Southeast Asia’s most famous archipelagic nation was voted to the top spot by readers in our annual “World’s Best Awards” survey for 2023.
Palm-fringed beaches; turquoise waters; powdery soft sand: Travel + Leisure readers were eager to share their opinions on Asia’s idyllic islands. These sun-kissed destinations not only offer laid-back and luxurious digs in some of the world’s most gorgeous resorts (we love an overwater villa), but also access to the culture and history of their home countries.
How Voting Works
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).
Islands were specifically rated on the criteria below:
For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.
What Readers Loved
It’s no surprise that two of Thailand’s islands — Phuket (No. 3) and Koh Samui (No. 4) — are among this year’s winners as returning honorees. Holding strong to the No. 2 spots, like last year, Bali is a longstanding favorite for its rich culture, evidenced in the more than 20,000 Hindu temples, and its natural beauty, bursting with serene views of beaches, volcanoes, and rice fields. The accolades were poured in with comments, such as “there are so many gorgeous spots on Bali,” from one fan. Another appreciated its “spiritual atmosphere.” And if it’s revelry you’re after, another reader praised the nightlife scene, too, saying, “Bali is such an amazing place, with beach clubs, great bars and amazing going-out options — the prices are great as well.”
The top honor goes to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. What makes this far flung archipelago the winner? Read on to find out more.
A nation of islands (1,192 to be precise), the Maldives is one of the most beautiful and delicate ecosystems in the world, accounting for five percent of our planet’s reefs. Luxury resorts dot the country’s atolls, ring-shaped islands centered around lagoons, where travelers can try water sports from scuba diving and snorkeling to surfing and canoeing. Culturally, this “dream destination, with superb hospitality,” according to one reader, presents a fluid mix of influences from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent, and it’s an easy stopping point from Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian hubs like dubai.
“The Maldives, with its lagoons and reefs, is heaven on earth.”
The Full List
Reader Score: 95.68
2. Bali, Indonesia
WBA Hall of Fame honorees.
Reader Score: 94.40
3. Phuket, Thailand
Reader Score: 94.21
4. Koh Samui, Thailand
Reader Score: 93.89
5. Langkawi, Malaysia
Reader Score: 93.65
For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.