Malaysia has the region’s third longest and, arguably, one of its most beautiful coastlines. Between the eastern and western coastlines of Peninsular Malaysia and nearly half the circumference of Borneo, the third largest island on earth, there is an overwhelming number of exotic beach destinations ripe for discovery. For travellers looking for a perfect blend of tropical beauty and tranquility, there are options aplenty. So the next time you recommend a unique beach destination to clients travelling to Asia, keep in mind some of these incredible options Malaysia has to offer.
Comprised of nine idyllic islands off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the Redang Islands are the epitome of `paradise.’ With crystal clear waters, bleachwhite sands, peaceful luxurious vibes and its own airport with daily flights from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to boot, it’s a wonder the Redang
Islands remain so pristine. For guests looking to add a beach leg to their trip in Malaysia, this may very well be the best and most easy-to-add addition
to their itinerary.
With direct flights from Kuala Lumpur’s Subang Airport and Singapore’s Changi Airport, getting to the Redang Islands is a breeze. Guests wanting to head there by land by including some other sites in Peninsular Malaysia can also access the islands via the Shahbandar Jetty in Kuala Terengganu or Merang Jetty.
For sea lovers with a leaning towards underwater attractions, Sipadan is Malaysia’s uncontested monarch of marine destinations. Once touted by world-famous underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau as ‘one of the most untouched places on earth,’ thanks to careful conservation, little has changed since then. Furthermore, it has been consistently rated as one of the planet’s top diving destinations.
It’s a 55-minute flight from Kota Kinabalu to the town of Tawau. From there it’s an hour’s drive to Semporna where guests are just a 40-minute speedboat ride away.
Although it’s more commonly visited as the gateway to Sipadan Island, Semporna has more than enough charm to make exploring it worthwhile. The Bajau Laut or `sea gypsies’ of Sabah have inhabited these coastal waters for centuries. Born and raised at sea, they traditionally only touch land to trade fish for goods and necessities. Genetically adapted to this life at sea, few cultures on earth are more fascinating. The land and seascapes they inhabit aren’t too shabby either!
It’s a 55-minute flight from Kota Kinabalu to the town of Tawau. From there it’s an hour’s drive to Semporna.
Although not quite as easy to get to as some other destinations in Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands have been quickly building up steam as an iconic beach destination. Boasting air-clear waters that make boats appear to levitate above the sand, the Perhentian Islands are also known for
their chilled out vibes and wide range of accommodations. The waters surrounding them are so rich that visitors can simply
snorkel right off the beach in most areas.
For those willing to make a straight shot of it, it takes about nine hours by car or van from Kuala Lumpur to reach the Perhentian Islands -although
there’s plenty of fascinating stops along the way for a more segmented and easily stomached ride there. Alternatively, it’s possible to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu and then take a taxi to the town of Kuala Besut before ferrying over.
Easily among Malaysia’s most popular beach destinations, Tioman Island has somehow managed to retain its famously pristine beaches and jungles. Despite being one of the easiest-to-reach islands in Malaysia, it still boasts clear waters, white sands and abundant opportunities for snorkelling and embarking in other sea activities.
From almost anywhere in Malaysia, guests can easily reach the gateway town of Mersing. From there it’s a two-hour ferry ride to the first jetty on the island. Alternatively, guests who are short on time can fly there directly from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
Any list of Malaysia’s best beach destinations would be remiss to not include Langkawi. Although not as far off the tourist trail as other destinations in Malaysia, there are still pockets of this dramatically beautiful karstswept archipelago to make a visit richly rewarding. For discerning guests looking for higher-end accommodation, Langkawi has a range of options will more than suit the needs of just about anybody, making it an ideal choice for honeymooners and other highend travellers.
Easily the most well-connected island in Malaysia, there are dozens of flights there each day from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang. Alternatively, guests with a bit more time can easily ferry or speedboat there after checking out the charming colonial vibes of Penang.
Owned by the family of the Sultan of Johor, Rawa Island presents guests with a unique opportunity: the chance to visit the private island of a sultan!
Just 16 kilometres off the east coast of Malaysia, it’s one of the easier-to-reach paradises in Malaysia and, despite this, it doesn’t make any compromises
in terms of what sort of natural beauty it has to offer -it’s dropdead gorgeous.
Guests can either fly to Kuantan Airport and then combine overland transport and a ferry to get there, or they can be driven directly from Kuala Lumpur.