Malaysia holds some of the greatest getaways in Asia – and if you’re living in the country and have yet to go to one of these ten different places – then you’re missing out. We’re listing out the ten must-visit islands in Malaysia!
In 2002, after the dispute with Indonesia the International Court of Justice ruled that the island of Sipadan was in fact Malaysian. Located in the state of Sabah, Sipadan is often rated as the world’s best dive sites with a location that is in the centre of the planet’s most bio-diverse marine habitat. It is said to be the home of over 3,000 fishes and hundreds of speices of corals and there is also an abundance of rays and sharks.
Getting there: It is a 55 minute flight from Kota Kinabalu to the town of Tawau, after that there is a one hour drive to another small town, Semporna then a 40-minute speedboat ride to Sipadan itself.
The Redang archipelago consists of nine different islands which include, Lima, Paku Besar, Paku Kecil, Kerengga Besar, Kerengga Kecil, Ekor Tebu, Ling, Pinang and Redang itself. Together, these islands form a marine park which is situated 45 kilometers off the east Peninsular Malaysia state of Terengganu.
The island is considered to be of ‘high class’ as the hold mostly resorts rather than budget hotels. But none the less, it is one of best beach destinations to day. In fact, movies were shot on this island before too – eg. Hong Kong movie, “Summer Holiday”.
Getting there: You can take Berjaya Air, which flies directed to the island, but if not, you can have the choice to fly to Kuala Terengganu and then continue by car and take a ferry from the port of Merang.
This island is actually one of the Sultan’s private islands. Owned by the family of the Sultanate of Johor, Rawa is a small island 16 kilometers off the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. There are only two resorts on the island which are accessible by boat from the mainland port of Mersing.
This island holds some interesting activities too – like canoeing, hiking, and some other interesting island activities.
In the only side point is that the choices for accommodations are limited, so be sure to book up as early as possible.
Getting there: From Kuala Lumpur, you can take a bus or drive to Mersing where there are regular ferries that depart. But, during low season (November – March) , the ferry frequency may drop.
This island only eight square kilometres but it is one of the most popular beach getaways in Malaysia amongst the locals as it is the best place for a little rest and relaxation.
Thought there is not much to do, you can still find a nice uncrowded beach to relax on as well as a variety of amazing local cuisines and friendly people.
Getting there: There are direct flights to the island or you can also take a 30 minute ferry ride from the town of Lumut.
Off the northeast coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Perhentians is known to be the backpackers trail as it is known for its clear waters and diverse array of aquatic life.
The fishermen who have turned into tour guides will take you out on their small boats for a day trip to swim with sharks and turtles – now that’s an experience.
As for the night life – there are beach bars set up with cushions on the sand while the fire artists to their thing as the night goes by.
Getting there: There are regular buses that leave from Hentian Putra bus station in Kuala Lumpur, and it takes nine hours. The other option is to fly from the Kuala Lumpur airport to Kota Bharu, then catch a taxi to the port town of Kuala Besut.
This island has become the most hyped about island in the world. In fact, Time magazine named it one of the world’s most beautiful islands in the 1970s.
Though it is now a tourist train and may have lost a little of its exotic mystique, it still is known for its natural enviroment and wildlife which is what made Tioman famous in the first place. In fact, it is said that there are giant monitar lizards that roam among the kampungs in search of food – but that’s one of the main animal wildlife you’ll spot.
Getting there: There are bus services that you can take to Mersing, from there it’s then a two-hour boat ride to the first jetty on the island. Another option would be flying in directly. Berjaya Airways flights from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore too.
One of Malaysias must-visit islands, the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ which holds in so much history in just one island. This island isn’t your typical sand, surf and sea getaway, there is a lot more to Penang than meets the eye.
Today, is has been given the UNESCO status thanks to all the historical sides. But it’s not only about the history – it’s about the food too! Penang is known for having some of the tastiest delicacies at hand. From laksa to char koey teow – there is not a single boring moment on this island.
Getting there: You can take a flight directly to Penang from anywhere around the world. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to all the different destinations that you wish to visit.
This tiny island of Layang-Layang is located 300 kilometers northwest of the Sabah capital of Kota Kinabalu (KK), the state of which it belongs to.
This island is in fact reclaimed land by the Malaysian Navy, which is surrounded by pristine waters that drop to 2,000 meters. Layang-Layang is ranked as the top 10 sites diving spots in the world due to its remarkable array of marine life.
Because of the Navy presence, the coral reef has been spared from explosive damage caused by dynamite fishing, and other destructive practices leading to underwater visibility for mare than 40 meters.
Getting there: The only way in and out is on a charter flight from Kota Kinabalu.
Located off the coast of East Malaysia, Labuan is sandwiched between Sarawak and Sabah. It is an island that is known for being an offshore business centre and a free trade zone.
But if you’re not looking for something within the business section, there you can also go diving near the wrecks. Over the years, there have been ship wrecks that have settled on the bottom of the ocean.
Getting there: There are daily flights to Labuan Airport from Kuala Lumpur, Miri in Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Part of the Kedah state, the island is one of the most touristic destinations in Malaysia – but both locals and actual tourists.
Apart from the beach, the island holds some pretty interesting activities too, which includes cable car rides, interesting food destinations, rice padi farms and many more things.
Getting there: Langkawi has by far the best flight connections of any Malaysian island, with dozens of daily flights to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang.