20 Amazing Islands to Live on in Asia

1. Palawan Island, Philippines

Photo of a Beautiful Beach on Palawan Island, Philippines
Photo of Beautiful Beach Palawan Island, Philippines © Maks Karochkin

Palawan Island was rated by National Geographic Traveler as the Best Island Destination in East and Southeast Asia in 2007 and Island Magazine lists it as one of the best 10 islands to live on in the world. One of the things that makes Palawan so attractive is the strict measures in place to preserve the island’s beautiful and diverse environment. The capital, Puerto Princesa is the cleanest city in the Philippines.

2. Koh Samui, Thailand

Photo of Sunset on Koh Samui, Thailand
Photo of Sunset, Koh Samui, Thailand © Chi King

Koh Samui is the third largest island in Thailand and is only an hour plane ride from Bangkok. It has beautiful white sand beaches and coral reefs. A 55 kilometer road around the outer part of the island makes beach hopping easy. Koh Samui’s airport is considered one of the most exotic and beautiful in the world.

3. Okinawa, Japan

Photo of a Beautiful Beach on Okinawa, Japan
Photo of Beach, Okinawa, Japan © raneko

Okinawa is more laid back and relaxed than mainland Japan. It is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands and sits in the East China Sea. It is about 400 miles south of mainland Japan. It has a subtropical climate and beautiful beaches.

4. Gili Islands, Indonesia

The Gili Islands are made up of three islands in the Bali Sea. There are no cars or motorcycles allowed on the islands and most people get around on bicycles. Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands is known for its party scene while the other two are somewhat more sedate.

5. Jeju, South Korea

Photo of The Museum of Sex and Health on Jeju Island, South Korea
Photo of Museum of Sex and Health, Jeju Island, South Korea © benkucinski

Jeju Isalnd is known for many things, including its two sex museums: Love Land and The Museum of Health and Sex. Jeju is often referred to as the Hawaii of South Korea because of Jeju’s beautiful beaches and its popularity with honeymooners. Hallasan, South Korea’s highest mountain sits on Jeju Island. The island is known for its beautiful women divers (Haenyeo) who dive deep into the ocean for shellfish without the use of air tanks or boats.

6. Bali, Indonesia

Photo of Bali, Indonesia
Photo of Bali, Indonesia © shurav

Bali is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has the highest number of visitors in Indonesia and has an extraordinary history and culture.

7. Singapore

Photo of Skypark in Singapore
Photo of Skypark, Singapore © pablo.sanchez

Singapore is cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, subtropical and has four official languages – English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. 40% of Singapore’s population is made up of foreigners.

8. Boracay, Philippines

Boracay was voted to have some of the best tropical beaches in the world in the 1990s by the BMW Tropical Beach Handbook. Several sporting events are held on Boracay every year including The Boracay International Funboard Cup and The Boracay Open Asian Beach Ultimate Tournament (ultimate Frisbee).

9. Penang Island, Malaysia

Photo of Sunrise on Penang Island, Malaysia
Photo of Sunrise, Penang Island, Malaysia © ChR!s H@rR!0t

Penang Island has a lot of historical sites including an old British fort now used as a venue for live entertainment. Penang is famous for its Snake Temple. This temple was built to honor a Chinese monk in the mid 1800s. Legend has it that as soon as the temple was finished being built, green pit vipers mysteriously showed up and have been there ever since. The snakes are supposedly harmless having been drugged by the incense burning at the altar, but have been de-venomed, just incase. Malaya’s Penang Island’s capital, Georgetown, is the oldest British colony in Malaysia.

10. Negros Oriental, Philippines

Photo of a Lake on Negros Oriental, Philippines
Photo of a Lake on Negros Oriental, Philippines © whologwhy

Negros Oriental is located in the southeastern part of Negros Island in the Philippines. In 2007, Island Magazine listed it as one of the best 20 islands to live on in the world. Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental, is a college town with about one fourth of its population made up of university students.

11. Cat Ba, Vietnam

Photo of Sunset over Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
Photo of Sunset, Cat Ba Island, Vietnam © Liblanc

Cat Ba Island sits in Ha Long Bay off Northern Vietnam. Cat Ba’s scenery is dramatic and breathtaking. Most of the island is made up of steep, forest covered limestone hills. About half of the island is designated as a national park. This is to protect its diverse ecosystems. There are subtropical evergreen forests, coastal mangrove forests, lakes, waterfalls, grottos, caves, coral reefs, and much more.

12. Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia

Photo of a Beach on Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia
Photo of Beach, Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia © timparkinson

Pulau Langkawi is one of the 99 islands in the Langkawi archipelago that sits off Malaysia’s west coast. Turquoise waters, jungle covered mountains and a tropical climate make Pulau Langkawi so attractive. The Langkawi islands are duty free.

13. Taiwan

Photo of the Tallest Building in the World (2004) in Taipei, Taiwan
Photo of Tallest Building, Taipei, Taiwan © daymin

Taiwan has it all – big cities, lush mountains, beautiful beaches, preserved national parks and friendly people. Taiwan’s capital, Taipai, held the record for the world’s largest building from 2004 to 2020.

14. Itsukushima Island (Miyajima), Japan

Photo of the Itsukushima Shrine on Itsukushima (Miyajima), Japan
Photo of Itsukushima Shrine, Itsukushima, Japan © Alex Tora

Itsukushima is one of Japan’s most beautiful islands. It’s official name is Itsukushima but is familiarity called Miyajima, which means “Shrine Island”. It is home to the Itsukushima Shrine and its giant torii gate.

15. Phuket, Thailand

Photo of a Beautiful Sunset on Phuket Island, Thailand
Photo of Sunset, Phuket, Thailand © Exdez

Phuket is Thailand’s largest and most popular island. It is connected to the mainland by two bridges. Phuket is international and sophisticated and offers beautiful sunsets, beaches and culture.

16.Lanyu, Taiwan

Lanyu, also called Orchid Island, sits off Taiwan’s southeastern coast. The native people of Lanyu have their own culture and language, different than that of mainland Taiwan. Lanyu’s beauty attracts a large number of tourists.

17. Phú Quốc, Vietnam

Photo of a Beautiful Beach on Phú Quốc, Vietnam
Photo of Beautiful Beach, Phú Quốc, Vietnam © dms_303

Phú Quốc has some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. The island is known for its beauty, its fish sauce, and its black pepper.

18. Cebu Island, Philippines

Photo of Samboan Fall on Cebu Island, Philippines
Photo of Samboan Fall, Cebu Island, Philippines © bortescristian

Cebu Island’s capital city, Cebu City, is the oldest city in the Philippines. The whole island is rich with history and plenty of things to do.

19. Don Khon, Laos

Don Khon is about as laid back of an island as it gets. It has a timeless beauty and is famous in Laos for its cultivation of coconut and bamboo.

20. Hainan Island, China

Photo of a Temple on Hainan Island, China
Photo of Temple, Hainan Island, China © Will Ellis

Hainan Island is China’s southern most province and is located in the South China Sea. Life moves at a slower pace here than on mainland China due to its tropical climate. Haikou, the capital of this province is located at the northeast corner of the Island and is often called “Coconut City”. Hainan Island was once a place where disgraced officials and criminals were sent. Because of that, there is an air of mystery and romance about Hainan Island.

Some of these islands have plenty of jobs for English teachers, while others may require being more resourceful in your search. Have you taught English on any of the Islands or know of any that should be added to the list?