Need a break? Being time-strapped is no excuse for not indulging in a laid-back island escapade, we are here to seduce you with the heady possibilities of recreation, relaxation, and romance on slices of paradise just a short way off – but a world apart – from the daily grind and bustling cities.
Malaysia is an ideal destination for island travellers as an island escape can be enjoyed all year round in Malaysia, as the east and west coasts experience their wettest months at alternate times of the year. The best time to visit the beaches on the east coast of Malaysia like the Perhentians and Redang is from March to September since it is typically drier than the rest of Malaysia during this time. For the west coast island, like the Pangkor, visit from November to August as the heaviest showers are from September to October. But where to begin? Here, we have curated the perfect guide to top 4 island escape in Malaysia.
The small archipelago called the Perhentians, located in the South China Sea off the coast of Terengganu often features as one of the most beautiful destinations to visit in Malaysia. Dubbed ‘paradise’ by some, the Perhentians allure visitors for their secluded beaches, perfect diving conditions and refreshing lack of tourists. Also, the Perhentians have achieved iconic status for scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world with it crystal clear waters that you can snorkel right off the beach and still see a diverse array of aquatic life.
The Perhentians is split down into two separate islands, Besar (“Big”) and Kecil (“Small”), with each of the two islands has its own identity and vibe, though both islands are fringed by astoundingly beautiful fine sand beaches, and the reefs and waters are host to a wide variety of thriving marine life. While many traveller haunts have become gentrified over time, this piece of paradise managed to retain its low-key vibe.
How to get there?
Regular buses leave from Hentian Putra bus station in Kuala Lumpur, taking nine hours. Alternatively, fly Malaysia Airline, Air Asia or Fireflyz from Kuala Lumpur to either Kuala Terengganu or Kota Bharu (45 minutes) and then catch a taxi to the port town of Kuala Besut. The journey from Kuala Besut to the Perhentians, takes about 30 to 45 minutes by speedboat or 1.5 hours by slow boat.
Courtesy of Laguna Redang Island Resort
Unlike the Perhentians, the Redang is very much a well-known destination in Southeast Asia, thanks to the Hong Kong movie "Summer Holiday," which featured Hong Kong star Sammi Cheng and Taiwanese heartthrob Richie Ren. The success of the film in 2000 led to a sudden influx of tourists and Redang Island quickly rose to fame. The Redang archipelago actually consists of nine islands, namely Lima, Paku Besar, Paku Kecil, Kerengga Besar, Kerengga Kecil, Ekor Tebu, Ling, Pinang and Redang itself. Together, they form a marine park situated 45 kilometres off the coast of Terengganu.
This tropical archipelago is any traveller’s dream. Like all the other island escape destinations in this list, Redang is blessed with an abundance of natural treasures and boasting a myriad of luxury resorts, and their accompanying activities and entertainment, every visit becomes an unforgettable experience.
How to get there?
Redang has its own airport, served by Berjaya Air, which since 2004 offers direct flights to the island from Kuala Lumpur's Subang Airport and Singapore's Changi Airport Budget Terminal.
A tiny island off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Pangkor Island is often overshadowed by other island destinations on the east coast like the Perhentians and the Redangs. Pangkor is the ultimate island escape for a more authentic experience. The east coast of Pangkor is spangled by stilt houses in old-fashioned kampong villages, where fishing and boat-building are still the main occupations. Meanwhile, the gorgeous west coast offers dazzling white sandy beach stretches wrapped around turquoise bays. The Pangkor Island offers an idyllic spot for a leisurely island vacation, visit the fishing villages around the coastline which make for an excellent day’s trip. Also, visit the local historical landmarks including the ruins of the 17th-century Dutch Fort and Fu Lin Gong Temple, with its extravagant Taoist sculptures and a miniature version of China's Great Wall.
How to get there?
Pangkor Island connects its terminal with Pangkor Town Jetty. The fastest and cheapest way to travel to Pangkor Island is by bus to Terminal Lumut. Buses depart every 30 minutes to one hour from Kuala Lumpur's TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan). The closest active airport to Pangkor Island is at Ipoh. Ipoh Airport is served by Firefly (two flights daily from Singapore) and Malindo (3 flights a week to Johor Bahru).
The magnificent island of Sipadan lies five degrees north of the equator in the Sulawesi Sea, is a scuba diving enthusiast’s dream. There is no doubt as to why Sipadan Island is a perennial on numerous ‘world's best’ lists: its soft, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters that provide maximum visibility of the vast marine life below are simply ethereal. With a location in the centre of the planet's most bio-diverse marine habitat, Sipadan has more than 3,000 species of fish, hundreds of species of coral, an abundance of rays and sharks and large populations of green and hawksbill turtles – so much so that there is a famous turtle tomb, an underwater labyrinth that has drowned many of the unfortunate sea creatures.
How to get there?
Take a 55-minute flight from Kota Kinabalu to the town of Tawau, an hour's drive to the even smaller township of Semporna, and then a 40-minute speedboat ride to Sipadan Island.
If you love to dive or snorkel, you are not alone. Every year more than 700,000 divers and snorkelers take the water to discover the wonder and beauty that the area's coral reefs have to offer. However, a massive influx of visitors can take a toll on the reef and the critters that call the reef home. To minimize the impact on the reef while continuing to enjoy its beauty, we urge you to be a proactive travellers and play a part in green travel and practice good reef etiquette to help sustain the beauty for these islands!
So, start to plan your next island escape to enjoy the sun, serenity and endless vitamin sea these islands have to offer. Get your air ticket and hotel bundle package at Mayflower.com.my today! Also, follow Mayflower’s Facebook page NOW for the latest travel deals!