Spans of sea and sand and sun


Spans of sea and sand and sun

Seven of the best beach alternatives now that Maya Island in Thailand is closed to tourists

Zola Zingithwa

Maya Bay in Thailand’s Phi Phi islands, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio when he starred in Danny Boyle’s 2000 film The Beach, might be closed to tourists now that too many people have peed in its sea, but there is no need to despair as there are many other beaches you can still visit and somehow manage to avoid the crowds.
We rounded up seven of them that are just as beautiful as Maya Bay but are less likely to make you sick from being contaminated by litres of wee from hundreds of tourists.
Tai Long Wan, Hong Kong
Hong Kong is home to many natural wonders and one of them is this beach surrounded by a beautiful subtropical rain forest. Hike or swim, the choice is up to you.
Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi, Malaysia
There might be a Four Seasons on the beachfront, but the 3km Tanjung Rhu beach has plenty of space to make you think you are on your own private island getaway. Lose yourself in long stretches of sand or relax on the beach and stare out at the azure waters.
Hong Island, Thailand
Krabi Province is a popular destination in Thailand but it’s still possible to get away from the crowds. You can rent a long-tail boat to Hong Island and discover hidden gems like deserted beaches and even a secret lagoon in a rain forest.
Don Daeng Island, Laos
The beaches on Don Daeng Island are as secretive as they come – they only appear in the Laos dry season between November and April when the Mekong River recedes.
Palua Tiga, Malaysian Borneo
You can recreate your own Survivor storyline on these island getaways that hosted the first season of the series. It’s also a water sport wonderland, making it a great holiday spot for snorkelers and divers.
Koh Kood, Thailand
You can pretend to be on your very own island while walking on Koh Kood’s stretches of beaches, especially if you can find Khlong Rahan which is basically deserted.
Sok San, Cambodia
Not only could you be living your best life on this beautiful beach, but you could even experience the sea being lit up by bioluminescent plankton if you go there at the right time.

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