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best tropical islands/national parks to visit in malaysia?

Travel Forums Asia best tropical islands/national parks to visit in malaysia?

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1. Posted by catherine2 (Budding Member 2 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hello, I am visiting malaysia for 3 weeks in september and have been trying to put together a rough itinery. To end the trip I am looking for a fairly quiet tropical island where I can stay in a simple beach hut I can pay daily for. A hammock and fairly close beach bar would be a bonus. All i have found so far are resorts offering rather pricey packages. Anyone got any ideas?? Also I cant decide which national park to visit. Looking for a fairly rustic jungle experience. Was thinking of Taman negara but it seems abit difficult to get there and away from. Any suggestions would be great.

2. Posted by cdntrvl (Full Member 50 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Greetings Catherine;

I was in Malaysia in 2001 and went to Taman Negara National Park. Getting there was straight forward, we went via a charter bus through the Hilton hotel (I think it was the hilton - it's whoever owns the resort in the park now). The condition was that we had to spend at least one night at the resort - it was an expensive night at about $75. After that we moved across the river to town and got very cheap accomodations. You can also camp at the resort. With that said the bus ride included the 3 hour boat ride up the river. It was a great boat ride. There is also a road now into the village across from the park headquarters - sorry I have no names but I'm at work and my journals are at home.

The park itself is magnificent. The canopy walkway is a great highlight as well as a whole bunch of day trips where you can explore bat infested caves (the looks on the people's faces when we emerged from the cave were priceless), gibbon infested jungles (and yes they are throwing figs at you) where the leeches chase you down the trees.

I would definitely try and make it out to the park. I would go back for some longer hikes in a second.


3. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Two words... Perinthian islands
North east Malaysia
beautiful, lots of partying, good diving and snorkelling, I thought it was close to heaven!

4. Posted by joey22 (Respected Member 561 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

hi. i agree with mim. although i havent actually been! funnily enough i'm planning on visiting the perhentian islands myself in september. ive done a wee bit of research and theres a cool looking hostel that offers cheap and simple beach huts, and it has other amenities including a bar! its on, and i think its under the kuala terrenganu bit? can't remember. anyway, it looks absolutely wicked there and only takes about 30 mins by boat which is a bonus.

check out pictures of the islands on google images. looks good.

might see you out there, joey

5. Posted by silvaninja (Budding Member 5 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Although I have never been to the Perhentian Islands I never heard a bad report about it when I was in Malaysia.

However with some time to kill waiting for a flight out of Singapore [ah the beauty of one way travel] I decided to kick back on Tioman Island there's not a lot goin on party wise but I witnessed lizards 7-8 feet long,walking between my hut and the next one along,also a snake,5-6feet long, making its way from a succesful hunt in the sea [judging by the lump in its belly] back up the beach,via a stream that runs from the mountains behind the huts.It's something I'll never forget.

Snorkelling is an option [just watch out for that snake].

There are bars there aswell.

Hope that helps you.

6. Posted by SpaceCadet (Full Member 71 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi Cat,

3 weeks holiday is fairly long. There are plenty of things you can do while you're here.
Pulau Perhentian is a must go. Taman Negara seems rather difficult to get to if you are on your own. I signed up with this company called NKS ( They do tranfer trips RM30 one way (including boat ride to taman negara) and departs from Kuala Lumpur. It's well organised. They offer a variety of packages as well. From my personal experience, it is better to just purchase the transfer ticket only and only when you are in taman negara itself, you start tailoring out your itinerary on where to go and what to do during your stay there. A tour guide usually prefer a group of at least 4 people before he agrees on overnight camp in the cave or hiking or etc. Just signed up for the activities and the company will do the arrangement. If they are enough people on board, then they will let you know. Camping equipments and all are provided. You'll have fun!


7. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

For people who wish to travel to Malaysia:

For islands,
1)The best would be East Coast Peninsular Malaysia (from Kelantan till Pahang)and Borneo (as in Sabah and Sarawak).

Pulau Sipadan (remember the case of abductions years ago?) and Pulau Layang-Layang in far away from the continent and it is expensive! Despite, these islands are flocked with divers every year to see the sea corels and sea animals!

Some 'ok' islands in Sabah would be Pulau Malukan, Pulau Sabi and ..Oh! Sorry...I forget the other two islands but anyway, I would recommend Pulau Sabi as it has the most beautiful and crystal- 'blue' water among the four commercialiazed (don’t take too serious on this word) islands! Easy to access by ports in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah – you’ll find a swordfish statue at the centre of a roundabout, there you’ll find several counters selling the tickets to these 4 islands – it could come in package ( 4 in 1, 3 in 1 2 in 1or separately). Be alert that some of them are keen cheating on foreigners (coz you never speak their language!) by asking you more in cash. Bargain with them and don’t give up easily!

Other parts in Borneo you may refer to other threads in this Asia Forum.

As for Peninsular Malaysia, Pulau Tioman (getting its status of becoming the 3rd free-duties island after Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Labuan in Malaysia by government 2 years ago) is my favourite as I used to go there with my fellow old buddies in 2002. You’ll find some pink corpses of jellyfish along the beach and if you go snorkeling, you’’ see many colourful parrotfish and other tropical fish around you. Also, the jellyfish (a bit itchy by touching them), some starfish and schools of tiny fish which prefer men’s legs hair – they would kiss and pull your leg hairs a bit and It feels good!! Also remembered counting the stars and even seen some tiny meteors (really) that night! But I am doubt what would this island BE after the declaration of free-duties?

Pulau Langkawi is a fable and legendary island with the tales of Puteri Mahsuri which is higly recommended by our former prime minister (Pulau Langkawi is our first island to declare free-duties) although I think it’s too commercialized! Pulau Ketam, Pulau Tebrau (in Johor) and family-type Pulau Pangkor (another commercialized isle) along the West Coast Peninsular Malaysia. In East Coast Peninsular Malaysia, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang are the ‘one-stop station’ isles for divers although Pulau Redang is very famous and expensive after a hot Chinese film by Taiwanese actor and Hong Kong actress taken in Pulau Redang years ago. The film was so hit until it becomes a spot for tourists to flood in. (the price increased drastically after that film! But I must admit the beaches and the water are fantastic!)

For used-to-be famous Pantai Cinta Berahi in Kelantan, the beach is now 'ruined' with lots of tourists and poor civicness - dirty!

Rantau Abang in Terengganu is the best site in Malaysia to see turtles! Leatherback sea turtles (getting lesser) and some green turtles but not during this season!

Cherating in Pahang is a must to see! That's why the Club-Med chose Cherating as one of theirs! Walk along the beach and you'll amaze at the sea breeze.

And one more thing, Chukai is a small town sleeping at the boundary of Terengganu and Pahang; normally many foreign tourists would miss out this town in their itinerary but I would recommend Chukai as it is famous for its special cook on crab as we called 'Rang-Hai' in Chinese and of course the best coffee I ever taste ( I can say that as I used to travel in leisure or business line) in Chukai - Hai Ping Coffee : they have a board to tell you their coffee shop history - 65 years!!! The current owner's grandfather (a native chinese man from China )imported the coffee beans and produced the coffee in their own way (some said they even stepped on the beans for hours) - I remembered I ordered a coffee named "Classic" which cost about RM1.40 each (so cheap!) and to tell you the truth, I don't really fancy coffee but this really took my breath away! And it awares me a good coffee doesn't really come in an expensive price like the famous Starbucks and Coffee Beans but the smell...imagine it is smooth when you sip the coffee (liquid) but whenit flows into your trakea, it doesn't stick at all and you can get a hiccup with the coffee smell! (the smell lasted for hours!)

Beaches along West Coast are less attractive compared with East Coast but you’ll find some nice wetlands (the biggest environmental issue now in Malaysia!); Teluk Kemamng Beach in Port Dickson is the most famous along this route. It is located in my state – Negeri Sembilan but I am doubt if you would find this place attractive! (after the issue of oil pollution in 1990s)

Bay along Klebang in Malacca is worth to get a short rest but it’s not my favourite, to be honest. Desaru Beach in Johor which is once so famous but now…<sigh> I think mostly Singaporeans have been there before.

Besides Taman Negara in Pahang, actually Pahang state is famous with its wetlands and lakes. (we said ‘tasik’ in Malay); do some fishing in Tasik Chini or Tasik Bera while get some good seafood after fishing. Another place is Endau- Rompin – quite wild and a preserved park. (not many people been there)

Highlands such as Cameroon Highlands and Bukit Tinggi in Pahang - I Love Cameroon so much!) It’s a nice place to walk and view the nice landscape of tea farms and vegetables farms and of course the bee honey! Go for the factory if possible. Bukit Taiping, another highland in Perak is getting famous as it currently has successfully producing Tulips as growing tulips in SE Asia is impossible before this!

If you want to look for even small surprise, a place called Kuala Selangor might be your choice – a wetland with thousands of flyflies where you’ll have to pay RM10 to aboard a simple boat (with other passengers) and you’ll see some trees are glowing with countless flyflies on it and I remembered my left palm was landed with one glowing flyflie! The starry night with fireflies flying around the atmosphere was really really unforgettable! But search for best season ( they do not come all year round) and watch out for crocodiles..hehehe…

Actually there’s a lot interesting parts in my country and you can ask me if you want to.

Bon voyage,

8. Posted by newguy (Full Member 197 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting cikusang

Pulau Redang are the ‘one-stop station’ isles for divers although Pulau Redang is very famous and expensive after a hot Chinese film by Taiwanese actor and Hong Kong actress taken in Pulau Redang years ago. The film was so hit until it becomes a spot for tourists to flood in. (the price increased drastically after that film! But I must admit the beaches and the water are fantastic!)

I was about to be one of those tourists(inspired by movie) to invade the resort only to realise that the place is seasonal, meaning visiting season is from March to October. Only one or two resorts at the other side of the coast remain open all year round.
Thought you guys might want to know this.

Might check out Pulau Labuan soon, thanks Lee.

9. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

To Jared, you can refer to me as my university is there. I have been spending 3 years in International Campus University of Sabah in Pulau Labuan. What are you looking for there? But i am sure the beaches there are really yet to discover - as I did something wild there..hehehe


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