Think “beach holiday” and Malaysia is probably one of the countries that are never at the top of your list. Well, think again!
Here are 17 gorgeous beach destinations to visit the next time you’re in Malaysia.
1. Tioman Island
Tioman Island is in the South China Sea, off the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. With see-through turquoise waters, this is a popular location for those interested in snorkelling, scuba diving or freediving. If you are not into these activities, you can go golfing at the Tioman Island Golf Club, or just lounge and relax on any of the beaches on the island. On top of that, Tioman Island is also a duty-free zone.
2. Besar Island
Besar Island is also located in the Mersing district of Johor, Malaysia. Formerly known as Pulau Babi Besar (“babi” means pig in Malay), the island got its original name from the wild boars that used to inhabit the island before humans. Only accessible by boat from Mersing Jetty, the island is great for water activities like canoeing, snorkelling and scuba-diving. The island also offers plenty of accommodation options that provide full-board packages, whether you’re looking for an affordable family getaway or a luxurious couple hideaway with your other half.
3. Rawa Island
Rawa Island might be small in size but it does not lose to any of the other destinations on this list. Just an hour away from Mersing by ferry, this peaceful island makes the perfect place for you to take a break from the busy city life.
4. Tengah Island
Tengah Island is a privately-owned island that boasts eight white sand beaches. With a wide variety of marine life calling the surrounding waters their home, the island is also a protected marine park. Tengah Island’s crystal clear waters and fine white sand makes it the perfect beach getaway. Here, you can soak up the sun’s rays and feel the cool breeze against your face while you relax and unwind.
5. Aur Island
If you’re into scuba-diving or snorkelling, this island is perfect for you. Also located in the Johor’s Mersing district, Aur Island has many offshore pools, corals and lagoons for you to explore – making it extremely popular among divers. Aur Island is part of the Pulau Tinggi Marine Park and is home to a rich diversity of marine life. With its clear blue waters, you definitely do not want to give this island a miss. Be prepared for a simple village-style vacation here, as the island does not provide many modern-day comforts.
6. Redang Island
In the Terengganu state of Malaysia is Redang Island, famous for its white sandy beaches and clear aqua waters. Redang Island is the most popular island part of an archipelago and it offers many kinds of activities and amenities. The island has karaoke clubs, discos and nightclubs if you’re looking to let loose and have some fun.
7. Perhentian Islands
Near to the Thai border lies the Perhentian Islands, made up of two main islands: a bigger island (Perhentian Besar) and a smaller island (Perhentian Kecil). Corals surround the islands so you’ll definitely be guaranteed a sight to behold if you decide to go snorkelling. All of the islands belong to a protected marine park, so any fishing or collecting of coral is strictly prohibited here!
8. Tenggol Island
Tenggol Island is another destination that is popular among divers. If you want to spot whale sharks, increase your chances by visiting Tenggol Island between August and October! There is also no wifi on the island, so put away your phones and get ready for a digital detox.
9. Kapas Island
Kapas Island is one of Malaysia’s lesser-known islands – tourists usually flock to the more popular ones like Langkawi, Perhentian and Redang islands. Though Kapas Island is not as popular, you should definitely give it a try if you are looking for a quiet place to unwind, devoid of the tourist crowds.
10. Gem Island
If you’re seeking a relaxing holiday, you can visit Gem Island. It is a privately-owned island also located in Terengganu, Malaysia. Think sandy white beaches and clear blue waters that allow you to see the teeming marine life underneath. You can also hop over to the aforementioned Kapas Island, which is just 800 metres away.
Langkawi is an archipelago made up of 99 islands, the biggest being Langkawi Island. Apart from the usual sand and water, the island offers mangroves, mountains and a rainforest for you to explore. You can also visit the Langkawi Sky Bridge at the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang – the second highest mountain in Langkawi – to enjoy a different view of the island. Psst… Langkawi is also duty-free!
12. Pangkor Island
Pangkor Island is a mountainous island located in Manjung district in Perak. It is famous for its beaches on the west coast of the island, such as Pasir Bogak, Coral Beach and Teluk Nipah. The island has a wide range of sea activities you can occupy yourself with, like wind-surfing, fishing and snorkelling.
13. Port Dickson
One of the more popular destinations for a beach holiday, Port Dickson is a coastal town located one hour away from Kuala Lumpur. It is the ideal destination for a family holiday as there are plenty of activities for kids and adults alike – building sandcastles, swimming, banana boat riding and many more. And while you’re there, why not make your holiday an educational one too? Visit the Turtle Hatchery Centre, where visitors can learn about the protection and conservation of endangered sea turtles.
14. Layang Layang Island
If you’ve never heard of Layang Layang Island, maybe you might know the island by its other (unofficial) name: Swallow Reef Island. It is actually a man-made island constructed by the Malaysian Navy but was later developed to make way for a dive resort. If you’re a diving enthusiast, here is another destination that you will enjoy! But if diving isn’t really your cup of tea, you can also engage in bird watching – a very popular activity to do here.
15. Tiga Island
Tiga Island is one of the few uninhabited islands that are situated off the west coast of Sabah in Kimanis Bay. It is made popular for being the first location in the well-known reality TV series “Survivor”. Since then, the island is also commonly known as Survivor Island. Tiga Island is also famous for its natural volcanic mud that has therapeutic properties. Be sure to give yourself a mud bath when you’re there!
16. Sipadan Island
For a diving enthusiast, Sipadan Island is not to be missed. The only oceanic island in Malaysia, it is situated off the eastern coast of Sabah in the Celebes Sea. Because of its strategic location at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, there is an extremely rich biodiversity that you can discover here. Some of the commonly spotted species include green sea turtles, bumphead parrotfish and large schools of barracuda.
17. Mataking Island
Mataking Island is made up of two islands: a bigger island (Mataking Besar) and a smaller one (Mataking Kecil). If you like diving, here is another getaway destination for you! During your dive, keep a lookout for the “Underwater Post Office,” Malaysia’s first and only underwater post office. You can even post your own mail here! But if diving is not really for you, do not worry as there are other things for you to do here. Some of these include jungle trekking, canoeing and batik painting.
If you’re seeking a change of scenery, then maybe it’s time for you to pack your bags and go!