TOP 5 islands in Malaysia to EXPLORE

A family looking for a place to relax with an amazing view? Or a thrill seeker searching for excitement? Malaysia's islands have got something for you. Keep reading to learn more!

8 min read

Did you know that the country of Malaysia has over 870 islands? Yes, there’s more than just Langkawi. When it comes to deciding which one of these islands to visit, the decision can be very tough. Thankfully, we have helped you narrow it down to five. Read on to find out why a stay on these 5 islands is worth your time!

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#1: REDANG ISLAND

The Redang archipelago is located off the coast of the Kuala Nerus District in Terengganu, Malaysia. This archipelago consists of nine islands, with Pulau Redang (Redang Island) being the biggest one. With crystal clear waters and sandy beaches, it’s no surprise why this island is such a popular tourist destination. The list of activities you can do here is endless. Whether it’s diving in the ocean or simply relaxing on the beach and enjoying the view in front of you, everyone is sure to find something to their liking here on Redang Island.

WHAT TO DO

  • Snorkelling – Curious to find out what’s in that clear blue ocean? Snorkelling is a fun activity that doesn’t require any experience, which makes it suitable for everyone. The colourful coral reefs and hundreds of different fish under the surface of the water will surely dazzle you.
  • Trekking and hiking – Redang Island is 7km long and 6km wide, which gives you plenty of room for exploration. Besides the beach, you can also take a walk through mangrove forests or hike up the hills.
  • Diving – The water near the island is generally calm and without current, making it a very safe place to dive. The different depths of the ocean also allow you to choose a diving location that you are most comfortable with. Some of the marine life you may encounter during your dive include reef sharks, cuttlefish, tropical reef fish and sand rays.
  • Nothing at all – Yes, you heard that right. Take some time off, clear your mind and relax along the pristine beach of Redang Island.

 

WHEN TO GO

Redang Island has a tropical climate all year round, but there are still certain months that are best suited for visiting. Going to the island from April to September ensure that you avoid the northeast monsoon period, when most resorts are generally closed. But remember to bring an umbrella as it may still rain!

HOW TO GET THERE

Flights are available between Changi Airport and Kuala Terengganu via Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where you can take a cab to Shahbandar jetty or Merang jetty, depending on the location of your resort. Then, board a ferry towards Redang Island.

#2 – KAPAS ISLAND

Pulau Kaspas, which translates to “Cotton Island” in English, is aptly named for its white beaches. This island is located about 6km east of the town of Marang in Terengganu, Malaysia. It’s been described as a “backpacker’s paradise”, yet it’s still not as well known as some other Malaysian islands. But why not turn this into an advantage and avoid the crowds?

WHAT TO DO

  • Gem Island day trip – From the Longsha Campsite, take a boat to Gem Island close by, where you have the opportunity to spot some reef sharks in one of the “Shark Bays”. For the brave-hearted, you can even try swimming with them. But don’t worry, reef sharks tend to be the shy ones and don’t approach humans, so it is perfectly safe.
  • Walk along the beach – Take a stroll along the gorgeous beach of Kapas Island! As this is one of the less frequently visited islands of Malaysia, expect to have lots of space to yourself and not have to worry about dealing with crowds.
  • Volleyball – Believe it or not, volleyball is the national sport of Kapas Island. There are permanently set up courts on the two main beaches of the island that are free for everyone to use. Remember to bring your own ball from home if you’ve got one, otherwise, most accommodations would be happy to lend one to you. This is also a brilliant opportunity to forge new friendships with fellow players.

WHEN TO GO

Anytime from April to August is the most ideal for visiting Kapas Island. However, avoid planning your trip from November to February as the island will likely be closed due to the monsoon season.

HOW TO GET THERE

Catch a flight from Changi Airport to Kuala Terengganu through Kuala Lumpur International Airport, then head to Marang jetty (not to be confused with Merang jetty) by cab. From there, take the ferry to Kapas Island, which departs at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm daily.

Malaysia has much more to offer too – check out the TOP 7 Cafes You MUST Visit in Johor Bahru (2019)!

#3 – TIOMAN ISLAND

TIME Magazine called Tioman Island one of the world’s most beautiful islands back in the 1970s. Certainly, it is still worthy of that title today. While its duty-free status draws many tourists to the island to shop at lower prices, the true value of this island lies in its tranquil atmosphere.

WHAT TO DO

  • Scuba diving – The range of diving courses offered at Tioman Island is truly extensive and impressive. They can range from PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving program, a half-day course designed for beginner divers with no experience required, to PADI’s Advanced Open Water course, a flexible program in which you can decide if you wish to identify reef fish, dive on a wreck, experience a night dive, work on your buoyancy or many many more.
  • Yoga & retreat – As I mentioned earlier, the atmosphere of Tioman Island is something special. And what better way to capitalise on this than an hour long yoga workshop or a full day retreat at the Ombak House Tioman?
  • Kayaking – Calm seas around Tioman Island make it an ideal location to grab a kayak and head into the crystalline waters. The island has plenty of kayaks to go around so there’s no need to worry about bringing your own. Once out at sea, consider heading to Pulau Renggis if you’re a fan of snorkelling, where you will find shallow and safe waters containing all kinds of fishes.

WHEN TO GO

If you want to avoid the monsoon season, visit Tioman Island between March and October for the best experience. And as usual, have backup plans as the island’s tropical climate means you should expect some rainy days.

HOW TO GET THERE

A drive from Singapore through Johor Bahru and Kota Tinggi to Tanjung Gemok jetty, where you can board a ferry to Tioman Island, takes about 3.5 to 4 hours. Secure parking for your car is available in Mersing, a nearby town. Alternatively, there are direct buses available and taking other buses at Larkin Terminal in Johor Bahru is also an affordable option.

#4 – PERHENTIAN ISLANDS

Consisting of two main islands, Perhentian Besar (or Big Perhentian) and Perhentian Kecil (or Small Perhentian), the Perhentian Islands are best known for their flexibility in accommodation options. Regardless of your budget, you are guaranteed to be able to find a place to stay and take in the beauty of the islands and the ocean beyond.

WHAT TO DO

  • Turtle watching – Turtle Sanctuary Beach, located on Perhentian Besar, has been largely untouched by the public. So, it is the perfect place to find sea turtles in their natural habitat. Going at night would also create a different kind of experience in which you may witness baby turtles making their way to the ocean after hatching.
  • Terengganu Marine Park – This protected area of land near the Perhentian Islands is home to a coral reef community and thousands of flora and fauna. You may get the chance to observe marine life you’ve never seen up close before, such as giant groupers and eels. It’s great for snorkelling, scuba diving and underwater photography, but keep in mind that activities like water skiing, speed boat racing or polluting the ocean in any way are disallowed.
  • Windmill – Located on Perhentian Kecil, the hike to Windmill Point promises not to disappoint. Immerse yourself in your surroundings as you trek through the jungle. Once you reach the windmill, look around and take in the marvellous view of the island and the ocean beyond.
  • Seafood BBQ – Fresh seafood barbecue is available at many places throughout the islands at reasonable prices with lots of options to choose from.

WHEN TO GO

If you’re planning a trip to the Perhentian Islands, going there anytime from March to November would be your best bet. However, take note that the month of July often attracts the most visitors, so remember to book accommodation in advance if necessary.

HOW TO GET THERE

Take a flight from Changi Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where you can then board a flight towards Kuala Terengganu or Kota Bharu. Once you arrive, take a bus or a cab to Kuala Besut jetty, then head to the Perhentian Islands by ferry.

Love going to islands? Then you’ve surely been to Batam – but have you been to the TOP 5 SPAs You MUST Visit In Batam (2019)?

#5 – PANGKOR ISLAND

Pangkor Island offers something different compared to the rest of the islands on this list. A brief history lesson – in the 17th century, the Dutch built a fort here to try to regulate Perak tin trade, which you can still visit today. But that’s not all. This island was also where a historical treaty called the Pangkor Treaty was signed in 1874 between the British government and a contender for the Perak throne. What happened next may sound familiar to you: the British colonisation of the Malay peninsula. If you’re a big fan of exploring cultural places, this might just be the island for you!

WHAT TO DO

  • Dutch Fort – Back in the 1670s, the Sultanate of Perak used to store and defend tin supplies in this fort. It was destroyed by unhappy Malays some 20 years later but rebuilt by the Dutch again in 1743. While visiting the fort, take a walk around its small park and purchase something from the souvenir store.
  • Foo Lin Kong Temple – A mini-sized version of the Great Wall of China and the 12 Chinese zodiac signs featured on the ceiling are just a few of the exciting things you can find at this Taoist temple. Perched on a hill, it is more than a hundred years old and filled with heritage.
  • Fisherman’s Cove – This critically acclaimed seafood restaurant is located on Pangkor Laut Island, a smaller island next to the main Pangkor Island. Be sure to arrive before sunset if you don’t want to miss out on the best view. Take note of the smart casual dress code and the age restriction of 16 years and older. Opening hours are from 7am to 10.30pm.

WHEN TO GO

Pangkor Island is generally a year-round destination with constant temperatures and a cool breeze, but it gets rainy from November to February so avoid those months if you wish to stay dry during your trip.

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly to Kuala Lumpur and then take a bus from KL’s Terminal Bersepadu Selatan towards Terminal Lumut. At the terminal, take the ferry, which departs every 45 minutes, to Pangkor Island.

Want to see some more sights in Malaysia? Check out the BEST VALUE for Money Accommodations near Desaru Water Adventure Park, Johor Bahru!

Travel on a Budget & Friendly Customer Service with WeekendGoWhere! Whatsapp +65  8202 3422  OR call +65 6358 4231 (9am to 6pm). Quote “SingaporeGo” as your source.

So what are you waiting for? Pick your ultimate holiday destination in Malaysia now!

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