10 Best Beach Destinations in Malaysia
Blessed with miles and miles of coastline, Malaysia is home to a varied selection of beach and island getaways, each with its own attractions and charms. From secluded bays to spectacular sunsets, and warm waters to water sports, Malaysian beaches offer a welcomed respite to the hustle and bustle of city life. Some of most popular beaches in Malaysia include:
1. Pangkor Island, Perak
Pangkor is a convenient getaway for many urbanites in Malaysia, as it’s an easy drive from Kuala Lumpur, the capital city. Nature lovers will love Pangkor, as it’s blessed with white sandy beaches and is teeming with marine life. Heck, you’ll even spot hornbills on the coastline! Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay) is one of the island’s most popular beaches, and this is where you can go kayaking, diving, snorkeling, fishing or play some beach games. Island tours by boat are another firm favorite.
2. Tioman Island, Pahang
Tioman Island is part of Malaysia’s protected marine park islands, Tioman is a snorkeling and divers paradise. The abundant coral reefs off the northern coast of the island are home to a huge variety of colorful tropical fish within easy reach of the shore. Tioman is quite close to Singapore, towards the south of Malaysia’s east coast and sees quite a few tourists from both Singapore and Malaysia each year. You will find larger, more budget-friendly hotels all around this popular island. Berjaya Air offers quick and easy flights directly to Tioman or you can take the bus to the coast, and then a ferry to the island.
3. Sipadan, Borneo
Sipadan in the east coast of Borneo, is one of the top dive spots in the world, by far the best in Malaysia. The island is an environmental reserve area so there are limits to the number of visitors per day. Diving in Sipadan is an amazing experience – you may see schools of greenback and hawksbill turtles, barracuda, manta rays, even hammerhead and whale sharks! The island is best for diving, rather than snorkeling or sunbathing, so make sure you plan in advance for a full-on diving experience.
4. Cherating beach, Pahang
Stretching nearly 10 kilometers from Kuantan, Pahang to Chukai, Terengganu, Cherating is internationally acclaimed as a holiday destination. It boasts the prestige of having Asia’s first Club Med and is also home to a cultural village and a turtle sanctuary. Known for its beautiful chalets, fine dining experience, exciting nightlife and scenic boat rides along the coast, there’s something for everyone at Cherating.
5. Perhentian Islands, Terengganu
While Perhentian is a favorite spot for divers, snorkelers and scuba divers, landlubbers will also find it ideal for catching some rays or a soothing breeze from the sea. It is especially popular with budget travelers, as affordable beach huts line the pristine shore, which is just waiting to be discovered.
6. Redang, Terengganu
The most expensive of the east coast islands, Redang is truly paradise. Very few Malaysians actually live on the island, so you pretty much have the whole place to yourself. Snorkeling is available off any beach; if you’re lucky, you might even see some sea turtles. Redang is well known as a turtle sanctuary, they usually lay their eggs on Turtle Beach on the north of the island. Berjaya Air makes it very easy to get to Redang from KL’s Subang airport (a 45-minute flight, and you’re on the beach within five minutes of arriving).
7. Langkawi Island, Kedah
Known as the ‘jewel of Kedah,’ Langkawi is an archipelago of over 100 islands. Given ‘World Geopark’ status by UNESCO, it has more than just sand and surf to offer. Tourists can hike to the nearby waterfalls, take a cable car ride that gives breathtaking views of the island, brave the Langkawi sky bridge or shop till they drop. Langkawi is, after all, Malaysia’s duty-free island!
8. Teluk Duyung, Penang
Known locally as ‘Monkey beach,’ Teluk Duyung is part of the Penang National Park. Its unspoiled beauty makes it a popular spot for catching some rays, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, there’s always jungle trekking!
9. Sibu Islands, Johor
Made up of a cluster of scenic islands, Sibu is known for its marine life, which includes turtles, nurse sharks, moray eels and spotted sting rays. As with other beach destinations, popular outdoor activities here include fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling, but who says you can’t just kick back and relax?
10. Pantai Bisikan Bayu, Kelantan
Located about 50km away from Kota Bharu, this beach is lined with casuarinas that rustle softly in the breeze, which is why its name means ‘Beach of the Whispering Breeze.’ The restful shade is a perfect spot for picnics, while water sports like jetskiing and windsurfing offer a bit of excitement.
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