Top 10 Islands to Visit in Malaysia

Did you know that Malaysia has about 2900 miles of coastline? Many people head to Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines when they want to experience the stunning beaches in South East Asia.

We have put together a list of beach islands for you to visit if you’re heading to Malaysia, the added bonus of exploring these islands in Malaysia is that they are relatively cheaper, more untouched and less crowded than other popular beach destinations in South East Asia.

It was a really tough task for us to write about only 10 Malaysian islands, but after long thinking and brainstorming, we can say that we have an awesome list now! Keep reading through the list of the best islands in Malaysia and pick one for your next vacation!
Waterfall in the middle of Malaysian jungle is not a surprising scenery.


On the southeastern side of Malaysia, there is a group of 64 islands which Tioman island is the largest one. Tioman is famous for fantastic diving, snorkeling, and delicious food. You can reach the island from a town called Mersing.

The island has an abundance of marine life, you can also go exploring the island’s many beaches, do so hiking, check out the waterfalls, fishing and of course jungle trekking. There are also many villages to explore such as Tekek Village, Air Batang, Salang, Juara, Mukut & Nipah.

The area is very rich in culture and a great place to some photography. The area has a range of accommodation choices for most budgets. Be aware some parts of the island can only be reached by boat. If you are looking for evening entertainment head to one of the many beach bars on the island.

One of the main attractions of Tioman island are the many day boat trips you can take and also a visit to Tioman National Park.

Tioman island is widely know by it's sandy beaches accompanied with teal water.


Rawa Island is a tiny coral island located off the east coast of Johor – Malaysia. The island is a beautiful tropical paradise, surrounded by clear blue waters, jungle and soft white sand. It is approx 2 hours and 20 minutes from Singapore, it is advisable to stay overnight rather than doing a day trip here or stay for a few days.

Most of the activities here are beach type things to do such as water activities, hiking snorkeling, diving, lazing away not the beaches and days trips to nearby islands. There are no cars on the island and you can walk around the beaches or rent a canoe and paddle around the island.

Be aware there is limited shopping on the island and a limited choice of accommodation – so do plan ahead, as at times accommodation can be fully booked.

The beaches of Rawa islands are very secluded and many people find the island attractive for adventurous activities.


A popular island in the South China Sea on the Eastern side of Malaysia, Redang has protected marine waters and a stunning marine park. It is located approx 35 miles from Kuala Terengganu.

If you are looking for a more exclusive stay you will find many luxury hotels here. There are a ton of activities on the island to keep you busy such as good nightlife options, a range of water activities, day trips, and shopping.

The island attracts scuba diving and beach enthusiasts due to the stunning aqua waters and white sand beaches. The island is perfect for beach holidays, getaway trip, romantic trip, honeymoon, and beach holidays.

Redang Island is also a nature lovers paradise and is home to many species of animals and rare plants, trekking is another great activity to do here.

A beach on Redang islands from above.


One of our favourite islands is Perhentian island, a fantastic place for diving and snorkeling. It consists of two islands Kecil  (popular amongst backpackers) and Besar for people that love nature and peace and quiet.

Many people visit Perhentian islands to get their PADI diving license. Perhentian islands lie close to the Thai border and the island belongs to a protected marine park and fishing and collecting coral is prohibited here.

Like other islands in Malaysia you can find a number of activities to keep you busy during your stay here such as, chilling in the beach, swimming, water activities, jungle trekking, seeing turtles nesting which you can  volunteer at, sea kayaking, trying out the local foods, and of course watching the gorgeous sunsets.

There are numerous beaches and coves to explore here and you definitely won’t run out of stunning beaches to discover. When we visited last there were no cars on the salad and most of the exploring will be done by foot or you cause the water taxis. The best time to go is between March – October where you’ll have sunny skies, and hot weather.

On Perhentian Kecil, there are two main beaches which have the most accommodation choices. Long Beach and Coral Bay.

Crystal clear water of Perhentian island from above.


A beautiful island in Malaysia, very developed compared to some of the other islands listed here. Langkawi has all the facilities/attractions and various types of accommodation to suit most travellers.

This is a very easy island to reach and it has an airport too. The best ways to explore the island are by renting a motorbike or a car. There are tons of beaches to see and many other types of attractions such as beach and island hopping, exploring mangroves, the sky cab, Langkawi sky bridge, waterfalls, tracking and wildlife adventures.

Langkawi offers you a great selection of accommodation options and places to eat and there are plenty of things to do at night here. Our recommended accommodation choice is the Berjaya Langkawi Resort.

A secluded beach located on Langkawi island


A stunning privately owned island which has 8 sand beaches and incredible marine life, this is a perfect place for a chilled out or romantic getaway. The island also has a protected marine park. Tengah Island is located about 40 km north-east of Kuala Terengganu and can be reached by boat from there.

Further Read: How to Hop Around Thailand Islands Like a Boss?

It is less developed that Redang island and offers visitors a quiet tropical paradise to relax on. Due to the limited number of hotels on the island you really need to book well in advance to secure a booking here.

Teal waters of Tengah island.


Penang, also known as Pearl of the Orient, is located at the northwestern side of Malaysia. This is Ann amazing island to visit to absorb its culture and vibrancy.

This out of all the Malaysian islands is the most touristy and visited. You can sample some incredible food here and there are many activities for you to take part in and places to see.

The capital is Georgetown which was made a UNESCO world heritage site due to tot he number of historic buildings in the capital. There are many sandy beaches along the south and southwest coast while the western coast is also covered with mangrove swamp. The northwest side has a few secluded beaches such as Pantai Kerachut.

On the whole, the most famous beaches in Penang are Batu Ferringhi and Tanjong Bungah.

Penang island will provide you with the relaxation you need.


Pulau Payar is a small inhabited island between Langkawi and Penang. Pulau Payar Marine Park is actually a group of small islands; Payar, Kaca, Lembu and Segantang. As diving and snorkeling directly around Langkawi and Penang is not possible, this is the nearest place where you can enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling.

From both Langkawi and Penang tourists can arrange tour packages to Payar Island. One of the highlights of a trip to the island is feeding baby sharks.

A beach with amazing view located on Pulau Payar island.


Sipadan is very popular among dive enthusiasts as it is one of the best places to dive in the world. There is no accommodation available at the island, and visitors will stay overnight at one of the neighboring islands like Mabul or Kapalai. Sipadan is located in Sabah, Borneo.

To get there you need to take a direct flight to the city of Tawau in eastern Sabah. From there you travel overland to the small town of Semporna. Here boats to Sipadan Island depart. This is a fabulous island to visit to explore its vast marine life and to enjoy the secluded beaches. 

Sipadan island has many secluded places all over.


Lankayan is a beautiful island north of the city of Sandakan within the Sulu Sea. The island has one luxurious resort, Lankayan Island Dive Resort, diving is the main reason people visit the island, though it is also a great place to just relax or snorkel around the resort.

The island is especially known for its whale shark sightings. The boat to Lankayan Island takes about 1,5 hours.

Langkayan island will provide you with beaches and scenery you saw on movies.

Have you ever had a chance to explore Malaysian islands? If so, please share your experiences and the best Malaysian islands in your opinion!

Best Islands in Malaysia for your next vacation!








Showing 24 comments
  • Alex

    Oh wow these islands all look like heaven! I would love to visit any of them to be honest – sun, sea and hopefully a cocktail or two!

  • Seema

    They’re all so beautiful and nice.

  • Kimberly

    I want to visit all these islands omg. They all have their own unique type of beauty. I love all the pictures too !

  • Heraa

    Tioman island looks like my kind of island. I would love to stand under that waterfall ?

  • Karo

    Oh wow, all those places look fantastic! I definitely want to go to Malaysia and will consider these suggestions when the time comes. Your article has been really helpful and inspiring!


  • Michael

    One of my friends is going to Malaysia next month. I will email this link to her as I am sure she will find it useful.

  • Travelquartz

    This is a very informative article. I only knew about langkawi islands but I always thought there might be more islands to explore. I have bookmarked it for my future visit.

  • Constance

    Wow I learned a lot from this post! I’d only known about Langkawi island before so this will be super helpful to me in the future when I go. Thank you for sharing!

  • Anna

    I only went to penang in malaysia, I didn’t have more time..but I SO need to go back!! always wanted to dive in perhenthian island.. and so many more ideas in this post! Love the pictured. Thanks for sharing !

  • Lyf&Spice

    Perhentian Islands are my all-time fave!! I just got back from there.. sadly they’re going to remain shut over the monsoons, else would’ve gone back this week. 🙂 Love the list… Cheers!!

  • jessa

    very helpful!

  • Helene

    Stop it with your enticing island holidays haha! Making me want to travel all the time:) These beaches look amazing!! Haven’t been to any of them and my family’s from Malaysia… The shame!:P I shall go sometime:D

  • Indu

    Sun, sand and fun on stunningly beautiful beaches. Enjoyed your pictorial post greatly.

  • lexieanimetravel

    Woah Malaysia is paradise, theses places are just perfect! its coastaline is one of the finest that I’ve ever seen. I have been to this country (city part) but would want to return and make some island tour it would propably take months to tour all 64 islands so I’ll begin with Tioman.

  • amit

    I knew it was a bad idea reading this post …I knew I should have stayed away haha, now I wanna pack my bags and go 😀 😀 – You Malaysia is the SE.Asian country I skipped to, I really didn’t think there were these Amazing Islands to explore – however Ok you have me sold I wanna bloody go now 😛

  • Rahat Arora

    Ohh love this post. Thanks for sharing and while reading the post I completely lost in the beautiful islands just feeling I am there in Malaysia.

  • Katie

    Wow some stunning pics here! I would love to explore Malaysia!! Need to visit these beautiful islands asap!

  • Jack

    Would love to go to Malaysia and these islands would certainly be included in the trip, thanks for sharing!

  • Varsha

    Ohh, all your recommendations seem unavoidable. Malaysia is so beautiful and these photos make me want to go there now. Thanks for this list. Lankayan seems more attractive for me. 🙂

  • Yeshi Sewdayal

    I had no idea Malaysia had 64 islands! All the islands you mention looks amazing. I would definitely want to visit Tioman Island to chase the waterfalls and Penang for the culture!

  • Kelly Duhigg

    Wow. I love how diverse and beautiful these Malaysian Islands are. Cannot wait to visit.

  • PossesstheWorld

    I would love to sail through the Islands around Malaysia, is it safe do you think?

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