(CNN)Finding an empty beach in Asia was a breeze a few decades ago, but it’s not quite so easy anymore.
As zealous souvenir hawkers follow busloads of tour groups to Asia’s most famous islands, discerning travelers must look farther afield for more authentic getaways.
The good news? Whether your idea of paradise involves a tropical beach framed by palm trees, or wildlife encounters in the woods, Asia has an island for you.
From Indonesia to India, we’ve singled out a dozen of the best throw-back islands – places where traditional cultures and unspoiled landscapes will transport travelers back in time.
Koh Rong, Cambodia
While much of Japan’s huge northern island has been developed, a few corners of Hokkaido still offer a wild, untouched atmosphere.
Inhabited by brown bears, sea eagles and a host of other creatures, the island’s diverse landscape features snow-capped volcanoes, hot springs, lakes and temperate northern forests.
The trees explode with color each fall and shed a sea of blossoms each spring.
The raw natural beauty of Hokkaido’s national parks – especially Daisetsuzan, Shiretoko and Akan in the northeast – feels more like Alaska than what you would expect to find in Asia.
Another draw is the traditional Japanese onsen – hot spring – culture.
Hokkaido boasts 23 hot spring areas and 11 different types of onsen, from simple thermal and sulfur to lesser-known radium, ferruginous (iron oxide) and cupriferous (copper) springs.
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