Looking for the best places like Bali to visit this year? We’ve got you covered with options from around the globe.
When it comes to tropical paradises, Bali has long held the crown for its serene landscapes, vibrant culture, and tranquil retreats. But it’s not the only haven where the sense of inner peace floats on the breeze.
Mike and I love to visit tropical islands. We’ve spent a lot of time in Bali and other beautiful destinations worldwide.
We love Bali, but there are plenty of other paradises that promise to provide the serenity you’ve been yearning for. This blog will cover 19 tropical locations that, just like Bali, are sure to help you find the bliss that comes with inner peace.
19 Places Like Bali
Bali is known for its mountains, temples, and beaches. It’s a sun-kissed sanctuary renowned for its surfing scene, historical significance, and incredible arts. There’s no place in the world that is exactly like Bali, but there are plenty of places that offer a similar tropical experience.
We’ve been to Moorea many times. Each time we visit, we typically opt for month-long stays and have had the pleasure of enjoying some of the best places to stay in Moorea, such as the Sofitel Kia Ora and Hilton Moorea (overwater bungalows for the win!).
Like Bali, Moorea has overwater bungalows. Unlike Bali, the bungalows in Moorea hover over the ocean water, allowing you to step directly from your door into the clear blue sea.
In Bali, the ocean is too rough for bungalows and they’re built over human-made lagoons instead.
Where to Stay in Moorea
The Hilton Moorea is near a private lagoon and overlooks the mountains. When we visiteded here, we loved the variety of overwater bungalows and the eco-friendly initiatives.
Not only does this resort offer amazing amenities, but the hotel has gorgeous rooms, offers impeccable service, and serves delicious food and drinks.
2. Bora Bora
Situated in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is a diminutive island often hailed as the “Pearl of the Pacific”.
The island features one of the planet’s most stunning lagoons, characterized by crystal-clear turquoise waters enclosed by a protective barrier reef. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Where to Stay in Bora Bora
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is a 5-star resort that offers the largest overwater villas in French Polynesia. It’s perfect if you’re looking to swim and relax in the exclusive Lagoonarium.
3. Cook Islands
Nestled in the South Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands present breathtaking natural beauty and a welcoming Polynesian culture.
Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or a harmonious blend of both, these islands offer a range of activities, including the enchanting experience of turtle snorkeling.
Like Bali, the Cook Islands also contain some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The sand here is soft and white and the waters are crystal clear.
Where to Stay in Cook Islands
Pacific Resort Aitutaki is a 5-star haven. Offering expansive rooms and breathtaking vistas of the water, it’s a luxurious experience.
It’s an adults-only resort. So the resort is the perfect accommodation for couples or anyone looking for a quieter atmosphere.
4. Lombok, Indonesia
Lombok offers a quieter experience of Bali’s Indonesian charm. It’s Bali’s lesser-known tropical neighbor and is only a 20-minute flight away.
Renowned for its surfing havens, particularly along the south coast, Lombok draws wave enthusiasts from around the world.
Adventure-seekers can embark on a trek up Gunung Rinjani, the country’s second-highest volcano.
Where to Stay in Lombok
Seven Havens Residence is a short walk from Selong Belanak Beach. The hotel has a diverse menu that caters to various dietary preferences. It’s also recognized for actively following sustainable practices, which is always a great thing.
Samoa, with its rugged landscapes and vibrant culture, promises an off-the-beaten-path adventure in the South Pacific.
Like Bali, Samoa offers an enticing blend of natural beauty. From luxurious beach resorts to affordable adventures like waterfall visits, Samoa caters to diverse tastes. It exhibits top-notch diving and year-round waves for surfers.
While each has its unique charm, Samoa’s allure echoes Bali’s in its harmonious blend of relaxation, cultural immersion, and natural wonders.
Where to Stay in Samoa
Nestled within tropical gardens alongside a lagoon, the rooms at the Aga Reef Resort and Spa are delightfully elegant.
The hotel offers complimentary stays for children aged 15 and under with an adult.
6. Gili Islands, Indonesia
The Gili Islands are three tiny islands off the northwest coast of Lombok. While they might be small pinpricks on a globe, they make up for it by being one of the world’s best tropical paradises.
Providing a tranquil tropical retreat, these islands feature a harmonious mix of natural beauty, vibrant marine life, and a relaxed atmosphere.
They’ve embraced a no-motorized vehicle policy, which not only creates a more peaceful atmosphere but also supports an eco-friendly environment. Plus, it gives you no choice but to explore on foot, by bicycle, or by horse-drawn carts called cidomos.
Where to Stay in Gili Islands
Located on Gili Trawangan, the Kuno Villas are bright and clean, and feature wooden furnishings that never let you forget you’re in a tropical paradise.
7. Nusa Islands, Indonesia
The Nusa Islands are snuggled between Bali and Lombok. Just like Bali, these two islands serve up a laid-back experience with a side of well-deserved R&R.
Nusa Lembongan, the smaller island, features pristine beaches and world-class surf breaks, while charming villages like Jungut Batu provide a taste of local culture.
Where to Stay in Nusa Islands
Located a short walk away from Sauna Point Beach, Ogix Cliff Paradise is an excellent choice for couples. This romantic getaway offers air-conditioned rooms with sea-view terraces.
Just like Bali, Mauritius is renowned for its natural beauty. This island is a hidden gem off East Africa and is surrounded by a shallow lagoon perfect for diving and snorkeling and is best known as an affordable alternative to the Maldives.
Black River Gorges National Park features hiking trails amid exotic wildlife and waterfalls. Mauritius also embraces rich cultural experiences from Africa and Asia.
Where to Stay in Mauritius
Cross staying at an overwater bungalow resort off your bucket list at the Constance Le Prince Maurice. This 5-star resort is nestled on a private beach and offers an abundance of activities.
9. Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
Koh Yao Noi is a place known for tranquility, just like Bali. This unspoiled Thai island in Phang Nga Bay provides a respite from bustling tourist spots.
With lush jungles, scenic hills, and pristine beaches, there’s so much here to explore and you can do it all by bicycle.
It’s also known for wellness retreats and yoga centers for holistic rejuvenation through spa treatments and mindful practices.
Where to Stay in Koh Yao Noi
Nestled within 24 acres of natural splendor, Six Senses Yao Noi provides a serene escape, a peaceful haven away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
The Seychelles archipelago has lush jungles and white sandy beaches fit to rival those of Bali.
Situated in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles features vibrant coral reefs and nature reserves.
Home to giant tortoises and the indigenous Coco De Mer fruit, Seychelles provides a retreat for those seeking peace.
Where to Stay in Seychelles
Savor a daily breakfast buffet, swim in the pool, and partake in recreation activities at the stunning Kempinski Seychelles Resort.
11. Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is a group of islands with stunning beaches and dense rainforests similar to those in Bali. Also like Bali, Langkawi is renowned for its vibrant cultural scenes, offering a mix of traditional rituals, local crafts, and diverse culinary experiences.
While each island has its unique charm and cultural identity, Langkawi is an attractive choice for those seeking a blend of relaxation and exploration in Southeast Asia. This is also a great place to hop through some of Thailand’s best islands.
Where to Stay in Langkawi
The Danna Langkawi is an award-winning beach resort offering oceanfront rooms, seaside dining, and a spa overlooking the Andaman Sea.
12. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Nestled off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands feature two main islands: Perhentian Besar (Big Island) and Perhentian Kecil (Small Island).
The islands serve as nesting grounds for green and hawksbill sea turtles.
Engage in turtle conservation initiatives and experience the joy of witnessing hatchlings released into the sea.
Where to Stay in Perhentian Islands
BuBu Villa draws inspiration from local architecture, featuring wooden furnishings and lofty ceilings, creating a harmonious blend of comfort and cultural aesthetics.
13. Goa, India
Unlike most of the places on this list, Goa isn’t an island, but a coastal state on the southwestern edge of India.
Goa is made up of a vibrant blend of Indian and Portuguese influences. With pristine beaches, eclectic nightlife, and a rich cultural tapestry, Goa offers a unique experience with a bohemian vibe.
For those looking to find inner peace, visit Goa for one of its incredible yoga retreats.
Where to Stay in Goa
With beautifully appointed rooms and suites, the Westin Goa offers a rejuvenating experience in one of India’s most stunning destinations.
14. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Situated off Tanzania’s coast, Zanzibar is home to Paje Beach, a popular spot for kitesurfing, and the renowned Jozani Forest, where the rare Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey resides.
Known as the “Spice Island,” Zanzibar offers guided tours exploring its cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla production. And for a cultural experience be sure to take a Stone Town walking tour.
Where to Stay in the Zanzibar
Indulge in beachfront lodgings with access to a restaurant, bar, infinity pool, and breathtaking ocean vistas at the Bamboo Zanzibar oceanfront retreat.
15. Riviera Maya, Mexico
This paradise stretching from Cancun along the coast beckons beach lovers with opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
While it’s located across the Pacific Ocean from Bali, Riviera Maya is much easier to get to for U.S. residents since it’s on the tip of Mexico.
Explore Mayan ruins, enchanting cenotes, and eco-parks across the expansive region.
Where to Stay in Riviera Maya
Located in Tulum, the 4-star Lula a Colibri Boutique Hotel features an exceptional restaurant, onsite yoga studio and the white sand beaches this area is known for.
Far from any continental land masses or fellow islands, Palau is a secluded escape.
Like many of the islands on this list, Palau’s top activities include snorkeling and scuba diving. Palau also has gorgeous waterfalls and day tours from Babeldaob to the Rock Islands.
One of the more unique experiences here is the opportunity to swim with millions of jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake.
Where to Stay in Palau
Find your inner peace in an overwater bungalow overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Palau Pacific Resort. Enjoy daily excursions, pamper yourself at the spa, and unwind on a private beach.
17. Koh Rong, Thailand
Discover the serene beauty of Koh Rong, nestled off Cambodia’s coast. This island paradise showcases miles of immaculate sand, crystal-clear waters, and lush jungle interiors.
Koh Rong has a laid-back atmosphere and vibrant nightlife, featuring beach parties and music festivals, offering a lively contrast. Think of it as Koh Phi Phi but with far fewer tourists.
It’s an off-the-beaten-path destination that’s both peaceful and lively.
Where to Stay in Koh Rong
The Royal Sands Koh Rong is an upscale beachfront resort offers elegant bungalows with Wi-Fi, rainfall showers, and outdoor daybeds. It features two restaurants, bars, a spa, and an outdoor pool with hot tubs.
18. Palawan, Philippines
Explore the enchanting beauty of Palawan in the Philippines, an affordable alternative to Bali.
Engage in popular activities like diving and snorkeling, or take a day trip to Coron to explore sunken Japanese battleships from World War II.
Amidst the adventures, savor moments of relaxation on Palawan’s pristine beaches.
Where to Stay in Palawan
Indulge in deluxe accommodations at the luxurious El Nido Resort, where personalized service meets pristine beach access and convenient shorefront snorkeling.
19. Cebu, Philippines
Cebu is the oldest city in the Philippines. While, like Bali, this is an excellent place to find peace, it’s also an adventure waiting to be explored.
Revel in crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and spectacular waterfalls. Dive with whale sharks, and hike through lush jungles.
Explore Cebu City, home to historical landmarks like Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica del Santo Niño.
Where to Stay in Cebu
Set amidst verdant surroundings and along a pristine white-sand beach, Shangri-La offers family-friendly activities, ocean-view accommodations, and a spa.
To help you decide between the best places like Bali, check out these frequently asked questions.
What is the best alternative to Bali?
If you’re seeking an alternative to Bali that combines culture, natural beauty, and affordability, Lombok, Indonesia, Bali’s closest big-island neighbor, is an excellent choice.
What place is as cheap as Bali?
Lombok has many of the same natural and cultural elements but, since it’s lesser known, it’s more affordable.
Is Bali overhyped?
No, Bali isn’t overrated. But it’s popular. This means you might think it’s overhyped if you only go where the tourists go.
While Bali’s popularity is well-deserved, exploring alternatives like the destinations on this list can offer a more unique experience.
Whether you’re trying to avoid the crowds, save money, or try something new, there are plenty of places like Bali waiting to be explored.
On a planet that is 71% water, tropical island getaways can be found all over the globe. From pristine sandy white beaches to resorts known for hosting the best yoga retreats, every place on this list of Bali alternatives is a fantastic choice.