For amateur surfers and experts alike, the warm waters, diverse geography, perfect breaks, balmy weather, and delicious cuisines of Asia can be an incredibly attractive combination. After all, if you look hard enough, you’re sure to find a surf spot in Asia for every type of surfer!
Boasting a total surface area of 44.58 million square kilometers, Asia is the largest continent on earth. As a result, there are several thousand miles of coastline that offer everything from mellow, rolling waves to shallow reefs forming hardcore barrel sections. Surfers can practice their technique on A-frames or cruise along the reliable, rolling waves on coconut-sprinkled beaches.
In general, almost nothing that you could find on the glossy pages of your favorite surfing magazine would be beyond your reach in Asia. Soft, white sands; endless rows of coconut and palm trees; amazing weather and perfect waves are all par for the course at the most popular surfing destinations there.
Most importantly, due to the humongous size of the continent, it is always surfing season somewhere in Asia. So, no matter when you’re planning your vacation, you’ll find more than a few attractive surfing destinations to choose from. And as large sections of Asia are still developing, most places remain quite affordable, particularly if you can steer clear of the famous tourist zones.
Best Places to Surf in Asia
If you’re planning a surfing vacation in Asia, then you should learn about some of the most amazing and unique destinations that you absolutely need to visit during your trip.
Situated at the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula in Bali, Indonesia, Uluwatu is one of the most popular surfing destinations in Asia. It is located under a gorgeous 11th-century Hindu temple that draws tourists from around the world. Uluwatu gets incredible 2-to-10 foot waves that are an absolute delight for experienced surfers.
Subdivided into five distinct sections or surf breaks, Uluwatu offers great variety and charm to visiting surfers. The large swells and low tides create the perfect conditions for a thrilling and exciting bout of surfing. The best time for surfing in Uluwatu is between the months of April and August.
2. Arguam Bay
Sri Lanka, home to the incredible Arguam Bay, is slowly but surely establishing itself as one of the most desirable surfing destinations in Asia. Soft waves, solitary beaches lined with palm trees, incredible curries, and lush right-hand point breaks draw surfers from around the world to this relatively unknown seaside paradise.
There is a wide range of factors – including sharp reefs and tall waves – that can provide a challenge to experienced surfers planning to visit this part of the world. However, the light swells at nearby Weligama can also provide the perfect location for beginners to practice their moves in absolute safety.
This is one of the most popular surf spots in the Philippines, having singlehandedly placed the country on the global surf map. Facing the Pacific Ocean, it offers a range of exciting breaks for the enjoyment of big-wave chasers and adrenaline junkies. On the other hand, there are many surf schools on Siargao Island where newbies can slowly and safely find their stride.
The locals are very friendly, with fishermen and vendors always happy to show visiting surfers some little-known peaks over the surrounding coral reefs. January and February are the best months for surfing in Siargao, which still has a relatively low profile internationally and is therefore not (yet) overrun with tourists.
This is the best surfing destination in Asia for those who want a taste of luxury along with the excitement of water-sports. Maldives also offers some more unique opportunities to surfing enthusiasts, such as the chance to live aboard a surf charter vessel for a few days or a week. Alternatively, you could go for resort-based surfing, if you want the more luxurious and relaxing option.
If you want to go on a vacation with your friends and family, then a resort-based surfing holiday in the Maldives might be your best option. This is because the luxurious surfing resorts in the area will provide numerous amenities and entertainment options for the non-surfers in your crowd, while you get direct access to the best breaks in the area through charter surfing.
5. Nha Trang
Pristine, white-sand beaches; dry, warm winters; and picture-perfect swells are some of the factors that have brought Vietnam’s Nha Trang to the attention of surfing enthusiasts around the world. The conditions are ideal for beginners and intermediate level surfers, making this seaside resort town the perfect choice for recreational surfers, who are looking to have a fun and relaxing vacation with their friends and family.
The Surfing Shack on Bai Dai beach in Nha Trang offers surfing instruction in English, along with a well-stocked bar and excellent seafood restaurant. Besides surfing, however, visitors can also participate in other exciting water sports such as scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and kite-surfing. The best time to visit this area is between October and April.
6. Kalim Beach
This is widely regarded as one of the best surf breaks in Phuket, Thailand. It offers many exciting surf camps, gentle swells, and amazingly rideable waves further away from the shoreline. This right-hand reef break, with an occasional left, can be a little crowded during the tourist season. However, both the locals and visitors are always infallibly friendly and helpful.
By paddling out directly in front of the break and swerving to the left near the breaking waves, you’ll be able to get the waves to yourself even when there are many others surfing with you. For the best and most memorable experience, you should consider visiting Kalim Beach between April and November.
Equipment for a Surfing Trip to Asia
Now that you know about some of the most popular and unique surfing points in Asia, you should start preparing for your trip by investing in a set of high-quality surfboards, paddles, leashes, and other relevant equipment. Durable and sturdy surfing gear will allow you to enjoy your vacation to the fullest, while remaining safe and comfortable at all times.
And while you’re at it, you can also purchase the equipment of some other exciting water sports to try in Asia, including stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and scuba diving. You can visit this blog for more guide about buying your first paddleboard.
Depending on where you’re going, you might have to carry your own equipment or buy it after you’ve reached your destination. For the best results, you should purchase your paddleboard, pump, leash, and other gear from a reputed and trusted manufacturer of watersports equipment.