Malaysia’s many islands are about gorgeous beaches, snorkelling and diving, and lush rainforests – but they also come with temples, villages and activities! Here are 10 of the best:
- Pulau Pangkor: Quiet bays are the big attraction, but jungle trekking and banana boating, a Chinese temple, and a ruined Dutch fort are also drawcards.
- Pulau Kapas: Soft white sand gives this isle the name ‘Cotton Island’. It’s paradise for divers.
- Penang: A rickshaw ride is the way to see the grand colonial buildings in this trading post’s historic capital, Georgetown.
- Pulau Tenggol: Just a few hotels dot this little isle. It’s popular with fishermen and snorkellers.
- Mabul: Petite enough to walk around in an hour, Mabul packs in a lot – thatched villages and palm-fringed beaches above the water, and below it one of the world’s most dense populations of small marine life like scorpion fish, cuttlefish and gobies. Mabul is a jumping off point to Sipadan island, an uninhabited marine reserve where divers will see hammerheads, turtles and reef fish.
- Redang: Another great diving and snorkelling island with clownfish and baby sharks a common sight.
- Pulau Tioman: If you want to swim under a waterfall on one of the world’s most beautiful islands, head to Tioman. It starred as the backdrop in the 1958 movie, ‘South Pacific’.
- Perhentian Islands: Budget travellers, rejoice. Cheap accommodation, superb beaches and jungle trails – what more could you want?
- Langkawi: Not one island but an archipelago of 99 (only two inhabited), Langkawi is the place to ride elephants, visit the aquarium and cultural centre, and see snake charmers.