Aussies, you don’t need to travel far for gorgeous beach weather, soft white sand and stunning coastlines because three of the world’s best islands are located only eight hours away.

That’s right, only a night’s sleep away are the world’s best islands – Boracay, the Cebu and Visayan -, which were named first, second and third (respectively) in the ‘Best Island in the World’ category of Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2017.

In case you aren’t too familiar with the Philippines’ incredible spots, here’s a rundown of what each of these winning destinations have to offer:

 

1. Boracay

Image: Sam Shin/Unsplash

Image: Sam Shin/Unsplash

Boracay is just under four square miles, located is the Western Philippines, consisting of stunning beaches and memorable sunsets. It’s famous for its 4km long White Beach, which is one of the island’s main draws, with powdery white sand and azure water, offering the perfect tropical paradise backdrop.

For extra relaxation, travellers can indulge in a treatment at one of the many spas and wellness houses. There’s an assortment of activities to choose from that make the most of the natural environment of the island, including 25 dive sites, windsurfing and kiteboarding, cliff diving, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling, horseback riding and golf. Once the night draws near, the thriving nightlife comes to life, offering cocktails, fresh food and live music.

How to get there: Fly from Manila to Caticlan in Malay. From there, pump boats transport passengers to White Beach.

 

2. Cebu & Visayan Islands

Image: Michael Liao/Unsplash

Image: Michael Liao/Unsplash

Cebu and Visayan Islands are a fusion of island life, historical sites and a metropolis. Cebu is famous for its beaches on the mainland as well as its many surrounding islands. Cebu City is influenced by Filipino, Spanish and Western cultures which are reflected in the architecture and design, whilst up- and-coming restaurants and shopping also awaits travellers.

Some of the cultural highlights include: Fort San Pedro, Basilica del Santo Nino, Magellan’s Cross, Casa Gorordo Museum, Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Taoist temple and many more. The surrounding islands offers travellers various diving spots and opportunities to hike and trek.

How to get there: Many airlines operate to Mactan Cebu International Airport from neighbouring countries such as Singapore. The airport is located on a different island, therefore it takes approximately 30 minutes by taxi to get to Cebu City.

 

3. Palawan

Image: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

Image: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

Palawan is an archipelago of nearly 2,000 islands, offering guests an unforgettable holiday in paradise. Travellers can explore the various smaller islands incorporating secret lagoons and caves, snorkelling, kayaking and trekking.

To the west, Palawan’s natural wonder is one of the longest underground rivers in the world, travelling five miles through a subterranean cave system. It is an UNESCO World Heritage site, which travellers can explore and discover via guided boat tours, where they can see karsts and natural rock limestone formations. For wildlife lovers, the Calauit Game Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary are popular, and Rasa Island and Tubbataha Reefs are known to offer some of the best diving spots in the world.

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Have you laid by either of these islands? Tell us what you thought below.