Malaysia, as a tropical country, is home to over 800 breathtaking islands spanning both sides of its capes and around Borneo.
Some tourists arrive at the capitol of KL and are disappointed upon finding out that they are not surrounded by clear oceans and cocktails in coconut shells. Fret not, as there are many beautiful islands to be explored not far away.
Whether it be a luxurious vacation, world-class diving experiences or a budget-friendly getaway sipping duty-free drinks with your friends, Malaysia has got it all.
These are some of the best and most beautiful islands to visit in Malaysia:
1. Redang Island in Terengganu
Redang Island, or Pulau Redang, is a very popular place to go to in Malaysia for its sandy beaches and gorgeous ocean views. It is located a little off the coast of Terengganu and is one of the protected marine turfs known as Terengganu Marine Park. The conservation of its ecosystem makes it the perfect destination for diving into clear waters and revelling in the flora and fauna while you snorkel.
If water activities are not your thing, you can even go turtle watching at Pasir Chagar Hutang at the northeast part of Pulau Redang.
2. Perhentian Islands in Terengganu
Also situated in the beautiful state of Terengganu, the Perhentian Islands consist of two islands: Perhentian Kecil (small) and Perhentian Besar (big). This island paradise attracts all kinds of crowds.
Kecil is a wonderful place for budget-friendly stays on Long Beach as well as diving. The island is lined with some of Southeast Asia’s most affordable diving schools providing PADI courses. On the other hand, Besar attracts visitors looking to spend their holiday in luxurious shoreside resorts.
There are no roads connecting the beaches. So to get from one to the other, visitors will have to trek along jungle trails. Water taxis are available for longer distances.
3. Langkawi the ‘Jewel of Kedah’
Bordered with stretches of glistening coastlines and jungle-clad mountains, Langkawi is an absolute tropical gem and one of the most visited islands in Malaysia. This amazing island, also known as the Jewel of Kedah, looks like a pregnant lady laying on her back from a distance. Feed eagles and watch monkeys swim for food on the Pregnant Maiden Island.
It is also the perfect place for tourists to load up on duty-free cigarettes and alcohol, with some of the cheapest beers and more.
4. Tioman Island
Tioman Island, or Pulau Tioman, is situated off the east coast of Malaysia near the private island Batu Batu. It is a smaller island compared to its more renowned counterpart Langkawi but is still a stunning destination nonetheless. Tioman Island is well-known for its white-sand beaches and dazzling corals.
5. Labuan Island the ‘Pearl of Borneo’
Labuan Island is a hidden gem located at the northwest coast of Borneo, known as the ‘Pearl of Borneo’. The island is home to around 100,000 people and is yet to be ‘discovered’ as a frequented tourist spot.
The island comprises many attractions, including isolated beaches and shipwrecks that make for great diving spots. There is also a War Cemetery serving as the final resting place for allied soldiers from WW2.
6. Penang Island
Penang Island is more of a cosmopolitan island that is located in the Straits of Malacca. Dubbed as Malaysia’s British colonial jewel, the elegant architecture in the island’s capital, George Town, gives off a gracious colonial flair.
Penang is home to some of the most delicious foods in the nation. Beautiful Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic temples can be found almost anywhere, adorning the town with colour. Traditional shophouses line the narrow streets along with picturesque street art.
7. Pangkor Island in Perak
Pangkor Island is paradise on earth located off the coast of Perak, right between Penang and KL. It’s no surprise that this island is so alluring to travellers, as the Thai word “Pang Koh” literally translates as “beautiful island”. Bask in the sun on the white sand beaches while crystal clear sea water crashes in.
You may even catch glimpses of hornbills that flock this island.
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