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Islands to Visit in Malaysia

Malaysia Islands to Visit

There are in fact many islands to visit in Malaysia and I have come up with a compilation of some of the best islands around the country. This list is suitable for anyone who loves islands and beaches.

The islands of Malaysia cater to all kinds of tourists and visitors, namely for a family holiday, backpacking, romantic getaway, traveling with kids, diving and snorkeling or simply to relax.

No matter what kind of visitor you are, these islands are broken down with basic information and are in no particular order.

The islands are also located around Malaysia including Sabah Borneo. Seriously, when was the last time you had a decent tropical island escape?

I hope with this list, you will make some interesting choices in planning your island holiday here in Malaysia.

Islands to Visit in Malaysia

1. Rawa Island or Pulau Rawa

This unique island is located just off the town of Mersing on route to Tioman Island and is a private island with only two accommodations.

One of them is called Rawa Safaris Resort which is the popular choice while the other is known as Alang's Rawa which is a backpacker style lodging here.

When you talk about White Sand Beaches, it is all here at Pulau Rawa. Fantastic for couples, families, and backpackers.

It can get crowded during local holiday seasons and is part of the monsoon season. Best visited during April - September.

2. Sipadan Island or Pulau Sipadan

Malaysia's top diving destination and located on the east side of Sabah Borneo, Sipadan Islands are one of the must-dive places for most scuba divers and rated one of the most beautiful dive spots in the world.

Up till a few years ago, the government has stopped any form of accommodation on the main island due to environmental reasons.

Nowadays, divers stay at nearby Mabul or Kapalai Island while 120 daily dive permits are issued out to divers for diving at Sipadan Islands. This is clearly not a place where you would bring your family but if everyone dives, why not.

Accommodations range from budget lodge style right till 5-Star Resorts at Mabul Island and Kapalai Island. A marine police station is the only structure that is on Sipadan Island. Check for the rainy season.

3. Langkawi Island or Pulau Langkawi

Peninsular Malaysia's largest island with the best infrastructure and most importantly, Langkawi is a duty-free island.

A very popular place for travelers as they have direct flights landing in Langkawi Island from a number of airlines around the region. The island offers all kinds of tourism from Eco to Culture and Heritage apart from the general beach life.

The Langkawi Cable Car is one of the attractions you should not miss while here. Accommodations range from luxurious resorts like the Four Seasons and Datai Resort to budget style hotels and motels found throughout the island.

One unique place to look out for is Malibest Resort with the Treehouse Chalets. The peak period here is Nov to Feb and June to Aug for the Arab Season. 

Pulau Sapi
Sapi Island in Sabah

4. Sapi Island or Pulau Sapi

This small island which is part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is only 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu town in Sabah Borneo and there are boats going and coming from the mainland every other hour.

A very popular place for day-trippers as there are no lodgings here. Most packages include lunch, snorkeling and just relaxing on the beach.

Not as busy as sister island Manukan but does get crowded on weekends. Sapi Island has some of the best waters and beaches here. A local attraction is the huge monitor lizards that look like Komodo Dragons.

5. Perhentian Island or Pulau Perhentian

One of the most sought after island for all kinds of beach and island travelers. From the locals right to the backpackers, Perhentian has always been a popular destination to visit.

Many budget style to moderate resorts are available on both - Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil islands. Activities include diving, snorkeling and just relaxing.

No roads or vehicles so moving around via foot of boat here. Chances of spotting turtles while snorkeling is high while there are many pretty scuba diving spots here.

Some of the family-run budget resorts in Perhentian are the best to stay at. It can get crowded during the peak seasons and is part of the monsoon season. Best visited during April - September.

6. Mantanani Island or Pulau Mantanani

This is one of the most beautiful islands on the west side of Sabah Borneo. Generally, a divers paradise as there are only two or three resorts here that cater specially to this sport. You would not expect a family-style resort and activities here.

Getting to Mantanani Island is also not as easy as thought. You would need to book your trip via the travel agent that arranges these special trips. A paradise in its own way and a must for the true island lover.

Pulau Selingan
Turtle Island Beach

7. Turtle Island or Pulau Selingan

Turtle Island is one of the most unique islands dedicated to conservation for Turtles, this place is located about an hour from the town of Sandakan in Sabah Borneo.

This is also one of the highly recommended islands to visit in Malaysia if you are passionate about turtle conservation.

There is only one resort is available on Turtle Island while overnight trips offer curious guests a chance to see turtles laying eggs on the beaches around the island here.

A Turtle hatchery is also available on this island while there is a conservation center with marine park rangers who look after this.

Excellent for kids, family, those interested in marine life and conservation. There is no monsoon but check for rainy weather before planning. 

8. Redang Island or Pulau Redang

The only island in the east coast of Malaysia with an airstrip makes this place a popular destination for many locals. Many 3 to 5-star resorts are found at Redang Island as the waters and beaches here are beautiful.

One of the resorts, Laguna Redang Resort seems to stand out from the rest as it is prominently seen when you arrive here.

The Berjaya Resort Redang is located in a cove by it's own away from the main stretch, providing a perfect and quiet escape from the crowds. This is one of the premium resorts on Redang Island.

For the snorkelers, there is the Redang Marine Park nearby which is a popular place to visit. A Small conservation center is also set up here and one can have a  barbecue on the beaches on this island.

The island can get crowded during local holiday seasons and is part of the monsoon season. Best visited during April - September.
9. Rebak Island or Pulau Rebak

Rebak Island is an island off an island, Rebak Island is a private island and about 10 minutes from Langkawi Island.

There is only one 5-star resort called the Rebak Island Resort which is managed by the TAJ Group from India.

Those seeking privacy and some quiet time would be pleased to know Rebak Island is one of those places. A marina sits at the main jetty of the island while the island is rich in nature. 

10. Lang Tengah Island or Pulau Lang Tengah

Located in between Redang Island and Perhentian Island, this beautiful island caters to three resorts and some lovely diving spots. Lang Tengah is suitable for those wanting a lesser crowded beach escape.

One of the resorts at Lang Tengah is called Redang Lang Resort and caters to more locals with a lodge style accommodation and not your resort type.

The resort can get crowded during the local holiday seasons and is part of the monsoon season. Best visited during April - September.

Pulau Manukan
Manukan Island Sabah

11. Manukan Island or Pulau Manukan

This is the most popular of the five islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Kota Kinabalu Sabah Borneo.

Manukan Island is located only 15 minutes from the main town of Kota Kinabalu or KK as most people call it, and is the easiest island to visit.

There is also only one resort on Manukan Island is available to those who want to stay over but the prices are on the slightly higher side. Gets crowded on weekends and local holidays as many day trippers head here.

The beach is quite nice and you can do some decent snorkeling here. One of the highlights is the Sea Walk here while scuba diving is available on the island. The island tends to get crowded on weekends and public holidays.

Final Thoughts on Islands to Visit in Malaysia

The islands listed above have all been personally visited by me over the years, as I make it a point to actually be there to understand, see and then write about them.

If you are looking for something a little more private, check out my article on private island resorts in Malaysia, as I have also created a list of those secluded places.

And for the beach lover, I have done a realistic article on the best beaches in Malaysia, where I have also visited all of the beaches mentioned.

Malaysia Asia is a travel information site and blog dedicated to information about travel around Malaysia and Southeast Asia. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Not included in this list are numerous other islands around the country as these are only a few of the popular islands to visit in Malaysia. I would love to hear your feedback below. 


MsXeRoZ Nicole said...

Pulau pulauuu Im coming~ I already planned to visit 50% of your listed islands this year ^^

Calogero said...

Malaysia? Thanks. Nice photo.



Malaysia Asia said...

Nicole, that's great! Island time around Malaysia is a must, even for me this year. I think Sipadan Island is on my list to start the year.


Ailuj N Asotrap said...

most needed info. thanks

fie-nuts said...

I need a beach break after reading this! Hehe.

Arai Utan Ujan said...

you should include:

Pulau PANGKOR Island, Lumut, Perak
Pulau BESAR Island, Melaka
Pulau TINGGI Island, Mersing, Johor
Pulau KAPAS Island, Marang, Terengganu
Pulau TIOMAN Island, Rompin, Pahang
Pulau SIBU Island, Mersing, Johor
Pulau LIMA SURVIVOR Island, Sabah
Pulau Layang-Layang Island, Sabah

Syima Emi said...

really nice islands in Malaysia.
Pulau Langkawi, wait for me this coming September.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty photos....it makes me want to quit my job and go there right now!

jamie - cloud people adventures said...

i want to own an island like one of these one day. LOVE the water colour. i could just swim in that all day.

Migrationology said...

I was at Langkawi last year and had a great time, would love to check out some of these other islands!

Ayngelina said...

I've only been to KL but these islands are definitely tempting me to come back.

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks for the comments. As for the other Islands, I wanted to include them, but my list would be so long. So maybe I will make another list with the rest of the islands.

Syima, make sure you don't go to Pulau Dayang.. :)

Strux, thanks and hope to meet you one day when you pass here.

Jamie, Mark and Ayngelina, I just got back form Langkawi yesterday and I'm missing it! Ayngelina, you should really check out some of the islands so gives you reason to come back.

seatvacations said...

woow...no one barely knows this place in Malaysia..a very great view.. :)

kuala lumpur hotels said...

Thanks for sharing this information.

Holiday Abroad said...

Pulau Rawa is such a wonderful place to spend your holiday! I'd go back there in a minute :)

villa majorque said...

Thanks for sharing the information regarding the list of islands..I was little confused where to visit but after reading your post i will definitely visit Malaysia this time..Just wondering to know which island would you suggest that I should visit surely?

Dubai holidays said...

With my busy schedule I got very bore so I want to go away for a holiday so my mind could get refreshed. After reading this blog I want to visit The Iguazu Falls to spend my upcoming holiday. I think I would be fun.

Luxury Villa Holidays said...

Thanks for the lovely post.. This is a great information for me as I am visiting there in the coming April and I ma very much excited for it.. I will visit these places and I ma sure it will be a great fun..

May said...

I need a vacation soon

cheap flight deals said...

I went to Malaysia last year. I saw Rawa island . It is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. There are many cheap hotels in Mersing. Try and ask the local crowd , they are very helpful.

Seiryu said...

Luv it