No one can deny that Bali is a perennial favorite for travelers, but it’s not the only island brimming with exotic appeal. These coastal hot spots each have their own flavor of beach town charm, and are just as thrilling to visit.
Locales across Asia and the South Pacific are bursting with attractions like beaches and temples, sumptuous cuisine and are, well, just perfect places to kick back and relax.
Bali travel overview
Flight time from the US (San Francisco to Bali — Denpasar): 20 hours and 55 minutes
Average flight price from US (San Francisco to Bali — Denpasar ): From $702 with one stop in Taiwan
Package vacations: From $881 for five nights at a 3-star hotel plus round-trip flight from San Francisco
Top places like Bali not to be missed
When it comes to a budget getaway, Thailand is an exceptional option that offers more than beaches. But of course, it offers some killer beaches.
If you’re planning an urban getaway, hit up Bangkok. Or if culture and history are more your cup of tea, head to the old city area of Chiang Mai to see gleaming Buddhist temples and remnants of the ancient Lanna Kingdom.
Then there’s the island beauty of Koh Samui, Phuket and dozens more secluded tropical getaways dotted around the Gulf of Thailand for those wishing to catch some sun.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Bangkok): 19 hours and 10 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Bangkok): From $368 with one stop in Hong Kong
Some of the best beaches in the Indian Ocean, famous tea plantations and an enviable tropical climate.
Sri Lanka is a total hidden gem — and the largest exporter of tea in the world. Stay hydrated on delicious brew while you hike to its legendary waterfalls, sink your teeth into fresh pineapple and taste its high-quality, locally-grown cinnamon. Temple of the Tooth, located in the town Kandy, is a sacred landmark where the tooth of Buddha is said to be stored.
Flight time from the US (LA to Colombo): 22 hours
Average flight price from US (LA to Colombo ): From $776 with one stop in Qatar
Nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia’s ruggedly beautiful beaches have something for everyone.
While most people may skip the Cambodian coastline for the ancient temples inland, its charming beaches are the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Choose Koh Toch for a vibrant party scene, Sok San for a low-key getaway and Kep for hiking and delicious fresh seafood.
Flight time from US (Los Angeles to Siem Reap): 19 hours and 45 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Siam Reap): From $442 with one stop in Shanghai
The Philippines is made up of around 7,500 islands — making it the second largest archipelago in the world. And only 2,000 are inhabited.
Sitting just north of Indonesia, the Philippines often gets missed for other spots in southeast Asia like Thailand, Bali and Malaysia. But with world-class resorts, friendly locals and nearly unrivaled amounts of natural wonders, it’s a hotspot anyone who loves Bali is sure to fall head-over-heels for.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Manila): 14 hours and 30 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles Manila): From $484 nonstop with Philippine Airlines
There’s much more to India than the Taj Mahal — and there’s no better place to start experiencing it than in this western state along the Arabian Sea.
Blending Indian and Portuguese culture, Goa is famous for its secluded beaches — Agonda Beach and Baga Beach being two of the best. Originally a popular destination for hippies from around the 1960s, Goa is quickly becoming popular with free-spirited travelers from all over the world.
Don’t miss the spice farms if you decide to visit.
Flight time from the US (NYC to Goa): 20 hours and 20 minutes
Average flight price from US (NYC to Goa): From $672 with one stop in Mumbai
Most people think of the inland temples of Bagan when Myanmar is mentioned, but the country also has a gorgeous coastline with standout beaches in Ngapali, the Mergui Archipelago and more.
If you love Bali for its combination of beaches and cultural sites, then Myanmar is one to add to your list. Only about a fifth as many tourists visit annually compared to Bali, so you’re less likely to battle crowds — and more likely to feel like you’ve staged a true escape.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Yangon): 19 hours and 30 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Yangon): From $514 with one stop in Taiwan
Package vacations: From $754 for five nights at a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from LA to Yangon
Keep in mind: Bikinis are generally considered inappropriate by the culture in Myanmar, even at the beach.Find flightsFind hotels
Malaysia offers underrated beach destinations — and four fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Glam it up in a luxurious resort in Penang or Langkawi or find beautiful budget accommodations in a beachfront bungalow along the east coast. The weather is great — it rarely drops below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night — and it’s not overrun by tourists.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur): 21 hours and 25 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur): From $353 with one stop in Shanghai
Astonishing natural beauty and friendly locals are just a few things you should expect from a trip to Vietnam.
The amazing rocky islands of Halong Bay, towering limestone peaks of Ba Be National Park and mystical ancient temples are not to be missed. The coastal city of Da Nang, brimming with French colonial architecture against a backdrop of the majestic Sơn Trà Mountain, was ranked #15 on the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2019 list.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Da Nang): 20 hours and 45 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Da Nang): From $466 with one stop in Taiwan
Just keen on pristine beaches? Check out these destinations:
The definition of tropical, Samoa boasts a landscape of pristine beaches, including Lalomanu Beach on Savai’i — one of the most beautiful in the world.
From swimming and snorkeling to hiking, waterfall spotting or relaxing on one of countless deserted stretches of sand, there’s plenty to fill out your Samoan itinerary. Throw in a warm Polynesian welcome and you’ll soon forget Bali even exists.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Apia): 21 hours and 5 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Apia): From $505 with one stop in Fiji
Find yourself on a secluded romantic island or in a relaxing family resort with a nonstop flight from LA.
Surfing, swimming, diving and snorkeling are all must-dos in Fiji, but it’s the deliciously lax pace of island life that will entice you back. The locals are also unbelievably friendly — you’ll get sore cheeks from all the smiling — so say “Bula” to Fiji for your next getaway.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Nadi): About 10 hours and 40 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles Nadi): From $379 nonstop with Fiji Airways
Start practicing your hula moves now — you’ll need ’em for the luaus and beach bonfires.
Hawaii is a delicious blend of laid-back lazing and exhilarating adventure. If you want to lay by the pool sipping cocktails all day, knock yourself out. But if you want to hire a car and go hiking, kayaking or searching for all the loco moco, poke and shave ice you can eat, there’s more than enough in Hawaii to fill out your travel itinerary.
Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Honolulu): 5 hours and 45 minutes
Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Honolulu): From $189 nonstop with Hawaiian Airlines
If you want to experience the soul of Indonesia, watch the Ramyana ballet and wander through the cosmic Borobudur in Yogyakarta.
Just a one-hour flight from Bali, this tourist hub — affectionately known as Yogya — offers a glimpse into the history and spiritual traditions of central Java. Yogyakarta offers a remarkable blend of old and new, from the important archaeological sites of Prambanan to all the bustle and noise of a major urban center.
Flight time from the US (San Francisco to Yogyakarta): 26 hours and 45 minutes
Average flight price from US (San Francisco to to Yogyakarta): From $635 with one stop in Taiwan and one stop in Jakarta, Indonesia
One of the biggest islands in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago, Batam is one of the region’s fastest growing tourist destinations.
It wasn’t too long ago that Batam was a quiet stretch of gorgeous coastline dotted with sleepy villages. These days you can wile away a week or two in a luxury resort, enjoy the impressive nightlife and explore beautiful beaches.
Flight time from the US (San Francisco to Batam): 24 hours and 20 minutes
Average flight price from US (San Francisco to to Batam): From $653 with two stops in Taiwan and Jakarta, Indonesia
If you’re looking for an alternative to Bali, these places will totally sate your islander cravings. When you’re ready to book, use our flight tool to compare prices and find the most efficient route to paradise.
Frequently asked questions
Bali is technically a province of Indonesia, so the closest country to Bali would be Indonesia. But Indonesia is flanked by Australia to the south, the Philippines to the north, Papua New Guinea to the east and Singapore and Malaysia to the northwest.
For a beach vacation with island vibes and a European twist, check out these places:
La Gomera, Spain
Yes. If you’re looking for a taste of tiny island life but want to stay in the US, we recommend Key West. You’ll find beaches and natural splendor galore — without the double-digit plane ride.
Alex Keshen is the global travel publisher at Finder and has been living, breathing and, of course, writing about all things travel for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and has appeared in Travel Weekly and the Huffington Post. A master of maximising her annual leave and finding the best bargains around, she can’t remember the last time her backpack weighed more than 10kg and is happy to share her tips and tricks to help you travel better.
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