Help me find a tropical paradise!
April 14, 2012 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Travelfilter: Help me find a relaxing tropical paradise to take my ladyfriend to, somewhere relatively close to Japan.

I'm traveling with a friend to Japan in August. The official Red Thoughts consort is coming out to meet me there, and we're going to spend a couple of weeks in Japan, and then she wants to spend a week in a tropical paradise, drinking cocktails, lying on the beach, swimming.

But I don't know where to take her! I've been considering Langkawi, Malaysia, and Phuket, Thailand. Does the hive mind have any better suggestions? Or can you help me decide between the two?

Additional considerations - somewhere relatively close to Japan; we don't want a 22 hour flight to get to the relaxing part. I'd also like to do some scuba diving.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I went scuba diving off Mindoro, Philippines a few years back and it was fantastically gorgeous. The beach where I stayed was OK but I wouldn't want to lie on it as it was mostly white coral and a bit scratchy. Definitely consider the Philippines, though.
posted by troublesome at 7:01 PM on April 14, 2012

Phuket is really nice--there are many islands off the coast that are easy to get to and very low-key/gorgeous. I'm going in May with Mrs. Gurl, even.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:11 AM on April 15, 2012

(There are also direct flights to Phuket from many places in Asia)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:12 AM on April 15, 2012

Best answer: End of August in Phuket is pretty much getting into rainy season territory. We went in early September a few years back, and the beaches were closed due to riptides the entire time we were there. On the other hand, accommodations were dirt cheap (resort hotel opposite the beach, plus flight, was something below ¥120000 for a week long stay for the two of us). Unfortunately, that was the end of the cheapness. Phuket, food and entertainment-wise was probably the most expensive place I've been outside of Japan. I was probably doing it wrong, but it wasn't cheap.

I say this to everyone, but Bali is awesome. It's a bit of a haul (8 hours) from Japan, but it's worth it. Easy to find hotel rooms for between ¥2500-3000 a night, great food, beautiful place, good beaches.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:06 AM on April 15, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Bali. A fantastic place, great people, beautiful scenery. You can go to great beaches and then into a place like Ubud for a day for crafts, culture, etc. So worth another couple of extra hours in a plane.

Koh Samui in Thailand was also quite beautiful when I was there 10+ years ago. The beaches were fantastic. I'm sure it's much more developed now. Friends have been to Borokai (sp?) in the Philippines and said that it was the only place they'd ever been that looked just like the travel photos.

We went to Langkawi for a few days and it was a nice place, but not my favorite. The beaches were fine, but the island was pretty large and things were spread out, so it seemed like a lot of time in the car. I'm glad we went, but I don't think I'd go back.
posted by hawkeye at 4:30 AM on April 15, 2012

Jeju-do! Well, Korea, especially southern Korea. It's a 3-hour high-speed ferry, or a fairly cheap plane. The island is very tourist friendly, while southern Korea offers plenty of variety. My blog (on traveling Korea) is in my profile, and may have some ideas for you.
posted by chrisinseoul at 6:03 AM on April 15, 2012

Have you considered Okinawa?

I really enjoyed my visit to Saipan, but was less impressed by Guam.
posted by Runes at 6:20 AM on April 15, 2012

Koh Samui is good, but unfortunately the diving that I did there was crap. Awful visibility.

I love recommending the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. Very undeveloped, just beach and bungalows and perfect white sand. You'd have to take Air Asia to Kota Bharu (sp?) and catch a small boat from there. I loved it so much the first time I went that I returned the next summer. It's also where I did my PADI certification and the diving was great. A few good wrecks.
posted by fso at 7:09 AM on April 15, 2012

I would not recommend Jeju Island, Korea, over the truly spectacular destinations recommended elsewhere in this thread.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:52 PM on April 15, 2012

The of August in this region seems like it would be exceedingly hot, and, if not hot, filled with typhoons.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:35 AM on April 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks guys. We're going to Bali! Ubud looks pretty and the diving sounds promising.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:38 PM on April 22, 2012

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