Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeLifestyleAsiaThe 20 Best Surf Camps & Beaches in Asia

The 20 Best Surf Camps & Beaches in Asia

Ah, Asia. The vast landmass home to ancient cultures, bustling markets, frenetic cities, along with stunning beaches with dreamy backdrops. This is part of our world where the old meets new, cultures clashing smoothly, and where temples are just minutes away from skyscrapers at times!

It’s the ultimate backpacker’s haven, while luxury travelers can also have the lavish vacation they deserve. As such a vast continent with a lot to see and do, Asia is one of the most versatile and desired destinations. And it is no secret that it’s especially known for its fantastic beaches and waves.

In fact, many travelers come to Asia for their surf scene, whether beginner or experienced surfer! After all, who wouldn’t want to surf and cool down from the soaring heat and bright sunlight? We didn’t even mention the beautiful coastlines and clear waters!

But being a vast continent, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the many surf spots to hit the waves in. That’s why we created a helpful list of the best surfing beaches in Asia for you, so read on!

The 20 Best Surfing Beaches in Asia

When we think of surfing, we immediately think of Australia, Hawaii, or even California However, Asia is a hot and popular destination for millions, with great spots to surf in. Check out this list of the 22 best surfing beaches on the continent:

Philippines: Baler, Aurora

This is the surfing capital of Luzon, located on the North Island of the Philippines. Baler is around six hours away from the capital city, a quiet and small surfing town with fewer tourists around. Since the majority of tourists in the area are locals, it’s an affordable destination, costing around USD 7-8 an hour for a surfboard, including a surf instructor.

You can head to the beach via bus, and we recommend that you stay in Sabang, where the beach is! You can also head to Poblacion, which is the main town, as the beach is just a 15-minute walk away.

Indonesia: Lagundri Bay, Nias

This area is well known as ‘the best right in the world’. Many surfing competitions take place here yearly, with hundreds of surfers from different parts of the world congregating to watch or join the heats.

Located in Nias, Indonesia, this is an amazing island near Sumatra, making it a getaway from all the crowds and touristy areas. While a bit difficult to head to the area, there aren’t as many people around, with only up to 30 surfers in the waters, never over that. Not to worry about accommodation, as you can find surf camps and hotels on the beach!

The area is suitable for all levels, though lessons are a bit pricier compared to the Philippines, with a surf lesson ranging from $20-30 an hour.

Taiwan: Jialeshui Beach

Taiwanmag, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to what some people might think, it IS possible to surf in Taiwan! While everyone’s headed to Bali, Taiwan is actually a great surfing spot, dubbed as the “Hawaii of the east”, all thanks to the seasonal typhoons.

The surf conditions here are optimal for intermediate to expert surfers, with waves reaching between 3-5 feet, depending on the day’s wind conditions. It costs $50 for surfing lessons, or you can rent a boar for just $15 a day.

Sri Lanka: Mirissa Beach

Photo by Youhana Nassif on Unsplash

When surfing in Sri Lanka, Mirissa Beach is a popular destination. In fact, the town is famous among tourists and for its surfing scene, being one of the best activities to do when in the area.

Unfortunately, there may be some competition with board rentals, but that makes rentals very affordable, being $6 a day. And while you might think it will be crowded, you’ll find room on this huge beach, easily catering to all the surfers visiting the area during the peak season.

One can easily head to Mirissa Beach and stay for vacation, with tons of hotels and restaurants.

Indonesia: Canggu, Bali

Photo by Daniele Salutari on Unsplash

Canggu is one of the most popular surfing spots around Asia, packed with a ton of people, temples, hipster vibes, and awesome waves. It used to be a small fishing village but grew to become the bohemian center that attracts tourists and surfers around the world.

While there may be a lot of surfers, you just need the patience to catch the waves. Also, don’t expect crystal clear water and white sand compared to other parts of Bali. But what we can guarantee is delicious food, chill vibes, and a fun day of surfing.

Sri Lanka: Blue Beach

Weranga Rajapaksha, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Blue Beach is a long and white sand beach that’s surrounded by thick forests of palm trees. It’s in southern Sri Lanka, which is near Nilwella and Dikwella, a small town just between Tangalle and Mirissa.

This is home to a kind fishing community, far different from the typical surfing spots Sri Lanka is known for since they aren’t flocked with tourists. The beach is highly recommended for beginner to intermediate surfers, with the best time to surf between October to April. Expect surfboard rental to be more affordable, being around $2 an hour or $7 a day.

Maldives: Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo Island is famous for its fantastic waves, known for being home to one of the most famous waves- Cokes! This is a reeling right-hander that breaks quickly and hollow across shallow reefs, perfect for professional surfers to practice and have some fun.

High-end intermediate and advanced surfers will love the waves, as it’s a combo of tropical waters, cartable walls, and a fast barrel section that will be quite the workout! Besides this, they are also home to Chickens, a left-hander that’s friendlier than Cokes but can fire at you.

We recommend heading over here from March to May or September to November when the waves are at their best!

Sri Lanka: Arugam Bay

For those who plan to visit and surf in Sri Lanka, you may have heard of Arugam Bay a lot. After all, it’s the surfing capital of Sri Lanka, with the entire town having the chill, surfer vibe. Not only can you find cheap surfboard rentals everywhere here, but also experience the wild nightlife that makes the stay an epic one.

There are various surf spots in Arugam Bay, all suited for various skill levels. For beginners, head over to Peanut Farm or Whiskey Point. For those who are up for big and challenging waves, try Okanda and Pottuvil Point. The best time to visit is from April to October!

Indonesia: Lombok

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Are you looking for world-class waves and no crowds of tourists lined up? Then go to southern Lombok, where you can find a wide range of waves for beginners to advanced surfers!

Beginners can try the beach breaks from the Pantai Selong Belanak, while experts will enjoy the peeling reefs from the coast of Aweum or Mawi. You can charter your own private boat to find hidden breaks, or explore the area by hiking and viewing the magical waterfalls. The best times to visit are in June to November for the big ground swells and favorable wind conditions, with wave heights ranging from 3-5 feet.

Philippines: Siargao

We dub Siargao as the ultimate surfing paradise when in the Philippines! It’s got more than 20 surf breaks and amazing breaks, making it the country’s best surfing destination. Surfers from all over the world visit Siargao to ride the waves, from beginners to professionals!

General Luna is a popular surf break, considered as one of the top 10 waves around the world. Many use this break for surf lessons, a starting point to lesser-known spots to practice your skills.

We recommend visiting here from September to November, with September being Siargao’s annual surfing cup competition.

India: Kovalam

Kovalam is perfect for beginners, found in the state of Kerala nearing the southern tip of India. This area is one of the best in India, where even advanced surfers can enjoy. You can find an artificial reef located near the lighthouse side of the beach, which can bear left-hand barrels with the right tide and over the 5-feet swell. Another benefit of surfing here is the affordability, both for accommodation and surfboard rentals. You can find accommodation for just $7 a night, along with great (and cheap!) dishes.

Sri Lanka: Weligama

Weligama is another one of the easiest areas to surf in! The main surf spot is on a sand break with long waves, so no worries about hitting anything. Plus, the beach itself is amazing, with lots of food, drinks, and surf schools!

You can find schools with sunbeds and cabanas to use for free when you rent boards from them, so you can catch a break after riding those waves. Even during the peak season, you can find a spot for yourself to surf in peace.

Indonesia: Mentawai

Another famous surf destination in Southeast Asia is the Mentawi Islands. It’s home to world-class waves, a 4-hour fast ferry away from the West Coast of Sumatra. Traveling there requires a flight and ferry, but once you’re there, it will be worth the travel!

You have tropical vibes, beautiful views, and the waves are amazing! However, the waves may be better for intermediate to advanced surfers, especially since you can’t rent or hire a board or instructor. You’ll need to bring your own surfboard, but in the end, you’ll enjoy never-ending waves you can check off your bucket list!

Indonesia: Kuta Beach, Bali

Kuta Beach is one of the most popular and lively surf spots located in Bali, with waves rivaling a few of the best beach breaks worldwide. While it may be a bit crowded during peak season, you’ll be able to find a quiet area to yourself when walking toward the end of the beach. You can even find a lot of surf schools here, making it an ideal surf spot for beginners.

Indonesia: Uluwatu Beach, Bali

Uluwatu Beach is the pro surfer’s dream. It’s located deep under a cliff bank, so you’ll find a lot of fast and powerful surfs, barrel waves, left and right rides, beach breaks, along with the long swells! When here, you’ll find a ton of other experienced and pro surfers, usually locals, so you can make new friends and mingle, learning more about surfing.

We recommend visiting between April to August, and not to worry about rentals and equipment, as there is a surf shop around the beach.

Indonesia: God’s Left (Occy’s Left), Sumba Island

One of Asia’s sexiest swells is in Nihi Sumba, Sumba Island. This is an exclusive retreat with sky-high waves, made for the serious pro surfer. It is so exclusive, that the surfing experience is reserved for only a maximum of ten surfers at a time, making the experience a majestic one.

Sumba is a Spice Island, with God’s Left offering left breaking waves that would reel for more than 300 meters, cresting off Nihi Sumba’s outstretched reef.

Thailand: Pansea Beach, Phuket

For an even bigger thrill, the secreted Pansea Beach is a walk away from Surin Beach, a secluded spot that offers some of the best waves in Thailand. It isn’t for novices, as it’s for regular frequency and excellent wave quality, usually with challenging point breaks. You’ll love it for its exclusivity, having 250 meters of sand with barely anyone else around.

Thailand: Bang Tao Beach, Phuket

Bang Tao Beach is one of the most desirable surfing spots in the country, being a luxury destination lined with five-star hotels and luxury resorts. This 5-mile-long beach offers great wind direction and quality beach breaks, having left and ride rides, serious power behind the waves, and good movement in both rising and falling tides.

Vietnam: Nam O Point, Da Nang

Nam O Point is one of the country’s popular surfing spots, offering reliable surf with the southwest winds. Expect great wave quality that’s most suitable for the experienced and confident surfer. The beach break waves are left rides with the chance of dangerous rips, especially during the winter season!

Japan: Izu Shimoda, Shizuoka

Richie Johns, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just 3 hours driva away from Tokyo, Shimoda has numbers of great surfing points such as Shirahama, Tatadohama, Iritahama, and Kisami Ohama. Each beach has its own character – Shirahama is widely poopular among beginner/mid level surfers, while at Tatadohama you see the top local professionals practice.

Tips When Surfing in Asia

Now that you’re familiar with the best surfing beaches in Asia, the next question is: How can you make your experience memorable and successful? These are safety tips and additional insights when planning your trip to Asia:

Things to Remember

As you plan out your surfing trip, do remember these things before booking a flight so you won’t experience huge hassle or disappointment:

  • Consider your surfing level. How good are you a surfer? If you’re a beginner, opt for beaches with smaller waves and a sandy sea bottom, with surf schools to hire instructors.
  • Consider safety, which is important for everyone, especially for beginners. Study the area’s sea bottoms, the waves, and accessibility to medical assistance. You might want to opt for travel insurance as well.
  • What’s your budget like? Quite a few surfers are also concerned with the affordability of where they are staying, particularly accommodation and renting equipment. This all depends on the country you’re heading to, though on average, a day enjoying the waves with an instructor, surfboard, and beach fees can be $7-$30.
  • The area should be accessible enough via car or public transportation. Furthermore, you may want a less touristy spot so you won’t fight for space and waves. Plus, you want your peace while avoiding hitting anyone with your surfboard!

Bargain When You Can

One of the things to plan for is your budget. It’s best to search ahead and look up the cost of instructors and equipment rentals, putting a bit of wriggle room, as prices may vary or change once you’re there. Plus, knowing the average rates can help you know which is a good deal and what you should walk away from.

If you can haggle for the price, take the chance! But if the price is fairly affordable with quality service and products, support locals and pay in full. BUT, if you come across people who charge more than they should walk away.

Get an Instructor

First-time and beginner surfers should get a surf instructor. You never know how the currents will become throughout the day, or how other surfers would control their board.

It’s much better to have someone teach you the basics and to look out for you as well. In case of any accidents, they can provide professional assistance.

Utilize Apps

When in Asia, take advantage of the vacation and go beyond surfing! What’s great about our smartphones is that we have useful apps that help us with traveling and surfing.

Download a weather forecasting app on your phone to learn about the weather and currents so you know what days to surf. Also, check out commuting apps and offline maps to easily travel to your surf destination.

If you’re traveling longer, then download other helpful travel apps that help you find affordable accommodation, food, and even deals on tours!

Pack Sun Protection

As I mentioned, Asia is a fairly hot place, especially during the summer, where you’ll be exposed to the sun a lot. Avoid sunburns, cuts, and rashes by wearing a rash guard when surfing rather than just your swimsuit. Furthermore, you may want to wear ‘surf sunscreen’, which won’t irritate your eyes as it mixes with water while giving you optimum sun protection.

The Best Times to Surf

From May to September, the Southern Ocean will swell the power Bali waves are known for. It’s also a great time to surf when in Uluwatu and Kuta, known as the Isle of the Gods. It’s great to surf during these months in the rest of Southeast Asia, such as Sri Lanka, India, Phuket, and Thailand EXCEPT for Arugam Bay. From October to March, this is when things transition to dry weather. However, this is also the time when typhoons cook on the Pacific side of Asia, making it ideal to wave hunt in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Indonesia is also a great destination at this time, where the groundswells are cooling a bit and when it isn’t as crowded.

Wrapping It Up

No matter what your skill level is, you’ll always find the picturesque beach with fantastic waves in Asia. As long as you know your way around each country and surf safely, you’ll have the time of your life!

I hope that this guide on the best surfing beaches in Asia helped you out! For your next surf escapade, head to Asia and be sure to add a few of these destinations to your bucket list now. Safe travels!

Do you have questions or want to share your surf tips and insights when in any of these areas? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, we appreciate all of your thoughts!

R. Wallace
R. Wallacehttp://www.thedigitalnomad.asia
A digital nomad travelling in Asia and TheDigitalNomad.Asia Editor. Please read my article and I hope you will get inspired to go travelling as a digital nomad. You are welcome to comment and share the article with fellow travelers.

Nomads In Paradise - Connect, Share, Make Friends and Have Fun in Siargao, a small Surfer Island in the Philippines! 
Enter the coupon code "DigitalNomadAsia" at the checkout to get 30% Discount!


Stay Connected


Digital Nomad Guides


Nomad Lifestyle