If you’ve been to Bali—or just watched Julia Roberts explore the island on Netflix—you’re probably at least somewhat aware of its reputation as the wellness-minded jewel of Indonesia. Its verdant cultural center Ubud has probably the most yoga classes per capita of any city in the world. Its abundance of healers ensure only good vibes. Then there’s the white-sand beaches, radical surf breaks, Instagram-worthy waterfalls, and volcanoes (one of which proved it’s not as dormant as you might think this past fall).
All of this is to say that Bali is pretty freaking amazing and totally worth the long-haul flight it requires to see its many wonders IRL…but it’s not the only OMG-inducing island escape. There’s a shortlist of gorgeous spots dotting the globe that are equally as worthy of your awe and vacation days—with the added benefit of being decidedly less in-demand than their better-known counterpart.
Here, four tropical destinations that could be the new Bali.
There’s a good reason you’re hearing more about Sri Lanka these days. Off the coast of India in the dreamiest of seas, AKA the Indian Ocean, it has all the elements of a winning spot: stunning beaches and hills, a tradition of Ayurveda and yoga, and plenty of adventure (from leopard-spotting to mountain biking).
Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
Many say this teeny isle south of Bali is what its better-known neighbor was like, say, 15 years ago. There are less people and more fish for peeping through snorkel masks, along with yoga classes, massages, healthy food, and some beautiful spots for a sunset coconut mocktail. Many of Indonesia’s other 17,000-plus gorgeous islands are also being touted as “the next Bali,” including Bintan, Flores, Toba, Lombok, and Sumba.
Byron Bay, Australia
The easternmost point of Australia is where you’ll want to get up early for the sunrise from the lighthouse—an invigorating climb that should definitely be followed by a swim at Little Wategos Beach. All the spectacular natural beauty—think rainforest walks, tea tree lakes, and coastal trails alongside aquamarine water teeming with dolphins, turtles, and whales—makes for an inspiring stay.
This volcanic Caribbean island is bursting with rich, indigenous healing materials such as volcanic sulphur springs, turmeric and ginger—plus, more modern amenities such as yoga and Pilates, hiking, and bathing excursions. While the 2,619-foot Gros Piton mountain provides a calorie-busting hike with a reward in the form of photo-ready views.
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