islands in Malaysia

Islands in Malaysia

Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country known for its diverse culture, delicious food, and stunning landscapes, is also home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Islands in Malaysia are a popular destination for domestic and travelers worldwide, thanks to their crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and rich marine life. Whether you’re a beach lover, an adventure seeker, or simply seeking relaxation, islands offer a range of experiences that cater to all interests. In this post, we’ll explore the best islands in Malaysia, the best time to visit, how to get there, things to do, and accommodation options.

Key Take Away

  1. Malaysia is home to over 800 islands, each offering unique experiences and attractions for visitors.
  2. Malaysian islands are known for their stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life, making them ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water-based activities.
  3. Visitors to Malaysia’s islands can explore the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage, with many islands featuring ancient temples, historic forts, and traditional fishing villages.
  4. Malaysia’s islands offer a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels, making them accessible to all types of travelers.
  5. Some of the most popular islands in Malaysia include Langkawi, Tioman, Penang, and the Perhentian Islands, each offering its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities.

5 Interesting Facts About Malaysia Islands

  1. Scuba Travel Website voted Sipadan Island in Sabah the world’s best dive site in 2019.
  2. The island of Tiga was the ‘Survival‘ TV series location for the first series in 2000.
  3. Penang Island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, making it the first city in Malaysia to receive such recognition.
  4. Malaysia’s islands offer a wide range of marine life, including over 600 species of coral and 1200 species of fish.
  5. Langkawi Island was recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2007 due to its unique geological formations, including the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park and Kilim Karst Geoforest Park.

These statistics showcase the diversity and uniqueness of Malaysia’s islands, highlighting why they are such a popular destination for travelers worldwide.

Characteristics of Islands in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country that consists of two main regions: Peninsular Malaysia (also known as West Malaysia) and East Malaysia (located on the island of Borneo). Malaysia has many islands surrounding its coastlines, each with its own unique characteristics.
Here are some general characteristics of Malaysia’s islands:

  1. Diverse marine life: Malaysian islands are surrounded by crystal-clear waters, which make them perfect for snorkeling and diving. They are home to diverse marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and coral reefs.
  2. Tropical climate: The islands of Malaysia have a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round. The rainy season typically falls between October and March, but the weather is generally sunny and warm throughout the year.
  3. Beautiful beaches: Malaysia’s islands are known for their beautiful beaches, often fringed by palm trees and turquoise waters. Some popular beaches include Langkawi Island’s Pantai Cenang, Redang Island’s Pasir Panjang, and Tioman Island’s Juara Beach.
  4. Cultural diversity: Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures, and this diversity is reflected in the islands as well. Some islands, such as Penang and Langkawi, have a strong Chinese influence, while others, like Sabah and Sarawak, have a more indigenous feel.
  5. Adventure activities: Malaysia’s islands offer a range of adventure activities, including jungle trekking, mountain climbing, and water sports. Some islands, such as Tioman Island, are particularly popular among scuba divers.
  6. Wildlife: Malaysia’s islands are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including monkeys, monitor lizards, and various species of birds. Some islands, such as Borneo’s Turtle Islands, are mainly known for their wildlife.
  7. Luxury resorts: Many Malaysian islands offer luxurious resorts with private beaches, pools, and spas. These resorts are often nestled in secluded areas, providing guests with privacy and exclusivity.

Recommendation reading: Malaysia private tour guide

Best Islands in Malaysia

It isn’t easy to provide a definitive ranking of all the popular islands in Malaysia, as each island offers unique experiences that appeal to different types of tourists. However, here is a list of some of the best islands in Malaysia, in no particular order, along with the reasons why tourists choose to visit them. To help tourists plan their tour itinerary and pick the best places to visit in Malaysia.

Guide to choosing the best Malaysia islands to visit:

  1. Determine your preferences: Consider what you want to do on your island vacation. Do you want to relax on a secluded beach or engage in water sports and activities? Are you interested in exploring local culture and history or wildlife and nature?
  2. Consider the location: Malaysia has two main island groups, the Peninsular Malaysia islands, and the Malaysian Borneo islands. Decide which group you prefer to visit based on your itinerary and interests.
  3. Research the islands: Look up the various islands in Malaysia and their attractions, activities, and accommodations. Some famous Malaysian islands include Langkawi, Tioman, Pangkor, Perhentian, Redang, and Sipadan.
  4. Check the weather: Malaysia has a tropical climate, with occasional monsoon seasons that may affect island access and activities. Be sure to check the weather forecast for your intended travel period.
  5. Budget: Consider your budget when choosing an island to visit. Some islands may be more expensive than others, depending on their popularity, accommodation options, and activities.
  6. Travel time: Check the travel time and transportation options for reaching the islands. Some islands may require longer travel or additional transfers, so plan accordingly.
  7. Read feedback: Look up reviews and advice from other travelers who have visited the islands you’re interested in to get an idea of what to expect and what they enjoyed most.

Ultimately, the best Malaysian island to visit depends on your preferences, budget, and itinerary. However, with so many incredible island destinations, it’s worth taking the time to research and plan to make the most of your island vacation.

Best Time To Visit Islands in Peninsular Malaysia

It’s important to note that different islands may have slightly different weather patterns and microclimates. For example, the east coast islands of Perhentian and Redang may experience monsoon season from November to February, which can bring heavy rain and rough seas. On the other hand, the west coast islands of Langkawi and Penang are generally drier and have more consistent weather throughout the year.

If you’re looking to avoid crowds, it’s best to avoid visiting during peak tourist season from June to August, when many locals are also on holiday. Prices for accommodation and tours may also be higher during this time.

Open Year-round

  • Langkawi Island
  • Pangkor Island
  • Penang Island

Open March to October

  • Kapas Island
  • Tenggol Island
  • Rawa Island
  • Tinggi Island
  • Tioman Island
  • Perhentian Island
  • Lang Tengah Island
  • Redang Island

More Detail: The Best Time to Visit Malaysia

Langkawi Island – Tropical Oasis with Beaches, Rainforests, & Duty-Free Shopping

islands in Malaysia
Scenic Chenang Beach located in Langkawi
langkawi island cable car
Langkawi island cable car

We start our Malaysia Islands list in Peninsular Malaysia with Langkawi island. Langkawi Island, also known as Pulau Langkawi, is a beautiful archipelago in the Andaman Sea. Langkawi Island is part of an archipelago of 99 islands collectively known as the Langkawi Geopark. Langkawi Island is the largest island in Malaysia and is well known for its stunning natural beauty, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests.

Due to its numerous lands and water activities, the island is an ideal holiday destination for every tourist, especially the honeymooner. The main attractions include

  • The Cable Car – The SkyCab offers visitors a unique experience by providing an opportunity to hover over the jungle and climb over rocks over 550 million years old. 
  • Langkawi Sky Bridge: At 708 meters above sea level, the walkways have a glass panel that gives visitors a thrilling and slightly nerve-wracking view of the rainforest below their feet.
  • Pantai Canang Beach – A highly favored destination among visitors, Pantai Cenang Beach boasts white sandy shores and crystal-clear blue waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Island Hopping – Langkawi Island hopping is a popular activity among visitors to Langkawi. This tour takes you to some of Langkawi’s most beautiful and secluded islands. You’ll explore the breathtaking scenery, pristine beaches, and turquoise waters. 
  • Hiking and Trekking – Visitors can explore the lush tropical rainforest and get a chance to witness its rich flora and fauna. One of the most popular hikes is to the summit of Gunung Raya, the highest peak on the island, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the island and its surroundings. Other trails include the Seven Wells Waterfall hike and the jungle trek to Temurun Waterfall.

In addition, Langkawi Island’s proximity to the Thailand border and duty-free island status makes it an excellent shopping destination. With daily direct flights from Singapore and Penang, this natural wonder offers something to island lovers seeking to explore Malaysia’s beautiful islands.

Best Time to Visit Langkawi Island

Langkawi Island presents a favorable feature whereby it remains accessible all year round, unaffected by any monsoon season in Malaysia. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that tourist traffic tends to spike during festive periods and school holidays. Hence, visitors should read the best time to visit Malaysia before their trip.

  • Dry Season – From November to April, the dry season is considered the best time to visit Langkawi Island. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, perfect for outdoor activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  • Monsoon Season – The wet season, from May to October, can bring heavy rainfall and rough seas, which may limit outdoor activities. However, this time can also be a good option for those looking to experience a quieter and less crowded island. During this time, you may also find better deals on accommodation and activities.
  • Public Holiday and School Holiday – If you plan to visit Langkawi Island during Malaysia school holidays and public holidays, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices for accommodation and activities.

Penang Island – Cultural Melting Pot, Historic Architecture, Street food & Beaches

Islands of Malaysia
The charming Armenian Street, a historic road lined with many tourist attractions, is in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
Batu Feringgi Beach
Batu Ferringhi Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline northwest of Penang Island, Malaysia.

Penang island, or Pulau Pinang, is Peninsular’s second biggest Malaysian island. Penang is one of the most popular and picturesque islands in Malaysia. Often referred to as ‘The Pearl of The Orient’, Penang has a diverse range of attractions that appeal to many local and foreign tourists. Scenic beaches, lush rainforests, vibrant temples, and renowned cuisine combine to create an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Penang Island is an ideal holiday destination for people of all ages due to its numerous tourist attractions, which include:

  1. Penang Hill – Rising to an elevation of 833 meters above sea level, Penang Hill offers a cool and refreshing escape from the heat and humidity of the city. Visitors can take a scenic funicular train ride up the hill to enjoy panoramic views of Georgetown and the surrounding areas. 
  2. Historial landmarks – Penang has several historical landmarks, such as Fort Cornwallis and Kek Lok Si Temple, which offer insight into its unique past.
  3. Food – Penang’s food scene is another major attraction, offering a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian flavors. 
  4. Batu Ferringhi – The beach is famous for water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, and windsurfing.
  5. Georgetown – The capital city of Penang was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 due to its unique architecture and historical significance. This city is known for its street art and food scene, as well as its traditional markets and shops that offer a range of authentic Malaysian items. 

Penang Island is a perfect destination for those looking to explore one of the many beautiful islands in Malaysia. From relaxing on beaches to exploring the city’s culture, this island offers a variety activity for everyone. From delicious local cuisine to vibrant nightlife and cultural sites, it’s no wonder why Penang Island has become a popular tourist destination in Malaysia.

Best Time To Visit Penang Island

  • Dry Season – from December to February, is considered the best time to visit Penang Island. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as exploring the island’s historical sites, visiting its beautiful beaches, and indulging in its famous street food.
  • The shoulder seasons -from March to April and September to November, can also be a good time to visit Penang Island. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, and there are fewer crowds and better deals on accommodation and activities.
  • Wet Season – from May to August, can bring heavy rainfall and rough seas, which may limit outdoor activities. However, this time can also be a good option for those looking to experience a quieter and less crowded island.

Pangkor Island – Tranquil Getaway with Beaches & Fishing Villages

Pangkor Island is ideal for those seeking a tropical getaway in Malaysia. Located off the west coast of Perak, this small island is known for its white sandy beaches and picturesque fishing villages.

Beyond its stunning natural beauty, Pangkor Island also offers plenty of activities for visitors. It is home to several water sports, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and jet skiing. Additionally, there are several attractions, including two main temples – one dedicated to Kwan Yin and another to Pak Tai – and a museum that documents the island’s rich history. The nearby city of Lumut is also worth exploring for its unique array of traditional food stalls.

Accommodation options on Pangkor Island range from budget hotels to luxurious resorts, providing something suitable for all tastes and budgets. Whether looking for a relaxing beach retreat or an action-packed holiday filled with sightseeing and adventure, Pangkor Island has it all. With its idyllic surroundings and abundance of attractions, it’s no wonder this little island has become so popular among travelers worldwide.

islands in Malaysia
Pangkor Island aeriel view

Best Time To Visit Pangkor Island

  • Hot Season – From December to February is the best time to visit Pangkor Island.
  • Shoulder Season – From March to April and September to November can also be a good time to visit Pangkor Island. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, with fewer crowds.
  • Rainy Season – From May to August, can bring heavy rainfall.

Perhentian Island – Remote paradise with Beaches, Snorkeling, & Diving

islands of Malaysia
Beautiful Perhentian Islands situated on The East Coast of Malaysia

Perhentian Island is one of the best-known Malaysia islands. Located off the coast of Terengganu, this island is well-known for its stunning beaches and clear waters. It is a perfect destination for a holiday with swimming, diving, and snorkeling activities.

Perhentian Island is made up of two main islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. These islands offer visitors plenty to explore and enjoy, from the white sandy beaches to the lush jungle trails. Those interested in marine life can find an abundance of colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life just a few feet away from the shoreline. Furthermore, many accommodation options range from beachfront resorts to budget guesthouses on both islands.

Overall, Perhentian Island is an excellent destination for locals and tourists alike who want to experience some of the best beaches in Malaysia. With crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, and abundant marine life, it truly offers something special everyone can enjoy regardless of budget or preferences.

Best Time To Visit Perhentian Island

  • Dry Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – Heavy rainfall and rough seas can be brought from November to March, which may not be accessible to the island. Most hotels and businesses on the islands are also closed during this time.
  • Peak Season – From Jun to August

Lang Tengah Island – Secluded Gem with Beaches and Coral Reefs

Lang Tengah Island is an absolute paradise of dreams and fantasies, with its stunning beaches and lush rainforests. This small island in Malaysia is a hidden gem that offers a slice of a tropical paradise for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, abundant coral reefs, and verdant rainforests, Lang Tengah Island will surely bring out the explorer in everyone.

The clear blue waters around the island are perfect for swimming and snorkeling; it’s easy to spot turtles swimming amongst the colorful coral reefs. Plenty of activities are available for visitors, such as kayaking and scuba diving; both offer a great way to explore the diverse marine life that inhabits this area. The natural beauty of Lang Tengah Island can be enjoyed when taking a leisurely walk through its jungle paths or simply relaxing on one of its many secluded beaches.

Best Time To Visit Lang Tengah Island

  • Dry Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – From November to March, expected heavy rainfall and rough seas can be brought. Most of the hotels and businesses on the island are also closed during this time.
Lang Tengah Island
Escape to paradise on Lang Tengah Island, Malaysia. This picture-perfect island boasts white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical greenery, making it the perfect destination for relaxation and adventure.

Redang Island – Idyllic Retreat with Beaches, Snorkeling, & Diving

redang island
Pulau Redang, the highly sought-after island in Terengganu, Malaysia, is renowned for its stunning beaches and considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Asia.

It is a widely held belief that Redang Island, located in the South China Sea off the coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is one of the best islands in the region. Redang Island is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, making it a popular destination for beachgoers from all over Asia. The island boasts a wide range of tourist activities, such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and fishing, making it an attractive destination for outdoor adventure.

Furthermore, various types of accommodation are available, from luxury resorts to budget hotels, providing tourists with options that suit their preferences and pocketbook. In addition to this, the island has stringent safety protocols in place, ensuring visitors can enjoy their stay without worries about security or personal safety. In sum, Redang Island provides an ideal holiday destination due to its natural beauty and range of activities, its variety of accommodation offerings, and its commitment to visitor safety. It is no wonder why many people consider it one of the best islands in Malaysia.

Best Time To Visit Redang Island

  • Hot Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – The island is closed to tourists from November to March.
  • Peak Season – From Jun to August and during Malaysia Public and School Holiday.

Kapas Island – Tranquil Escape with Pristine Beaches & Snorkeling Opportunities

Though Malaysia is known for its many urban landscapes, it is also home to several stunning and serene islands. In particular, Kapas Island is a unique destination offering an unparalleled experience. Coincidentally, ‘Kapas’ means cotton in Malay, which reflects the island’s white sandy beaches.

Situated off the east coast islands of Malaysia, Kapas Island has become well-known for its tranquil atmosphere and enchanting beauty. It is surrounded by crystal clear waters that offer visitors plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and swimming. The marine life in this area is especially vibrant and diverse. On land, visitors can explore lush jungles featuring exotic wildlife and vegetation. Additionally, travelers can participate in various activities, such as beach volleyball or kayaking, to make their stay even more memorable.

Overall, Kapas Island is among the excellent Malaysia islands for those looking to relax and unwind from their daily lives. With its magnificent beaches, abundant marine life, and exciting activities, this slice of paradise has something to offer to everyone who visits it. Whether you are planning a romantic getaway or want to escape into nature’s tranquility for some time away, Kapas Island promises an unforgettable experience that will be cherished forever.

Kapas Island
Experience the serene beauty of Pulau Kapas Island, Malaysia – a picturesque setting with emerald waters and a breathtaking beach, as captured in this image of a lone boat.

Best Time To Visit Kapas Island

  • Hot Season – From April to October.
  • Monsoon Season – The island is closed to tourists from November to March.
  • Peak Season – From Jun to August and during Malaysia school and public holidays.

Tenggol Island – Secluded Diving Paradise with Stunning Coral Reefs

Tenggol Island
Tenggol Island, located in the southern region of Terengganu Marine Park, is a diver’s paradise with 20 dive sites around the island. Non-divers can also enjoy snorkeling while soaking up the island’s natural beauty.

Tenggol Island, located off the coast of Terengganu in Peninsular Malaysia, is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Its pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters make it the perfect place to relax and unwind. Visitors can experience various activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing.

Tenggol island offers an array of activities that will keep travelers entertained throughout their stay:

  • Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.
  • Obtain an open-water diving license.
  • Try your hand at night fishing and barbecuing on the beach.

Tenggol Island is also a great spot for divers looking for colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks, manta rays, schools of fish, hard corals, and many other marine creatures that populate these waters. With so much to offer above and below water, this tropical paradise has something for everyone.

Best Time to Visit Tengkol Island

  • Hot Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – From November to March, closed for any activities and tourists.
  • Peak Season – From Jun to August and during Malaysia school and public holidays.

Rawa Island – Sandy White Beaches & Clear Turquoise Waters

Rawa Island, one of the islands of Malaysia, is a tropical paradise in the middle of an ocean of blue. Its serene atmosphere and stunning beauty make it a perfect destination for travelers seeking a respite from their everyday lives. Here are some reasons why Rawa Island, among Malaysia’s best islands, should be at the top of your list when visiting.

  •  Many activities are available – From snorkeling and kayaking to fishing trips and jungle treks.
  • Glorious sunsets – The sunsets on this island are nothing short of spectacular. Watch as the sky turns pink and orange, accompanied by a warm breeze that will leave you feeling relaxed and content.
  •  Fresh seafood – Dine on freshly caught seafood dishes at one of the many restaurants located around the island.
  • Relaxing vibes – Stroll along the beachfront or dip in the crystal-clear waters; Rawa Island offers plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind.

Whether you want to explore nature or laze around, Rawa Island will satisfy your craving for adventure and tranquility. This Malaysian oasis is worth visiting with its serene atmosphere and diverse activities.

malaysia beautiful islands
Pulau Rawa Island boasts pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, offering a serene and picturesque environment for visitors to enjoy.

Best Time to Visit Rawa Island

  • Hot Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – From November to March

Tinggi Island – Secluded Island Getaway with Stunning Coral Reefs

Malaysia best Islands
Aerial view of tourists enjoying snorkeling in crystal clear turquoise water on Tinggi island.

Located in the Johor Marine Park off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Tinggi Island, or Pulau Tinggi, is a picturesque island boasting pristine beaches and coral reefs ideal destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. With crystal-clear waters and lush tropical forests, Tinggi Island offers visitors the chance to soak up the sun, go on hikes or jungle treks, or explore the vibrant underwater world of marine creatures.

In addition to outdoor activities, visitors can immerse themselves in local culture and cuisine by trying out traditional Malay delicacies or watching the sunset over the sea. As one of the Malaysia islands, Tinggi Island is a hidden gem that offers visitors a perfect combination of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural experiences.

Best Time To Visit Tinggi Island

  • Hot Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – From November to March, islands are closed to tourists.

Tioman Island – Tropical Paradise with Beaches & Rainforests

Tioman Island, also known as Pulau Tioman, is a breathtaking island located off the southeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Tioman island is a part of Malaysia islands in the South China Sea. Tioman Island is renowned for its natural beauty, including clear turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests.

Tioman Island is a popular destination among tourists and locals, offering various visitor activities. Beach lovers can bask in the sun on one of the island’s many stunning beaches, such as Salang Beach, Juara Beach, or ABC Beach. Alternatively, they can explore the island’s lush tropical rainforests, where they can go on a trek or hike to the top of the island’s highest peak, Gunung Kajang.

Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts can explore the vibrant underwater world around the island, which is home to various marine life, including coral reefs, tropical fish, and even sea turtles. Tioman Island also boasts several shipwrecks, offering a unique underwater exploration opportunity.

tioman island
Exquisite tropical resort with a pristine white sandy beach and ample sunshine, situated on the scenic island of Tioman

Aside from outdoor activities, Tioman Island is also home to several quaint villages where visitors can immerse themselves in local culture and cuisine. They can sample local delicacies such as ikan bakar (grilled fish), nasi lemak (coconut rice), and cendol (a traditional dessert).

Tioman Island is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience Malaysian islands’ natural beauty and cultural richness. Whether you are a beach lover, a diving enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Tioman Island offers something for everyone.

Best Time to Visit Tioman Island

  • Dry Season – From April to October
  • Monsoon Season – Tioman island is closed for activities from November to March.
  • Peak Season – From Jun to August and during Malaysia’s major public holidays and school holidays.

Malaysia Islands in Borneo

Borneo is the third largest island in the world. It has a varied terrain that includes mountains, rainforests, and beaches, making it an attractive destination for travelers from all over the globe. Malaysia occupies part of this large tropical landmass with its many islands, each offering its own unique attractions to visitors. This article will discuss some of these Malaysian islands in Borneo, their features, and what they have to offer tourists seeking adventure in this remote archipelago.

Sipadan Island – World-Class Diving Spot with Diverse Marine Life

best island in Malaysia
Discover the unique oceanic island of Sabah, Malaysia, rising 600 meters from the seabed, offering breathtaking views and unparalleled natural beauty.

Sipadan Island is a small island located off the coast of Sabah in Borneo, Malaysia. It is known as one of the best diving spots in the world. The island offers abundant marine life, including sea turtles, schools of barracudas, and hammerhead sharks. Sipadan Island is unique in that it is an oceanic island, meaning that it rises from the depths of the ocean floor, creating a steep vertical wall that plunges to great depths. This makes it an ideal location for wall diving, where divers can explore the vibrant coral reefs that cling to the steep drop-offs.

The island is relatively small, with no accommodation on it. Divers typically stay on nearby islands or the mainland and travel to Sipadan Island for diving trips. Due to its status as a protected marine reserve, there are restrictions on the number of daily visitors allowed on the island, so it is advisable to book in advance to secure a spot. Overall, Sipadan Island offers a truly unique and unforgettable diving experience for those looking to explore the wonders of the underwater world.

Mabul Island – Diving Hotspot with Exotic Marine Life.

Mabul Island is a small island located off the coast of Sabah in Borneo, Malaysia. It is known for its unique underwater scenery and diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving. Shallow waters, home to abundant marine creatures, including colorful Mandarin fish, seahorses, and sea turtles, surround the island. Mabul Island is also known for its friendly local community and traditional stilt houses built over the water, creating a picturesque backdrop for visitors.

The island offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts, making it accessible to a range of travelers. Mabul Island is often visited with nearby Sipadan Island, known for its world-class diving spots. Overall, Mabul Island is a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the beauty of Malaysia islands and its unique underwater world.

Mabul Island
Experience the stunning beauty of Mabul Island’s crystal-clear waters and sunny skies in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia, located in the heart of Borneo.

Layang Layang Island – Remote Diving Destination with Deep-sea Marine Life

Layang Layang Island
Man-made island on a big atol

Layang-Layang Island is a small coral atoll located in the South China Sea, off the coast of Sabah in Borneo, Malaysia. It is a popular destination for diving and snorkeling due to its pristine waters and diverse marine life. The island is known for its unique underwater landscape, which includes deep walls, colorful coral gardens, and a wide variety of marine creatures, such as schools of hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles.

Layang-Layang Island offers a range of dive sites suitable for beginners and experienced divers, with depths ranging from 10 to 40 meters. The island is relatively undeveloped, with only a few accommodations for visitors. Layang-Layang Island is a great destination for those seeking a remote and peaceful getaway. Overall, Layang-Layang Island is a hidden gem among the islands of Malaysia, offering a unique and unforgettable diving experience for those who venture to its shores.

Gaya Island – Untouched Island with Pristine Beaches & Rainforests

Gaya Island is a beautiful tropical island located off the coast of Sabah in Borneo, Malaysia. It is one of the largest islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest. Gaya Island is a popular destination for tourists looking for a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visitors can enjoy various activities on the island, including swimming, snorkeling, diving, and trekking through the jungle to spot local wildlife, such as monkeys and hornbills. The island is also home to several luxury resorts offering various accommodation options, from beach villas to overwater bungalows. Gaya Island is easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu, making it a convenient destination for those seeking a tropical island getaway in Malaysia. Overall, Gaya Island offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and luxury, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to Malaysia.

Gaya Island
Take in the stunning aerial view of Gaya Island, located in Kota Kinabalu.

Mataking Island – Tropical Paradise with Turquoise Waters & White Sand

Malaysia island
Escape to paradise on Mataking Island and soak up the sun, sand, and crystal-clear waters.

Mataking Island is a small but increasingly popular island in the Sulu Sea.  It is part of an archipelago with two other islands: Pom-Pom and Bohey Dulang. Mataking Island is well-known for its tranquil atmosphere, pristine beaches, and thriving marine life, which make it a sought-after destination for tourists. Mataking Island is where Malaysia’s inaugural ‘Underwater Post Office’ is located and is linked to Pulau Mataking Kecil, also known as Small Mataking Island, by a slender sandbank.

The island’s crystal clear waters are home to various fish and coral species, providing excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. Visitors can spot reef sharks, sea turtles, tropical fish, dolphins, and manta rays from the surface. They can also witness green turtles nesting on the white sand beaches during certain times of the year.

This private island belongs to the Reef Dive Resort, which boasts high-end chalets and a dive center catering to divers. Overall, Mataking Island is an idyllic destination that showcases the natural beauty and marine biodiversity of Malaysian islands.

Lankayan Island – Secluded Island with Crystal-clear Waters & Vibrant Coral

Lankayan Island is a tropical paradise on the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia. It is part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area and is renowned for its rich marine life, including sharks, sea turtles, and colorful fish. The island’s coral reefs are stunning and offer visitors an unforgettable diving and snorkeling experience. Bird watchers will also be impressed with the island’s wide variety of bird species.

With limited accommodation options, Lankayan Island is perfect for those who seek an intimate and exclusive island experience. Its tranquil and serene atmosphere makes it a great destination for a relaxing tropical getaway in Malaysia. Lankayan Island is a must-visit Malaysian island for its pristine natural beauty and captivating marine life.

Lankayan Island
Discover the serene beauty of Lankayan Island’s breathtaking beach, located in the tropical paradise of Borneo, Malaysia.

Pom Pom Island – Tranquil Island with White Sandy Beaches & Diving

pom pom island
Pom Pom Island jetty

Pom Pom Island is a small island located off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia,  The island covers an area of approximately three hectares and has become popular amongst both local and international tourists due to its stunning white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and abundant coral reefs. Several resort accommodations on the island range from luxury villas to camping sites.

The variety of activities available at Pom Pom Island makes it an ideal destination for adventure seekers and those looking for a relaxing holiday away from their hectic lives. Visitors can go snorkeling or diving around the coral reef, which offers them unique views of colorful marine life living within the reef, such as parrotfish, turtles, giant clams, and moray eels. Other outdoor activities include kayaking through mangrove swamps and exploring nearby islands by boat trips.

Guests can also take part in beach sports like volleyball or soccer or simply lounge around in one of the hammocks provided by some resorts and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding them. Furthermore, plenty of souvenir shops selling local handicrafts may serve as mementos from this memorable trip.

Manukan Island – Popular Island with Beaches & Water Sports

Manukan Island is one of the five islands that comprise Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Malaysia’s Sabah state on Borneo. The island is located 2km off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and covers an area of 1.5 square kilometers. Interestingly enough, it has been noted that Manukan Island receives over 200,000 visitors annually – making it one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Sabah!

The pristine beach here offers plenty to do; swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding are among some available activities. Visitors can also tour the island’s perimeter to explore its abundant wildlife, including monitor lizards and macaques. There are several resorts nearby where tourists can stay for convenience; these provide basic amenities such as restaurants and bars as well as additional recreational activities like jet-skiing or parasailing.

An ideal day at Manukan would include a leisurely morning stroll along the shoreline followed by a delicious lunch at one of the resort’s eateries with unmatched views of the South China Sea. This could be then topped off with a visit to any attractions within walking distance from either end of the beach. Whether seeking adventure or relaxation, this vibrant destination promises something for everyone to enjoy throughout their stay!

Manukan Island
The crystal-clear waters surrounding Manukan Island offer the perfect opportunity for first-time snorkelers to learn and explore the vibrant marine life below.

Kapalai Island – Stilted Resort Island with Breathtaking Diving Experiences

kapalai island
Stilted Resort Island in Kapalai Island

Located in the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia, Kapalai Island is a small but beautiful island known for its stunning coral reefs, clear waters, and exotic marine life. Kapalai is part of an archipelago that includes the larger Sipadan and Mabul islands, making it a popular destination for divers. Although no permanent population exists on the island, several resorts cater to tourists seeking a relaxing holiday or adventure-filled dive trip.

The shallow reef surrounding Kapalai is mostly composed of hard corals with sand patches between them, home to an array of colorful sea creatures such as clownfish, parrotfish, angel fish, turtles, barracudas, moray eels, and even whale sharks. The visibility in this area is generally good, making diving here especially enjoyable. Visitors can get close to all kinds of amazing marine animals.

Kapalai Island is an excellent choice for both novice and experienced divers to explore some incredible underwater scenery while enjoying plenty of sunshine during the day and stargazing at night from one of the nearby luxury beachfront accommodations. With easy access by boat from either Semporna or Tawau airports and numerous exciting recreational activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling, Kapalai is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a truly unforgettable vacation experience in the Malaysia Islands of Borneo.

Mantanani Island – Remote Island with Clear Waters & Coral Reefs

Mantanani Island is an archipelago of three islands off the Kota Belud in Sabah, Malaysia. The island is located around 40 kilometers northwest of Kota Kinabalu and covers an area of 8 square kilometers. The primary island is Mantanani Besar, while the smaller islands are Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan.

The waters surrounding Mantanani Islands are crystal clear, providing excellent visibility up to 20 meters deep. This location offers a great opportunity for snorkeling and diving activities, with numerous coral reefs and marine species to discover. Visitors can observe colorful corals, sea turtles, eagle rays, manta rays, moray eels, barracuda schools, and rare endemic species like Mandarin Fish and Harlequin Shrimp. Besides these aquatic creatures, there are also plenty of other marine life, such as cuttlefish, pufferfish, and nudibranchs to explore

Mantanani Island is an ideal location for travelers looking to enjoy its pristine beauty. Tourists can relax on the island’s white sandy beaches, explore the various dive sites, enjoy breathtaking sunsets over turquoise waters, and engage in fishing or kayaking around the small coves. It is one of nature’s hidden gems, waiting to be discovered by visitors seeking an adventure away from busy city life.

islands of Malaysia
Crystal-clear water in Mantanani islands provides excellent visibility up to 20 meters deep.

Sapi Island – Scenic Island with Beaches & Water Activities

islands in Malaysia
The stunning aerial view captures the natural beauty of Sapi Island, located in Sabah, Malaysia, and is regarded as one of the most picturesque vacation spots around Kota Kinabalu.

The next island on Malaysia’s Borneo is Sapi Island, located in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. According to statistics from 2018, this park receives over 2 million visitors annually, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Sapi Island itself has a lot to offer for those who visit. The waters surrounding the islands are home to some of Malaysia’s best diving and snorkeling spots. This makes it perfect for those looking for an underwater adventure, as they can explore coral reefs teeming with colorful fish and other marine life. In addition, there are plenty of picturesque beaches that make great locations for swimming or simply relaxing in the sun.

Aside from its recreational opportunities, Sapi Island provides educational experiences such as nature walks led by experienced guides. These tours give visitors insight into Malaysian wildlife and culture while providing them with stunning backdrops. Additionally, several trails around the island allow visitors to get close views of local flora and fauna while taking panoramic vistas across crystal-clear waters.

For those looking to experience a truly unforgettable holiday destination, Sapi Island fulfills every desire, offering activities ranging from leisurely strolls along white sand shores to thrilling encounters beneath pristine waves – all set against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty.

Tiga Island – Remote Island with Mud Volcanoes & Snorkeling Opportunities

Pulau Tiga is an island in the South China Sea, one of a group of islands located off the coast of Sabah in East Malaysia. It is also known as Survivor Island due to its association with the American reality television series, Survivor: Borneo. The island consists mainly of three hills and several marshy low-lying areas during high tide. It has two small bays on either side, facing east towards Semporna, Sabah.

The vegetation on Pulau Tiga is primarily tropical rainforest, although there have been reports of mangrove trees growing around some parts of the island. Numerous species of birds live on or visit the island, including herons and egrets, while sea turtles may nest along its beaches. Its coral reefs provide a habitat for marine life, such as rays, snappers, and parrotfish.

Regarding human activity, tourism forms part of Pulau Tiga’s economy, as visitors can go diving or snorkeling in its waters or stay overnight at nearby resorts. A research station Universiti Malaysia Sabah operated also studies this tiny island’s unique mud volcanoes. In addition to this, locals from surrounding villages occasionally visit it for fishing trips and other recreational activities.

Pulau Tiga
Relaxing on the pristine beaches of Pulau Tiga

Bohey Dulang Island – Picturesque Island with Hiking & Snorkeling Opportunities

Bohey Dulang Island
This image captures a breathtaking panoramic view of Bohey Dulang island, where the turquoise sea stretches as far as the eye can see, with hills and mountains dotting the landscape.

Bohey Dulang Island is a small, yet breathtakingly beautiful island in the Semporna Archipelago of Sabah, Malaysia. The island is part of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, a protected area renowned for its stunning coral reefs, diverse marine life, and clear blue waters. Bohey Dulang Island is characterized by its emerald-green hills, which contrast sharply with the deep blue sea and white sandy beaches.

Visitors can take a short hike up the hills to enjoy panoramic views of the island and the surrounding seascape or snorkel and dive in the vibrant coral reefs to discover the diverse marine life that calls the waters around Bohey Dulang Island home. With its unspoiled natural beauty and tranquil surroundings, Bohey Dulang Island is the perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway in a tropical paradise.


What is a beautiful island in Malaysia?

Malaysia has several beautiful islands, each with its unique character and charm. Some of the most popular and beautiful islands in Malaysia are:

  1. Langkawi Island – is known for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and lush rainforests.
  2. Redang Island – is famous for its pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, ideal for diving and snorkeling.
  3. Perhentian Islands – a group of islands with picturesque beaches, clear waters, and abundant marine life
  4. Tioman Island – a tropical paradise with breathtaking beaches, rainforests, and coral reefs
  5. Sipadan Island – a world-renowned diving spot with a rich diversity of marine life

These are just a few examples of Malaysia’s many beautiful islands, and each provides a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.

How many islands does Malaysia have?

Malaysia is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia and comprises two main landmasses, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (on the island of Borneo), and numerous smaller islands. The exact number of islands in Malaysia is difficult to determine due to different definitions of what constitutes an island. Still, it is estimated that there are around 878 islands in Malaysia, with some sources suggesting that the number could be even higher. Of these islands, only a tiny fraction are inhabited, and many are popular tourist destinations due to their natural beauty, diverse marine life, and rich cultural heritage.

What is the best time to visit Islands in Malaysia?

The best time to visit islands in Malaysia largely depends on the region and specific island you plan to visit. Generally, the country experiences a tropical climate throughout the year, characterized by high temperatures, humidity, and rainfall. The east coast islands, such as Redang and Perhentian, have a monsoon season from November to February. Many resorts and hotels are closed, and ferry services may be limited or suspended. Therefore, the best time to visit these islands is from March to October, when the weather is generally dry and sunny.

The west coast islands, such as Langkawi and Penang, have a slightly different monsoon season from May to October. Thus, the best time to visit these islands is from November to April, when the weather is generally drier and more pleasant.

It is worth noting that the weather can be unpredictable, and sudden rainstorms are common even during the dry season. Therefore, it is always advisable to check the weather forecast before planning your trip and to be prepared for any weather changes.


Malaysia islands are a treasure trove of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure. From the crystal-clear waters surrounding the islands to the lush rainforests and exotic wildlife, there is something for island lovers to enjoy. Whether it’s soaking up the sun on the beaches, exploring marine life, or indulging in delicious local cuisine, Malaysian islands offer travelers a unique and unforgettable experience. With so many islands to choose from, each with its own unique character, Malaysia is truly a destination worth exploring for island lovers and adventure seekers alike.