The 11 Best Beaches in Malaysia

Malaysia is a magnificent country that has dozens of islands on both the east and west coasts.  It has some of the most amazingly beautiful coastlines in the world.

There is such a wide variety of beaches in Malaysia, from the very cosmopolitan to the elite to the very secluded, that anyone wanting some fun in the sun you will find the perfect Malaysia attractions that will fit your desire.  Below is a list of what I consider the best beaches in Malaysia.  It is not all-inclusive, but will give you a great idea of what wonderful things await you on your dream vacation.


1. Langkawi

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Austin Smith

Langkawi is located next to the border of Thailand, and is considered one of the best places to see in Malaysia. The area is an archipelago of spectacular islands in the Andaman Sea, and therefore is covered with countless beaches.  There is such a wide variety of beaches that everyone can find one that is that perfect spot for themselves.

You will find beaches with pure white sand and others that are beautiful golden sand.Some are very private and secluded, some are best suited for various water sports, and still others are the hottest beaches in Malaysia for the parties and family times.  One of the most popular Malaysia attractions is the 2,200-meter-long cable car, which rises some 710 meters above sea level.


2. Tioman

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Juska Wendland

Tioman is one of the most popular beaches in Malaysia for a holiday destination for travelers. It is a beautiful island that was used as a backdrop for the 1958 movie “South Pacific”, and Time magazine named it one of the world’s most beautiful islands in the 1970s.  You can reach Tioman by ferry from Simgapore if you are there, if you aren’t in the country.

It is Mersing in the state of Johor, which if one of the most exciting places to see in Malaysia. It is a beautiful teardrop-shaped island in the South China Sea that is generally considered one of the best beaches in Malaysia because of the amazing surroundings that are prevalent.


3. Layang-Layang

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Scubanut aDa

Layang-Layang is a very remote island, with some of the best beaches in Malaysia, and arguably the world. This magnificent tiny little island located northwest of Kota Kinabalu was originally created by the country’s navy. The only way to get there, is to fly from either Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu, or possibly take a dive boat from the coast of Borneo.

They reclaimed the land from the sea to prove the nation’s independence from the Spratlys, which were also being claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.  It is now an amazing coral reef in some of the most pristine waters you will find anywhere. We mentioned Layang Layang HERE as well as in our list top dive locations.


4. Penang

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Artem Bagaev

Penang is a beautiful island that is known as the “Pearl of the Orient” and certainly lives up to that and is one of the best beaches in Malaysia. Once called Prince of Wales Island, this magnificent vacation spot is one of the best places to see in Malaysia as well as the rest of the world.

It is one of the UNESCO sites because of it’s rich history.  It was once part of a series of sea trade outposts known as the “Straits Settlements” between India and the rest of Asia.  This incredible history is the pride of the island and displayed in amazing ways.


5. Pantai Cenang

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Filip Splawiec

Pantai Cenang is one of the favorite beaches in Malaysia, especially for families. Located on the Langkawi archipelago, it is a fantastic place to play in the water, on the shore and along the strip that has many shops and restaurants.  There are many vendors right along the beach that will rent equipment from jet skis to boats to diving equipment and any other things that will make your day in the water the best ever.The beautiful white sand beach with swaying palm trees providing some shade even offers parasailing for the adventurous.


6. The Perhentian Islands

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Hamad.RD

The Perhentian Islands are a more isolated group of islands, which makes them one of the favorite Malaysia attractions for backpackers and anyone wanting to spend time on a more quiet and secluded beaches in Malaysia. The waters are so magnificent that it is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.

There is such an amazing variety of marine life to see here.  Many trails to venture down is what makes it so great for backpackers.You can spend the days diving or playing in the water or sunbathing on the beautiful beach, or hire one of the many guides that can take you fishing or to swim with the sharks and turtles.


7. Labuan

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Mohd Saifulrizan

Labuan is one of the Malaysia beaches that is considered the “isle of bankers”. Located on the east coast of the country, Labuan has special status as an international offshore financial center and free trade zone which brings in professionals and corporations in the financial sector from all over the world.

Most importantly for the people that love to dive is that it is wonderful for wreck diving.  Many ships have sunk in these shallow waters, which makes it such great scuba diving for even the newest divers.The many wrecks are known as the American, Australian, Blue Water and Cement Wreck.


8. Sipadan

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Dan Smo

Sipadan is one of the best beaches in Malaysia for the most experienced scuba divers.  It is located in the center on the planet’s most bio-diverse marine habitat, which makes it the most spectacular place to dive.  With hundreds of species of coral, an over 3,000 species of fishes, there is so much to see.  You will also find plenty of sting rays and sharks as well as many turtles, both hawksbill and green.

Related article: Scuba Diving Sipadan


9. Redang

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Kai Kai

Redang is actually an archipelago consisting of nine islands, namely Lima, Paku Besar, Paku Kecil, Kerengga Besar, Kerengga Kecil, Ekor Tebu, Ling, Pinang and Redang itself.  The entire region is considered one of the best beaches in Malaysia for anyone’s dream vacation.  As a group, these islands comprise a marine park that is simply fantastic to see.

This group of islands is more of a resort destination with all of the highest-end accommodations that any vacation-goer can expect.  They even have their own airport, so one can fly directly in and start enjoying the fun and sun immediately.  The crystal clear waters of Redang are home to some spectacular coral reefs which makes it ideal for snorkeling and diving.  It was also on this Malaysia beach that the Hong Kong movie “Summer Holiday” was filmed.


10. Rawa

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Charles EYES PiX

Rawa is a beautiful island that is owned by the family of the Sultanate of Johor, making it one of the rare Malaysia beaches where you can stay on a Sultan’s private island.  Located off the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia, its magnificent white sand coastlines are only accessible by boat from the mainland which makes it one of the most secluded beaches in Malaysia.  This is certainly one of the popular reasons to spend your vacation on this island.

Besides the fantastic waters that are wonderful for any water sport venture you care to undertake, there are amazing dramatic rocky cliffs that plunge directly into the sea.  You can also climb up a steep set of steps to a high vantage point where you can take in Rawa and the other 12 small islands that make up the Johor Marine Park, which is a spectacular view.  You will certainly want to make these Malaysia beaches a priority to visit while on your vacation.


11. Pangkor

best beaches in Malaysia
Flickr Credit: Andrew Loh

Pangkor is one of the beaches in Malaysia that is favored by locals.  While it is a tiny island, it is actually one of the most accessible islands in the country.  It is a fishing village that is not crowded by tourists, but is full of friendly locals and a huge variety of amazing local cuisine.

It is a perfect place to enjoy the magnificent water, sunbathe and enjoy the food.  It is an incredible time when you can spend your time on one of the best beaches in Malaysia with the local people and learn of their ways and foods and family traditions.  It is not to be missed.


Also read:

The Best Beaches in Philippines

The Best Beaches in Bali

The Best Beaches in Mauritius