Malaysia is home to more than 800 islands, and each has its own unique personality. As the country’s tourism industry grew, different islands started attracting different types of tourists. The Perhentian Islands and Tioman for instance became a hotspot for backpackers and divers, while Penang and Langkawi drew more families looking for upscale resorts. Depending on what you’re looking for, there is probably an island in Malaysia that has your name written on it.
The Romantic Escape – Pangkor Laut
Located off the
coast of Perak in the northwest of peninsula Malaysia, Pangkor Laut is a
private island hideaway with a gorgeous bay and lush jungles – perfect
for couples looking for privacy and a romantic ambience. There is only
one resort here, Pangkor Laut Resort, so lovebirds feel like they have
the entire island to themselves. The many secluded bays, coves and
serene beaches here are great for couples looking to spend some quality
time alone together. The resort also has a spa village where you can
pamper yourselves with Chinese, Malay or Ayurvedic treatments. Pankor
Laut can be reached by boat from Marina Island Pangkor in Perak.
The Diver’s Dream – Sipadan
600 metres from the seabed, off the east coast of Sabah, Sipadan is the
only oceanic island in Malaysia, which makes it a perfect spot for
diving, snorkeling and observing pelagic marine life. Hard-core divers
flock here to see the famous turtle tombs, whale sharks, green and
hawksbill turtles, manta rays, barracudas, big-eyed trevally, hammerhead
sharks and more. The waters here are good for diving all year round,
though the best seasons are from April to December. There are many
reasonably priced resorts in the surrounding islands that offer dive
courses and rent scuba gear. Most people take a flight to the town of
Tawau from Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur, then take a minivan or taxi to
the port town of Semporna. From there, it is a one-hour boat ride to
The Luxury Seeker’s Sojourn – Langkawi
known as the jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands
in the Andaman Sea. The largest of these is Langkawi Island, which is
where you’ll find some of the most luxurious five star beach resorts.
The Datai, The Andaman, the Fourseasons, and The Westin all offer guest
modern amenities, spas, stunning pools, lavish rooms and sumptuous
dining options. You can fly to Langkawi on a Malaysian Airlines flight
from Kuala Lumpur or Air Asia, or fly Silk Air direct from Singapore.
The Nature Lover’s Paradise– Redang
of a marine park and a conservation site for sea turtles, Redang not
only boasts crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and vibrant marine
life, it is also a place with verdant green hills and rainforests that
thrive with exotic wildlife. Here, you can go on nature hikes and spot
monkeys, squirrels, birds and large monitor lizards. There are a variety
of resorts, ranging from budget to luxury to choose from here. You can
get a boat from Merang, 30 kilometers north from Kuala Terengganu or
catch a Berjaya Air flight from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore to Redang.
The Backpackers Hangout – Tioman
just 32 kilometers off the east coast of peninsula Malaysia, in the
state of Pahang, Tioman is a densely forested, tropical island with
eight rustic villages that are home to cosy resorts and chalets. There
are many budget accommodations around the villages of Air Batang, Salang
and Tekek, and a younger crowd of backpackers and budget travellers
often flock here, giving the place a youthful, party vibe. You can get
to Tioman by taking a ferry from Mersing jetty on the mainland.