10 Best Malaysian Islands

Martina Rosado
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Pulau Pangkor

Located halfway between Singapore and Malaysia, this area is famous for its sandy shores, rocky islands, and coral reefs. Marine life in the island kingdom is bountiful, with quirky dugongs, whales, dolphins, and even pangolins that are found.

Migratory birds like the black-crested shelduck and the pied monarch also travel to this island. It has stunning views with waterfalls and interesting rock formations, flora and fauna. Singapore waters connect with the island to create a habitat for marine life.

Pulau Pangkor is the natural habitat for sea turtles, the dugong‘s main food source, and the migratory Asian broadbill. Its shallow coral reefs and shoals attract a variety of colourful fishes, but also establish a home for invasive species of seaweeds.

Pulau Pangkor’s flora and fauna are relatively untested in global warming. Shrubs of native medicinal herbs are distributed on the island. The island has a rich bird life from the Eurasian oystercatcher to the Asiatic paradise flycatcher, and the red-legged partridge in these forests.

Pulau Kapas

Pulau Kapas is on the east coast of Malaysia on the island of Langkawi. In the past decades, the island had become a holiday destination for local tourists. Under the Langkawi Consensus, the island was promoted as one of the three Special destinations in the country. Travellers include tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Middle East as well as local tourists.

The island has a tropical climate where the temperatures remain comfortable throughout the year.

Pulau Kapas has a coastline which stretches over 12 km, making it the largest island in the Langkawi archipelago. This island is ringed with beaches. The best beaches in Pulau Kapas are located in the north east part of the island.

Some of the beaches there are sandy while others are set on rocky cliffs. The secluded beaches in Pulau Kapas are known for their beauty as well as their inaccessibility. These beaches are rarely crowded and are perfect sites for calm and relaxing moments.

The beaches in Pulau Kapas are surrounded by the forested cliffs where one can take in some dense foliage and spectacular views of the sea.

Penang

Penang is a destination we always love to visit. Of course, we are biased because it was where we were born and raised. Just like her sister island, Penang is a metropolis, albeit a smaller one when compared to Malacca where the royalty, the wealthy and the merchant elite lived.

The island has always been a center of commerce and commerce is still what the island is famous for. Penang boasts of the second busiest international seaport in Malaysia. You won’t be surprised therefore to learn that the streets brimming with shops and restaurants are the first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in the town.

However, we also recommend that you take some time to explore the island by going to the countryside. You will be surprised to learn that there are green, scenic areas that are perfect for a peaceful walk or jog. You will find sceneries that don’t look at all like the busy town.

Our take on the island? If you’re lucky, you might catch sight of a group of singing fishermen on the shores who are hoping to catch some mackerel or some perch. Or you might hear some cicadas chirping in the gentle breeze.

Pulau Tenggol

You don’t often hear about fashionable Malaysian islands, but you definitely should when it comes to Pulau Tenggol. Pulau Tenggol is a certified heritage site by UNESCO and is protected by a formal agreement between Malaysia and Singapore.

In a peaceful, natural setting, this tiny island is surrounded by crystal clear sea. It is around an hour’s ferry ride from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, in the natural city park of the same name.

It’s also a great attraction for bird watchers. Enjoy a leisurely morning or afternoon here, with the opportunity to spot sea eagle, heron and other exotic birds.

Pulau Tenggol is not the only eco-tourism destination around. You also need to check out Pulau Perhentian off the coast of Johor.

This gorgeous island offers you many a scenic site. A licensed school provides accommodation for you, which means planning a trip to this beautiful island would be perfect for you if you’ve been searching for an itinerary that you can easily personalise to fit your own holiday.

About Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru was known formerly as Batu Hitam, Fort Cornwallis, or Port Swettenham. The name was changed in the 1970s to distinguish itself from the neighbouring State of Johor.

Sipadan

The island is around 30 km long. In the island, you can see different species of reefs like elkhorn, staghorn, and black coral.

Similar to corals, also there are several species of fishes around the area including marble butterflyfish, fairy basslet, and small-scaled rainbowfish.

Most of the fishes are colourful with bright colours. The clarity of water is excellent.

As you can see on the picture above, the water of the area is a beautiful blue colour.

In addition, there are several coral reefs around the island.

There is also a shipwreck and an old lookout tower built on the island which makes this island purely a natural habitat.

In Sipadan Island, you will be able to see several species of marine creatures including dolphins and even sharks. When you visit, you will be able to see several colourful fishes.

The world’s best dive site of Sipadan is a must-visit site for any diver.

This island of Malaysia is located in the Sipadan National Park which is located off Sabah. This is an island where there are many types of reefs and the clarity of water is excellent.

Pulau Mabul

At 28 km2, it is one of the larger islands in the famous Mabul Group and is surrounded almost entirely by coral reefs. This means that the waters are clear enough for snorkeling, ideal for beginner snorkeling, especially enjoyable during the dry part of the year when coral seems to be out in full display. Pulau Mabul is also a major birdwatching destination, with the abundant birdlife in this part of Malaysia providing visitors with a chance to view some of the world’s most spectacular avian species.

Pulau mabul: Top 5 Things Not To Miss

Snorkeling

This is the ideal island for those who want to try snorkeling for the first time, especially young children. Nevertheless, it is a great place for enthusiastic snorkelers to enjoy the variety of marine life found there. Depending on the time of year, the island might even see the emergence of its famous marine glowworms.

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Redang

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Varieties of Coral

About 130 species of coral are found in Redang and visitors can expect to see a variety of them. There are brain corals, sea urchins, mushroom coral, mushroom coral tree, giant clam, basket star, flame coral, hammerhead coral and red finger coral. Other than the coral, the Redang reef system also holds a variety of fish, molluscs and jellyfishes (not all are shown in the photo).

For species underwater photographers, Redang Island is especially a paradise with its abundance of coral. The small island Rabu is known as a mecca where photographers visit regularly to snap wedding photography at coral reefs.

Redang also has some of the best diving in the world as well as good snorkelling. Snorkelling is one of the best forms of underwater photography; underwater photographers are known to take travel snorkel shots using macro lenses for extreme close-ups of corals.

There are also lots of fish, water turtles and even sea snakes in the vicinity with a few sea turtles living in the shallow waters of Redang Island.

Pulau Tioman

Off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Pulau Tioman is isolated from mainland Malaysia and is only accessible by boat.

An archipelago with a total of 8 islands, Pulau Tioman is one of the few actual living islands in Malaysia.

Walking on Tioman is a rewarding experience that not only is good for the mind and body, but also attracts numerous wildlife to it.

But, what makes the island so attractive to the wildlife in the first place?

This is because the island is surrounded by a diverse sea floor, which is home to a large amount of corals.

These coral reefs were created over millennia based on the periodic rises in sea level after the Ice Age.

In addition, it is believed that the inhabitants of Tioman were former inhabitants of nearby islands who eventually lost control of their coral islands after finding out that their land was submerged in the wake of rapid global climate changes.

The island has an abundance of flora that can be found on its land, which is why most of the species of wildlife found in Pulau Tioman prefer these plants to the coral reefs to get their energy.

Some of the species found in Pulau Tioman are:

  • Occasional monkeys
  • Dugongs
  • Coatis
  • Civets (common ones are Malayan and Sunda)
  • Hedgehogs

Perhentian Islands

The word Perhentian means (baby) islands in the local Malay language, and these “baby islands” are a must-visit for anyone visiting Malaysia. They’re also one of the most visited islands in the world.

This is because Perhentian Island boasts the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia. The white sands, clear ocean water, coral reefs and the Maylasian sunshine (yes, you can actually see the sun!) is an irresistible combination for anyone who loves to spend time at the beach.

Another reason why Perhentian Islands is so incredibly popular is because they’re located on the beautiful island of Kedah. Kedah is part of the Malaysian country of Penang, and a part of the Malaysian peninsula.

It is home to almost 3,000 islands and is more than just a tourist destination. It is also an important part of Malaysia’s main industries in agriculture and oilseeds.

Because Kedah’s history goes back to the 11th century, the islands have had a long and fascinating history. Kedah was once ruled by the legendary legendary hero,Datuk Ibrahim, who not only built many of its beautiful structures, but also the first Malaysian air force.

Langkawi

Langkawi is a small patch of land that protrudes into the South China Sea off the southwest coast of Malaysia. It has about 160 islands, a few of which host two of the country’s most popular islands for both tourist and celebrity – Palm and Bamboo islands. Its perfect beaches and coral reefs help make it a popular tourist destination with about 1.2 million visitors each year.

The mystical Langkawi, named after a unique species of hornbill found in this region, is known more for its natural beauty than for its bustling towns. Its definitely a place to go if you are looking for a little peace and quiet.

Map of the best islands in Malaysia

Malaysia has many beautiful islands, and the best way to explore them all is with a boat. Depending on where you are in the country, the best islands are also going to vary. That’s why we decided to make a list of the some of the best islands in Malaysia.

Fraulesegering Island
If you’re looking for a small island where you can go with some friends, look no further than Fradeging Island. You can see the entire island in a short visit and spend the rest of the time exploring its shoreline. Due to its small size, you can visit it on a day trip from your Kuala Lumpur and experience the beauty of the country in a short time.

Miri Island
If you’re looking for a little more adventure, look no further than Miri. This island is full of unexpected treasures. You can seek out museums full of historical artifacts or seek out a great dinner at a beautiful restaurant on the island.

This island is special to locals because it originally had isolated but friendly people who wore traditional clothing and dances. It’s easy to see this in Miri’s night markets when you see men in traditional Malaysian clothing, including ngapah headwear.