Malaysia is blessed with stretches of breathtaking beaches, and lucky for us, many of which remain under the tourist radar. These Malaysian beaches are the perfect spot for you to unwind, get some tan and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If sun, sand, sea and serenity are what you’re eyeing, here, in no particular order, we’ve rounded up the best beaches in Malaysia. White sands, coral reefs, crystal waters and lots of wildlife, sign us up!
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1. Tusan Beach, Miri, Sarawak
Tusan Beach may not be as popular as Penang’s Batu Feringghi, but it has its own charms. If you’re lucky (or when the conditions are just right), you’ll be able to witness the spectacular and very rare Blue Tears phenomenon (where bioluminescent plankton glow in a brilliant shade of blue)!
#HHWTTips: Head to the clifftop for the best views of the dramatic sunset. There aren’t any food stalls on the strip, so bring along a picnic or get your fill at the seafood market and food stalls in the town of Bekenu. Swing by on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowd.
2. Teluk Kampi Beach, Penang
If you think Penang only has Batu Feringghi, you couldn’t be more wrong! Teluk Kampi, located in the Penang National Park, is perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s quite remote, so be prepared to rough it up! It’s an hour-long hike or a boat ride, but once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with stunning coastal vistas and the luxury of having the whole beach to yourself.
#HHWTTip: You can spend the night here at its well-maintained campsite. But, there is no phone connection here, perfect if you want to go off-the-grid!
3. Cahaya Bulan Beach, Kelantan
Cahaya Bulan Beach is the It place to be on weekends if you’re in Kelantan. The white-sand shores are perfect for weekend barbecues, sunbathing and horseback riding. But the highlight is the chance to see the dozens of colourful kites that showcase Kelantanese culture. There are also plenty of stalls selling street food, so make sure to go with an empty belly!
4. Lang Tengah, Terengganu
With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches, Lang Tengah Island has sometimes been nicknamed the “Maldives of Malaysia”. Located between Pulau Perhentian Besar and Redang, the island remains one of Terengganu’s more underrated spots. There are only four resorts islandwide, all of which come with their own private beaches, so rest assured that they’re quiet and crowd-free. The abundance of coral reefs around the rim makes it ideal for snorkelling and beginner scuba diving, and hawksbill turtles are regularly seen here.
Water sports enthusiasts will appreciate the slew of activities here – there are three snorkelling locations and eight scuba-diving spots – while outdoorsy types will enjoy its hiking trails and bioluminescent beach. Getting there is as simple as flying from KL to Kuala Terengganu, then taking a bus or taxi to Merang, where ferries depart regularly and take just 30 minutes.
5. Pasir Tengkorak Beach, Langkawi
Pantai Cenang remains Langkawi’s most popular beach, lined with restaurants, bars and shops. But if you’re looking for some serenity, make a beeline for Langkawi’s hidden gem beach, Pasir Tengkorak Beach – a small, protected beach to the north of the island. The water is oh-so clear, there’s plenty of space to relax and, according to legend, the name comes from a legend about skulls from the victims of nearby shipwrecks (or, according to some, the victims of sea monsters) washing up on the shore. You won’t see any skulls now, but you’re sure to have a relaxing time.
#HHWTTips: Monkeys still rule here, so hang on to your belongings! Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are musts when out and about.
6. Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan
Famously known for its white sandy beach, and its well-established promenade (there are both McDonald’s and Starbucks!), Teluk Cempedak in Pahang quintessentially delivers a perfect beach getaway for locals and tourists alike. Located just five kilometres away from the capital Kuantan, the stretch of beach has been a favourite haunt for residents in Pahang. For out-of-towners, especially KL city folk, Teluk Cempedak offers an ideal weekend getaway and a welcome reprieve from city life.
7. Coral Beach, Pangkor
Beachgoers travelling to Malaysia often skip Pangkor, an island two hours away from Ipoh. This laidback and picturesque island is known for beaches like Coral Beach. Located just north of the more crowded Nipah Bay and separated by a small forested cape, its emerald-green waters are perfect for a host of water sports like canoeing, kayaking and snorkelling. There are far fewer food stalls (and hence crowds) here, which makes it ideal for a quiet escape. Park yourself at one of its waterfront restaurants down at sunset to catch some beautiful golden hour rays. Pangkor Island and Coral Beach are among the more accessible secret islands in Malaysia if you're travelling from Kuala Lumpur.
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