08/16/2013 02:22 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2013

World's Best Islands (PHOTOS)

You know you've escaped civilization when you're swimming through a coral garden, with only green sea turtles and tropical fish for company. That's the enticing promise of a trip to Palawan, a chain of white-sand islands in the Philippines.

Palawan is the latest far-flung beach destination to capture the imagination of travelers, specifically, discerning T+L readers who voted it the No. 1 island in the latest World's Best survey. It's a reminder that sometimes, the greater the distance traveled, the greater the rewards.

Whether you prefer a quiet sliver of sand a few time zones from home, or a more accessible and bustling local scene, you'll find inspiration among these top-rated islands.

--Stephanie Orma

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World's Best Islands (PHOTOS)