Malaysia is a country of contrasts. Here, you can find luxurious skyscrapers, access to the vast waters of the Pacific Ocean, and historical buildings with ancient architecture. Every corner seems worth contemplating.
The country is located in Southeast Asia, with its capital in Kuala Lumpur. The mainland is situated between Thailand and Singapore, while the island part consists of the federal territory of Labuan and two states, Sabah and Sarawak, occupying the northern part of the island of Borneo. It is precisely Malaysia’s islands that will be the focus of our attention today. In this article, we will highlight the most luxurious vacation spots and explore the unique features of each. Given the diversity of the islands, we certainly have a lot to share, so let us get started promptly.
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Being the largest island in Malaysia, Langkawi mesmerises with its endless beaches of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. All of this is complemented by a true green oasis of tropical forests with diverse plant life, some of which are incredibly rare and protected by UNESCO. The central town and capital of the island is Kuah. Here, you can find the most famous landmarks of the island: a giant eagle statue, the themed landscape park “Legenda,” the Al-Hana Mosque, and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfall. On the other hand, in the Pantai Cenang area, you can enjoy a classic beach vacation on pristine beaches with picturesque views. Nearby restaurants, cafes, and shops add extra comfort and create a relaxing atmosphere.
The island on the eastern coast is the best place to relax in the middle of spring, summer, or early autumn. A large part of it is covered with mountains and tropical forests, so exploring the lands of Tioman will feel like an adventure into the unknown. The population of the island is small, with only seven small villages in the vicinity, which adds charm and uniqueness to the place. Local accommodations are in the form of bungalows, which perfectly blend with the surrounding nature. Despite the island’s apparent seclusion, there are plenty of activities to engage in. You can start by visiting the Pulau Jahat Marine Park, a biosphere reserve, to admire the variety of marine fish. Then, discover the Pulau Tioman nature reserve, offering stunning views of the tropical forest and its inhabitants. Additionally, you can rent a boat, visit a turtle farm, and enjoy diving and snorkelling.
This island is completely detached from the mainland of Malaysia, which actually attracts tourists who seek a connection with nature. The remote location requires either a plane or a ferry to get here. However, it is definitely worth it, as the beaches of Redang are pristine with crystal-clear waters, hiding vibrant coral reefs beneath. Among the activities on the island are diving and snorkelling, boat rides, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, and windsurfing. Even ordinary walks on Pulau Redang turn into real adventures. The island’s flora and fauna are breathtaking, so during your excursion, you can spot squirrels, lizards, bats, and monkeys.
Penang Island is more lively than the previous ones. Almost the entire territory has a well-developed infrastructure, the concentration of which is particularly noticeable in the island’s capital, Georgetown. Numerous hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and spa salons provide all the necessary conditions for a quality vacation. Furthermore, Penang is renowned for its cultural and historical heritage. Georgetown is full of colonial-style buildings and attractive narrow streets. It is also worth trying the local cuisine, which is considered one of the most delicious in the world. Relaxing on the beach, sunbathing under the warm sun, and enjoying the pleasant sea breeze are an essential part of the program. The island’s special attractions include the Snake Temple, Kek Lok Si Temple, St. George’s Church, and the Sri Mariamman Temple.
The Perhentian Islands consist of two main islands — Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Both islands offer a fulfilling vacation and diverse adventures, although Kecil’s resort infrastructure slightly falls behind Besar. Nonetheless, Kecil delights with its vibrant atmosphere: the island hosts many parties and lively shows, with the sound of music constantly in the air, and sometimes even fireworks can be seen. That is why young tourists are more attracted to Kecil in particular. Beach recreation in the Perhentian Islands is complicated by rocky and pebbly shores, so it is better to either bring specialised footwear for swimming or prefer beaches near hotels. When searching for a suitable place to relax, pay attention to Turtle Beach, Perhentian Island Resort, the beach near Cozy Resort and Cocohut Chalet, and Tuna Bay Island Resort. The conditions here are among the best.
The area of this tiny island is only 12 hectares. However, despite its modest size, Sipadan has managed to gain a reputation as one of the best diving spots in Malaysia. Unforgettable dives are carried out precisely here, thanks to the breathtaking underwater landscapes and the variety of large fish, such as hammerhead sharks and barracudas. It is worth noting that the island is a nature reserve, which promises to satisfy tourists with the contemplation of rare plants and animals. But at the same time, this means that hotels, restaurants, and other resort infrastructure are absent here. The island can be visited as a day trip, with overnight accommodation in a hotel in another location, such as Mabul or Kapalai. Also, make sure to bring your own water and food.
Combining serene and tranquil beach relaxation, fantastic landscapes, and active options for leisure, Kapas has surprises in store even for the most experienced travellers. The island is incredibly small in size, yet the views here are so artistic that they take your breath away. The resorts here are simple and unpretentious, as the real charm of this place lies elsewhere—in the unity with nature of unique beauty. Gorgeous sandy beaches lined with palm trees, magnificent cliffs, and evergreen jungles allow you to take a break from the perpetual rush, experience harmony and tranquillity. Engaging in meditation or yoga here would be an excellent idea. There is also the Aqua Sport Divers diving centre and the fascinating remains of a Japanese shipwreck that you can explore during high tides.
Undoubtedly, not all islands of Malaysia are represented here, nor even a small fraction of them. However, the most unforgettable emotions and fantastic sensations await you right here. There is no need to worry that the islands are too similar — each of them embodies a unique location for various types of recreation. It is definitely worth visiting them all.
How to find the time to visit all the islands in Malaysia
Since each island has its unique character and atmosphere, tourists often do not limit themselves to staying in one place. To explore multiple islands in Malaysia, there is only one obstacle – a lack of time. This problem can be solved with the help of our tips for organising your trip.
- Create an itinerary for visiting the islands. Before visiting Malaysia, it is worth learning more about the country’s geographical features and its islands. With over 800 islands in total, it is necessary to limit the number of places to visit. Choose preferred locations that suit your requirements. Then, form a specific route to follow during your journey.
- Decide on your budget. Visiting several islands can impose a significant financial burden on your wallet. Therefore, it makes sense to plan your budget in advance and calculate expenses for transportation, accommodation, food, and entertainment. Planning your expenses is the most effective way to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Rent a car. Travelling with your own vehicle always goes more smoothly, so car rental in Malaysia is a choice for comfort and time-saving. Your journey with a partner, family, or friends will take on new colours as you leave one city behind after another. Cars in Malaysia can be rented on the website of LocalCarRents.
- Find comfortable accommodation. Each resort in Malaysia offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious resorts to budget guesthouses. Among all the options, choose the one that suits your preferences and budget. Pay attention to the location of the accommodation if you want to be closer to the main attractions.
- Do not forget to try the local cuisine. It may seem strange, but national dishes prepared on different islands in Malaysia can significantly differ in taste. Of course, you should try them to compare. Nasi Lemak, Ais Kacang, Tandoori Chicken, Laksa soup – all these dishes will truly immerse you in the country’s atmosphere.
- Safety first. Despite Malaysia being considered a safe country for tourism, it is important to be extremely cautious. Familiarise yourself with the country’s laws before your visit and do not violate the rules of conduct on the islands. An important aspect is the condition of the sea and beaches. Avoid polluted areas and swim only in permitted locations.
Malaysia is a country that surprises. Each island is unique and distinctive. To fully indulge in the beauty of all the interesting locations, follow our advice. Unforgettable experiences are guaranteed to you.