goa

8 places like Goa where you can unwind

Love the sun, sand and spices of Goa? Here are eight exotic places just like it but with less tourists.

Your beach holiday should be lazy, chilled-out and relaxed. You deserve a getaway that lets you unwind without the crowds and tourist traps. If you are looking to get away from it all – the people and commercialised shops – check out these tranquil, picture-worthy alternative destinations that offer low-key value for money but equally breathtaking experiences synonymous with Goa.

With geographical wonders, beach parties, local culture and historical architecture on the menu, we promise that you won’t miss that Goan holiday. What's more, we are sweetening the deal with travel deals and flight discounts.

You are welcome.

Bentota

1. Bentota, Sri Lanka

This popular beach destination on the coastal belt of Sri Lanka boasts wide sandy beaches and calm waters – perfect for diving and watersports.

  • Top three spas: Sahana Spa (Ayurveda Resort), Jiva Spa (Vivanta by Taj), Avani Bentota Resort Spa
  • Must do/see: Induruwa Beach, Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, Paradise Island, Bentota Lagoon
  • Venture out to visit: Aluthgama for the fish markets and beaches along the Induruwa coast

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2. Koh Phangan, Thailand

Famed to be the home of the world’s biggest beach party, tourists flock to this sanctuary for its tranquil beaches that don’t get too overcrowded.

  • Venture out to visit: Ang Thong National Park, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan

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Phuket

3. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket Island, located south of Bangkok, is blessed with some of Thailand’s best beaches and diving sites.

  • Venture out to visit: Patong for its nightlife scene, Old Phuket for heritage buildings and Khao Rang Hill for stunning views of the town

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4. Bali, Indonesia

Bali captivates with its iconic rice fields, beaches and achingly beautiful sceneries everywhere you turn. The island is also famed for its religious sites and swanky resort hotels.

  • Top three spas: Mandara Spa, Karma Spa (Karma Kandara), Spa Alila (Alila Soori).
  • Must do/see: Rice paddies, diving, Balinese cuisine and seafood, Ubud Monkey Forest.
  • Venture out to visit: Ubud for art galleries and museums, Denpasar for city vibes and shopping, Kuta for its beaches, bars and funky nightlife.

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sri-lanka

5. Tangalle, Sri Lanka

If isolated beaches and hidden bays are on your travel itinerary, Tangalle offers some of southern Sri Lanka’s most stunning coastlines without the crowds.

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Three Indian beaches that’ll remind you of Goa (only without the tourists)

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6. Kerala, India

When it comes to paradise, Kerala has it all: enviable geographical features, temperate climate, wildlife, spas and health holidays, tranquil backwaters and cultural monuments.

  • Top three spas: Surya Samudra, Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort, Neeleshwar Hermitage
  • Must do/see: Cruise the backwaters in a houseboat, Ayurvedic spas, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, National Parks, spice markets.
  • Venture out to visit: Kochi to photograph the iconic fishing nets, Thiruvananthapuram for British colonial architecture and art galleries, and Kozhikode for temples and mosques.

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7. Varkala, India

The coastal town of Varkala is perched on a cliff and is a popular pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Its ancient temples and tucked-away beaches are the main tourist attractions.

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8. Tarkarli, India

The gorgeous village of Tarkarli is a haven for beach lovers with its long coastline and clear waters teeming with coral reefs. Dolphin sighting is a regular event here.

  • Top two spas: MTDC Tarkarli Resort, Blue Ocean Resort and Spa
  • Must do/see: Sindhudurg Fort, adventure sports, scuba diving, beaches, dolphin-spotting and temples
  • Venture out to visit: Melvan for cashew nuts and seafood, Dajipur for its National Park, and the backwaters of Karli River

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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