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.

a boat on a beach

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!

a tree next to a body of waterJervis 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.

a beach with a chair and umbrellaCayo 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.

a beach with chairs and umbrellasSardinia, 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.

a palm tree and lounge chairs on a beachLangkawi, 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.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Thank you for the article. I feel there would’ve been greater value in this blog piece if you would’ve recommended estanlishements at these places that are bookable by points. I do appreciate the inspiration you’re painting, but a Google search of “inexpensive beautiful beaches” would’ve likely returned a similar article. However, I doubt there’s many (if any) articles that go into the ways you can stay in these places using points.

    I’m not intending to be negative here, just my $0.02.

  2. Just been to the Maldives and it is like heaven,just a point it wasn’t that expensive no more expensive than Mauritius 😎😎

  3. Having been to Palawan and Maldives in the last 5 months I would disagree that they are the same or even close to being similar.
    I’d recommend both places but with Maldives you must structure it so you can use hotel points and not pay $1000s a night. Maldives is pure luxury, secluded beaches , bioluminus, awesome water plane.
    Palawan is more budget accommodations, few five stars but no chain hotels (aka no points to redeem…only one best western on the whole island). It’s more rugged, hiden, intriguing, and just amazing…views and boat trips especially from El Nido city are so worth it.
    I would say Palawan is more adventure and Maldives is more relaxation/luxury.

  4. Have been to Langkawi twice and will be going for a third time soon, yes it is beautiful with white sand and beach huts but I can tell you that the water there is a lovely shade of green and nowhere near the colour of the Maldives crystal clear blue water.

  5. The Maldives has always been a dream destination of mine. And it is true that sometimes we get caught up with a name when there are so many similar locations for a fraction of the price. I’d definitely consider visiting the others, as long as I can find an above water bungalow.

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