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Where and when to go surfing in Asia. Plus schools and camps

Where and when to go surfing in Asia. Plus schools and camps

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Doesn’t get better than this, folks. Surfing in Asia is straight out of those glossy-paged surfing magazines: endless rows of palm trees, white sand, exotic fruits, incredibly friendly locals, and continuous lines of near-to-perfection waves.

The best thing about Asia for wave cravers: there is always a surfing season somewhere and even though (surf) tourists have found this dreamy continent — most places remains affordable if you stay out of the tourist zones and off the season. A good idea is to plan your trip for at least two weeks so in case it’s flat — Asia is big and moving around is easy.

Here is the selection of the best Asian surf sports and what should be your pick if you are on a shoestring budget. There is also a list of surf schools on each spot, as well as the top five surf camps in the region. But let's start with the surf capital of Asia.

Surfing capital of Asia

A quick Internet search and, which is more importantly, a survey of surfers shows that unlike Europe (Hossegor, France) and the USA (Huntington Beach, California) in Asia, it is difficult to single out only one best surf spot, which can be called 'capital', because there are many countries where you can surf. Rather, Asia may have several surf capitals — one in each country. And it's already a much easier task. For example, in Philippines it is 9 Cloud on the Siargao Island. Let's continue with it...

Best surf spots in Asia

9 Cloud, Siargao Island, Philippines

Located on the tropical island ion Siargao, 9 Cloud is a world-famous right-hand reef break that is on best for experienced surfers. For beginners and intermediates, Siargao has plenty of other spots to offer. 

General information

  • The best month to surf: January to February
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: NE
  • Average board rental: 5€ to 10€/day

Best surf schools

9 Cloud, Siargao Island, Philippines weather forecast

Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

Bali’s most famous surf spot has five different sections, and it’s located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula and sits right under an incredible 11th center Hindu Temple. 

General information

  • The best month to surf: July
  • Water temperature: 26 °C
  • Best swell direction: S
  • Average board rental: 10€/day

Best surf schools

Uluwatu Beach, Indonesia weather forecast

Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

This hip town is Mecca for digital nomads, creatives and yogis. Batu Bolong is located North West of Kuta, close to a touristy Seminyak. Heaps of spots to take your magic stick for a ride (ask locals for recommendations). We recommend you start with this reef break that especially suitable for longboarders. 

General information

  • The best month to surf: September
  • Water temperature: from 26 to 29 °C
  • Best swell direction: SW
  • Average board rental: 10 to 15e/day

Best surf schools

Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali weather forecast

Keramas, Bali, Indonesia

Once a hidden secret, this right-hander gem is now exposed to the public. Located east side of Denpasar and it’s a short ride from the airport.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September
  • Water temperature: 26 to 29 °C
  • Best swell direction: S/SW

Best surf school

Keramas, Bali weather forecast

Mirissa Right, Sri Lanka

A few kilometers east of famous (and crowded) Weligama beach, you can find Mirissa, a right-hand reef break that works for all levels. 

General information

  • The best month to surf: July
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: SW
  • Average board rental: 5 to 10€/day

Best surf school

Mirissa Right, Sri Lanka weather forecast

Main Point, Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka 

Considered the Surfing Mecca of Sri Lanka this cozy bay on east cost offers great rides for all levels and chill surf town experience.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: S
  • Average board rental: 5e to 10€/day

Best surf schools

Main Point, Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka  weather forecast

Playgrounds, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

The Mentawai Islands is an island chain that lies 210 km west of Indonesia’s largest island, Sumatra. It’s a bit of work to get there — accessible by a boat or a flight, but it will be all worth it, trust us. Considered to be one of the most beautiful places to surf — an epic left.

General information

  • The best month to surf: March to October
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: S/SW/SE
  • Average board rental: 10€ to 25€/day

Best surf schools

Playgrounds, Mentawai Islands weather forecast

Cemento, Baler, Aurora, Philippines 

Right after Siargao, Baler is one of the most famous surf spots in the Philippines. This reef right-hander serves all levels.

General information

  • The Best month to surf: December to February
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: N
  • Average board rental: 5€ to 15€/day

Best surf schools

Cemento, Baler, Aurora, Philippines weather forecast

Lakey Peak, Sumbawa, Indonesia

Located in South East Sumbawa — this is your way to avoid your Bali crowds. This hollow right and left-hand peak works on all tides and has good consistency.

General information

  • The best month to surf: April to September
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: SW

Best surf school

Lakey Peak, Sumbawa, Indonesia weather forecast

Bai Dai Beach, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Located in Khanh Hoa Province, Bai Dai is located 23km from the city center, close to Camh Ranh Airport. It’s beach break spot with sand bottom and is absolutely perfect for the beginners. Note: surf season last only from October to April.

General information

  • The best month to surf: October to April
  • Water temperature: 27 °C
  • Best swell direction: ENE
  • Average board rental: 10€ to 15€/a day

Best surf schools

Bai Dai Beach, Nha Trang, Vietnam weather forecast

Cheap surfing destinations in Asia

The great thing about surfing is the fact that the ocean is free. When it comes to equipment like boards, wetsuits and fins — that stuff costs — and you don’t necessarily want to go for the cheapest quality here. But there are definitely differences where do you decide to surf. Some countries just happen to be more expensive than others. If you are on a shoestring budget in Asia, we advice you to head to the same countries — Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia — except maybe Vietnam. Now a little more detail about the features of each as far as their cheapness is concerned.

Thailand 

As most people would head to Indonesia and Sri Lanka for a surf, those on the shoestring budget can do it all wisely and head to Thailand that has great waves for beginners, intermediate surfers and longboarders looking to master their skills. Waves aren’t as epic as they are in Indonesia, but that being said, the crowds are also not a big issue in Thailand. Head to the Andaman side of Thailand on the southwest coast. The main surf spots are Phuket (April to October), Khao Lak (May to October), Koh Lanta (April to October), Koh Phayam (October to December). Affordable, warm and tropical, ‘Nuff said!

Philippines 

Often described as «diamond in the rough,» the Philippines have sandy white beaches, crystal clear water, and insanely beautiful surf spots. Often overlooked by its Asian cousins, the islands have an option for surfers traveling on a budget. The facilities might be a bit rugged, but that doesn’t stop those who are there to catch waves. Make sure to check Siargao (September to May), Baler (October to April), La Union (October to March), Eastern Samar (October to April).

Sri Lanka

From luxury to optimal, Sri Lanka is a beautiful country offering waves and pricing for all possible levels. Food and accommodation can be found for a very optimal price and remember you save loads of money if you travel with your boards. Tip: rent a scooter for a 5e to 10e per day and you can explore the vast amount of beautiful spots around you. Main surf spots Ahangama, Weligama and Hikkaduwa (November to April) and Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point, Peanut Farm (May to September).

Indonesia

Yes, yes, Indonesia isn’t as cheap as it used to be back in the days (people complain a lot about this), but we argue, if you know to stay away from the most popular and crowded hubs mainly in Bali (Canggu, Kuta, Seminyak, Padang Padang), you will find affordable stays with cheap food options. There are 17,000 islands to be discovered all together — find one for your taste. We recommend the following spots: Sumbawa (April to September), Lombok (March to October), G-Land (April to October), and Sumba (March to October).

Best surf camps for beginners in Asia

New to surf? Surf camps are a perfect way how to have a hassle-free surf holiday often having accommodation, gear, transports, meals, and surf guides included in one price. Not to mention like-minded crowd and good vibes. Here is a selection of one of the best surf camps for beginners in Asia.

Kima Surf Camp, Seminyak, Bali is located in the southern end of Bali Kima Seminyak is a hotel-like experience with an abundance of options available for someone who wants to maximize their surfing experience in Bali. Its 7-day stay is from 540€.

Included

  • Private ensuite lodging
  • Airport pick-up
  • Airport drop-off

Padang Padang Surf Camp, Padang Padang, Bali is on the Bukit Bali peninsular where it is always offshore somewhere. Good option both for beginner and intermediate. Its 7-day stay is from 600€.

Included

  • Private ensuite lodging 
  • Surf guides
  • Transfer to the beach
  • 2 meals a day
  • Airport pick-up 
  • Airport drop-off
  • Video and photo analysis

Sunshinestories, Ahangama, Sri Lanka is a week-long surf and yoga retreat that is a boutique styled experience in Sri Lanka with more than 20 different surf spots nearby. Its 7-day stay is from 986€.

Included

  • Lodging in a shared room
  • All meals
  • Surf theory lessons
  • 5 surf lesson on-site
  • Surf guidance 
  • Video Evaluation  
  • Tea & coffee & coconuts

The Surfer Weligama, Weligama, Sri Lanka is located close to beginner spot, this surf camp is perfect for those who have taken our class before but haven’t quite master the skill of surfing. Its 7-day stay is from 583€.

Included

  • Private ensuite lodging 
  • Breakfast 
  • Dinners
  • Surf guiding
  • One yoga session

Turtle Surf Camp Siargao, Siargoa, Philippines is a surf camp in a laid-back surf house includes lots of perks for those who don’t travel with their own boards or want to ability to switch boards in between. Its 7-day stay is from 509€.

Included

  • Private Ensuite Lodging
  • Breakfast 
  • Airport drop-off
  • Surf lesson
  • Surf guiding & transport
  • Surfboard rental 
  • Airport drop-off
  • Surf lesson
  • Surf guiding

Have a nice trip!

Surf calendar. Valerya Milovanova / Windy.app

This post was originally published on the Windy.app blog on August 2, 2019.

Learn more about how to read the surf / swell forecast in a special Windy.app presentation with examples and tips from professional surfers with many years of experience of riding the biggest and best waves on the planet.

 

Text: Windy.app team

Cover photo: Ryan Loughlin / Unsplash

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