Malaysia is a land of amazing destinations, so choosing the best nine is almost impossible, but we gave it a shot anyways. The fact is that all of Southeast Asia is blessed with amazing places and Malaysia is no exception. Malaysia is also highly accessible for people visiting the region. Flights are cheap and ferries from southern Thailand and Singapore are plentiful. Ferries are a great option to see the natural beauty of the region since many islands are too small or isolated to be inhabited but they are still gorgeous.
The best times to visit Malaysia are the summer months of June through September and between December and January (because of the warm weather.) March and April are the wettest months. The country shuts down to some extent during the Ramadan holiday so check the dates of the holiday and see if you can work around it.
9 Best Beaches In Malaysia To Travel To
1. Port Dickson (Peninsular Malaysia)
Close to the capital of Kuala Lumpur, Port Dickson (known as PD to locals) is a favorite getaway for local Malaysians as well as SIngaporeans who are also a short distance from Dickson. PD was once an important industrial hub, but over the years the beautiful beaches and history have turned PD into a popular tourist destination for good reason. Aside from obviously enjoying the beach, there are many activities available in PD. A famous highlight is the Cape Rachado lighthouse, and there are two colonial era forts that are popular destinations amongst tourists. The Blue Lagoon is a great place to check out the natural beauty of the region.
2. Malacca (Peninsular Malaysia)
This World Heritage site is one of the most popular and breathtaking destinations in all of Southeast Asia. While the area around the city of Malacca hosts beautiful beaches, the main attraction of the city is the rich history. It was at one time or another ruled by the Dutch, the Portuguese, the British, the Japanese and before the colonial era the region was fully independant. Each of these groups of people have left behind unique evidence of their rule of the city, and exploring that evidence makes for spectacular tourism. There are many activities to do around Malacca which range from outdoor treks to white sandy beaches. Padang Kemunting beach is one of the prettiest beaches in the region and there is a cool sea turtle sanctuary on that beach that is definitely worth a visit.
3. George Town (Peninsular Malaysia)
George Town is a wildcard on our list as it is known more for its architecture than for its beaches. While the beaches are not bad, they cannot compete with the old British colonial style buildings or old-school Chinese coffee houses. This is a town to explore by foot through the winding labyrinth of streets. If you are interested in going to the beach, you might consider skipping George Town since it is the food capital of Malaysia and you will definitely see your beach body vanish before your eyes. That being said, if you don’t mind going to the beach with more of a belly, your tastebuds will thank you for visiting George Town.
4. Kota Kinabalu (Island of Borneo)
Kota Kinabalu (known as KK to locals) is a city on the coast of Borneo Island. It is a favorite among Western expats who appreciate the laid back vibes, the cozy size of the city and the luxuries available in the modern malls and shops of the city. The food in KK is renowned for being a mix of many cultures and absolutely delicious. The locals are known for being extra friendly. If you want to hit up the beaches in the area I would encourage you to go for it. The beaches are amazing. The sea is known for abundant wildlife and KK is known as a top destination for amateur as well as serious scuba divers. There is plenty of wildlife in the jungles outside the sea as well.
5. Johor Bahru (Peninsular Malaysia)
Johor Bahru (known as JB to locals) is one of Malaysia’s largest cities. The commercial hub was once known as a dirty city that was more apt for business than it was for tourism. But then JB reinvented itself. They cleaned up their city and as a result tourists have begun flocking to the city. There are many museums, shopping centers and the nightlife is vibrant. Also if you have kids (or still feel like one) there is a Legoland amusement park near JB. Another cool feature that lands JB in many itineraries is that it is connected to Singapore through a long bridge. If you visited JB years ago, I recommend that you visit again because they really did go through a complete makeover. Danga Bay is a beach close to JB that is worth visiting.
When we think about large cities by the sea, we often think that the beaches are somehow not as good as isolated beaches, but Kuantan proves this wrong. Teluk Cempedak is the poster child for the four or five spectacularly beautiful beaches that can easily be found around Kuantan. The water is turquoise and the sand is white and soft. The jungles behind the beach make for a truly epic landscape. Don’t forget to pay a visit to Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque which is on the scale of the most famous cathedrals in Europe. There is plenty of natural beauty outside of the beaches. This includes Chini Lake and the Berkelah waterfalls, which are popular tourist destinations.
7. Kuala Terengganu (Peninsular Malaysia)
Kuala Terengganu used to be a sleepy fishing village until oil was found nearby. Since then, the city has grown into a beautiful destination for tourists. The Crystal Mosque is also known as the floating mosque and is the most popular tourist destination in the city. Tourists also love visiting the open air markets in the city. Batu Buruk Beach is the most popular and beautiful beach in the area around Terengganu. Taman Shahbandar is a recreational area around the Terengganu River Estuaries which offer recreation and leisure. There is a lot of natural beauty to be found in the region around this city and that is the main attraction for tourists.
8. Port Dickson (Peninsular Malaysia)
Back in the days before this city was anything more than a small fishing village, moss grew on the sandy beaches. This moss, known as Lumut in Malay, has given the city its name. Teluk Batik is the most popular beach around Lumut. It has all of the comforts that you might need to enhance your beach experience such as small bars and restaurants, beach chair vendors and places to picnic. There is a lot of natural beauty on the land as well, such as mangrove forests and estuaries protected inside natural parks. The town itself is quickly developing into a must-see tourist destination within Malaysia. Some evidence of this is the waterfront promenade which was built a short time ago to showcase the natural beauty of the city.
9. Kuching (Island of Borneo)
Kuching is a city that brings together the modern and the historical legacies of Malaysia. The town’s modern sections offer all of the amenities and comforts that you might need, while the more ancient parts of town showcase Chinese temples while retaining a colonial charm. The food is also known for being very good. Kuching’s main attraction is the proximity of the city to the many day trips to natural sites around the region. These day trips include sightseeing tours to see animals such as orangutans and other primates as well as tours to see the myriad of flowers that are native to the region. Some other day trips focus on cultural exploration of the region. There is also a fort that was originally built to thwart pirates which is pretty cool. If you’re a cat person, Kuching loves its cats. This is evident in the cat statues that can be found around the city as well as a cat museum. The name of the city actually means ‘Cat’ in the local dialect, which appears to have happened by coincidence. Though just a coincidence, it doesn’t stop locals from loving furry felines.
This article was written by Amid Bennaim.