Malaysia, a land of friendly people and a nation blessed with natural wonders, welcomes you. With 4,800km of coastline, Malaysia boasts some of the most beautiful islands and beaches in Asia. Surrounded by the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea, the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea and the Celebes Sea, the country has an amazing number of natural treasures that lay nestled in tranquil bays and coves. Beneath the aquamarine waters are a fascinating world of corals and marine life waiting to be discovered. Come and be mesmerised by these fabulous holiday retreats.
ISLANDS OF TERENGGANU
Terengganu is has the most beautiful island in Peninsular Malaysia, blessed with captivating island retreats of soft white sand, breathtaking blue waters and dazzling undersea gardens… an unforgettable paradise in the South China Sea.
Terengganu, on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, beckons with an aura that is distinctively Malay. Its traditional way of life, vibrant cottage industries and fascinating cultural pastimes give the state its unique appeal. The islands of Redang, Perhentian, Lang Tengah, Bidong, Kapas and Tenggol are jewels in Terengganu’s crown.
Redang Situated 45km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu, is the largest of all Terengganu’s islands. From the very first glance, Redang will enchant visitors with its compelling beauty. It incredibly azure waters fringed by white sand, against the backdrop of verdant jungle-clad hills make picture-postercard views. The island boasts two beautiful beaches, the Long Beach or locally known as Pasir Panjang, situated on the east coast and Teluk Dalam Kecil, a sheltered cove tucked away on the northeast of the island. Teluk Dalam Kecil is the location of the Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, a five-star accommodation on the island. Stretching over 800m, Pasir Panjang is a dream come true for sun-seekers. Here, underneath the clear blue sky, one can spend hours by basking in the sun, or strolling by the beach and fell the sensation of soft sand sinking under the feet. The beach is lined by a number of resorts overlooking the sea, offering various styles of accommodation. A myriad of surprises await beneath the bewitchingly blue sea. The waters teem with a wealth of marine life and corals, and the good visibility makes it ideal for snorkeling and diving. At the Marine Park Centre friendly wrasses, sergeant majors and breams swarm around snorkelers. Divers can look forward to thrilling encounters with black-tip sharks. Bare giant clams and hawksbill turtles too have been sighted here.
Another breathtaking island in the state, lies about 21 km off Terengganu coastline. Made up of two islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, they abound with exciting activities for sun-seekers. The waters around Perhentian offer some of the best dive sites in the country. Fusiliers, Scorpion fish, Rabbit fish and Christmas Tree Worms are among the sights which will leave snorkelers spellbound.
PULAU LANG TENGAH
A 30 minutes boat rides from Redang, is one of the state’s best kept secrets. Located midway between the islands Redang and Perhentian, its sparkling white sand and aqua marine waters are simply irresistible. The varieties of hard and soft corals and prolific marine life here make it a perfect destination for divers.
PULAU KAPAS, GEMIA & TENGGOL ISLAND
A delightful gems for divers with their scenic beaches, underwater rock formations and a plethora of marine life. Its mainland has several spots that feature scenic palm-lined beaches and luxurious resorts. The Awana Kijal, Sutra Beach resort, Tanjung Jara resort and The Aryani charm visitors with their rustic architecture and impressive facilities.
Travel along the East Coast Highway from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu. Merang , the take-off point to Redang and Lang Tengah Island, is located about an hour’s drive north of Kuala Terengganu. Visitors to Perhentian can drive all the way north to the Kuala Besut Jetty.
Malaysian Airlines and budget carrier Air Asia provide direct air services from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu in Kelantan (the nearest airport to Kuala Besut).
Hailed as one of the best island getaways in the world, Tioman is famed as the setting for ‘Bali Hai’ in the Hollywood musical, South Pacific.
Pahang, the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia is also home to Pulau Tioman Island, an enchanting island in the South China Sea. The state is blessed with a beautiful coastline, which offers endless tropical bliss for sun-seekers. Tioman is the largest and most developed of the volcanic islands that from the Tioman Marine Park. According to legend, the island is the final resting place of a beautiful dragon princess. Till today, the island bears startling resemblance to a sleeping dragon. A sense of peace tranquility and simplicity embraces visitors upon arrival. The waters around Tioman are ideal for a host of water sports activities, including swimming, boating, kayaking or windsurfing. Its warm waters and good visibility make it a paradise for underwater explorations. Discover astounding sights such as colourful gorgonian sea fans, staghorn corals, nudibranchs and beautifully sculptured sea sponges. Marine life such as Napoleon fish, golden striped Trevally, bumphead parrotfish and shoals of fusiliers swim playfully in the depths. Those without a strong affinity to water can enjoy these sights in a glass-bottomed boat.
Divers will enjoy trips to outlaying islands as it provides opportunities to encounter harmless black-tip sharks, Murray eels and other pelagic species. For a touch of adventure, take a boat ride to Monkeys Beach, or the uninhabited islands of Tulai and Renggis for a swim and picnic. There are several villages scattered around the island’s coastline, the larger ones being Salang, Tekek, Genting, Paya and Juara. Each village offers a different atmosphere and will be a unique experience to enjoy.
Situated on the northwest of the island, enjoys immense popularity for its crystal-clear waters and colourful corals close to the shoreline. Spend a day exploring the vibrant underwater gardens or enjoy a nap in a hammock while hearing the soothing sound of gentle waves. A stroll by the beach in the evenings will reward visitors with a spectacular view of the sun setting against the horizon.
Located midway on the island’s western coastline, has the longest stretch of beach on the island. This village is the gateway to Tioman by air and sea. It is also the closest village to the Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort, the island’s only five-star accommodation.
The Genting Village, further south of Tekek, is enveloped by a serene and rustic atmosphere. The tranquil beach boasts stretches of golden sand ideal for long strolls by the shore.
On the east coast of the island, is a secluded hide-away boasting a wide beach with fine spots for swimming, sunbathing or camping. Marvelous views of sunrise can be seen from Juara.
The island’s southernmost village, Mukut, is surrounded by nature at its purest form. Towering against its skyline are the Twin Peaks or Dragon’s Horns, an unmistakable landmark of the island. Click here for details.
Tanjong Gemok in Pahang and Mersing in Johor are two take-off points to Tioman. Tanjung Gemok is a 3 hour drive via the North-South Expressway. Visitors can exit at the Senawang Interchange, and proceed to Muadzam Shah and Rompin before arriving at Tanjong Gemok. To get to Mersing from Kuala Lumpur, exit at Kluang in Johor on the North-South Expressway.
The island is accessible by boat from the jetties in Tanjung Gemok and Mersing. The ride takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on sea conditions. Tioman is also accessible from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore. Journey time is 4 hours and 30 minutes.
ISLANDS OF JOHOR
Like a necklace of glittering jewels, the islands of Sibu, Rawa, Pemanggil, Aur, Tinggi, Besar, Tengah, Mensirip and Hujung lay nestled off Johor’s eastern coast.
The state has unbroken coastline flanked by the South China Sea in the east, extending around its southern tip to the western shoreline overlooking the Straits of Malacca. Johor Bahru, the state capital, is the state of several historical buildings and landmarks. Like a necklace of glittering jewels, the islands of Sibu, Rawa, Pemanggil, Aur, Tinggi, Besar, Tengah, Mensirip and Hujung lay nestled off Johor’s eastern coast. They are accessible from Mersing, a charming coastal town and the jump-off point to the renowned Tioman Island. Lush vegetation and endless stretches of golden beaches characterised the Sibu Group of Islands. They are accessible from the Tanjung Leman jetty, 60km from Mersing. The islands abound with water sports activities such as snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking.
Opt for a visit to the nearby Kelong, where anchovies are caught or head for the villages on the islands of Sibu Besar to see how the natives live. For some adventure, hike through the jungle trails leading to unspoilt mangrove swamps. The island of Rawa is perfect for snorkeling, kayaking and windsurfing. Famed for its tall palm trees, white sand and secluded coves, this is the ideal tropical getaway.
Get close to the marine life as neon-coloured fish swim close to shore, right below the jetty and between your ankles! Rawa was among the earliest islands here to be developed as a tourist destination. Pemanggil is the largest among the cluster of islands of Johor. Squid fishing is an enjoyable seasonal sport here. Other popular activities are jungle trekking, snorkeling and diving. The unspoilt island of Aur is the perfect dive destination. Encounters with pelagics including jacks, barracudas and black tip sharks are a big draw. The best time to dive is between April and October when the sea is calmer and visibility is at its best.. The islands of Tinggi, Besar, Tengah, Mensirip and Hujung are idyllic secluded getaways. These islands boasts beautiful beaches with shady cool trees and clear waters. Perfect for simply working on nothing, but a tan!
Dubbed as “Robinson Islands” in Scandinavia, the islands of Johor served as the location of the popular “Expedition Robinson” series akin to “Survivor”.
Mersing is the main staging point to Johor’s islands in the South China Sea. It is 138km north of Johor Bahru or a two-hour drive from there. Life here moves at a casual pace as trawlers prepare to sail out to the sea from this fishing town.
From Kuala Lumpur exit at Kluang in Johor on the North-South Expressway to get to either the Mersing or Tanjung Leman departure point. The two locations can also be accessed from Johor Bahru via Kota Tinggi. It takes about 4 hours to reach Mersing from Kuala Lumpur by car or 6 hour by coach. From Singapore, Mersing can be reached in two and a half hours.
KTM or Malayan Railway has rail services from Kuala Lumpur to Kluang. From Kluang, public transport is available to the jetty.
The island comprises a jeweled setting of 99 islands. Langkawi is a versatile holiday destination with world-class infrastructure and facilities
Is the largest of a multitude of islands that lie off the coast of Kedah State, in the far northwest of Peninsular Malaysia. The island comprises a jeweled setting of 99 islands. Langkawi is a versatile holiday destination with world-class infrastructure and facilities – a modern international airport, excellent roads, state-of-the-art marinas, budget hotels to award-winning luxurious resorts, superb golf courses and a host of recreational activities. Visitors arriving by sea will disembark at the jetty in the main town of Kuah. Located southeast of the island, the town houses many hotels and shopping centres. A large prominent statue of an eagle, situated at the popular Eagle Square is visible from afar when approaching the island. According to local folklore, Langkawi derived its name from the eagle or helang.
Langkawi’s idyllic beaches are perfect settings for a fun-filled vacation. Tanjung Rhu Beach, 22km north of Kuah, is fringed by casuarinas from which the beach gets its name. A perfect place for a picnic, this wide sandy beach offers unmatched pristine tranquility. The sunset here at dust in a blaze of orange and red is truly a spectacular sight. On the western coastline of Langkawi, lie the beaches of Datai, Kok, Burau Bay and Tengah. Enjoy a round of golf at the 18-hole course at Datai bay and tee off against Langkawi’s scenic backdrop. Those who wish to spend their day at Burau Bay can enjoy horseback riding while visitors to Tengah Beach can hire a boat and go island hopping. Kok beach is the location of Telaga Harbour Park, a marina-cum-resort with ample facilities. Cenang Beach is only 3km from the Langkawi International Airport and is the most developed of the beach areas housing several luxury class hotels and dozens of budget chalets and restaurants. There are plenty of water sports available on this popular beach providing fun and excitement for all.
First-class accommodation in modern hotels or comfortable chalets is available around the island. Restaurant outlets in the hotels and outdoors serve a variety of local and international fare with live music and an energetic ambience. Go snorkeling and diving in the Payar Island marine park, 19 nautical miles south of Langkawi. Segantang Island, Kaca Island and Lembu Island are other islands that make up the Marine Park. For those shy to the sea, hop into a glass-bottomed boat and watch the underwater world unfurl below. Speedboats or catamarans shuttle visitors from Langkawi to the Marine Park within an hour.
Langkawi offers a back-to-nature experience for all. From waterfalls to mysterious caves, visitors will discover that Langkawi is more than a beach lovers’ paradise. There a a host of themed attractions in Langkawi providing excitement for young and old travellers alike. Come and discover the variety of aquatic life at the Underwater World Langkawi. The largest public aquarium in the country features stingrays, sharks, moray eels and green turtles together with exotic fishes and sea plants. There are also interesting handicraft centres and souvenir shops located around the island offering items such as batik outfits and silverware. Cultural performances and batik workshops can be enjoyed at these centres. Those who wish to be pampered with a relaxing massage amidst the lush backdrop of the rainforest, can head to the numerous spas on the island. With an attractive range of duty-free goods to choose from in Langkawi, shopping here is a real treat. From pewter and perfumes to leather, the attractive prices make shopping irresistible!
Visitors travelling by road have to drive to Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis, the main take-off points by ferry to Langkawi. The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Kedah takes about 6 hours while Kuala Perlis is another hour away.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and budget carrier Air Asia provide direct air services from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Langkawi. There are direct flights to Langkawi from London, twice a week.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) or Malaysian Railway provides economical and comfortable rail services from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Star in Kedah and Arau in Perlis (north of Kedah). From these points, take a taxi or bus to Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis for your ferry to Langkawi.
Express ferries provide regular services daily to Langkawi from both Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis. The journey takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and 45 minutes respectively. From Penang to Langkawi, the ferry takes 2 hours 30 minutes. The island is also a stopover for Star Cruises, one of the largest luxury cruise lines in the world.
Lovely beach resorts, old-world charm and colourful cultures give Penang its allure. An island paradise in full bloom, it is aptly hailed as the Pearl of the Orient
Penang is one of Malaysia’s most famous resort destinations. The state consists of Penang Island, and a strip of the mainland known as Seberang Perai. Georgetown, Its capital, is a fascinating metropolitan city with historical buildings and cultural landmarks. Penang’s northern shoreline, characterised by expansive stretches of golden sand and glittering waters, is a vacation spot for foreign and local visitors alike. Bukit Ferringhi, situated along the coastal road northwest of Georgetown, is most popular beach in Penang, lined with a string of international-standard hotels and resorts. Soak in the sun or unwind on the beach and enjoy a host of aquatic thrills from banana boat rides to canoeing and jet-skiing. For spine-tingling adventure, try parasailing to enjoy the view of the beach from the sky. As the sun sets, Batu Ferringhi comes alive with a carnival-like atmosphere with an open-air bazaar selling anything from ornate curios to enticing souvenir items. Watch local artisans demonstrate the intricate art of craft-making and batik-painting. Dubbed the Ferringhi Walk, the bazaar offers shoppers a host of attractions.
Tanjung Bungah is another popular beach resort in Penang. The numerous luxury resorts here offer a relaxing seaside vacation. The most charming feature of Tanjung Bungah is its many secluded coves, nestled within the shelter of overhanging cliffs and gigantic rocks. At the north-western end of the coastal road lies Teluk Bahang. Its idyllic beach offers a solitary luxury hotel promising a tranquil ambience for those who prefer privacy. Nearby is the Tropical Spice Garden, a living collection of more than 500 varieties of flora from Malaysia and around the world. The eight-acre valley is reputedly the largest showcase of tropical herbs and spices in the region. Further west from Teluk Bahang are several beaches with lie off the beaten track. Situated in Penang’s National Park, these pristine beaches make for excellent excursions to get a glimpse into the vast variety of the island’s flora and fauna. Monkey Beach, a secluded spot in the northwest of the island is ideal for quiet picnics under shady casuarinas.
Adventure-lovers can explore the jungle trail from Monkey Beach to the Muka Head Lighthouse, perched atop a 785-feet-high cliff. Further away, Kerachut Beach offers an unspoilt environment and picturesque views. In the hinterland, a lake containing distinct layers of freshwater and seawater is an added attraction. Both of these beaches are only accessible by boat or by hiking trails from Teluk Bahang. Enquire with the respective resorts or private boat operators. Avid birdwatchers or outdoor lovers can delight in taking the jungle trail to observe monkeys, squirrels and other small animals along the way. Jerejak Island, off the island’s east coast, makes an interesting escapade. This tiny island resort offers total privacy amidst lush greenery. To experience the charms of Penang, take a city tour for a glimpse into its nostalgic past. The Esplanade in Georgetown is a delightful seafront for an evening stroll. A distinctive landmark here is the Fort Cornwallis, erected by Captain Francis Light in the early nineteenth century. Hawker-style dining is the norm here and further up along Gurney Drive, a popular haunt for tourists. Little India and Campbell Street delight with an endless assortment of bric-a-brac, souvenirs and antiques.
Penang Island is accessible by road via the Penang Bridge. A toll is levied on the mainland’s side of the bridge.
Malaysian Airlines (MAS) operates direct air services to Penang from London, Singapore, Bangkok, Nagoya, Medan, Xiamen and Madras. The airline also provides daily shuttle services between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Air Asia flies to Penang from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
KTM or Malayan Railway provides train services to Butterworth from Kuala Lumpur, Alor Star and Padang Besar, as well as from Hadyai and Bangkok in Thailand.
From Butterworth, ferry services are available for both passengers and vehicles. fares are collected at the Butterworth terminal.
ISLANDS OF PERAK
Lying off Perak on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. This tranquil island with its white sandy beaches and charming fishing villages will enthrall you.
The name Pangkor may have originated from the Thai word Pang Ko meaning ‘beautiful island’. However others believe it may have been a memorial to Pang Kui, a legendary Chinese adventurer said to have lent his skills in seamanship to hands of pirates this island once sheltered. Pangkor’s main attractions are undoubtedly the wonderful offerings of its pristine beaches on the western coastline. Named after a legendary lovelorn princess, Golden Sands Beach or Pantai Puteri Dewi is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Located on the northwest of Pangkor, this 1.2km stretch boasts warm turquoise waters fringed with tall swaying coconut palms. The beach here is ideal for sunbathing and recreational activities such as bird watching. Look out for hornbills said to roam the sea. Pasir Bogak Beach, a snorkeling site with an extensive reef and shallow waters, faces the channel between Pangkor and Pangkor Laut. Located nearby Pangkor town, this popular destination is a favourite haunt for picnickers due to its shady trees.
Here, visitors can enjoy a kayak run or the simple pleasure of beachcombing. Teluk Nipah is where tourists can enjoy both solitude and excitement by the beach. Take in the soothing lush greenery or browse the open-air stalls by the beach. A walk across to Giam Island at low tide will reward you with a treasure trove of marine life. Head to the Pulau Sembilan group of islands, 27km south of Pangkor for a superb diving experience. The nine islands (sembilan means ‘nine’) are uninhabited with an abundance of colourful marine life. Eating out in Pangkor is a delight as there are restaurants serving both local and international cuisine. Alternatively, head to Pangkor town to enjoy fresh sea food.
A world-renowned tropical island destination. A 20-minute boat ride from Pangkor, it boasts one of the finest beaches in the Straits of Malacca. Sunset cruises can be specially arranged upon request. Couples can choose to have dinner by Emerald bay which affords scenic views for a truly romantic experience. Pangkor Laut houses an exclusive resort named after the island. For those seeking complete rejuvenation, paper yourself at the luxurious Spa Village. Pangkor Laut Resort was rated as the ‘best among the best’ by Conde Nast Traveller in 2003. Actress Joan Collins and renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti have graced the resort.
Lumut is the staging point to Pangkor if arriving by road or rail. Located 83km from Ipoh, the state capital, it is home to the country’s principal naval base and a port which services the hinterland. Teluk batik, south of Lumut is popular for camping, boating and windsurfing. Nearby is Teluk Rubiah, another fine beach with a golf course. The Lumut International Yacht Club is a stopover while sailing the Straits of Malacca.
Lumut is a 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Highway. It can be reached by taxi or bus from Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur or Butterworth.
Pangkor is a 40-minute ferry ride from Lumut. There are departures every half hour.
ISLANDS OF SABAH
This gateway to Borneo showcases diverse cultures, a timeless rainforest and ancient caves. Its extensive coastline is a paradise of alluring beaches and island retreats.
Sabah is caressed by the South China Sea on its west and the Sulu and Celebes seas on its eastern coastline. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital offers top-notched properties such as the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and the Sutera Harbour Resort and Spa. Both resorts offer spectacular views of the South China Sea and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands. The Sutera Harbour Resort offers a full range of recreational facilities, including a golf course, marina and spa. In the vicinity of the airport, The Tanjung Aru beach is a popular spot to watch the beautiful sunset and relax at the beachside cafes. Tanjung Aru is also the gateway to explore several of Sabah’s delightful attractions. Go on a ride in the North Borneo tourist seam train and take in the scenic countryside. A treasured marine heritage, the five islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park are surrounded by extensive coral reefs. It proximity to Kota Kinabalu makes it a popular playground for water sports enthusiasts, sun-seekers and snorkelers.
Sabah has host of captivating islands among which is Pulau Tiga Park, better known as ‘Survivor Island’, featured in the TV reality show ‘Survivor’. The islands of Layang Layang, Turtle Island, Mabul, Kapalai and Sipadan are outstanding dive sites in the region. Labuan, known as the ‘International Garden Island of Borneo’, is a major destination as well as the site of several World War II memorials.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and several international carriers operate direct flights to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur and the region. Budget carrier, Air Asia flies to Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau.