Most travellers have a misconception that Southeast Asia is not a destination for surfing, but they are absolutely wrong.
While our waters might not be of Surfers Paradise’s standards, we are actually still blessed with many beautiful beaches that are ideal for surfing and other water sports.
Bai Dai Beach, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang is the hangout of Vietnamese celebrities, and a serious backpacker stop off for those zipping up or down Vietnam’s east coast. The best surf spot is at Bai Dai Beach, some 20km south of the city. Still, if you’re staying in Nha Trang proper, transport there should be less than $5, and you can rent a wide range of boards (including paddle boards) at The Shack Surf School for about $10 an hour. Private lessons with an English speaking instructors costs more like $25 an hour.
Bamboo Island, Cambodia
Cambodia is a fascinatingly divided country – the cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are polar opposites of past glories and recent tragedies – and it’s a highly recommended stop off given it’s quite easy to reach from Bangkok. Many visitors to the country head to Sihanoukville for the Cambodian style beach break on the Gulf of Thailand.
Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is one of Thailand’s most accessible tourist destinations, with direct flights from UK airports. It’s also home to one of the seediest places outside of Bangkok in the form of Patong Beach. That’s possibly worth a day or two if downing rum in strip bars are your kind of thing, otherwise you’ll want to head slightly further south to the beach at Karon.
Cloud 9, Siargao Island, Phillipines
The Phillipines is slightly off the standard backpacker trail, but given you can get a flight from Bangkok to Manila for $100, it seems a shame not to visit if you’re on an extended break. Far more untouched that Thailand, the country boasts some of the world’s richest and undiscovered beaches, as well as incredible surf.
The most famous surf destination is Siargao Island, accessible via a $45 flight from Manila or Cebu. Here you’ll find the legendary Cloud 9 famous for thick hollow tube waves. It’s also home to the the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition. While it’s a challenge to get to if you’re just aiming to stop off in Indo China, Cloud 9 offers one of the best breaks in South East Asia. It’s also incredibly affordable for beginners – instructors come in at less than $10 an hour, and it’s not a whole lot more for whole day board rental.
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