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  • Writer's pictureTania Wee

Island Paradises in Malaysia to Visit

Updated: May 6, 2020

Untouched beaches, world-class diving sites and isolated escape are just a few ways to describe the islands in Malaysia. Our country is indeed blessed with over 800 beaches and islands up and down the coasts in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo with a variety of activities, resorts and natural wonders to pick from. Some islands may have thousands of residents living there while others might only consist of a handful of local villages but all are home to enriching biodiversity, cooling waters and warm hospitality of the locals.

Source: Perhentian Island by Gaddafi Rusli on Unsplash

Whether you’re looking for the ideal honeymoon heaven, a getaway with family or a snorkelling adventure with friends, there are many island resorts to escape to. And to help you find your island paradise, here’s our list of Malaysia’s best islands and resorts for you to sit back, relax and unwind.

1. Redang Island, Terengganu

Just off the coast of Terengganu, Redang Island has long been a Malaysian favourite destination especially when it comes to snorkelling, diving and just enjoying its sandy beaches and pristine waters. On top of being a popular water sports site, Redang Island is also part of the protected marine areas known as Terengganu Marine Park. A vibrant underwater world awaits snorkellers and divers at the Redang Marine Park Centre. There is even a shipwreck located nearby that can be an adventure for advanced snorkelers.

There are beach-side resorts scattered around the island each with their own charm and appeal. One such a resort is Laguna Redang Island Resort with rooms styled in traditional Malay architecture with a modern touch that allows it to blend harmoniously with its nature settings. Activities are plentiful as well as there are many facilities available to keep your days occupied. Guests won’t even need to leave the resort as there are several restaurants and bars offering a wide spread of local and international cuisine.

There is also Redang Beach Resort, which gives guests a taste of the seaside life with its villas that open out to the swimming pool and multiple alfresco dining options around the resort. The beach is just a stone’s throw away. This resort is perfect for all getaway occasion – family, couples and even just a solo escape.

2. Mataking Island, Sabah

Sabah’s Mataking is a diver’s paradise. The island is just an hour’s boat ride from Semporna and sits on the edge of the continental shelf surrounded by fringing reef of hard and soft coral that fosters colourful marine life. It’s also home to the Malaysia’s first and only underwater post offices, one out of five in the world.

In March 2006, the Reef Dive Resort at Mataking Island sank an old cargo ship as part of its conservation programme. This created an artificial reef which boosted the tropical reef life and provided a home for marine creatures in the clear tropical waters around the resort. A mail box was placed on the front of the wheel house of this shipwreck.

Reef Dive Resort is the only resort in Mataking and offers guests a luxurious and exciting stay, blending top notch accommodation and underwater explorations. Divers can even purchase postcard from the resort and using a special sealed waterproof plastic postal bag, post the card underwater. A special rubber stamp was designed to depict this unique postal service, making for a unique souvenir for yourself or a fellow diving enthusiast.

3. Perhentian Island, Terengganu

Located off the north-eastern coast of Malaysia, Perhentian is a great destination to escape from the stress and buzz of the city life. The laid-back atmosphere combined with the natural beauty of the islands will make it a getaway to remember. In 2013, CNN named Perhentian Islands No. 13 on a list of the world’s 100 best beaches, beating out Tioman Island (No. 21) and Langkawi (No. 49) for the top spot amongst Malaysian islands.

Perhentian consist of two islands, namely Pulau Perhentian Besar (Large Perhentian Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Perhentian Island). Its crystal-clear water is home to magnificent marine life and offers unforgettable snorkelling and diving memories across its many spots. Visitors can also choose to explore the tropical jungles of the islands.

Perhentian Besar is ideal for a tranquil island holiday with loved ones or family. Meanwhile Perhentian Kecil is more popular among backpackers, because Perhentian Kecil has more choices of budget accommodations. However, there are a few very good quality accommodations on Perhentian Kecil such as Shari-La Island Resort, a quiet resort that cleverly blends its chalets with the island natural vegetation and surroundings. A sizeable patch of coral garden is right in front of the resort for an easy snorkel session.

4. Pangkor Island, Perak

Pangkor is not an unknown destination amongst beachgoers but it is still one of the most beautiful with peaceful settings and gorgeous scenery that provides an escape from the busy city world. Visitors can enjoy many types of leisure activities and facilities across the island from water sports to jungle trekking to blue glowing plankton sighting.

Pangkor Island is also home to hundreds of hornbills, birds a double-decker beak and Malaysia’s quirkiest bird species. Dozens of them can often be sighted around sunset as they swoop down to get their dinners. Pangkor is best explored at your own leisurely pace where you can either opt to travel out from your resort or just lounge by the beach to relax and

For something on the cosy side, there is Coral Bay Resort. With 142 hotel styled rooms including 55 units of 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom service apartments available to choose from, there's something perfect for the whole family. For a localised experience, take a stroll along the street to the beach where you will get a taste of Malaysian street delicacies at affordable prices from the locals.

5. Gemia Island, Terengganu

Gemia Island is the ultimate private island getaway with only one resort, Gem Island Resort and Spa on site. It is one of the few privately owned islands in Malaysia built with its superb natural beauty still intact. Located within a Marine Conservation Park, Gemia Island boasts a spectacular underwater seascape of corals and marine life as some of its natural wonders.

Your home away from home at this private island resort of Gem Island is a romantic boutique retreat with 45 sea frontage villas hugging the coastlines while preserving its natural environment. Gem Island Resort and Spa offers facilities such as an in-house Spa for you to enjoy a luxurious holiday and rejuvenate all your senses as you watch the sunset.


Now that you have these island options, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make plans with your loved ones for a fun-filled and exciting weekend. With just a click or a call away, you can be on your way to an island getaway right here in Malaysia.

Here’s a travel tip from us. Take advantage of the peak season shoulder and go a few weeks before the holiday season to avoid the bustling tourist crowd. Trust us, you will feel as though you have an entire island to yourself. Find out more about these island packages by checking out or dialling 03-2148-4566.

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