternative to the Maldives in Southeast Asia.
15/ Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
If you’re looking for a tropical beach getaway that won’t break your bank like the Maldives, you must check out Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam.
Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island located in the Gulf of Thailand. The island was formerly a French protectorate, and today, it is known for its gleaming white sand beaches, which have earned it the nickname “Pearl Island.”
Phu Quoc is also known for its environmental conservation efforts and cultural heritage. The island has a diverse ecosystem, with rainforests, mangrove forests, and coral reefs.
The island is also home to various plant and animal species, including the Irrawaddy dolphin and the Asiatic black bear.
Buddhism strongly influences the culture of Phu Quoc. You’ll also enjoy traditional cuisine, including fish sauce, curries, and stir-fried rice.
Phu Quoc is also relatively untouched by tourism compared to other Southeast Asian island destinations, so you’ll be able to enjoy the place’s natural beauty.
And did I mention that it’s incredibly affordable? You can easily find accommodation and activities for a fraction of the price you would pay somewhere like the Maldives.
16/ Cát Bà Island, Vietnam
Cát Bà Island is located in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. The island is best known for its beautiful beaches, national parks, and diving sites.
Cát Bà Island is home to various plant and animal species, including the critically endangered Cat Ba langur.
The island is also a popular destination for trekkers, with several hiking trails that wind through the dense forests. There are also many caves on the island, which you can explore with a guide.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the Maldives that still offers plenty of activities and beautiful scenery, Cát Bà Island is a great choice.
Asian Tropical Islands & Places like the Maldives in India
You’ll not believe it, but tons of Indian islands are as beautiful as Maldives, Bora Bora, and places like others.
The only problem with Indian islands is that they are not as developed as the Maldives, so that you won’t find luxury overwater bungalows.
But if you’re willing to rough it a bit, there are some amazing places to visit in India. Let’s share some of the best places with you:
17/ Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of more than 500 islands located in the Bay of Bengal. The islands are home to beautiful beaches, coral reefs, mangroves, and rainforests.
The Andaman Islands are a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. There are also many trekking trails through the dense forests.
The Nicobar Islands are less developed than the Andaman Islands and are mostly inhabited by indigenous tribes. The best way to get around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is by ferry, which takes about two days.
You can also fly into Port Blair, Andaman, and Nicobar Island’s capital.
18/ Lakshadweep Islands, India
The Lakshadweep Islands are a group of 36 islands located off the southwest coast of India. The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, lagoons, coral reefs, and marine life.
The Lakshadweep Islands are a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. You can also enjoy water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and kayaking.
Lakshadweep is a paradise for those who love the beach. You can find plenty of places to relax on the white sand beaches or swim in the clear blue waters.
The best time to visit Lakshadweep is between October and March when the weather is cooler.
19/ Havelock Island, India
Havelock Island is a beautiful island located in the Andaman Islands. The island is best known for its pristine beaches and clear waters.
Havelock Island is home to various plant and animal species, including the dugong, an endangered marine mammal.
The island is also popular for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. You can find many dive shops on the island that offer equipment rental and certification courses.
Havelock Island is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Andaman Islands.
Philippines Islands Cheaper Than Maldives-Like Places
There are many cheap islands to visit in the Philippines that are as beautiful as the Maldives but at a fraction of the price. The Philippines has over 7,000 islands and islets, so you can find one that suits your budget.
- Coron island
And the list goes on! You can visit any Filipino island and feel like you’re in Maldives, Bora Bora, Mauritius, or French Polynesia. But I’ll only talk about my top 3 favorites here.
And there are tons of places in the Philippines friendly for digital nomads.
20/ Boracay Island
Boracay Island is a small island located in the central Philippines. The island is best known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and lively nightlife.
Boracay Island is home to many hotels and resorts, as well as various restaurants and bars. The island is also popular for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and kayaking.
Boracay Island is a great place to relax and enjoy beach life. The best time to visit Boracay Island is between November and May when the weather is cooler.
21/ Siargao Island
Siargao Island is a small island located in the southern Philippines. The island is best known for its surfing, as it is home to some of the best waves in the country.
Siargao Island is also popular for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing destinations. You can find many dive shops on the island that offer equipment rental and certification courses.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy beach life, Siargao Island is the perfect place.
22/ Palawan Island
Palawan Island is the largest island in the Philippines and is located in the southern part of the country. The island is home to beautiful beaches, clear waters, and wildlife.
Palawan Island is a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. You can find many dive shops on the island that offer equipment rental and certification courses.
Palawan Island is also great for trekking and exploring the jungle. The best time to visit Palawan Island is between October and June when the weather is cooler.
Best Islands in Singapore to Visit for a Tropical Vacation
When writing this post, you’ll be surprised to know that Singapore has 63 islands. So yes, it’s not just about being a global financial center with densely populated areas and city vibes. You’ll also find many tropical places like the Maldives in this Southeast Asian country.
23/ Lazarus Island, Singapore
Lazarus Island, aka Pulau Sekijang Pelepah, is one of the Southern Islands of Singapore and a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
This Asian tropical island is home to a sandy beach, clear waters, and various plant and animal species.
Lazarus Island is a popular scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing destination. You can find many dive shops on the island that offer equipment rental and certification courses. The island is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Singapore.
24/ Kusu Island, Singapore
Kusu Island, aka Pulau Tembakul, is one of the Southern Islands of Singapore and is home to a beautiful beach, clear waters, and various plant and animal species. “Kusu” means “Tortoise or Turtle Island” because of the turtle-shaped rocks on the island.
The Kusu Island pilgrimage is a religious event that occurs annually during the ninth lunar month. The pilgrimage to the Da Bo Gong (Tua Pek Kong) temple on the island attracts thousands of worshippers yearly.
In addition to the Chinese temple, Kusu Island is also home to three Malay shrines (Keramat).
But that’s not just it! You can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing on the island. You can find many dive shops on the island that offer equipment rental and certification courses.
25/ Sentosa, Singapore
Sentosa is an island located in the southern part of Singapore. The island is home to various hotels, restaurants, bars, and attractions. Sentosa Island is also popular for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing.
But Sentosa is best known for its man-made beaches, scarce natural beauty, and unexpected water sports.
Sentosa Island is the perfect place for you if you’re looking for an exciting and more happening place than the Maldives.
Sentosa Island Resort is a beautiful place to visit, with amazing urban vibes and top-notch infrastructure. You can enjoy playing golf, the spa, and the beautiful beaches.
The island is also home to several entertainment venues, including Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium, and Adventure Cove Waterpark. What else do you want?
Tropical Islands in Asia’s Myanmar
Myanmar (formerly called Burma) has over 800 islands and islets. Only about 20 of these islands are inhabited. The rest are either abandoned or used for military purposes.
The best time to visit Myanmar is between October and February, when the weather is cooler.
26/ Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach is located on the west coast of Myanmar and is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The beach is home to various hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Ngapali Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Myanmar. You can also enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing.
27/ Mergui Archipelago
The islands are known for their pristine coral reefs and white-sand beaches, making them a popular destination for scuba divers and beachgoers.
One of the most notable features of the archipelago is Lampi Island, which is home to the maritime Moken people. Lampi Island is also a haven for birds, with over 100 species spotted on the island, including the plain-pouched hornbill.
Marine life is also plentiful in the archipelago, with dugongs and turtles among the most common sightings. Myeik, a port town on the mainland, serves as a gateway to many of the islands closest to shore.
28/ Munaung or Cheduba Island
Chuba Island is located in the Bay of Bengal and is close to Ramree Island. The island has a maximum length of 33 km and an area of approximately 523 km².
If you are looking for a secluded place to relax, this is the perfect island, as it’s relatively untouched by tourism.
The island is home to various birds and animals, including barking deer, monitor lizards, and pythons. You can also find plenty of island shipwrecks, making for an interesting scuba diving destination.
29/ Beachy Places & Tropical Islands in Japan
Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa are the five main islands of Japan. These islands are located in northeastern Asia and stretch from northeast to southwest along the Eurasian mainland.
Each of these Japanese islands has its own unique culture and history.
Hokkaido is the northernmost island known for its cold winters and beautiful landscapes. The capital city of Hokkaido is Sapporo.
Honshu is the largest island in Japan and is home to many of the country’s largest cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
Shikoku, The smallest of the main islands, is known for its mountains and temples.
Kyushu is located in the south of Japan and is known for its hot summers and active volcanoes. The capital city of Kyushu is Fukuoka.
Okinawa is located in the southernmost part of Japan and is known for its tropical climate and beaches.
30/ Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination for Koreans and foreigners alike. The island is home to beautiful beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls, and lava caves.
Jeju Island is also great to enjoy the outdoors, with plenty of fishing, biking, and camping opportunities. Like in the Maldives, you can access it by ferry from the mainland.
31/ Koh Rong, Cambodia
Koh Rong is one of the best tropical islands in Asia. With its pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder it’s often called an ‘island paradise.
The locals are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and they’re always happy to show visitors around their slice of paradise. Whether looking for a quiet place to relax or an action-packed adventure, Koh Rong has something for everyone.
FAQs for Tropical Places like the Maldives in Asia
In this section, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about tropical islands in Asia and places like Maldives, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, etc.
What are similar places like the Maldives in India?
You’ll be surprised to know that many places like the Maldives in India. These places include the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, and the Great Nicobar Islands.
What are cheap and similar places to the Maldives?
Many cheap places are similar to the Maldives. Some of the top places are Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. I’ve enlisted 31 of them in this listicle.
What is the most tropical place in Asia?
Tropical Asia has 16 countries with a tropical climate. Asia’s most notable tropical islands include Kota Kinabalu, Rai Leh, Similan Islands, Boracay Islands, and Perhentian Islands.