Malaysia is a land of great complexity and contrasts-warm tropical sun, cool hill resorts, long coastline, world’s oldest rainforest, and several historic cities. It is a delightful fusion of great topographical and cultural variety. To the beach and sun enthusiasts Malaysia offers thousands of km of coastline and a multitude of islands with pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. The best beaches and the clearest seawaters of peninsular Malaysia are found on the islands off the east coast. The west coast suffers from the high population density and the intense naval traffic through the street of Malacca.
Among the islands with tourist infrastructure off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia are Pangkor and Langkawi, both with airports with direct connections to KL. On the east coast of the peninsula are some of Malaysia’s nicest islands: Perhentian and Redang. Both have good tourist infrastructure and receive a large number of tourists. Tioman island off the east coast has direct flight connections to KL, but is not as impressive as other east coast islands. The beast beaches in east Malaysia are on the islands off Sabah’s coast, especially those around Semporna (Sibuan, Mataking, Sipadan etc.). Sipadan island attracts a huge number of divers because of its pristine waters with excellent visibility. The beaches off Sarawak’s coast are relatively unimpressive
LANG TENGAH ISLAND
Hailed as one of Terengganu’s best kept secrets, Land Tengah is a smaller, more secluded getaway located between the islands of Redang and Perhentian. From the moment you arrive, the magic of Lang Tengah will enchant you –the waters are crystal clear and the views are breathtakingly beautiful. There are only three resorts on the island, giving visitors total relaxation and privacy.
The well-sheltered bay at Tenggol Island is home to mature coral gardens, making it a delight for reef lovers. Being the farthest island from the mainland, the nutrient-rich waters of Tenggol are home to a kaleidoscope of colorful corals and marine life. The island boasts three beach resorts, making it a dream holiday destination.
KAPAS ISLAND and GEMIA ISLAND (Off the coast of Terengganu)
A tiny tropical paradise, Kapas Island is home to a variety of both hard and soft corals amongst which reside rich marine life. This island is known for squid fishing at certain times of the year.
Gemia Island is a privately-owned island with a solitary boutique resort. It is the perfect place for a quiet holiday with activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, jungle trekking and beach games.
Pulau Redang is the largest of the Terengganu islands. The island is famous for its picture perfect views and fabulous dive sights. Sheltered within the Pulau Redang Marine Park, the waters here are rich in marine life, making it the perfect spot for diving. At midday, when sun rays penetrate the sea, brilliant hues of coral, anemones and fish can be seen.
Redang island is one of the largest islands off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The beaches are white and sandy and the water is crystal-clear. The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, making it a popular snorkeling/diving destination. There are also several trails that crisscross the island’s jungle interior.
( Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil)
The Perhentian Islands are a small group of beautiful, coral-fringed islands not far from the Thai border. Popular among Malaysian and international travelers alike, the Perhentians are surrounded by clear waters rich in marine life making them renowned for great diving and excellent snorkeling.
Popular dive sites include the Pinnacle (aka Tokong Laut, “Temple of the Sea”) and the Sugar Wreck, an easily accessible 3500-ton sugar hauler. The Perhentian Islands are also home to a significant green turtle nesting population.
Most accommodation can be found on Perhentian Besar, the larger island. Kecil has cheaper accommodation while Besar is a little more expensive and caters more to families and those who want to avoid the backpacker party scene. Access to the Perhentian Islands is by ferry from Kuala Besut, which is usually reached from either Kota Bharu or Kuala Terengganu.
The turtle-shaped Tioman Island is the largest and most impressive of the east coast islands. The island is an idyllic spot for leisurely days under the sun. The waters around Tioman are ideal for a host of water activities. The clear water is also perfect for exploring and discovering the astounding colors of the marine life that swim playfully in its depths.
It is the most developed of the volcanic islands, and offers a sense of peace, tranquillity and simplicity that embraces visitors upon arrival. There are several villages scattered around the coastline, the larger ones being Salang, Tekek, Genting, Paya and Juara. Keen hikers should try the beautiful cross-island hike from the village of Tekek on the west to Juara on the east. It can be done in an easy day and takes in both jungle and beach views of both sides of Tioman.
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