Top 5 Must-Visit Islands in Malaysia for an Unforgettable Vacation

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country known for its beautiful islands, each offering unique experiences. From stunning beaches and clear waters to rich cultures and delicious food, these islands are perfect for an unforgettable vacation.

Key Takeaways

  • Langkawi Island is famous for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, and duty-free shopping.
  • Redang Island offers pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it ideal for diving and snorkeling.
  • Perhentian Islands are known for their picturesque beaches, clear waters, and abundant marine life.
  • Tioman Island is a tropical paradise with breathtaking beaches, rainforests, and coral reefs.
  • Sipadan Island is a world-renowned diving spot with a rich diversity of marine life.

Langkawi Island

Langkawi Island beach

Langkawi, often called the "Jewel of Kedah," is a stunning archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, about 30 miles off the northwestern coast of Malaysia. This island is a top destination for those traveling to Malaysia, offering a mix of beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and exciting activities.

Langkawi’s beaches are some of the best in the world. Popular spots like Datai Bay, Pantai Cenang, and Tanjung Rhu are perfect for swimming and relaxing. The island is also famous for its wildlife-filled jungles and fantastic shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Things to Do

  • Spend time by the beach: Enjoy the sun and sand at Langkawi’s pristine beaches.
  • Ride the famous Langkawi SkyCab: Get a bird’s-eye view of the island from this thrilling cable car ride.
  • Catch a sunset onboard a cruise: Experience the beauty of Langkawi’s sunsets from the water.
  • Go island hopping: Explore the nearby islands and discover hidden gems.
  • Visit the Langkawi Underwater World: See a variety of marine life up close at this popular attraction.

Langkawi is not just about beaches; it’s a place where adventure and relaxation meet. Whether you’re looking to explore the natural beauty or just unwind, Langkawi has something for everyone.

Redang Island

Redang Island beach

Redang Island is one of the best islands in Malaysia, located in the South China Sea off the coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Known for its stunning white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, it is a popular destination for beachgoers from all over Asia. The island offers a wide range of activities, such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and fishing, making it perfect for outdoor adventure.

Why Visit

Redang Island is ideal for those who love a good resort vacation. It offers the perfect balance of a laid-back beach vacation and modern luxury amenities. You can have your morning coffee by the pool, enjoy an afternoon massage, and then a sunset swim in the turquoise waters.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Redang Island is from April to September. During this period, the weather is perfect for beach activities and exploring the island.

How to Get There

  • Take a 2-hour ferry from Shahbandar Jetty
  • Opt for a 45-minute boat ride from Merang Jetty

Redang Island is an excellent combination of a vibrant natural reserve and a commercial holiday destination. It is also popular for the delicious local cuisine, with the curry fish head being a must-try dish.


  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing

Local Cuisine

Redang is also famous for its delicious local dishes found in the restaurants here. The most famous dish is the curry fish head, which is a must-try for any visitor.

Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands are made up of two main islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. These islands offer visitors plenty to explore and enjoy, from the white sandy beaches to the lush jungle trails. Those interested in marine life can find an abundance of colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life just a few feet away from the shoreline. Furthermore, many accommodation options range from beachfront resorts to budget guesthouses on both islands.

Beautiful Perhentian Islands situated on The East Coast of Malaysia. Perhentian Island is one of the best-known Malaysia islands. Located off the coast of Terengganu, this island is well-known for its stunning beaches and clear waters. It is a perfect destination for a holiday with swimming, diving, and snorkeling activities.

Located off the northeast coast, accessed by traditional city Kota Bharu, the Perhentian Islands take a little bit of getting to but are absolutely gorgeous island escapes, with several excellent accommodation options on offer. Perhentian Besar is the larger and quieter island; smaller Perhentian Kecil has a busy but laidback atmosphere and offers fantastic snorkeling right off the beach.

Overall, Perhentian Island is an excellent destination for locals and tourists alike who want to experience some of the best beaches in Malaysia. With crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, and abundant marine life, it truly offers something special everyone can enjoy regardless of budget or preferences.

The eastern coast of Malaysia is quieter, more traditional, and somewhat cut-off from the busier west coast by the mountains and jungles of the Peninsula interior. Handily, the east coast climate is the exact inverse of the west coast, meaning that whenever you travel to Malaysia there is a tropical paradise in season.

Tioman Island

Tioman Island beach

Tioman Island is a popular destination among tourists and locals, offering various visitor activities. Beach lovers can bask in the sun on one of the island’s many stunning beaches, such as Salang Beach, Juara Beach, or ABC Beach. Alternatively, they can explore the island’s lush tropical rainforests, where they can go on a trek or hike to the top of the island’s highest peak, Gunung Kajang.

Sitting off Malaysia’s lower east coast, around 5 hours’ transfer from Singapore and 6 from Kuala Lumpur, Tioman is a small volcanic island with barely any tourism (or other) development…and all the better for it.

Tioman Island is a sweet escape!

Over 50 years ago, in 1970 (OMG, how was that 50 years ago), Tioman Island was voted as one of the most beautiful places on earth by Time magazine, and while a lot has changed since then, tourism has definitely popped up. All the essence of what made this island gorgeous still stands today.

Exquisite tropical resort with a pristine white sandy beach and ample sunshine, situated on the scenic island of Tioman

Aside from outdoor activities, Tioman Island is also home to several quaint villages where visitors can immerse themselves in local culture and cuisine. They can sample local delicacies such as ikan bakar (grilled fish), nasi lemak (coconut rice), and cendol (a traditional dessert).

Tioman Island is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience Malaysian islands’ natural beauty and cultural richness. Whether you are a beach lover, a diving enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Tioman Island offers something for everyone.


  • Dry Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – Tioman island is closed for activities from November to March.
  • Peak Season – From Jun to August and during Malaysia’s major public holidays and school holidays.

Sipadan Island

Sipadan Island beach

Sipadan Island, located off the coast of Sabah in Borneo, Malaysia, is renowned as one of the best diving spots in the world. This small island is an oceanic island, meaning it rises from the depths of the ocean floor, creating steep drop-offs that are home to a diverse array of marine life. Divers can explore an underwater paradise filled with sea turtles, schools of barracudas, and even hammerhead sharks.

To reach Sipadan Island, you’ll need to take a plane, a car, and then a boat from the Semporna jetty. Although the journey may be bumpy, it is absolutely worth it. The island gained protected status in 2002, and all resorts were shut down to preserve its delicate ecology. As a result, there is no accommodation on the island itself. Divers typically stay on nearby islands or the mainland and travel to Sipadan for diving trips.

Due to its status as a protected marine reserve, there are restrictions on the number of daily visitors allowed on the island. It is advisable to book in advance to secure a spot. The best time to visit Sipadan Island is from April to December, when the weather conditions are ideal for diving.

For dive aficionados who want to feel the enchantment of the deep, Sipadan Island is a must-visit. Its crystal-clear waters and flourishing coral reefs offer a truly unique and unforgettable diving experience.


  • Location: Off the coast of Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
  • Best Time to Visit: April to December
  • Marine Life: Sea turtles, barracudas, hammerhead sharks
  • Access: Plane, car, boat from Semporna jetty
  • Accommodation: None on the island; stay on nearby islands or mainland
  • Visitor Restrictions: Limited daily visitors; book in advance


Malaysia’s islands offer a perfect mix of adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences. From the crystal-clear waters of Redang Island to the lush rainforests of Langkawi, each island has its own unique charm. Whether you’re diving in Sipadan, exploring the coral reefs of Tioman, or simply soaking up the sun on the beaches of Perhentian Islands, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to try the local food and immerse yourself in the rich culture. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable vacation in Malaysia’s stunning islands!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best islands to visit in Malaysia?

The top islands to visit in Malaysia are Langkawi Island, Redang Island, Perhentian Islands, Tioman Island, and Sipadan Island.

What can I do on Langkawi Island?

On Langkawi Island, you can enjoy stunning beaches, explore lush rainforests, and shop duty-free.

Is Redang Island good for snorkeling?

Yes, Redang Island is famous for its clear waters and is ideal for snorkeling and diving.

What makes the Perhentian Islands special?

The Perhentian Islands are known for their beautiful beaches, clear waters, and abundant marine life.

Can I go diving on Tioman Island?

Absolutely! Tioman Island offers great diving spots with beautiful coral reefs.

Why is Sipadan Island famous?

Sipadan Island is a world-renowned diving spot known for its diverse marine life.

What kind of food can I find on these islands?

You can enjoy a mix of local Malaysian cuisine, fresh seafood, and international dishes on these islands.

When is the best time to visit these islands?

The best time to visit most Malaysian islands is between March and October when the weather is ideal for beach activities.

author avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *