Datai Bay, Malaysia

If you’re searching for an exotic, magnificent, beach vacation try Datai Bay on the northern coast of Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia. Steenie Harvey, a writer for Escape From America, shares her beach adventure in her article; In search of the perfect beach on the coast of the Andaman sea.

“Although the perfect beach is something of a tourism cliché, Datai Bay, on the north coast of Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia deserves every accolade. Sprinkled with tiny exotic seashells, the sands here really are talcum-powder white. Go out in the early morning, and you can spend ages marveling at the extraordinary patterns the spider crabs have made.

The mesmerizing seascapes make it a battle to even pick up a novel let alone do anything resembling work. On the horizon, jungle-clad limestone formations look like a scroll painting. Your eyes are constantly drawn to the bobbing little boats of anchovy fishermen and sea eagles riding the ocean thermals.

Idling in paradise isn’t the only option, though. The island has three top-class golf courses and three yacht clubs; you can visit the mangroves and go jungle-trekking; explore bat caves and the coral wonderland of the Pulau Payar Marine Park. The twice-weekly night markets are fun, too. It’s a chance to sample hawker food such as satay chicken on skewers, and haggle for trinkets, batik, and wooden carvings.

But Langkawi’s big allure for me is the jungle. If you enjoy back-to-nature experiences, it’s magical to glimpse hornbills and white-headed Brahminy Kites swooping through the treetops…to come face-to-face with monitor lizards…to hear the nighttime chorus of croaking frogs. The island is also home to strange “flying snakes” (non-poisonous), fox bats, colugas (gliding lemurs), and a host of other wildlife including kingfishers, muntjac deer, and black leaf monkeys.

And you don’t have to get all sweaty by going on a trek to see these creatures. Some of Langkawi’s resort hotels are backed by jungle. If I’d been tied to the balcony in the Andaman Hotel, I wouldn’t have complained—watching a monitor lizard amble past, I felt like I was in the middle of a Discovery Channel wildlife program. (Tip: never leave your balcony doors or windows open—not unless you wish to share your room with rampaging macaque monkeys.)”