18 of the Best Surfing Locations in Asia
Asia; a vast landmass which is home to frenetic cities, bustling markets, ancient cultures and beautiful beaches with dreamlike backdrops. A world where old meets new, where cultures clash and where temples meet skyscrapers. As much as the region could be considered a backpacker’s heaven, there are plenty of spots for the most discerning and luxury traveller, and amongst the other sub-regions of the vast continent, Asia is a most desired destination.
For many travellers, most of Asia offers the perfect helpings of city, culture and beach. From the soaring heat and bright lights of bustling capitals to the soft sight of fishing boats pulled up on a white sandy beach, Asia certainly contradicts – and the beautiful coastlines don’t disappoint. But what about those who are trying to hunt down the best countries to go surfing? Surf in Asia may not have the epic point breaks of the Gold Coast or the ocean swell of Waikiki, but it does have some excellent surf spots which are definitely worth checking out... Read on to discover 18 of the best surfing spots in Asia...
1). Kuta Beach, Bali
Whilst surfing in Southeast Asia may not compare to Australia’s Gold Coast or Oahu in Hawaii, Indonesia sure can hold its own. In fact, its beaches are amongst the best surfing locations in the world, putting Indonesia on the map for serious surfers. Kuta Beach is one of the most popular surf spots in Bali and the waves here rival some of the best beach breaks on the planet. Kuta Beach is a lively hotspot so it can get a little crowded at times but walk to the end of the beach and you should be able to find a quiet area. Surf schools are also abundant so Kuta is the ideal spot to learn to surf.
Another fantastic beach in Bali but this time it’s geared more towards the pro surfer. Uluwatu Beach is located deep under a cliff bank so you can expect fast, powerful surfs; barrel waves, long swell, beach breaks, left rides and right rides. If you visit this beach, you will be in the midst of other pro and experienced surfers, many of which are from the local area, making it the ideal place to mingle with the Indonesian beach bums. The best surf months are from April to August, and there’s a surf shop nearby in case you forget to pack anything vital.
Other than the great surf, Uluwatu is a location for a stunning panoramic view, sunsets and photo opportunities, and a quiet retreat away from other busy tourist beaches. A lesser known area than the popular Kutu Beach, Uluwatu is a real treasure away from the rest of the holidaymakers.
3). Plengkung Beach, Grajagan bay, East Java
Plengkung Beach, otherwise known as “G-Land” is a renowned surf break in Grajagan bay, East Java. It’s truly one of the most incredible surfing spots in the world and one which should not be overlooked if you’re serious about water sports. The combination of raw natural landscapes and the large swells of the Indian Ocean makes G-Land one of the most magical surf locations on the planet. Challenge yourself to the world-class barrelling left rides along the eastern bay or go further down to ride the smaller waves (“Chickens”, “20/20” or “Tiger Tracks”) which have been famously named by the American surfers who discovered the bay back in 1972.
4). God’s Left, Sumba Island
For Asia’s sexiest swells, head to Nihi Sumba on Sumba Island, an extremely exclusive retreat with fabled sky-high waves for serious surfers. A 90-minute flight from Bali, Sumba is a Spice Island first mentioned in the 16th century by a travelling companion of Magellan. ‘God’s Left’ has left breaking waves which reel for over 300 metres and crest off Nihi Sumba's outstretched reef, reserved for a maximum of ten surfers at a time making that surfing experience all the more special.
5). Desert Point, Lombok Island
If you’re after an off-the-beaten path adventure, Lombok could be your dream surf hotspot. Known for having the ultimate secret surf point, this is no place for the timid. The Desert Point is notorious secret surf point (that can break up to 300 metres on a very low left hander) and may need to be reached by boat to get the wave’s point. For the ultimate Indonesian surfing holiday, combine Lombok with Kuta Beach.
6). Weligama Beach, Weligama
Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to try surfing for the first time or to brush up on the basics. Weligama, on the most southern tip of Sri Lanka, has great surfing all year round and is one of the best spots for beginners. The long, wide, sweeping beach is dotted with colourful fishing boats, and the consistent swells and sand breaks create a steady stream of gentle break beach waves. Weligama directly translates to ‘Sandy Village’, and so when not surfing, enjoy the laid back beach town life and the energetic buzz of local activity.
7). Unawatuna Beach, Galle
Like Weligama, Unawatuna is another popular surfing spot, and it’s particularly attractive for families. The busy stretch of beach is bustling with sandy walks, private villas and little food huts, and the active night life brings Unawatuna to life. The waves are a fantastic beginner level, rarely exceeding 4 feet so great to learn to surf, and kite surfing has also become popular in this location, as well as diving and snorkelling. The swell on the beach is not always that reliable, but the local surf dudes always know where the good swells are, so follow their lead!
8). Arugam Bay, Pottuvil
Arugam Bay is often described as how Kuta Beach in Bali once was 30 years ago and has some of the best surf spots on the southeast coast. Located on the northern reaches of Yala National Park, Arugam Bay is extremely beautiful and incredibly traveller friendly, and is the perfect place to spot elephants, wild boar, water buffalo and exotic birds. The moon-shaped bay sports a cool surfer vibe with a host of beach side cafes and food shacks. And of course, the waves are as good as ever; Elephant Rock and Baby Point are perfect surf spots for beginners, whilst Main Point, Pottuvil and Whisky Point are better locations for more advanced surfers.
9). Pansea Beach, Phuket
If you’re looking for a bigger thrill during your stay in Thailand, why not head to the secreted Pansea Beach located just a short walk away from Surin Beach. This secluded little spot may be a surprising surf location, but has some of the best surfing in Thailand and you’ll soon realise that it’s no place for a novice. With regular frequency, good wave quality and challenging point breaks, Pansea Beach is the perfect surf beach for experienced surfers. And with just a 250 metre stretch of sand but barely anyone else to share it with, it really is a little piece of paradise.
10). Bang Tao Beach, Phuket
Quite possibly the most desirable surfing spot in Thailand, Bang Tao Beach is a luxury destination. Lined with luxury resorts and five-star hotels, this 5-mile-long beach has good wind direction and good quality beach-break with both left and ride rides, great movement in rising and falling tides, and some serious power behind waves.
11). Bai Dai Beach, Nha Trang
Rub shoulders with the rich and famous at Nha Trang’s finest beach resort, Bai Dai Beach. This is the playground of Vietnam’s most glamorous – so if you’re looking for a stylish destination with a young, hip crowd, this is the perfect place for surfing in Vietnam. You can rent a wide range of boards from The Shack Surf School, with prices starting at just $10 for 1 hour. Beginners can also get private surfing lessons with English-speaking instructors for $25 an hour. And if you’re a little surf-shy, don’t worry – Bai Dai is the longest stretch of beach in Vietnam so there will be plenty of quiet areas for you to practice.
12). Nam O Point, Da Nang
One of Vietnam’s most popular surfing spot, this exposed beach in the major port of Da Nang has a reliable surf with southwest winds. The wave quality is good, and the level is most suited to experienced and confident surfers. The beach-break waves favour left rides and there’s always the menace of dangerous rips. For the ultimate surfing thrill, the best time to surf here is in the winter. Da Nang itself is an up and coming area and today you will find the riverfront dotted with slick hotels, bars and restaurants. Not only is it a great place to surf in Vietnam, it’s definitely a must-visit area and a great base for exploring other parts of Vietnam, such as China Beach or the Marble Mountains.
13). Vung Tau Beach Club, Vung Tau
If you’re looking for the party beach, Vung Tau Beach Club, just south of Saigon, is where you want to be. Dedicated to two things, surfing and great parties, Vung Tau is a honeypot for the young and stylish. This is a serious surf destination and has long been the chosen surf beach for holidaymakers and backpackers alike. The beach-break waves are powerful and fun, and the water is suitable for all levels.
Cambodia isn’t particularly well known for its beaches, unlike neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam; it’s famed more for its bustling cities, ancient temples and tragic past. But if you’re looking for a little piece of Cambodian paradise, head to Koh Russey where tropical views will greet you and soft white sands caress your feet. Just a 10-minute boat ride from the coast, this island is a secluded and laid back place which is perfect for surfing and water sports. For the best surf in Cambodia, go in the rainy season between June and October to get the best waves from the monsoon swells. When you’re off the surfboard, spend the rest of the time bathing and mingling with the island locals.
15). Kuda Huraa, North Male Atoll
Kuda Huraa is one of the many islands within the island nation of Maldives. Consisting of a double chain of 26 atolls, the Maldives is a serious beach lover’s paradise. It’s long been cited as one of the most lavish and exclusive destinations for honeymooners, and it’s easy to see why. Very few places on earth get closer to the definition of ‘paradise’ and if you’re looking for both romance and surf, Kuda Huraa is the perfect resort. The breaker quality here is out of this world, with long rides and reef-coral waves making it an exciting challenge for intermediates. The best tidal positions are low to mid tide and you’ll get a good long wave (somewhere up to 500 metres).
16). Dhigu Island, South Male Atoll
Compared to the North Male Atoll, the South Male Atoll typically has shorter rides, although there is still some great surfing to be enjoyed. Dhigu Island is privately leased to Anantara and makes for an excellent family surfing holiday. The hotel operates a surf centre where all abilities are welcome, and depending on your level the expert guides will take a Dhoni boat to various surf breaks. When not out enjoying the surf, it’s a great place to relax and the almost-untouched scenery is outstanding.
17). White Beach, Okinawa
With one of the only sandbars in the region, White Beach is a popular surf spot for adrenaline-loving locals and it’s a sure promise that it will be bustling with both surfers and sun-bathers at weekends. So if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere and somewhere that’s family friendly, head to White Beach for a day. For surfers, the waves at White Beach are fun and suitable for all levels, making it the ideal nursery surf for beginners. Many newbie surfers like to get their practice in here before making a move to the bigger reef breaks nearby.
18). Veedol Beach, Tohoku
Japan's Veedol Beach in the northeast Tohoku region is a quirky surfing spot, but it’s one that’s welcoming and friendly to all levels. Beginners will find it to be challenging whilst experienced surfers may find it to be a fun but comfortable ride. The waves are especially good just before or after a typhoon and once in a while when the waves are in your favour, you can really pick up some speed. Tohoku itself is a fantastic region to explore, one which has a lot of different attractions. Discover the nearby traditional Japanese architecture (such as Hirosaki Castle) or take a hike in the beautiful natural surroundings (the Akiu Otaki Waterfall trail) and wonderful hot springs.
If you would like to book a bespoke holiday to any of these destinations, do contact us. We have a wide variety of luxury travel options and surfing holidays in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Maldives, Japan and many other destinations across Asia. We can also recommend surfing in Malaysia and La Union in the Philippines; do contact us for more information.
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