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10 Islands You Want to Visit in Malaysia (by Eileen Fong)

I love island life. I love the sea, the sand and the sun. Ironically, I live in Singapore (which is technically an island) but I just don’t get the satisfaction of what I expect from an island escapade/adventure. I always dream of island hopping in the Caribbean and I absolutely miss my time in Greece 2 summers back. Out of desperation, I sought out islands next door (Malaysia). I’ve been to some on the list and there are others that I’m dying to visit. Totally random but seeing this picture makes me want to scream “wheeeeeee……..”

* I will be using the term Island and Pulau interchangeably in this article. Pulau means island in Malay Language.

10. Tioman Island

Tioman is situated in Pahang within the Mersing Marine Park and being in Johor, it’s one of the closest island getaways for Singaporeans. In particular, Tioman Island created memories for my first dive trip and it is a fantastic starting point for all of you who are interested in getting your scuba diving certification. (Read 5 Reasons to Make You Want to Dive) Time magazine has also selected Tioman Island as one of the most beautiful islands.








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9. Tiga Island a.k.a Survivor Island

Pulau Tiga is the first location for the popular reality tv show “Survivor”. The island is situated off the West Coast of Sabah in Borneo. There are trails, plenty of trails on the island (including one that leads to a mud bath). It may not be your typical luxury island getaway but this uninhabited place will certainly let you escape from reality – or perhaps bring out the Chuck Noland in you?



  


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8. Rawa Island

Rawa Island is another option close to Singapore (even closer than Tioman!) To only way to get there is by a 1 hour ferry ride (or 30mins speed boat) from Mersing Jetty. There are lesser tourist on this small island compared to Tioman so it may be a better choice for those of you who prefer less crowd. Rawa is known for its soft white sand and coral reefs rich with marine life (as it is mostly untouched).

 






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7. Tinggi Island

Also accessible from Mersing Jetty, Pulau Tinggi is bigger than Rawa but smaller than Tioman. Not only does Pulau Tinggi offer a tranquil island life, it is also populated with lush jungles. This island can be a great family adventure offering both water activities in the deep blue, as well as rock climbing or trekking leading up to waterfalls amidst the rainforest.
 





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6. Tenggol Island

Pulau Tenggol is part of a string of islands including Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang, off the coast of Terrengganu. This island is more well-known amongst the divers as it offers abundant marine life compared to other commercialised islands like Tioman. Sightings here include sharks, rays and nudibranch. For the  interest of non-divers, I will quit rambling on and introduce you to Pulau Perhentian – #5





 
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5. Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands have been dubbed ‘paradise’ by some. It is made up of a big island (Perhentian Bersar) and small island (Perhentian Kecil). Both islands are fringed by sandy white beaches, and the reefs and crystal clear water are host to a wide variety of coral, sea-turtles, jellyfish, small sharks and reef-fish. Expect yourself to be part of a scene in the Beach and the Perhentian Islands are certainly not a shabby alternative to Ko Phi Phi.



 

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4. Pangkor Island

Pangkor Island is situated off the coast of the Perak state, somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. It was previously reported that celebrities such as Kiera Knightley, Sting and Anna Friel are fans of the island (or more accurately the privately owned sister island Pangkor Laut). Having said that the main Pangkor Island offers a more affordable getaway with beautiful beaches like Coral Bay and Teluk Nipah. 








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3. Redang Island

I don’t think I need to introduce Redang Island. It is a haven for all islanders. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from; budget to the ones you can splurge on. Period.








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2. Layang-Layang Island

Layang Layang Island is also commonly known as Swallow Reef Island. It is one of the most population dive destinations for enthusiast and for the rest, it is a serene island to basically chillax. Bird watching is also a popular activity on Layang Layang. For the wanderers, do be careful because there is a naval base and trespassing will result in detention! Otherwise, just stay underwater, there’s so much to see, or bask in your deck chairs. Either way, this is a blissful island retreat.







 
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1. Mabul Island – (Sipadan)

Just look at that accommodation! I want to jump into the waters right there and then. Who needs Maldives when you have Malaysia?! (Haha okay I’m kidding, I want to go Maldives too). But this place is heaven – friends who have been there swear by it. I’ve included Sipandan as part of Mabul Island as it is a beautiful dive destination but I’ve been told by Malaysian friends that you need a dive permit to head there. If you don’t have one, stay on Mabul Island, which is equally deserving. Though, being number 1 comes with a price, be prepared to burn a hole in your pocket!






I DREAM of living in a beach house, by the deep blue sea and waking up to the waves crashing against the shore.

Peace & Love,
Eileen x

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