Beyond the commonly known islands like Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Tioman, Malaysia has a lot more hidden islands that you have probably never heard of. While Malaysia has in total 878 islands, here’s a list of 10 stunning islands that you should go before they become commercialised.
1) Pulau Rawa
Rawa island is a coral island off the east coast of Johor, 16km (or 30mins boat ride) from Mersing Jetty. While it is known for its unspoiled white sand beaches and rich marine life, it has gradually gained popularity with tourists coming from Malaysia and Singapore. If you know Pulau Tioman, Pulau Rawa is a similar heaven, smaller but with lesser crowd.
2) Pulau Mabul
Mabul island is located 15km from Sipadan, off the south-eastern coast of Sabah. A hot spot for diving enthusiasts, Mabul is arguably one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world, according to Wikipedia. Sitting on a 20-hectare piece of land surfaces 2-3 meters above sea level, paradise is one of the words used by divers to describe this gem.
3) Pulau Tiga
You might have heard of Tiga Island from the popular reality TV Show “Survivor” located just 10km off shore on the West Coast of Sabah. Though not the luxury getaway one would expect, there’s plenty to see and do here. Other than the usual snorkeling or kayaking, Pulau Tiga is also famous for its therapeutic natural volcanic mud bath! You hardly get that in Malaysia do you? Make your way to district of Kuala Penyu and hop on a boat to get there.
4) Pulau Kapas
Located about 6km east of Marang, Terrangganu, its name Kapas or Cotton refers to the island’s white beaches. Not only does Pulau Kapas offers that, it also has tropical jungle, clear sea water and coral reefs in the surrounding waters. Kapas island answers to all your hopes for an idyllic tropical island and it is promoted as a “diving and snorkeling paradise”. Get to Marang and you will find your way there.
5) Pulau Aur
Aur Island is not for those who dislike lingering boat ride as it lies about 76km (4 to 5 hours) east of Mersing, Johor. However, due to its long distance from the mainland, it is eventually blessed with clearest of waters with rich marine life and beautiful corals. Dubbed one of the most exciting diving sites in peninsular Malaysia, Pulau Aur is part of the protected Johor Marine Park. From Pulau Aur, you can also head to Pulau Dayang which is located just next to Pulau Aur.
6) Pulau Tenggol
Traditionally uninhabited, Tenggol is an island off the coast of Terengganu located at the string of islands that include Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang. The island boasts its state of being very close to original, a virgin island with white sandy beaches backed by steeply forested cliffs. While it has more than 25 dive sites, Tenggol Island is also a retreat for non-divers who just want to snorkel, jungle trek or bask under the sun. Hop on boat at Dungun to get there!
7) Pulau Tinggi
Rises 2000ft above sea level off the east coast of Johor, Pulau Tinggi is also accessible from Mersing jetty in approximately 45 mins. Not only does Tinggi Island offer white sandy beaches along its long coastline, it is also covered with lush jungles and rainforest. Therefore, it offers fresh waters, waterfall, rock climbing, trekking activities and delicious fruits too. Pretty much a good getaway for family and friends looking for weekend adventure.
8) Pulau Pom Pom
Pom Pom Island is a small coral reef island in the turquoise water of Celebes Sea approximately 30 km (45 mins) North East of Semporna town, Sabah. The island is surrounded by white sand and is a significant nesting location for Green and Hawksbill turtles. While the island has no village, minimal human impact and no pollution, it is regarded as one of the popular dive destinations in the Semporna district.
9) Pulau Sibu
Located near Mersing Johor, Sibu Island is made up of several islands namely Sibu Besar Island, Sibu Tengah Island, Sibu Kukus Island and Sibu Hujung Island. There are four main white beaches on the eastern side of Sibu, where most of the beach resorts are located. Depending on the resorts you select, Sibu Island is idyllic island for retreats, adventures and team building. Not forgetting snorkeling and diving too – not surprising since Sibu island was a designated Marine Park.
10) Pulau Besar
Also accessible from Mersing jetty in approximately 30 mins, Besar Island is characterized by quiet, clean beaches of powdery white sand and crystal-clear azure waters. The island also promises spectacular view, unspoiled marine life, reef and lush greens of tropical jungles. Bark in this peaceful island for activities like fishing, snorkeling, and trekking.