[Updated on 14 July 2021]
There are many beautiful islands in Malaysia that are perfect for island getaways. We may be staying home until the situation gets better, but don't let it stop you from dreaming about the amazing islands you can visit someday. If you're craving for a dose of vitamin sea, scroll down our list to see the best islands in Malaysia!
1. Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu
Starting off our list of best islands in Malaysia is Perhentian, which includes Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. Known for its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, most travellers would stay the night on these serene islands.
The abundance of coral reefs surrounding the island will surely amaze you! Many marine animals come out for a bit of sunshine too. If you enjoy swimming among the fishes and the hatchback turtles, you can look forward to having a good time here at the Perhentian Islands.
Best time to visit Pulau Perhentian: From March to November
How to get to Pulau Perhentian: Opt for a 40-minute speedboat or a 1.5 hours slow boat from Kuala Besut to Pulau Perhentian.
2. Pulau Rawa, Johor
Pulau Rawa may be a familiar destination for Johoreans and Singaporeans, but many Malaysians have yet to visit this beautiful island that's as picturesque as they come.
Offering stunning views and warm sunshine, Rawa Island is a seaside hotspot where water activities like snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking are sure to fill your days. You can also hike around the island or follow the Island Walk Trail for an amazing sunset stroll. One of Rawa Island's highlight is the massive waterslide that is open to everyone! Take a few flights of stairs up and slide all the way down into Rawa Island's crystal clear waters.
Best time to visit Pulau Rawa: From March to September
How to get to Pulau Rawa: Take a boat or ferry ride from Mersing to Rawa Island.
3. Pulau Tenggol, Terengganu
Pulau Tenggol is one of the best islands in Malaysia to visit in 2021. Located off the coast of Terengganu, it's still considered a hidden gem among the locals and you'll be guaranteed an island vacation away from the crowd.
Although Pulau Tenggol is relatively small, it remains a popular site for scuba diving and snorkelling thanks to the crystal-clear water. You're likely to spot turtles and other fishes, but the lucky ones can even catch a glimpse of whale sharks! There are 3 resorts in Pulau Tenggol, so you can stay overnight and continue exploring the beautiful sea the next day. Our contributor Za'im even shared how it's like to spend a peaceful and secluded island getaway in Pulau Tenggol!
Best time to visit Pulau Tenggol: From March to October
How to get to Pulau Tenggol: From Aking Dungun jetty, take a 30-min boat ride to Pulau Tenggol
P.S. Escape the crowd and stay in these faraway resorts in Malaysia to get away from it all!
4. Pulau Mabul, Sabah
If you want to explore the islands in East Malaysia, this is it! The moment you step into Mabul Island, you'll be welcomed by coconut trees and clear, calm waves. Known as one of the best diving sites in Sabah, most visitors would put on their gears to get up close to the colourful coral reefs and fishes.
Since the island welcomes a stream of tourists every year, you can spend the night at one of its few island resorts. When you do, prepare to draw the curtains and see the vast sea outside your window. It's definitely a paradise you shouldn't miss.
Best time to visit Mabul Island: From March to October
How to get to Mabul Island: Fly to Tawau to Kuala Lumpur and arrange a transfer with your resort to Semporna. From there, take a 45-minute speedboat ride from Semporna to Mabul Island.
5. Bohey Dulang, Sabah
As part of an extinct volcanic crater, Bohey Dulang is a mountainous island known for its breathtaking views and crystal clear water. It is also known as Pearl Island since it used to be a pearl cultivation centre!
The view of the whole island from its 353-meter peak is something you should really look out for ? While exploring the turquoise waters off the island, you are likely to encounter the Bajau Laut, or sea gypsies that live in stilted wooden houseboats atop the coral gardens. The nomadic seafarers are legendary for being exceptional ‘masters of the sea’ as well as extremely skilled divers and boatmakers.
The best thing to do in Bohey Dulang Island is to admire the clear waters in different shades of blue! Apart from that, it is the sea’s rich marine biodiversity located off this island that makes it an attractive diving site. So, gear up for the dive of your lives ?
Best time to visit Bohey Dulang Island: From February to April
How to get to Bohey Dulang Island: Fly to Tawau Airport and enjoy a 1-hour drive to Semporna. From Semporna, take a 30-minute boat ride to the island.
6. Pulau Lankayan, Sabah
Situated in the northeastern coast of Sabah, you'll find Lankayan Island, a jewel-shaped island surrounded by crystal clear waters. This island has 14 diving sites where you can see coral reefs and diverse marine life - giant groupers, tiny ribbon eels and more! If you're lucky, you can spot whale sharks between the month of March and May too.
If you're planning to spend a night in this stunning island, there's only one resort you can go, and that is Lankayan Island Dive Resort. A luxury resort that sits above the waters, it has 16 beachfront chalets and 9 over-the-water chalets complete with the most amazing view of the island.
Besides scuba diving and snorkelling, there are many things to do in Lankayan Island including swimming, kayaking and enjoying a relaxing moment by the beach.
Best time to visit Pulau Lankayan: From March to October
How to get to Pulau Lankayan: Take a flight to Sandakan and get a taxi ride to Sandakan Yacht Club (Sandakan Jetty). From there, enjoy a 1.5-hour boat ride to Pulau Lankayan
P.S. Make the best of your Bornean adventure and explore the best hidden gems in Sabah!
7. Pulau Dayang, Johor
There's no shortage of beautiful islands in Malaysia and Pulau Dayang is one of them. Situated in the east coast of Johor, it is the second-largest island in the Johor Marine Park, and the clear blue water is absolutely breathtaking.
Thanks to the crystal-clear water, Pulau Dayang is popular for scuba diving and snorkelling as it is also home to the world's fastest fish, the Black Marlin! It's okay if you're not much of a scuba diver because it remains a perfect place for leisure afternoons where you can soak in the beauty of this hidden gem. If you're planning to visit this island in 2021, our contributor Syahirah shared her experience exploring Pulau Dayang, the hidden island gem of Johor.
Best time to visit Pulau Dayang: From April to September
How to get to Pulau Dayang: Take the 2-hour boat ride from Mersing jetty
8. Pulau Jerejak, Penang
Pulau Jerejak may not be your conventional island with crystal-clear water, but it's definitely worth visiting in 2021! Situated in the eastern coast of Penang island, it quickly became the talk of the town ever since it spotted a new and colourful look. Besides taking a photo at the rainbow pier, there are other parts of the island that are just as Instagram-worthy. It includes the colourful umbrella installations, 'stairway to heaven', and the swings overlooking the sea. Pulau Jerejak is also a great place for cycling and jungle trekking, so don't forget to squeeze in some outdoor activities here.
Best time to visit Pulau Jerejak: All year round
How to get to Pulau Jerejak: From Penang Island Jetty, take a 10-minute ferry ride to Pulau Jerejak
P.S. Make the most of your trip by exploring the best things to do in Penang!
From Pulau Tenggol in Terengganu to Bohey Dulang in Sabah, we can't wait to visit these beautiful islands in Malaysia this 2021! We hope this article will inspire your future island getaways in Malaysia too!