Home to some of the best beaches in Asia, Malaysia is often forgotten by Westerners looking for beach holidays. This is a shame, as there are many great locations here to explore if you’re looking for great beaches.
Best Beaches in Malaysia
Beaches in Malaysia are amongst the best in the world. Beaches have been awarded with Blue Flag and Green label recognition for cleanliness & safety by Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a Netherlands based NGO. Beaches in Malaysia are also rated among the top “World’ kmBeach (10s Best Beaches” by Trip Advisor in 2020, along with those of Australia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It has much better options than the beaches in Singapore, which doesn’t have great beaches.
Long beach, Perhentian Kecil
Just off the East Coast of the Malaysian mainland, you’ll find the island Perhentian Kecil. And on Perhentian Kecil, the best known beach on the island is referred to as Long Beach.
It’s fairly popular here, and it’s well known for having some of the most picturesque views Malaysia has to offer. The water here is extremely clean, and it’s perfect for swimming in. If you find Long beach itself to be a little bit too busy for you, then you can easily move along and find another more secluded beach on the island.
In the evenings, you can also hang around and witness some of the evening entertainment, like the famous fire twirling show. As well as this, there are a lot of different options here if you want to grab something to eat as well. So, this is a great location to stay at for the entire day, and it makes for a good place to visit.
Marine Park Center, Redang Island
Honestly, you’re a little spoilt for choice when it comes to Malaysian beaches – the country has so much to offer. Another great island that’s a little further out than the Perhentians is Redang island, and on Redang, one of the best beaches there can be found at the Marine Park Center.
If you’re looking for a family area that you can take your younger kids snorkelling, but you’re worried about the beach being safe, then this is a great option. There’s a good amount of activities here to keep kids busy, but snorkelling is definitely the main one. The edges of the water are all cordoned off, so you don’t need to worry about your kids encountering anything dangerous whilst they’re in the sea (but watch out for the stingrays!).
The park is actually funded by the government, and it does a lot to try and conserve the wildlife and sealife within the area. In recent years, this whole island has become more popular than it once was. You don’t have to go swimming here to have a great experience – it’s also home to some of the best sunrises and sunsets in the whole of Asia.
Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar
There are many different beaches amongst the Perhentian islands to choose from. On Besar, you can find Teluk Dalam, directly opposite the equivalent beach on Kecil, although this beach is a little bigger than the other. You can get to the other island quite easily, even by swimming, though a kayak is more recommended.
One of the best things about this bay is that there’s absolutely no hotels or resorts here whatsoever. Although a resort can be great, there’s nothing quite like an unspoilt beach to go and swim in. It’s usually pretty quiet here throughout much of the year, with the peak times coming throughout the summer.
The bay is sheltered from any wind, so you can manage to catch some sun and warmth without having to worry about a strong breeze or choppy waves. In the early evening, you might see the local fisherman getting ready to go out an night and fish for squid and other sea animals. There are many other beaches around the Perhentians that I advise you explore as well, and although this one might take a little effort to get to, it’s worth it.
Monkey Bay Beach
Monkey Bay beach is located on Tioman island, which is less than an hours flight away from bustling Kuala Lumpur. It’s worth noting that this island doesn’t actually allow any buildings that are more than three stories in height, so you don’t need to worry about tall built-up resorts destroying the scenery too much.
There are many different beaches around Tioman island, and one of the better ones is Monkey bay. This is on the west coast of the island, and it’s very easy to get here via a jungle trail (or via a speedboat if you don’t fancy the hike).
As you’d expect, you’re likely to encounter monkeys on your way to this beach, but they’re the only inhabitants you’re likely to see. Generally, this beach is probably the most quiet out of all the options on Tioman, so if you’re looking for peace and tranquility, then this is a great choice.
There really isn’t anything at the beach itself, so you’ll want to make your way back to the other part of the island before sundown. However, you can usually wave a boat over to take you back too which is an easier option.
Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
Unlike many of the islands around Malaysia which are located to the East of the mainland, Langkawi is actually at the North East of it.
The most well known and busiest beach on this island is Pantai Cenang, which is an amazing place to visit if you’re looking to enjoy some activities. There are a ton of good restaurants to visit here as well, so make sure you get some exercise in during the day, because you’re going to want to eat your fill in the evenings.
There are also a lot of different things to do here in the evening, whether you want to just chill out and drink some great cocktails, or you’d prefer to join in with the (relatively tame) party. People tend to stay out until around midnight, so you have something to do throughout the entire day.
Overall, there are many great beaches in Malaysia, and many of them are scattered across the islands surrounding it. It’s often forgotten about, especially as it’s so close to Indonesia, which is more commonly thought of when Westerners consider going on a beach holiday. But, don’t forget Malaysia if you’re looking to find somewhere peaceful and quiet, because this place offers a great variety of beaches.