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8 of the most gorgeous island resorts in Malaysia to add to your bucket list

Nature lover, wildlife enthusiast, conservationist or simply a seeker of comfort — whatever tag you may give yourself, an uninterrupted getaway at a luxury island resort is something everyone craves. And Malaysia is undoubtedly one of the best options for nature-friendly luxury resorts located on its mesmerising islands.

Some of these island and beach resorts in Malaysia have gone the extra mile to provide the utmost luxury without disturbing the ecological balance. Additionally, they offer activities that will educate you and make you more aware of the environment. After all, who does not love a luxury getaway merged with an informative trip?

While some island resorts in Malaysia are perfect for couples, others are kid-friendly. They are confused about which one to pick for a tranquil holiday. We have you covered.

Here are some of the best island resorts in Malaysia for your next vacation

Ambong Pool Villas, Langkawi

Ambong-Ambong Rainforest Retreat
Image: Courtesy Ambong Pool Villas, Langkawi

Are you wondering about a luxury stay surrounded by islands in a rainforest? If yes, Ambong is your place to be. Their exotic villas with private pools and endless sunrise and sunset views are based around a sustainable and tropical-chic theme.

You can spend a relaxing session at their spa, which provides healing based on the seven chakras by using “traditions of the Malaysian indigenous tribes,” as per their website, or indulge in the cooking and dining experiences and savour delectable Malay dishes.

Taking things to another level is their UNESCO Geopark Experiences, wherein you can go on an informative and exciting tour through the mangrove forests.

Known as Permata Kedah by locals, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands and can be reached in many ways through Kuala Lumpur. The fastest option to get the tranquil beauty is by flight, which takes around three hours. However, if you wish to spend more time on your journey, you can choose a train, bus or ferry.

Book your stay here.

Batu Batu Resort, Johor

 Batu Batu Resort
Image: Courtesy Batu Batu Resort, Johor

When nature conservation is blended with luxury, the result is not just comfortable but peaceful too. Batu-Batu Resort, located on Tengah Island, does just that. Their website reads, “An unspoilt island retreat with an ecological ethos and conviction that tourism can support biodiversity and local communities.”

Depending on the route, Johor can be reached by road from Kuala Lumpur in about five to six hours. You can also take a flight or train. The duration is more or less the same for any mode of transport. So, you can choose a preferred one.

Their 20 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom villas are designed to showcase traditional Malaysian architecture, and these luxurious abodes come with balconies overlooking the tranquil sea or the jungles. As they all have glass doors, you can enjoy infinite views of nature from the comfort of your cosy bed. Some come with a special area for children, too. These little enclosures have bunk beds for the younger ones, while the main rooms have king or queen beds.

Apart from relaxing in the lap of nature, you can also partake in their conservation activities and contribute to the environment.

Not to forget their dining options — the main restaurant offers a 270-degree view of the natural surroundings and tasty seafood options, which are fresh and locally sourced. Try their fresh grilled snapper enveloped in banana leaf prepared using authentic Malaysian-style chilli paste. Add to it their bakery with an array of desserts for the sweet tooth.

Book your stay here.

Gaya Island Resort, Sabah

Image: Courtesy Gaya Island Resort, Sabah

Apart from offering mesmerising views of the sea and rainforests to the guests staying in their villas, they have a special property called the Spa Village. Their website says, “It’s not just a place; it’s a philosophy.” Their healing and therapies involve local ingredients, and their unique scrubs and practices bring the ancient traditions alive while establishing a balance between the body and soul.

Other than spas, there is an array of experiences to choose from — set out on an intriguing marine expedition, go on nature trails amid the exquisite flora and fauna through mangroves, or spot the red giant flying squirrels. You can visit their Marine Centre to learn more about turtle rescue, coral-reef restoration and other endangered species.

After an informative day out, you can choose to dine at either their finest restaurants like Fisherman’s Cove or Omakase or arrange a private dinner for your special someone by the sea. Known for distinct flavours and aromas, their gustatory delights are a must-try.

To reach this haven located at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kinabalu, you can take a train or flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sabah, which takes approximately five to six hours.

Book your stay here.

Japamala Resort by Samadhi, Tioman Island

Japamala Resort
Image: Courtesy Japamala Resort by Samadhi, Tioman Island

Based on rustic-luxe design philosophy, their villas — ‘Sarangs’ as called by them — speak of the wilderness amid which they are built. As they have been cautious enough not to disrupt the ecological balance by not cutting trees or removing rocks, the villas are not the same, leading to their uniqueness.

Their various ‘chalets’ and ‘Sarangs’ include Treetop Chalets, Seacliff Chalets, Beach Sarang, Luxe Treetop Sarang, Jungle Luxe Sarang, Hillside Sarang, Seaview Sarang and Penghulu’s House. And what’s even better? You are served some delectable homemade Asian snacks at sundown.

Wondering about the activities they offer? If you wish to explore the marine wilderness, you can try scuba diving, especially the night dive, for a thrilling adventure. Boat excursions and jungle trekking options are also available. You can head to the romantic sunset viewpoint, perfect for couples, with your special someone for some alone time.

The resort arranges personal transfers between Mersing Jetty, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is around two hours from Mersing Jetty via a public ferry and nearly four hours by flight from Kuala Lumpur. However, buses take longer — around eight to nine hours.

Book your stay here.

Rawa Island Resort, Johor

Rawa Island Resort
Image: Courtesy Rawa Island Resort, Johor

Located within the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park is this breathtaking island resort, wherein you can get one of the best marine-life experiences. The island gets its name ‘Rawa’ from the informal Malay word for white dove.

Depending on your choice of aesthetics, you can stay in the spacious rooms categorised as Hillside Deluxe, Beachview/Beachfront Chalet, Waterfront Bungalow and Frangipani Villa. Each has a gorgeous view of lush jungles, turquoise waters or silver sands.

And, their spa is not just about a relaxing massage or a rejuvenating plunge; it is much more than that — endless views of the South China Sea and a living tree inside the spa area.

You can choose from their diving options as well. And if you wish to enrol in a scuba diving course, they have their PADI Five-Star Scuba Diving Instructor Development Center.

Also, you can enjoy a lavish spread from the various international and local cuisines offered at their restaurant in buffet style thrice every day and relish the freshness of tropical fruits.

Johor is accessible from Kuala Lumpur by air or road. However, the resort provides transfers from Mersing as well.

Book your stay here.

Pangkor Laut Resort, Perak

Pangkor Laut Resort
Image: Courtesy Pangkor Laut Resort, Perak

The Pangkor Laut Resort is set around five kms from the west coast of Malaysia on a private island along the Malacca Straits.

It has seven villa and suite categories: Garden Villa, Hill Villa, Beach Villa, Sea Villa, Spa Villa, Suria and Purnama Suite and Pavarotti Suite.

Named after the famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti, their Pavarotti Suite experience is unique. It is said that the artist fell in love with Pangkor Laut. This two-bedroom suite has everything you need for a comfortable and luxurious vacation. Besides majestic rooms and views of the sea and rainforests, it offers a vast open rooftop bathing space.

With seven different dining options, this island resort takes the gastronomic experience to another level. One of their restaurants, Uncle Lim’s Kitchen, is one of the best for Nyonya and Hock Chew Chinese-style home cooking. It is named after the chef who has been associated with the resort since its inception. Don’t miss dining at their Royal Bay Beach Club on the terrace with infinity pool views and exotic Asian dishes to feast upon.

Pangkor Laut can be reached by Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The resort provides car transfers to their office on Marina Island, Pangkor and a speedboat ride from there to the resort.

Book your stay here.

Gem Island Resort & Spa, Terengganu

Gem Island Resort
Image: Courtesy Gem Island Resort, Terengganu

Whether you are travelling solo, with your family, your special someone or your group of friends, you can customise your package per the various offers this beautiful island resort provides. Those who are fond of a perfectly organised trip, including stay, sightseeing and meals, have their Uniquely Tailored Experience option.

Besides Premiere Villas and Water Villas, their two-storey Hideaway Suites and Hideaway Villas can be one of the cosiest getaways.

Their restaurant, set along the coastline, offers delectable Asian and western cuisines and some of the finest wines.

Located at the Pulau Gemia islands in the town of Marang, the resort can be reached from Marang Jetty, which is accessible from Kuala Lumpur by train or bus. If you opt for a flight, it takes around 30 minutes from the Kuala Terengganu Airport.

Book your stay here.

Rebak Island Resort & Marina, Langkawi

Rebak Island Resort
Image: Courtesy Rebak Island Resort & Marina, Langkawi

Nestled amid rich greens on a private island is this resort by Vivanta. Each of its suites exudes Malay architecture with timber finishing and has spacious balconies overlooking the sea or the forests.

They offer various activities and entertainment options, including archery classes, cooking classes, darts, karaoke, water sports, kids’ club, themed dinners and temporary art galleries. Isn’t it a beautiful place to tickle the artist or the adventure seeker in you? Additionally, while you unwind, your little ones are taken care of as they provide babysitting services on request.

The island resort also features exotic restaurants and bars serving delicious Asian and continental dishes, with the Strait’s Grill providing some freshly caught seafood for Asian food connoisseurs. With three bars on the site, you can decide whether to try their selected wines or refreshing cocktails.

Langkawi Airport is around eight kilometres from the Cenang Port Jetty, which is nearly seven minutes by boat from the resort.

Book your stay here.

(Main Image: Courtesy Batu Batu Resort, Johor; Featured Image: Courtesy Gem Island Resort, Terengganu)

Pyusha Chatterjee

A solo traveller by choice, Pyusha loves exploring life more than anything, after food of course. When she isn't gardening, writing, reading, cooking or singing out loud, you can spot her watching films and series, debating with friends or organising things unnecessarily.

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