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Everyone looks forward to the weekend, though more so if you have the chance to explore a new destination. And if you’re based in Asia you’re in luck; a patchwork of incredible countries, islands, and cultures, you have a whole continent at your doorstep, and hundreds of destinations which you choose from from for a quick weekend break.

Keep in mind that even if you’re only traveling for the weekend, you should always organize affordable travel insuranceEven if you’re taking a ‘relaxing’ trip, unfortunate incidents can still occur, no matter what you’re doing or how long you plan to spend away. 

Cebu, Philippines

This vacation destination boasts shopping, beach bumming, and a truly cultural destination in one fantastic location. Go to the southern tip of Cebu to feed your sea-loving self with whale watching in Oslob (here’s how to get to Oslob), beach bumming at the pristine sand beaches of Bantayan, and fantastic dive sites at Malapascua.

Found just 30 kilometers away from the city center is Mount Cantabaco where you can challenge yourself by trying out rock climbing and bouldering. Visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and Mactan Island to visit cultural sites and architecture harking back to the Spanish colonial period. Whatever you’re into, Cebu surely has something to surprise you.

Swim with Whale Sharks Philippines

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Phu Quoc Island is located off in the Gulf of Thailand, which is still part of Vietnam, and it’s situated off the coast of Cambodia too. It’s a fantastic tropical getaway that’s filled with some of the whitest beaches in the world. It also boasts luxury resorts and palm tree-lined coastlines surrounded by crystal-clear sea.

There are already a few resorts here, but still many parts of the island are untouched by mass tourism. The best time to visit here is now if you want to get a glimpse of one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam before the island gets overrun by holidaymakers. However, rest assured that around half of the island is protected as a national park.

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

The Phi Phi Islands make some of the most famous of all South-east Asian beach getaways. It is located amidst the larger island of Phuket and the west coast of Thailand. These islands are the best assets in the magnificent collection of Thai tropical islands.

One of the islands here, Ko Phi Phi Leh, is where the famous movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. This is a highly laid-back archipelago that’s home to the spectacular natural backdrop, hidden beaches and lush jungle.

Phang Nga Bay

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

This haven is home to some of the finest beaches in Malaysia, and even when compared to some other coastal areas in Southeast Asia. The beaches are relatively undeveloped and unspoilt. This group of coral reef-fringed, tropical islands is perhaps the perfect place to get away from it all for the weekend.

The islands itself are exclusively powered by generators, there are almost no cars, and the roads are still fairly rough and untamed. Regardless, tourism is the primary economic driver here. There is a lot of room for opening new businesses in this field and taking advantage of the local opportunities. Perhentian Islands are one of the most rustic and tranquil weekend getaways you can have in Southeast Asia.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Whale sharks by Janey



  1. I haven’t heard of most of these! Now it seems like I’ll spend the better part of the morning researching them :-) Thanks for fueling ma wanderlust!

    • Glad we could inject some wanderlust into your weekend!

  2. Oh I wish this is what my quick getaway options looked like! All of them look and sound so dreamy especially Cebu as I looooove the idea of going whale watching

    • Right! People who live in Asia are so lucky to have all of this on their doorstep! :)

  3. I’d love to see the Phi Phi Islands or swim with the whale sharks in the Philippines. It would be convenient to live where all of these countries are so close! That’s kind of how much of Europe is, too. But, alas, I live in California (not exactly complaining, though) where it takes an entire day of driving just to get out of the state. I am close to Mexico but not the most desirable part.

    • I know, I’m in Australia, which is quite isolated from everywhere – have always been jealous of those with Asia and Europe on their doorstep!

      Could always plan an extended trip in these regions though and take advantage of there being a lot to explore in a condenses space :)

  4. I have been researching into a few of these for my upcoming trip to South East Asia. Cebu is a sure hit for us and I would love to go to Phi Phi islands too! Thanks for the information, it makes decision making way easier when we are picking where to go

    • Glad we could help :) Have an incredible time in SE Asia Natasha! Happy travels :)

  5. I’ve heard so much about Cebu. And swimming with whale sharks there would be amazing. I swam with whale sharks in La Paz, Mexico but the water was pretty murky making it hard to capture good photos/video footage. Tropical clear waters would be much better!

    • Sorry to hear that the water was too murky in Mexico to get good whale shots. The water in Cebu is very clear – you should be able to get awesome photography there :D

      Happy travels!

  6. These are really nice and unique suggestions, different than the islands one typically reads about. Had no idea Phu Quoc was part of Vietnam and that it has some of the whitest sands. Wish we had known that when we were there. Great inclusion with Cebu. I’d add to make sure to sample “lechon” the local specialty. Reading this makes me want to get on the road again…soon!

    • Glad we could offer some new ideas to what you’re used to hearing about :) Yes, a lot of people think Phu Quoc is part of Thailand when they read that it’s in the Gulf, but it’s part of Vietnam … incredible white sands!! Just means you have an excuse to plan a return :D

      Thanks for the tip on sampling lechon while in Cebu – maybe we’ll bump into you again on the road soon!

    • Pure white sand in so clear water. However, don’t miss the plantation of black peppers (best in Vietnam) and a great trekking across rain forest on the island

    • Oooh thanks for the tip!

  7. I heard the beaches in Malaysia are beautiful! I will have to check them out. Also, Cebu must be magical too! Wow, so many places in this world to visit! Thanks for suggesting some bathing suits for the trip. I didn’t realize Amazon has such great pieces!

    • You can get some really great swimwear on Amazon – the fashion section is great! Glad we could help out with some beach suggestions as well as beachwear :) Happy travels Barb!

  8. We considered hopping over to Phi Phi and Perhentian islands when in Thailand and Malaysia, ended up not going. Other islands to visit, I suppose. And our time wasn’t organized around the work week/weekend (though of course you can visit these any time).

    On a technical note, I’ve been seeing more and more blogs feature 2 or more photos to pin rather than just one. A good tip (and interesting A/B test) for when I finally get on Pinterest. Thanks!

    • Definitely a lot of options in the area, just means you have many more trips to come :D

      Yes, Pinterest is one of our highest referrers for social media traffic to the blog, so I optimize each post with two photos to make it easy for people to share should they choose to. Glad we could help!

  9. These are really unique ideas for seeing some of the lesser-known tropical paradises in Asia. I hadn’t heard of any of these places before, but they sound divine. I love that the Perhentian Islands is powered by generators and has few cars–talk about the ultimate getaway from the hustle and bustle.

    • Thanks Heather :) Trying to make suggestions for people which are further off the beaten path than they’re used to … glad we could introduce you to a couple of new destinations!

      Sounds like you would love the Perhentian Islands – hope you have the chance to travel soon :)

  10. The idea of getting away to an exotic island during the weekend, away from the maddening crowd, is something which must haunt everyone during the busy week. These are really some amazing places to get lost in! My personal favourite here is Phi Phi island. However, the Philippines offers a huge range of islands, many of them unknown and untouched where one can have a really secluded experience.

    • Yes, if you have to be stuck in the 9-5, being based in Asia is a pretty good consolation come the weekend :) You’re right that the Philippines has so many islands to choose from – some 1700 or something like that!

      Happy travels Sandy & Vyjay :)

  11. These are really great destinations. If you guys are looking for a beach destination in Indonesia besides Bali, consider Bintan island. It’s a 1-hour ferry ride away from Singapore and almost all the beach resorts have pristine private beaches.

    Most travellers from Singapore go to bintan for a short 2-day getaway. They go on Saturday morning and return on Sunday evening. Great short getaway!

    • Thanks for the tip on Bintan island Andri, I’ll make a note for the next time we find ourselves in Singapore – thanks!

  12. JPARK -Cebu is amazing resort for kids, it includes, water park, playground, beach with clear water, many restaurants and more…

    • Thanks for the tip! Will have to check it out when I have the chance to travel back to the Philippines – sounds great!

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