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Seeking out the best Malaysian beaches? You have excellent taste.
We’ve just got back from visiting some of the best beaches in Malaysia, and we’re itching to share our discoveries with you. What makes the country’s sandy shores so very spectacular is the way they manage to be arrestingly beautiful and relaxing, yet somehow most remain free from sun-craving crowds of tourists. Plus, you know, it doesn’t hurt that they’re in Malaysia – a country famed for its groundbreaking, culture-combining cuisine, booming cities, and utterly unique wildlife.
Whether you’re looking for a two-week beach sprawl or a quick dip in the sea in between jungle excursions, you’ll find your paradise in Malaysia. Here are some we think you’ll love…
Pantai Cenang, Langkawi Island
One of the only inhabited islands in a large archipelago, Langkawi Island sits roughly twenty kilometres off Malaysia’s west coast at the point where it borders Thailand. From the island’s beaches on a clear day, you can actually see both countries in the distance. Langkawi Island is less developed than some of its nearby Thai counterparts, and the many beaches them ring the small isle are pristine and peaceful. You’ll find some stunning resorts across the island, hemmed in by lush jungle and rugged hills rolling right up to the shoreline. The most famous beach on the island is Pantai Cenang, though you may prefer to venture out and find your own secluded stretch of sand. The nearby Kilim Karst Geoforest Park makes for a superb day’s exploration, with caves, mangroves swamps, and a floating fishery.
Coral Beach, Perhentian Islands
Between April and September, the Perhentian Islands off Malayia’s north-east coast are a prime spot for snorkelling and diving. Head out to explore the coral reefs offshore, and you can expect to swim alongside hawksbill turtles, sting rays, manta rays and even reef sharks. The two islands that comprise the Perhentians are Besar (big), and Kecil (small). The heavily-forest Besar is the pricier choice, popular with honeymooners and loved-up couples, while Kecil is a favourite of backpackers. Head to Coral Beach if you’re looking to sit on the sands and contemplate the vivid sunset, or visit Long Beach for a party atmosphere.
Teluk Dalam Besar, Redang Island
One of the best beaches in Malaysia for lovers of peaceful solitude is Teluk Dalam Besar. Located in a a sheltered bay, you’ll have the immaculate sands all to yourself. Pulau Redang, one of the largest islands on Mayalsia’s east coast, has crystal clear waters and is peppered with excellent four-star hotels, each with their own spotless stretch of beach. The island is another great spot for diving, and is perfect for travellers who simply want to bask in tropical climes, listening to lapping waves. There are few roads on the island, adding to the sense of tranquillity, and visitors can while away the hours snorkelling, trekking through the jungle, or taking boats out on the sea.
Tanjon Jara Resort, Kuala Terennganu
The capital of Malaysia’s Terennganu District,, Kuala Terennganu is a rapidly growing city, sprung up from what was a small fishing town. There are some pretty sights, particularly the city’s mosques, but that’s not what we’ve come for: we want beaches. The Tanjon Jara Resort, just outside the city, is everything you picture when you hear the phrase ‘tropical paradise’. If waking up in a gigantic white bed and opening the curtains to reveal an immaculate, vacant strip of golden sand before a turquoise sea sounds like a good time, you’ll adore it here. Everything is high-end: the service, the architecture, the pools, even the towering palms that sway in the breeze.
Juara, Tioman Island
Tioman is less about fine dining and relaxation, and more about adventure. The island has a rugged feel to it, a boisterous energy in which not everything is built for the whims of tourists; alcohol is cheap, monkeys and lizards about, and cats come and go as they please. There are plenty of beaches to be found – interspersed with stretches of thick jungle – and our favourite is Juara, on the island’s east side. The coral here still retains a lot of colour, and the beach is quiet no matter which season you visit.
Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Laut Island
Covering 298 acres of the island, Pangkor Laut Resort is a tangible slice of Shangri La. The renownded spa consists of hilltop villas, infinite pools, fountains, manicured gardens, seafront restaurants on stilts above the water, and endless elegant lounges to recline in and ponder how very lucky you are. The beach is about are wondrous as you’d expect from an establishment that was once a favourite of Pavarotti, and the island is teeming with exotic birdlife. There’s a huge spa village too, should you feel like taking your relaxation up a notch. If you visit this resort, trust us, you are in for a treat.