For those looking forward to a digital detox and some serious downtime away from the bustle of city life before another work year starts, island living provides the truest form of relaxation.
Booking.com, a global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of places to stay in, recommends Southeast Asia’s remotest island getaways where you can find your own private spot on the sand.
Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia
You will spend your days lazing in hammocks or snorkelling in the sea. The island has a far less touristy vibe than nearby backpacker favourite Koh Rong.
Wi-Fi is a laughing matter and nightlife means sunset beers and sleeping.
It is all about relaxing here – just ask the owners at Lazy Bones, a chill-out hostel with budget dorm beds, or the staff at Sweet Dreams Samloem, where the day beds make snoozing an all-day event.
Pom Pom Island, Malaysia
It is not just the name that is cute – the island itself is adorable, an almost-perfect circle of decidedly perfect beaches sitting snugly in the Celebes Sea.
You could walk its circumference in under 25 minutes, and the only human developments here are a few resorts.
Pom Pom is best known for its scuba diving – a vibrant coral reef fringes the white sand beaches, where green and hawksbill turtles nest.
To coordinate diving trips right from your villa, try Pom Pom Island Resort. It even has a spa if you need extra help with your rest and relaxation.
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Ko Kut (or Koh Kood), Thailand
In a country like Thailand, finding somewhere less travelled is a rare thing. But this lush island near the Cambodian border has spotty Internet access and a population of only 2,000, so you can expect some serious privacy.
Ko Kut has emerald waterfalls and hidden monasteries that are all but deserted. Spend your days lying on the sand, sating yourself with icy Chang beers and bowls of curry.
For delicious food at your hotel, Suan Maproa Ko Kut Resort has a Thai kitchen and beachside bungalows.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
This is a smattering of barely-populated islands stretching out to sea, each one more magical than the next.
These waters contain some of the world’s best diving spots, but if that is not your thing, the water is so clear that you can see the marine life without a mask.
The Raja Ampat Islands’ sublime scenery continues on land with steep jungle-covered hillsides hiding caves and lagoons.
It is a place to truly get off the grid, and a homestay at Alter Native Stay in Tapokreng makes that a tantalising possibility.
Palawan Island, Phillippines
Palawan stretches like a long, fat snake between western Philippines and Malaysia. Rock formations rise up from the sea, where fishing boats look like they are suspended in the air above the bright clear water.
Divers can discover shipwrecks at the bottom of aquarium-esque bays with fish flitting in and out of the reefs.
On land, the most popular means of transportation is tricycle, so it is easy to explore the food offerings at fishing villages.
The remote Macapuno Beach Resort is perfect for drinking in the scenery.
This article was first published on The New Paper.