Yes, yes, we all know that all the best islands in Peninsular Malaysia are located on the east coast. But, getting to the islands can be such a hassle since you’ll have to get there either by ferry or speedboat, and you’d also need proper planning, especially during peak season. If you’re in need of a beach holiday but don’t want to take a trip out to the sea, here are some of the best beaches along the east coast states of Pahang, Kelantan, and Terengganu that you could take a road trip to! Trust us, these beaches that overlook the South China Sea will melt your worries away with their golden sand, quiet beaches and swaying coconut trees. Let’s go!
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Undoubtedly the most famous beach on the coast of Pahang, Teluk Cempedak has a plethora of activities for the whole family. Despite its popularity, the beach is pretty clean and perfect for swimming. Explore the area by taking a walk along the raised platform to enjoy a scenic view of the beach but just keep a lookout for the monkeys! The beach could be jam-packed during weekends and holidays, so proper preparation is required (a.k.a patience and lots of it!).
Batu Hitam Beach
Literally translated as Black Stone Beach, the beach got its name from the formation of black stones along the beach. Such a natural phenomenon is uncommon in Malaysia but anglers say this makes a perfect location for fishing, as there is plenty of fish in the area! So, make sure to bring your fishing rods if you plan to visit the beach. You can also swim here, but not during the monsoon season between November and March, as the waters could be rough. Alternatively, there are plenty of food stalls nearby where you can enjoy the lepak culture without even getting your toes wet.
Malaysia may not be known as a surfing hot spot, but here at Cherating Beach, the waves are actually big enough to surf! If you’re not up for that, you can still have a lot of fun swimming, jet-skiing and going on a banana boat ride. While you’re here, drop by the Turtle Sanctuary Center to learn more about green turtles. If you’re lucky, you might be able to watch the release of turtle hatchlings into the sea!
Cahaya Bulan Beach
Literally translated as Moonlight Beach, the 1.5km-strip of long and wide sandy beach is a popular hangout among the locals. Located about 10km north of Kota Bharu, the beach comes to life on weekends as beachgoers have barbecues, picnics, or simply enjoy the warm breeze. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a beach-fronting seafood dinner, here’s where you could find it too!
Sri Tujuh Beach
Located about 6km north of Tumpat, the Sri Tujuh beach is the northernmost beach on the East Coast, and is close to the border of Thailand. Not just that, it’s also home to the longest lagoon in Malaysia! Here, you could enjoy refreshing coconut water underneath the lush casuarina trees overlooking the South China Sea. If you’re not into swimming or if you’re visiting during the monsoon season, you may also enjoy paddle boating in the calm lagoon behind the beach. Affordably-priced seafood is also easily found here since there is a fishing village nearby. Each year, the beach attracts hundreds of visitors as it’s home to the Kelantan International Kite Festival. This year, the festival is happening in August, so plan your trip ahead!
One of Kelantan’s top beaches, Irama Beach in Bachok is a hit among picnickers and campers for the ample shade that swaying palm and casuarina trees provide at the beach. Well-equipped with public toilets, changing rooms, and plenty of parking space, the beach is also a food haven. You’ll find rows and rows of food stalls selling local snacks such as colek (seafood or vegetable platter served with chilli sauce), lokcing (fish satay), coconut shake and many other mouth-watering delicacies!
Located about a 10 minute drive north of Dungun, you’ll arrive at one of the most beautiful and hidden beaches along Terengganu’s coastal line. The luxurious Tanjong Jara Resort is also located here and that’s a hint for you how beautiful the beach could be. The good news is that the beach is public so anyone could enjoy the beach’s pristine waters and powdery white sand. It’s also the perfect spot to catch the sunrise if you’re an early riser. Otherwise, come in the afternoon, and bring a picnic basket and tikar mengkuang to relax under the swaying coconut trees.
One of the most photographed beaches in Terengganu, Kemasik Beach has quite an interesting terrain. The vast stretch of sandy beach has an inner lagoon which is only filled during high tide. The distinct natural formation of “twin rocks” sitting on the edge of the water makes it a popular Insta-worthy spot. You could also try climbing the rocks, but be careful as the rocks could be slippery!
Batu Buruk Beach
OK, so it has quite a hilarious name (buruk means ugly in Malay). The beach got its name not because it’s ugly, but because of the queer rock formation on the shore, which in the opinion of the person who named this beach, were “ugly”. Hence, the name Batu Buruk (ugly stones) was stuck. Located only a 7-minute drive from Kuala Terengganu, there are plenty of activities to do here, including riding on a horse-drawn carriage or driving an ATV along the beach. For the kids, they’ll enjoy seeing kites fly high in the wind paths, while the adults relax on the beach with the picnic basket within reach!
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