Malaysia, the heart of Southeast Asia is home to numerous pristine beaches and beautiful rustic islands. While East Malaysia, also known as the Malaysian Borneo is often related to being the home of the best beaches in Malaysia, there are some you should never miss out in the Peninsula Malaysia too. And yea, the Peninsula Malaysia is much more than just the popular destinations like Penang, Melaka, and Kuala Lumpur.
This blog post is a collaboration post between me and several travel bloggers. Therefore, you’re guaranteed to access first-hand information on the mentioned beaches below.
Excited? Let’s hop in and check out the best beaches in Malaysia now!
- 1 Kapas Island in Marang, Terengganu
- 2 PIR Beach in Pulau Perhentian Besar, Terengganu
- 3 Tioman Island in Pahang
- 4 Long Beach in Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Terengganu
- 5 Teluk Dalam Kecil in Taaras Beach and Spa Resort
- 6 Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah
- 7 Sipadan Island in Sabah
- 8 Nipah Beach in Pulau Tioman
- 9 Pantai Tanjung Rhu in Pulau Langkawi, Kedah
- 10 Gaya Island Beach in Sabah
Kapas Island in Marang, Terengganu
Written by Amelie from Mostly Amelie
Kapas Island or Pulau Kapas is a 2 kilometer long and 1-kilometer wide tiny paradise island located on the east coast of Malaysia in the South China Sea.
Compared to the most known Perhentian Islands, Kapas is less known and much quieter. It’s a small no-frill island with no car, no ATM, and no fancy resort. It is literally just a strip of beach. It’s a place you come to disconnect completely, relax, dive or snorkel, and fill your eyes with the most beautiful landscape of white beaches.
Kapas means cotton, and this refers to the white beaches.
The closest city to Kapas is Kuala Terengganu. From there, you can easily take the bus to Marang (I recommend stocking up on fruit and mosquito repellent at the market right next to the jetty before you go as there is no fruit market on the island and a lot of mosquitos).
From Marang, the boat to Kapas departs daily from 7 am to 5 pm and will set you back around RM25 for a return ticket.
Kapas Island is located about 5km from the coast, so it will only take about 15 minutes to get there and back, making it easy to stay there for an extremely long time with short pit stops to the mainland to restock on travel essentials.
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PIR Beach in Pulau Perhentian Besar, Terengganu
Written by Sharon from Dive Into Malaysia
If you are looking for the best beaches in Malaysia then the Perhentian Islands are the perfect place to go. Once you are there, head straight to PIR Beach for the best beach!
PIR stands for Perhentian Island Resort and this is the beach right outside this resort on Perhentian Besar. Non-guests can visit as well.
It’s a beautiful stretch of beach with snorkeling options right off the beach. They also do a good job of not letting the boat taxis access the entire beach so there are safe roped-off areas to explore.
This is a beautiful, soft sand, powder-white beach with gorgeous clear water. There is often volleyball or soccer set up or you can hire a kayak.
To get to Perhentian Islands, you can fly or make your way to Kota Bharu.
From here, you need to take a taxi or bus to Kuala Besut which is where boats leave to take you to the islands. You can head straight to PIR Beach or stay elsewhere on the islands. Once on the islands, it’s easy to get a boat taxi to take you straight to this beach.
Check out these amazing beaches in California as well!
Tioman Island in Pahang
Written by Cal from Once in a Lifetime Journey
Tioman Island has some of the most wonderfully pristine beaches in Malaysia where sealife is bustling and monkeys roam like kings.
Around 32kms off Malaysia’s East Coast town of Mersing on the mainland lies Tioman, the largest island in the Pahang territory.
It is reachable by ferry either from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok and takes roughly 1.5-2 hours to get to.
Once on the island, the beaches are free to explore from the more resorty Berjaya beach in Tekek with tanning beds, to off-the-beaten-path Monkey Bay where curious macaques peer at you.
The west coast of Tioman Island by far has the better beaches as they are less rocky, more sheltered from the winds and have calmer seas. Tioman’s West coast also has some of the most gorgeous diving and snorkeling spots in Malaysia.
All you need is to hire a snorkel from one of the hotels, dip your head in and you are welcomed to a thriving underwater world with sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and blue spotted manta rays.
There is only one major resort on the island, so if you go anywhere else, you have that old kampong experience with villa huts, beach barbecues, and friendly smiling locals.
Stick to Tekek, Air Batang (ABC) and Salang for the best and most accessible beaches on the island.
See how to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang here!
Long Beach in Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Terengganu
Written by Campbell & Alya from Stingy Nomads
Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil Island is one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve been to in Malaysia. It’s a long white sand beach with warm crystal clear water surrounded by the lush green jungle.
The great thing about the beach is that everything is very close you don’t need any form of transportation to get from your bungalow to a restaurant, to a dive shop or to a nice snorkeling spot.
Long Beach is not only about tanning and relaxing on the soft white sand there are plenty of activities to do here from snorkeling and diving to kayaking and hiking. It’s possible to rent snorkeling equipment or a kayak on the beach, it’s not expensive.
Long Beach is a good place to do a scuba diving course too. The marine life is abundant, the water is calm and clean, the conditions are very favorable for inexperienced divers. There are a couple of restaurants, bars, and small guesthouses on or near the beach.
The great thing about the beach and the island, in general, is that it’s very affordable to stay here.
The dry season, from March to September is the best time to visit the Pulau Perhentian Kecil. During the wet season pretty much everything on the island is closed.
In order to get to Long Beach first, you have to get to Kuala Besut, a small town on the coast of the South China Sea. There are buses from Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown and other biggish cities that go there. From Kuala Besut take a boat to Perhentian Kecil Island, boats make a stop at Long Beach.
Check out the most beautiful beach in Penang – Pantai Kerachut!
Teluk Dalam Kecil in Taaras Beach and Spa Resort
Written by Fiona from Passport and Piano
Redang Island in Malaysia has some of the most gorgeous beaches, and several have coral reefs off the shoreline. Many consider Teluk Dalam Kecil to be the best on the island, and it’s easy to see why.
Teluk Dalam is a private beach for guests at the luxurious Taaras Beach and Spa resort, and it’s stunning. The soft fine white sand is perfect for relaxing on, and the crystal clear water is idyllic. The water is calm within the bay, so swimming off the beach is safe.
On the left-hand side, if you swim out a short distance, you’ll find the house coral reef which is teeming with fish and an excellent snorkeling spot.
If you swim off the jetty to the right, keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles. You can often see them around the corner past the piece of land that juts out. If you think its too far to swim, you can hire a kayak from the Taaras or take their boat tour for an extra fee.
Redang island is on the eastern side of Malaysia and ferries depart from Kuala Terengganu. You can catch the public ferry from the center of town at Shahbandar jetty.
If you’re staying at the Taaras, they will offer a complimentary transfer from the Redang Jetty. Some resorts including the Taaras offer transfers from Merang Jetty which is approximately 40 minutes by taxi from Kuala Terengganu.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah
Written by Arrianne from Travel Habeat
Named after Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Marine Park is made up of five islands – Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik, Gaya, and Sulug.
If you only have a day for island hopping, Sapi, Manukan, and Mamutik are the recommended ones to be visited.
Situated closely to each other, these islands can be reached from Kota Kinabalu city by just a 30-minute boat ride. There are affordable tour packages you can avail (around USD40 – USD50) but it’s also easy to explore on your own.
Just head your way to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal that offers transfer service to the islands. Simply take note of the transfer schedules between islands.
Powdery white sand and crystal clear, turquoise waters – these are the common denominators of the three islands. Who would have thought that such lovely beaches exist just a few kilometers away from the city?
I’d say the marine park is one of the hidden gems of Kota Kinabalu that should not be missed.
Snorkeling is the common activity as you see can already see beautiful corals and some school of fish near the shore. For the more adventurous ones, there are water sports activities being offered like parasailing.
Sipadan Island in Sabah
Written by Lora from Explore With Lora
Sipadan Island is a tiny island located in the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The entire island is a beach, all covered in dreamy white-sand. With crystal-clear waters right off the beach, it offers some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities in Malaysia.
You cannot stay on Sipadan island and it is only accessible by day tour. Most tours leave from the town of Semporna, which takes about 45 minutes away by boat speed.
Alternatively, you can stay on the nearby islands of Mabul or Kapalai, and visit Sipadan island from there.
Sipadan island is one of the top dive sites in the world, teeming with rich marine life including sharks, turtles, and thousands of barracudas.
If you go diving at Sipidan island you will have surface interval breaks on the island, which gives you an opportunity to relax and enjoy this stunning paradise. Just be sure to book in advance, as there are only a limited amount of permits for the island each day.
Nipah Beach in Pulau Tioman
Written by Rai from A Rai of Light
Crystal clear waters, abundant marine life, and golden sand make Nipah a great option when looking for the ideal beach.
Located on a remote bay along Pulau Tioman’s west coast, it is a haven for those in need of an isolated getaway in a natural, undisturbed surrounding.
Fortunately, it also serves as an affordable tropical vacation.
Named after a local palm tree, the beach is a long stretch of golden sands neighboring a large rainforest. You will also find a calm lagoon lined with mangroves behind the shore that offers seclusion, resulting in very little current flow and a safe place to swim.
During low tide, it is possible to walk to the adjacent Pulau Giam.
The warm, clear sea is unspoiled with a diversity of tropical reef life as well as an abundance of sea life.
While many people travel here with an easy beach holiday in mind, the island also has plenty of activities to enjoy.
Love blending city with beautiful beach? Then Da Nang is the city you should check out!
Pantai Tanjung Rhu in Pulau Langkawi, Kedah
Written by Carine & Derek from We Did It Our Way
Langkawi is this great island off the coast of Malaysia. It has a ton to offer tourists visiting the country, without having the crowds around.
What makes it even more awesome is that it’s a duty-free island, which means you can get so many things without having to pay taxes.
Although most head to Pantai Cenang, the most famous (and busiest) beach on the island of Langkawi, there is a hidden gem beach well-worth visiting.
We would recommend you rent a scooter, and head to one of the most secluded beaches on the island, Pantai Tanjung Rhu. You can also get there by water taxi if you’re not comfortable on wheels. Just make sure you head all the way to the end of the strip to get the beach to yourself.
Although Tanjung Rhu is where you’ll find luxury resorts like the Four Seasons, don’t be fooled by those fancy hotels – the beach is free to access.
And just as you get to the water, you’ll find a bunch of cheap, local eateries and shops as well. It’s a basic set-up, but it’s perfect for spending the day here.
Expect clear waters, calm seas, and beautiful sunsets when you come here. Best of all, expect to have this whole place to yourself. Enjoy it!
Gaya Island Beach in Sabah
Written by Penny from Globe Trove
Malaysia is known for its multitude of islands and its amazing beaches. One such island lies off the coast of the popular town called Kota Kinabalu. The island in question is Gaya island and I happen to believe that it has one of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia.
The island isn’t as well visited as many of the others and in a way, the lack of tourists is part of its allure. People tend to stay away from the island because it is popularly believed that since it houses the expensive overwater bungalows and is largely occupied by resorts, everything is expensive.
There is however a catch to the story. You can plan a day trip to Gaya island, and it turns out to be rather cheap. We spent an entire day snorkeling and enjoying the private beach.
So, if you are looking for something a bit different, visit the beach on Gaya island. This lesser-visited spot may not be talked about much but it is a gem that should go on your Kota Kinabalu itinerary if you ever visit the city.
What Do You Think About These Best Beaches in Malaysia?
So that concludes all the best beaches in Malaysia you should check out. Did they trigger your interest enough to consider a trip to Malaysia? Let me know what you think about them in the comment section below. Would love to hear some sharing from you if you’ve been to one of them! Check out this amazing Tasik Biru in Kangkar Pulai, Johor too! Travel safe and enjoy Malaysia!
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