Luxtripper Travel Editor
Check out our top 5 alternatives to the Maldives!
Whilst the Maldives has approximately 1,200 islands, the Philippines has 7,100, many of them uninhabited tropical paradises blanketed in a carpet of lush flora. Known for having the clearest and bluest water in South East Asia, the Philippines is a definite must for those who want to find water as brilliant as that in the Maldives.
With so many islands, it may seem difficult to know where to begin, but we've got you covered! For somewhere breathtakingly beautiful, we particularly recommend visiting El Nido in the archipelagic province of Palawan, known for its ivory-white sand beaches, glassy water and coral reefs bursting with marine life. El Nido is a beach lover's dream, its limestone islets concealing picturesque secluded coves, so jump in a kayak and claim one of these isolated beaches all for yourself!
Best Time to Visit: Between November and April during the dry season, when the weather is warm and there is little rain.
Where to Twin: If you're looking to combine the Philippines with a city break, we recommend twinning your trip with Singapore, only a short flight away.
If your heart is set on an overwater villa, then don't worry, you'll still be able to have this experience in the Philippines! For those seeking adventure, we recommend staying at El Nido Resorts Apulit Island, its cosy Water Cottages offering breathtaking views out across the opalescent water of Taytay Bay in north-eastern Palawan. Offering a whole host of activities from rappelling and caving to snorkelling and scuba diving, you can make the most of the great outdoors whilst enjoying what are simply paradisaical surroundings.
Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago is characterised by a landscape of sweeping sand dunes set against a backdrop of dazzling blue, the Indian Ocean stretching on endlessly towards the horizon. With a sublime beauty, the Bazaruto Archipelago epitomises the exotic, its expansive beaches holding an African romance charm that you'll find nowhere else in the world.
Situated off the Southern coastline of Mozambique in the Bazaruto National Park, Bazaruto Island is like a Maldives sandbank experience on a much larger scale. With long stretches of pristine sugary-sand beaches, you can spend your days watching as traditional dhow boats move peacefully across the ocean, basking in the heat of the African sun. What sets Bazaruto Island apart is its marine life, the outstanding Two Mile Reef a scuba diver's paradise, a vibrant habitat for green sea turtles, mobula rays and bottle nose dolphins!
Best Time to Visit: Between June to October in the dry season, when the weather is characterised by clear, sunny skies with little rain.
Where to Twin: Combine Mozambique with Namibia if you're looking for safari adventures with your beach escape.
The Anantara properties never fail to beautifully incorporate the natural surroundings and local cultures of each destination into their designs, and Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort certainly embodies the landscape of Bazaruto Island. Effortlessly blending a rustic beach aesthetic with a minimalist contemporary luxury, this elegant resort offers guests a secluded freedom away from the fast-pace of modern life. With beach villas offering private plunge pools and sumptuous spa treatments, you'll find that relaxation is never hard to come by during your stay.
Known as the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, its main (and largest) island home to virgin rainforest, untouched beaches and breathtaking views. For those dreaming of a tropical island escape, a stay on Langkawi is ideal for those who don't want to be limited to a resort, the availability of local restaurants ideal if you're looking to sample authentic Malaysian cuisine.
With sparkling, warm water, beach lovers can rejoice on Langkawi and hit the beach, the enticing white sands and calm sea ideal for swimming and embracing the tropical weather. For the budding adventurer inside you, spot monkeys and exotic birds in the treetops on jungle treks and soar above the rainforest mountains on the Langkawi Sky Bridge, an architectural masterpiece that weaves its way through the peak of Gunung Mat Cincang, the island's second-highest mountain.
Best Time to Visit: Between November to April when the temperature is consistently warm and the weather mostly sunny with some light rainfall.
Where to Twin: Visit Borneo before Langkawi for adventures in the rainforest and a chance to spot orangutans.
The St Regis Langkawi exudes luxury, quite literally! With interiors fit for royalty, this 5-star resort boasts a sanctuary-style spa, an ocean-facing outdoor swimming pool and a sumptuous selection of 7 restaurants and bars! Offering both rooms and villas, you can indulge in opulence and style in the accommodation of your choosing. What we particularly love about the hotel is its location, nestled perfectly between a steaming, ancient rainforest and a beach that seems to be plucked straight from a magazine!
Whilst Madagascar is known for its unique wildlife and humid rainforests - in part due to Dreamworks 2005 film Madagascar - the country's stunning coastline is largely overlooked. Head to Nosy Be, an island off Madagascar's northwestern coastline, and you'll feel like you're in the Maldives, the water crystal-clear and the sand a shimmering white.
Nosy Be is undoubtedly one of the most popular beach destinations in Madagascar, its water ideal for snorkelling, swimming, sailing and scuba diving. With the option to hop to other islands, you can sample some of the region's mouthwatering seafood dishes on your adventures, whilst also experiencing a ride in a traditional dhow boat. For animal-lovers, you won't be disappointed on Nosy Be, the abundance of lemurs and chameleons on the island meaning you may spot them on your stay.
Best Time to Visit: Between July and November for dry, sunny weather, starting off cool but getting hotter in the later months.
Where to Twin: For a safari on the Masai Mara, combine Madagascar with Kenya, just a short flight away.
Set next to Nosy be is Nosy Komba, a beautiful island which is quieter and more secluded than its popular neighbour. Nestled along the island's lush coastline is the eco-friendly Tsara Komba Luxury Beach Forest Lodge, a rustic beach escape characterised by its lush jungle surroundings. Situated on a beach worthy of paradise, this stunning lodge features its own spa, watersports facilities and restaurant with ingredients grown on its own organic garden, perfect for a laid-back getaway in the tropics.
Haven't heard of the Andaman Islands? This collection of roughly 300 islands lies in the turquoise water of the Andaman Sea, each island a natural haven of pristine tropical beaches, untouched mangroves, lush rainforests and dazzling coral reefs. With only a scattered few islands inhabited, you can expect seclusion and tranquility on a visit to the Andaman Islands, its isolation meaning it has remained off the beaten track.
An island we particularly recommend visiting is Havelock Island, known for its dense jungles, delicious seafood, scuba diving sites and beautiful beaches. One of the island's most beautiful beaches is Radhanagar Beach, lined with a lush, jungle thicket and ideal for swimming and diving. If you want a break from the beach, then you can go kayaking in the mangrove forests on the island, an experience that you'll definitely need to bring your camera for!
Best Time to Visit: Between October and May when the weather is sunniest and water best for watersports.
Where to Twin: An Indian archipelago, the Andaman Islands are best twinned with India, with regular flights to Port Blair International Airport from New Delhi and other major Indian cities.
Situated on the beautiful Havelock Island, Taj Exotica Resort and Spa is a luxurious boutique resort surrounded by untouched rainforest, breathtaking beaches and wildlife sanctuaries. Spread across an impressive 46 acres, this beach resort is beautifully interspersed in nature, its elegant villas drawing their inspiration from the natural surroundings. With rejuvenating Jiva Spa therapies, a breathtaking outdoor swimming pool and a whole host of activities on offer, you can experience both relaxation and adventure throughout your stay.
If you'd love to visit one of these extraordinary destinations, get in touch with one of our Luxury Travel Specialists who can tailor-make your very own exclusive beach getaway...