Year-end holiday is coming soon and many of us have been heading back and forth for our weekend Johor Bahru trips! But if you're thinking of a change of scenery, why not check out our Desaru Coast? Touted by TIME Magazine as one of the World's Greatest Places in 2021 (the only destination in Malaysia to make the list by the way 😱), this scenic town, located just 2 hours away from Singapore, should be on your cards!
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1. Halal Food In Desaru Coast
Restoran Terapung Seafood Bujang Firefly
If the idea of a seafood restaurant is not enough to pique your interest, you might be in awe after visiting this floating seafood restaurant! While you enjoy your seafood at Restoran Terapung Seafood Bujang Firefly, admire the beautiful nature enveloping you. It really is the most peaceful surrounding to dine in!
The restaurant doubles up as both a dinner venue and the dock for the boat to start the cruise down the river. You can drop by the restaurant just to have dinner or only for the cruise. But like most visitors, why not make the most of the opportunity and have a good dinner before starting your cruise!
Hop on the firefly cruise where you'll spot many fireflies putting on an amazing natural light show; bringing the glow to the trees at Sungai Lebam. If you’re lucky enough, there could be a few joining your cruise and even landing inside your hands!
Halal status: Muslim owned
Address: Restoran Terapung Seafood Bujang Fire Fly, Bandar Penawar, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 12pm-11.30pm daily except Thursdays (12.30pm-11.30pm)
Nelayan Seafood By The Coast
Nelayan Seafood restaurant is located inside the grounds of Tunamaya Beach and Spa Resort with a casual seaside vibe but comfortably sheltered from the wet weather with plenty of seating, so if you're looking for a hotel-cum-seafood spot, you know where to go! One of their highly popular dishes is the Black Pepper Crab. The juicy & slightly spicy wok-fried crab is well-coated with lip-smacking black pepper sauce; it's going to get messy, but that's when you know it tastes good 😋
Halal status: All food is prepared using halal-certified ingredients. Do dine with discretion.
Address: Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort - Desaru Coast, Bandar Penawar, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11am-10pm
There are numerous seafood restaurants around Sungai Rengit and Teluk Sengat as it is the key area to enjoy fresh seafood 😍 Do note, however, that most are said to be halal by the owners and do not have proper halal certification nor are they Muslim-owned. Do dine at your own discretion!
Marrybrown at Bandar Penawar
Looking for fast food with a Malaysian twist? Marrybrown's your answer! Their fusion dishes are Western fast-food classics with a Malaysian spin, such as the Nasi Marrybrown which pairs fragrant nasi lemak with Western-style fried rice.
Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Bandar Penawar, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-9pm
One of the biggest fried chicken chains in the world, their chicken is irresistible whether you're dining on the classic Original flavour, or Hot & Crispy. From their chicken to their burgers, wraps, and even their Cheese Fries, KFC is a classic meal to order when you just feel like eating something special.
Address: 95, Jln Jelutong 1, Taman Desaru Utama, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-10pm
Restoran Ehsan Jaya, Penawar
Craving some good ol' mamak food? Trust the 24-hour Restoran Ehsan Jaya to whip up all your favourites - roti canai, mee goreng and more; the classic supper dish!
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: 1, Jalan Cengal 2, Taman Desaru Utama, 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 24/7
2. Best Hotels To Stay In Desaru Coast
Note: Prices are taken from 4-10 September 2023 for 2 adults in 1 room.
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villa
Nothing spells luxury like a romantic night's stay at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villa. Overlooking the azure seascape of the South China Sea, this resort is packed with many things to do and amenities to try, so there will never be a dull moment for you and your partner.
Out of all the rooms and villas, the one that might charm you the most is the one-bedroom lagoon pool villa, a two-storey accommodation that comes with its own plunge pool 😍
Rate: Starts at SGD305 per night on Agoda
Address: Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-828 0888
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Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort
Nestled on the edge of Desaru Coast, you'll find Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort- an accommodation that caters to anyone from couples on a beach getaway to families on a school holiday retreat. Since it's only a few steps away from the beach, you can experience the calming breeze as soon as you step out to your private balcony 🥰 There are several room types in this resort, ranging from the standard family room to the junior suite.
After having a refreshing dip in the pool or going down the slides at the kid's playground, treat yourself to some quality time at the spa. Otherwise, you can join the resort's high ropes adventure where you can walk on a suspended bridge through the trees or get an adrenaline rush from jet skiing, paragliding and more 🤩
Rate: Starts at SGD108 per night on Agoda
Address: Bandar Penawar, 81930 Kota Tinggi, Johor
Contact: +607-833 8888
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
Getting a rockstar experience is possible at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast. What's great about the Hard Rock Hotel is that every room is music-inspired, and you can spot luxurious details such as a private balcony, plush bathrobes and slippers - like a true rockstar would have. If you upgrade to the Rock Royalty rooms, some come with personalised service, bigger space and an in-room plunge pool too 😍
After a long day, you would want to get a blissful spa treatment at Rock Spa, hit your workout goals at Body Rock gym, or jam it out at the Roxity Kids Club. Just a quick 5-minute drive from Desaru Beach, take the chance to soak up the sun during your retreat. Did you know that the resort is also a 6-minute drive from Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast? Spend the afternoon riding different attractions like Tidal Wave Beach, Riptide, Kids Ahoy, and more 🥳
Rate: Starts at SGD205 per night on Agoda
Address: Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Contact: +607-838 8888
The Westin Desaru Coast Resort
Another accommodation that will take you closer to Desaru Beach is the Westin Desaru Coast Resort. When you're staying under the Westin brand, what you're getting is undeniable comfort, style and space. Whether you want to rise early to the view of the sea or garden, this resort has it all. Depending on the size of your group, there are many rooms that can cater to both couples and families alike 😌
After you've taken a nap on your cosy bed, explore the hotel and spend the afternoon at the outdoor pool or burn some calories at the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio. If your kids are looking for more than just pool time, check out the toys and books at Westin Family Kids Club. Don't forget to squeeze in a self-reward of body scrub and massages at Heavenly Spa by Westin 😍
Rate: Starts at SGD258 per night on Agoda
Address: Desaru Coast, Jln Pantai 3, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +607-838 3333
One&Only Desaru Coast
There's another luxury resort that joins the league of beachfront accommodations in Desaru. Opened in September 2020, One&Only Desaru Coast is the place to be to enjoy the luxury holiday of your dreams. While the room rates are definitely pricey, what you'll be getting is an unperturbed view of the sea, white powdery sands and personalised service in every suite 😍
With rates starting at SGD882 per night, there are four types of suites consisting of rainforest junior suite, ocean junior suite, rainforest grand pool suite, and ocean grand suite - true to its name, it boasts spectacular views too. Besides taking a stroll along the private beach, there are other activities you can do including tennis, golf, yoga, kickboxing and more 🤗
Rate: Starts at SGD882 per night on Agoda
Address: Darul Ta’zim, Persiaran Damai, Desaru Coast Bandar Penawar, 90, 81930, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +607-878 3400
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3. What To Do In Desaru Coast
Check out one of the largest ostrich farms in Malaysia
The Desaru Ostrich Farm is one of the largest in Malaysia, hosting about 100 ostriches within its compound 😍 Here, you can get up close and personal with ostriches! A visit to the farm is often accompanied with a caretaker. Apart from bringing you around, they will also provide a handful of educational and interesting facts on ostriches so you can learn while exploring 🤩 And yes, you can feed them too! A set of vegetables and corn kernels can be purchased at RM5 at the farm entrance. Drop by the souvenir stall once you’re done to bring back some ostrich goodies!
Address: Jalan Telok Ramunia, Kampung Changi, 81600 Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Open daily; 10AM-6PM
Price: Adult RM20, Child RM15
Contact:+60 7-826 5846
Get up close with crocodiles
Visiting a crocodile in the zoo is vastly different from visiting crocodiles at Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm. For one, you'll get to see it up close - and we mean up close enough to take the picture below! The farm here houses around 1000 crocodiles in all shapes and sizes, ranging from newborn crocodile babies to a 130-year-old crocodile 😱
If you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, visitors can even opt to feed the crocodile with fresh chicken (at an additional charge), or hold a baby crocodile!
During your visit, you might even be guided by the farm owners themselves! Otherwise, there are caretakers around to take good care of the crocodiles and you 😉
Address: Teluk Sengat, Kota Tinggi, Johor, 81920, Ayer Tawar 2, Teluk Sengat, 81940 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Opens daily; 9AM – 6.30PM
Price: Adult RM8, Child RM4
Contact:+60 19-791 5116
Feast on the juiciest fruits in town
There's nothing like having fun on a holiday while keeping healthy and staying fit 😉 The fruits are planted in the Desaru Fruit Farm itself. Take your pick from the wide range of fruits available, from jackfruits to guavas and to the king of fruits - the durian (you're in time because it's durian seasons now!)🤤
The farm boasts around 100 varieties of fruits and herbs; both seasonal and non-seasonal. You can also embark on different activities such as learning to select the best fruits and visiting the mini zoo within the farm compound. Don't forget to bring some fruits home! 😋
If you click on their website, you can also purchase tickets to the aforementioned attractions, and try new exciting activities such as ATV riding, paintball and more! 😍
Address: 92, 82200 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Operating hours: Open daily; 8:30AM – 6:30PM
Price: Adult RM30, Child RM25
Contact: +60 7-822 3886
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Get pumped for a fun day of splashes and thrilling rides
Whether you're bringing your kids, or you love a good thrilling ride, you definitely have to visit Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark! This family-friendly waterpark houses one of the biggest wave pools in the world (that measures almost the size of two football fields and is filled with over four million gallons of water!), and plenty of thrilling rides to conquer 🥳
Some rides you have to try are the Swing Ship (a pirate ship that arches up to 180 degrees), Surf Wall (surf simulator for catching waves), The Tempest and RIPTIDE (thrilling tube slides), Kraken's revenge (roller coaster-cum-flume ride that includes a full 360º horizontal loop) and Kids Ahoy (a play area filled with water play games and 13 different water slides perfect for the little ones)! 🤩
Price: RM94 for one-day passes for both adults and children via their website
Contact: +60 7-878 3863
Experience the fishing villages along the coast
The coast along Desaru with its shallow waters and natural bays make it the perfect geological spot to setup a fishing village for the fishermen to dock their boats. Tanjung Balau is one of the many such villages located close to Desaru. These villages are perfect to have an impromptu adventure; and enjoy a different side of Desaru. The beach around Tanjung Balau is mainly covered in rocks, but makes a perfect scenery to grab some photos - especially during the low-tide and sunset! 😍 There a fishermen museum (Muzium Nelayan) and local art gallery, if you're interested! If you prefer a more secluded area, about an hour’s drive north of Desaru lies the fishing village of Sedili. With the village being further out, it attracts less tourists, giving off a more “kampung” (village) feel to it 😌
Address: Lembaga Bandaran Johor Tenggara, Jalan Dato' Haji Hassan Yunus, Bandar Penawar, Johor, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Malaysia
Golfing against a spectacular backdrop
Take a shot at the Els Club along the Desaru coast. With the South China Sea and the lush rainforest providing the backdrop while you set up a tee, the golf courses here provide an exhilarating panorama for both professionals and amateur alike. Even if you've never liked golfing, it would still be fun to give it a try! 😍 Take a day course to master the skill (well, partially master it 🤭). There's no reason not to join in the fun and feel like a pro, even if it's only for a day!
Price: Check the website for more information
Keep this guide handy for your next outing to Desaru Coast!
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