Check out Pangkor Island if you are looking for somewhere without tourists. Located near the coast of Perak, the island features empty beaches, clean water and thick jungle overlooking the centre. Visitors appreciate having the opportunity to sunbathe under the palm trees with no other soul in sight. Check out the colonial Dutch fort and take pictures of a traditional wooden jetty.
One of the largest islands off Peninsular Malaysia's East Coast. Pulau Redang is renowned for its crystal clear waters and sandy white beaches. It is one of nine islands, forming a marine sanctuary park offering tourists the opportunity to snorkel and dive. The beach is full of soft white sand. You can see coral and fish just a few metres from the beach.
The island of Langkawi is home to some of the best beaches in Peninsular Malaysia. The island combines stretches of mountains and mangroves with glistening coastlines. Take a day trip to Pulau Dayang Bunting, which is listed by UNESCO, feed the eagles and watch the monkeys swim for food. Or take your towel and sunbathe off on Pantai Cenang before you drink in a beachside bar. Another perk is that this island is duty-free.
The tiny island near Semporna in Sabah rates among the top diving regions in the world. You will not find accommodation or a lot of facilities and you will have to join a tour. But the flight from Kota Kinabalu to Semporna and a one-hour boat ride to the turtles and barracuda swarms are worth it. After gaining protected status in 2002, fewer tourists will be able to get a permit to visit the limestone pinnacle.
The Mantanani Islands near Kota Belud in Sabah offer some of the finest diving in Borneo within an hour of Kota Kinabalu. Snorkelers and diverse flock to swim with seahorses and stingrays on day trips from the capital. The scuba-certified person can dive at over 20 locations, including three shipwrecks. After a few hours at the South China Sea, unwind for the famous Bornean sunset on the pristine white-sand beaches.