2022 is off to a roaring start thanks to open interstate travel and back-to-back holidays! So if you're not ready to unpack your suitcase just yet and are looking for your next staycation, how about a fabulous island getaway in the sun?
Malaysia has no shortage of idyllic islands—878 to be precise (and counting!) Whether you want to dive in the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world, treat yourself to a luxury resort stay or simply lie on a beach and soak up the sun, there’s an island here for everyone.
To satisfy your appetite for tropical wanderlust, here is our list of the top 10 best island getaways in the country.
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The Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi Island is one of Malaysia’s most famous islands, known for the vast array of top luxury beach resorts lining its shores. Langkawi is just one of 99 islands that make up the large archipelago and its rainforest-covered mountain tops and sapphire blue waters are a favourite destination to relax and unwind, as featured most recently in the hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians. The duty-free island is home to one of the steepest cable car rides in the world and spectacular sandy beaches such as Pantai Cenang.
Find out more about the top Langkawi Island attractions!
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The Perhentian Islands consists most notably of Perhentian Besar (Perhentian Big) and Perhentian Kecil (Perhentian Small). Located off the Peninsula’s east coast, near the Thai border, both islands have made a name for themselves as backpacker paradise with a killer combination of cheap accommodation and stellar scuba diving. Perhentian Besar also offers leisure resort stays ideal for family holidays. The islands can only be explored by water taxi or through hiking trails, making for a particularly exclusive island getaway.
Find out more about accommodation on Perhentian Islands!
Once named one of Time magazine’s most beautiful islands in the world, Tioman remains the epitome of an idyllic tropical escape. The tear-shaped island offers up a whole range of activities for those looking for a bit of adventure whilst lounging on its white sandy beaches—snorkelling, rock climbing, beautiful jungle trails and waterfalls, as well as wreck diving for seasoned divers are all waiting for you on Tioman Island.
Here is your essential travel guide to Tioman Island!
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Lankayan Island is the definition of a remote island getaway, being completely surrounded by the unparalleled crystal-clear waters of the Sulu Sea. This gem of an island (literally shaped like a jewel) can be found off the northeast coast of the East Malaysian state of Sabah, about an hour and a half boat ride of the coastal town of Sandakan. It is most popular among scuba divers, honeymoon couples and families wanting a taste of the luxury private island experience with beachside and water bungalow stays.
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Like many islands in Borneo, Mabul is the ideal scuba diver's retreat. The island is located off the coast of Semporna within the Coral Triangle, an area of sea that houses the greatest coral biodiversity of anywhere on Earth. Mabul is a popular place to stay for those wanting to dive in the world-renowned Sipadan Island being just a 20-minute boat ride away. A variety of accommodation types from budget travel inns to five-star resorts means all types of travellers can come to experience the incredible marine life swimming in its waters.
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For those wanting a more cosmopolitan spin on the traditional island getaway, Penang Island has all the comforts of the city alongside stunning beach resorts and hotels. Spend your days soaking up Penang’s rich cultural heritage in the city of Georgetown (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) as you walk the mural covered streets along the Penang Heritage Trail and taste the many flavours of the island’s most famous street food.
Where to stay and what to do in Penang!
Redang Island belongs to Redang Island Marine Park in the state of Terengganu, on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. It rose to fame after featuring in the Hong Kong film Summer Holiday and has since become one of Malaysia’s premier island destinations, with some of the finest luxury resort stays and scuba diving spots in the country. The dense vegetation offers several jungle trails for you to explore in between dips in its turquoise waters.
Find out the top things to do on Redang Island!
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Pangkor Island may be lesser known amongst tourists, but is a favourite for locals of the western state of Perak. The uncrowded sandy beaches of Pasir Bogak and Coral Bay are perfect for sunbathing on this historic island, dotted with remnants of its Dutch and British colonial past. Having been given duty-free status in January 2020, Pangkor is set to become Malaysia’s next must-visit island getaway.
Learn more about Pangkor Island!
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Another more secluded spot off the coast of Terengganu is Kapas Island. This island paradise is less developed than others and provides a rustic escape from the distractions of city life. The island is popular among backpackers looking for budget accommodation to relax on its shores and meet like-minded travellers. Camping overnight under the starry sky is one of the best ways to enjoy this picturesque part of the country.
Your essential travel guide to Kapas Island!
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Rawa Island is the ultimate private island, personally owned by the Sultanate of Johor. Located in Johor, the most southernly state in Peninsular Malaysia, the island is easily accessible from Singapore and offers an exclusive stay with only two resorts available for visitors. Its dramatic rocky outline serves up excellent jungle hikes, snorkelling and island kayaking, making Rawa a fitting choice for your next island vacation.
And there we have the top 10 best island getaways in Malaysia! Find the best travel deals for tours, accommodation and transport for all these destinations across Malaysia right here at MalaysiaTravel.com.