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14 Top Islands in Malaysia that you Must Visit

Malaysia is not just a khana khazana for foodies, but also a jannat of islands and beaches. Whether you want to chill with your family or take a chill pill from the city’s hungama and tension, these tropical paradise islands can make your soul happy! You can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea, and also learn about the mast and anek culture and heritage of Malaysia. You will see the tadka of India, China, and other countries in their food, language, religion, and art. It is like visiting many countries in one! And don’t forget to try their famous street food, like nasi lemak, satay, rojak, and more. You will love it! Malaysia truly has something for everyone!

If you’re wondering which coastal destination suits you most, look no further, yaar! we’ve compiled a list of the top islands in Malaysia to visit soon, so you can start planning your beach getaway today! Whether you want to chill out on a hammock, go snorkeling with the fishes, or party all night long, there’s an island for you. Trust me, these places are jhakaas!

The usual suspects

1. Tioman

Tioman islands in Malaysia

Image credit: _paVan_

Tioman is a beautiful island in Pahang, on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is surrounded by the South China Sea and has clear blue water, green nature, and peaceful beaches. It is one of the best islands in Malaysia, and many people love to go there. You can have fun in the water, explore the jungle, or relax on the sand. The locals are very nice and helpful, and the food is yummy too. You will enjoy yourself a lot here!

Tioman Island is a place where you can see all kinds of amazing plants and animals. You can also relax with some golf, or enjoy the sun on the beaches with palm trees and cool breeze. And guess what, Tioman Island is also a duty-free zone, so you can shop till you drop! How awesome is that? This island is a paradise

Must try Activities: Explore Renggis Island’s underwater beauty: coral reefs, rare sharks, fish, turtles, dolphins. Relax and sunbathe on the beach. A snorkeling paradise!

2. Langkawi

Langkawi island

Image credit: Dylan Walters

Langkawi Island in Kedah is a coastal heaven that will make you go wow. This island is famous among travelers, and you must have heard of it. It is surrounded by many small islands, and it is one of the most visited islands in Malaysia. It is also one of the most loved places in the country. This island is a total paisa vasool.

Langkawi is a place where you can find awesome beaches (Cenang Beach is the most famous one), green mangrove forests, hills, and a town (Kuah) that has yummy food and duty-free shopping. Langkawi is a place that has something for everyone.

Must try Activity: The Langkawi Sky Bridge is one of the must-try attractions on the island. It is a glass-bottom cable-stayed bridge that winds around Mat Chinchang mountain’s magnificent peak. As you can think, the views are breathtaking!

3. Pangkor

pangkor islands in malaysia

Image credit: Nguyễn Thành Lam

Pangkor Island is a place where you can find less crowd than Tioman and Langkawi. It is still one of the best five islands in Malaysia for a beach holiday. It is close to the Straits of Malacca and is in Perak’s Manjung district. A place where you can have a peaceful break from city life.

Since Pangkor Island is covered in tall, lush mountains, the main roadways often round the island rather than cutting through it. Most popular destinations are situated close to the water, including Teluk Nipah and Coral Beach. Pangkor Island, like other islands in Malaysia, is home to a wide variety of fauna and azure waters.

Must Try Activity: Pangkor Island is a favorite destination for fishing in addition to its sun-drenched beaches and water activities. In fact, people who want to go on fishing vacations can even stay in fishing chalets that are specifically designed for them!

4. Redang

redang island

Image credit: Honey Tee

Redang is undoubtedly one of the “big five” Malaysian islands and beaches. It is situated in the state of Terengganu on Malaysia’s east coast and is well known for its breathtaking white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Redang Island is without a doubt among the best snorkeling locations in the nation.

Apart from frolicing in the water, there are also plenty of entertaining attractions, scenic hiking trails, and even a vibrant nightlife scene. Regardless of what your idea of the perfect island vacation may be, you’re almost certainly guaranteed a good time. 

Top activity: Lying on the east coast, Redang Island is one of the best places in Malaysia to catch the magnificent sunrise. Just make sure you wake up in time! 

5. Port Dickson

port dickson

Image credit: Nazir Amin

One of Malaysia’s top beaches to visit from Kuala Lumpur is undeniably Port Dickson. After all, the popular coastal town is only a short drive from the capital. If I were to use a personal analogy to characterise Port Dickson, I would say that it is Malaysia’s version of the Maldives.

Port Dickson is a well-liked destination for vacations and staycations for families and couples. It offers opulent island resorts, fresh seafood (the pepper crabs are great here), a variety of beach sports, and many spas where visitors may unwind. The only potential drawback is that it might get VERY busy during the busiest holiday months (June and December).

Must Try Activity: Remain in a villa on the ocean. The majority of these feature stunning ocean views, and some even have a private pool or jacuzzi! It is the pinnacle of lavishness.

Paradise for divers

6. Sipadan

sipadan islands in malaysia

Image credit: Katja Hasselkus

Sipadan in Sabah MUST be the first island on your bucket list of Malaysian islands if you love underwater exploration! The only oceanic island in the nation, Sipadan is situated in the Celebes Sea, and you will be stunned and amazed by its history. 

You know, Sipadan didn’t even exist till a few thousand years ago! It is an island made of coral that is still alive and has grown on top of a dormant volcano. That should be enough to give you a sense of the breathtaking underwater sights you may anticipate. It is impossible to accurately convey how amazing the marine life is in this area. Simply said, you have to see it for yourself!

Another beautiful underwater wonderland is Mabul Island, which is located not far from the Sipadan coast. The ideal experience will come from including both of these locations in your travel itinerary.

Must Try Activity: Diving 😉

7. Mataking


Image credit: Christian Holland

Another beautiful underwater wonderland is Mabul Island, which is located not far from the Sipadan coast. The ideal experience will come from including both of these locations in your travel itinerary.

Mataking is among the top diving locations in Malaysia. Under the turquoise seas, there is a world that is unbelievably gorgeous, full of vibrant reefs and marine life, and even Malaysia’s only “Underwater Post Office.” And it turns out that you CAN post your mail there! Although I haven’t personally tried that yet! If you’d rather not stay dry, you can also go canoeing or jungle hiking.

Must Try Activity: If you’re lucky and happen to be there at low tide, you can walk across the sandbar from Mataking Besar to Mataking Kecil. It’s a very extraordinary experience. 

8. Perhentian

perhentian islands

Image credit: Achilli Family | Journeys

Some of Malaysia’s most pristine islands are the Perhentian Islands in Terengganu. Why? Because each island in this region is a part of a declared marine park. To prevent fishing and preserve the islands’ most prized feature: the stunning coral reefs, everything here is protected by law.

Perhentian is made up of two islands, like Mataking. However, you should spend the majority of your time underwater here. On these islands, diving and snorkeling are unquestionably must-try activities. To learn more about some of Malaysia’s most endangered marine animals while you’re on land, we advise going to the turtle conservation center.

Must Try Activity: exploring the coral colonies while scuba diving. NO touching or collecting is permitted! 

9. Layang-Layang

About 300 km from Kota Kinabalu, the Sabah state capital, is Layang-Layang Island, an occasionally overlooked underwater wonderland. For good reason, it is incredibly remote and only frequently visited by experienced divers.

The “Wall Diving Mecca” in the area is located on the island. You will come across vibrant coral communities, enormous aquatic creatures, and even schools of hammerhead sharks as you descend almost 2,000 metres beneath the surface of the water! Due to the thousands of migratory birds that call Layang-Layang Island home at the end of the year, it is also well known for birding.

Must Try Activities: Wall diving. If you’re not sure about your diving abilities, we would advise staying away.

Underrated gems

10. Rawa

rawa islands in malaysia

Image credit: Bas Leenders

Pulau Rawa is a hidden treasure that is gradually gaining recognition. It is situated in the southern state of Johor. It has a diverse ecosystem, breathtaking views, and a famous water slide that shoots guests into the azure ocean at an exhilarating rate of speed.

One of Malaysia’s most wonderful underappreciated gems is made even better by the addition of some of the best sandy beaches, lush cliffs, and hiking paths. In addition, you can hire a canoe to explore the island’s neighboring secret caverns.

Must Try Activity: Get on the waterslide and let your inner child loose as you fly through the air and into the water.

11. Kapas

pulau kapas

Image credit: fairuz othman

“Kapas” is the Malay word for cotton. And Kapas Island lives up to its name with some of Malaysia’s most stunning beaches, distinguished by smooth sand that nearly feels like cotton. Its rustic, carefree vibe will enchant you while you spend your days on a hammock.

At this absolutely stunning island in Terengganu, you can go diving, snorkeling, and kayaking in addition to lazing around. Additionally, you can explore the luxuriant tropical jungles. In fact, if you’re incredibly lucky, you might even be able to see some turtles! Just swear to me you won’t hurt them or take their eggs. Long tale, but it does occur.

Must Try Activity: The cotton-like beaches on Kapas Island are its main draw. So just unwind and relax while lounging on the beach.

12. Gemia

pulau gemia

Image credit: Nurul Syahirah Nazarudin

It is a sin that Gemia Island, which is also in Terengganu, is such a little-known tourist attraction. This privately owned island has breathtakingly stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters rich with marine life. Gemia Island can be included in a 2-for-1 itinerary since it is only 800 meters distant from Kapas.

We would advise going to Gemia later in the day. For starters, you’ll be able to take in the romantic ambience of the sunset (although it could be challenging to see one because you’re on the east coast). The fact that Gemia Island is one of the Malaysian islands where you can go stargazing at night is more significant, though. Yes, if the sky is clear, you will be able to marvel at artworks that far exceed your greatest expectations!

Must Try Activities: Stargazing at night!  

13. Kerachut

Malaysia’s top tourist attraction is Penang Island. However, this well-known gastronomic paradise also contains smaller islands and well-known beaches, such as Batu Ferringhi. Pantai Kerachut is one of these islands. Even though it has a lovely beach, it is just 3 km from Penang National Park and is more well-known for its lush vegetation.

The Penang Turtle Sanctuary, where you may discover more about Malaysia’s green turtles, is located in Pantai Kerachut, which is more significant. A rare meromictic lake is also nearby, which is ideal for those looking for some peaceful time. Even overnight camping is permitted here under the stars.

Must Try Activity: Spend the night camping at the lake. It’s another location in Malaysia where you can enjoy stargazing! For those who prefer a more Instagram-worthy island experience, check out Pulau Jerejak!

14. Aur

aur islands in Malaysia

Image credit: Nicolas Lannuzel

Aur Island is a good option if all you desire is to isolate yourself from the outside world. This incredibly remote island, four hours’ drive from Mersing (Johor), with beaches that challenge the Maldives in quality and crystal-clear water.

It has been designated as a national marine park and is a refuge for divers. Although I have not personally had the opportunity to travel there, I have been told that this mysterious island is home to vibrant animals and lovely dive sites. The four-hour boat voyage from the jetty is the only significant problem here.

Aug 18, 2023


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