Water almost as nice, at half the price…

We’ve all seen the dreamy looking pictures of the Maldives. The rows of luxury water bungalows standing above crystal clear waters, infinity pools, soft white sands and endless views of pure uninhibited paradise. Herein lies the problem: when places look this heavenly, everyone wants to go. To avoid the hiked up prices, costly transfers and crazy long flights here are a few other slices of heaven, slightly off the beaten path, which will deliver similar views that’ll wow your Instagram following, without breaking the bank.

Palawan, Philippines

Not only will you get the incredible clear waters and serene beaches, you can enjoy mountains, jungle, limestone cliffs and a vast array of tropical flora, fauna, fish and coral. Say that ten times fast! With daily flights to and from Manila, this blissful island makes for a perfect, relaxing holiday with plenty to keep you entertained whilst you’re there. It’s not cheap, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than the Maldives, and Condé Nast Traveler named it the best island in the world. They know their stuff!

Jervis Bay, Australia

Whiter sand than the Maldives? Australia is already replete with natural beauty, but Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay supposedly boasts the whitest of white sand in the entire world. Yes, the whole entire world. And – it’s only a three hour drive from Sydney! Jervis Bay is a gorgeous escape with a wide range of accommodation options for every budget. You’ll find endless wildlife, including dolphins in the bay! The nearby villages are utterly charming, and provide perfect side trips, just in case you can’t quite stare at the sea “all” day, and hey Sydney is just a drive.

Cayo Largo del Sur, Cuba

At a length of 16 miles and width of 2, this pristine coastline is nothing but immaculate sandy beaches and glistening waters, ideal for anyone aiming for the heavenly island dream. If you’re into diving and snorkeling you can take advantage of the bountiful beauty beneath, with fantastic coral reefs – or just relax by the ocean and enjoy the exotic delights, and perhaps… Cuba Libre’s (that’s rum and coke, just FYI) that surround you.

Sardinia, Italy

The second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea will offer you the Maldivian atmosphere you’ve been waiting for, and perhaps, a whole lot more. Indigenous character is everywhere, as are highly underrated wines from Southern Italy, which accompany the inimitable Italian cooking styles of the region in a way that can only be described as “magnifico”. This is where the A-list park their yachts, and for those forced to sleep on land, there are accommodation options for every budget not far away. You can’t miss Sardinia.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Are you bored of hearing about the crystal waters and sandy beaches yet that make up these swoon worthy destinations? Well, unfortunately, you’re SOL. That means “s**t out of luck”, in case you’re not up on the hip internet lingo. There’s 99 islands off the west coast of Malaysia, and Male ain’t one. Langkawi offers the dreamy beach huts, the white sand and the lush tropical feel that makes a Maldivian iparadise, with prices that are almost twice as nice. It’s a win win.

Have you been to any of these stunning destinations?

Featured image courtesy of the St. Regis Langkawi.