When asked to name the best surfing spots in Southeast Asia, most people will immediately think of breaks in Bali. Although this is one of the best places to surf in Southeast Asia, there are other breaks that are worth paddling out for. From world class waves in Siargao, Philippines to softer easier breaks in Phuket, Thailand. This article showcases the best surf spots in Southeast Asia so you can get planning and paddling.
Surfing in the Philippines
The Philippines is often skipped by people traveling around Southeast Asia, which is a huge shame. The country consists of 7,107 islands, hundreds of unspoilt beaches and surf that will make you feel like it’s Christmas day! The number one surf spot in the Philippines with world class waves, is located in Siargao. Their most famous break is dubbed as Cloud 9 and is well known for it’s thick hollow tube waves unless you have some experience think before you paddle out into it. The break is home to the the annual Siargao Cup and other international/domestic surfing competitions. You can get pretty cheap flights from Bangok to Manila for those exploring the more common areas of Southeast Asia, so a trip to the Philippines is definitely worth it.
Best Surfing Spots: Siargao, La Union, Baler, Zambales
Resources: The Complete Guide to Traveling Around the Philippines
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Surfing in the Indonesia
Indonesia is home to some of the best surf in the world. With hot spots being Bali and the Mentawai Islands, there is literally every type of break available. People travel from everywhere to experience the swells at Uluwatu and the long tube rides at Padang Padang. Boat trips to the Mentawai Islands are becoming more and more popular, due to the perfect secluded beaches with world class waves (not to mention the snorkelling and scuba diving)
Best surfing spots: Uluwatu Beach, Padang Padang, Medewi, Green Bowl, Keramas, Balangan, Impossibles, Suluban, Nusa Dua, Canggu, Kuta Lombok, Mentawai Islands (Bankvaults, Lance’s Left and Lance’s Right)
Resources: Check out our article on The 10 Best Surf Spots in Bali
Surfing in Thailand and Vietnam
Surfing in Thailand and Vietnam.. No way, I hear you say. Well you will be surprised to know that there are a few spots worth trying out. I mean the surf doesn’t compare to Bali or Siargao but if you find yourself in either of these countries and have the urge to surf, it can be done. Nha Trang in Vietnam is home to a decent break in some months and Karon beach in Phuket, Thailand, is noted as probably the best surf in Thailand. Again don’t expect much when paddling out here but some waves are better than no waves…right?
Best surfing spots: Nha Trang, Vietnam. Karon Phuket, Thailand
Read: 10 Crazy Extreme Adventures in Thailand | Things to do in Phuket
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Surfing in Cambodia
Okay so the surf in Cambodia isn’t great but if are around there you can check out Bamboo Island, which is about a 25-30 minute boat ride from Sihanoukville. If you are going, try to go in the rainy season (June – October) for the monsoon swells. Otherwise, the beach break more often than not, doesn’t work.
Best surfing spot: Bamboo Island off of Sihanoukville
Surfing in the Rest of Southeast Asia
There is surf in Malaysia around Cherating Pahang and over at East Timor. Pantai Tungku in Brunei has lefts and right but is often not on. If in Brunei try to surf during cyclone season because even when the spot is working well, it is likely to be very quiet. These places are not as well known or in most cases not as good, but worth noting.
Southeast Asia doesn’t just showcase a range of culture, food and scenery but as discussed above, it’s also home to some of the best surf in the world. If you are heading here for a “gap year”, quick holiday or just passing through, grab a surfboard and paddle out. However if you are new to the world of surfing check out our beginner’s guide to surfing to get all the basics pat down. Surfs up brah!