Most beaches in Malaysia are lovely.

However, there’s nothing quite like a private island with a secluded beach where you can truly relax away from the crowd. Malaysia, being a tropical country, is home to many beautiful islands.

Safe to say, many of these private islands around Malaysia are hidden gems; treasures that are just waiting to be found. These private islands make for a desirable destination for many travellers. Whether it’s with friends, family, or loved ones, know that the island can accommodate all comfortably.

Many of these private islands are untouched oases. There are only a handful of activities one can partake in like snorkelling, diving, or just lounging by its white sandy beaches. If it’s tranquility you seek when on holiday, consider exploring these untouched private islands.

Which are the best private islands in Malaysia?

1. Rawa Island, Johor
2. Rebak Island, Langkawi, Kedah
3. Tengah Island, Johor
4. Pom Pom Island, Semporna, Sabah
5. Manukan Island, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

How do I get to these private islands?

Many of these islands are accessible from the mainland via airport transfer, ferry or speedboat depending on location.

What is there to do on a private island?

Apart from offering a more secluded vacation away from the madding crowd, you can expect to enjoy activities such as water sports like snorkelling or diving, and mangrove or jungle tours. The accommodation options typically include standalone resorts equipped with villas or bungalows for added exclusivity and privacy. If you’re marking a special occasion such as a honeymoon, proposal or birthday, you can also look forward to being able to celebrate in a more intimate locale.

Read on to discover these private islands around Malaysia to help you plan your next beach getaway:

01
Rawa Island, Johor
Rawa Island, Johor

Rawa Island is located just off the coast of Mersing, Johor and it is a private island owned by the Sultan of Johor. It attracts only a small amount of visitors each year, both local and foreign. To give you an indication to just how small and private it is, there are only two resorts on the entire island – Alangs Rawa Resort and Rawa Island Resort. This is the ideal place for one to relax and unwind as Rawa Island is the ideal destination when it comes to having a holiday with peace and tranquility. Other activities on the island include diving and snorkelling for you to check out the amazing corals.

Where to stay: Rawa Island Resort, a beautiful beachfront property furnished with a variety of rooms, chalets, bungalows and villas. The waterfront bungalows come with expansive balconies where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the South China Sea, while the villas are ideal for romantic escapades thanks to their secluded location that comes with a separate beach. Room rates include three daily meals and transport from .

Getting there: The nearest airport to Mersing is Senai Airport, or Changi Airport in Singapore. Make your way to Mersing Jetty, where you can take a 30-minute speedboat ride to the resort. The resort will contact you about the speedboat departure schedule upon confirmation of your booking.

02
Rebak Island, Langkawi, Kedah
Rebak Island, Langkawi, Kedah

Rebak Island is unfamiliar to many, but is a hidden gem worth exploring. The island itself measures just 390 acres and is considered to be one of the most secluded and romantic private islands one can find in Malaysia. It is also home to a fully-equipped marina, the only one in the country so you can expect yachts to pull up at any time. Soak up the sun or take a swim in the crystal clear blue waters.

Where to stay: Rebak Island Resort & Marina, a tranquil venue nestled amid lush forests and equipped with rustic rooms furnished with timber. Whisk your significant other away for a stay in the premium sea view room, where you can gaze at the rolling waves while relaxing on a private balcony. A plethora of activities such as private dining on the beach, mangrove tours, intimate yacht cruises, and batik lessons can also be arranged.

Getting there: Take a 5-minute drive from Langkawi International Airport to Port Cenang, followed by a 15-minute boat transfer.

03
Tengah Island, Johor
Tengah Island, Johor

Another private island on this list with its own five-star resort is Tengah Island, which is mostly uninhabited except for the inclusion of Batu Batu Resort. Tengah is located right in-between the town of Mersing, Johor and Rawa Island. This island is home to eight private beaches as well as a 3km stretch of pure white sand right at the front of the resort.

Where to stay: Batu Batu Resort is a breathtakingly beautiful eco resort surrounded by coconut groves, rocks and fine sand beaches. Its one- and two-bedroom villas are inspired by Malaysian architecture — reminiscent of a traditional kampung — and boast views of the jungle or sea. These are available in small quantities (20 one-bedroom villas and only a couple of two-bedroom villas) so if you’re keen on a visit, be sure to make your reservations in advance. Water sports such as kayaking, or snorkelling and diving among coral reefs can be arranged. The resort runs its own Tengah Island Conservation initiative, which focuses on protecting sea turtles and preserving the surrounding flora and fauna.

Getting there: Drive to Mersing Jetty and take a 20-minute ride on Batu Batu’s private speedboat.

04
Pom Pom Island, Semporna, Sabah
Pom Pom Island, Semporna, Sabah

Arguably one of the smallest islands on this list, Pom Pom Island is an excellent diving spot due to its gorgeous coral reefs and crystal clear waters teeming with marine life. It’s also a nesting spot for Green and Hawksbill marine turtles. It takes about an hour or so to explore the entire island but the journey to get there will take a bit of time. The wait is worth it, though, as you will be greeted with pristine white sand beaches right out of a postcard.

Where to stay: Head to Pom Pom Island Resort, a five-star resort that showcases beach, garden and water villas. Opt for the water villa, which is perched over the Celebes Sea for the most incredible panoramic views, and is furnished with a private balcony with two sun beds. Besides the usual snorkelling and diving, Pom Pom Island Resort also offers a yachting service, which will ferry you around the neighbouring islands.

Getting there: Take a 45-minute boat ride from Semporna Jetty, which is a 90-minute drive from Tawau Airport.

05
Manukan Island, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Manukan Island, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Manukan Island is part of a five-island group around Kota Kinabalu, Sabah that makes up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. It is the second largest island in Malaysia’s first national marine park, and makes an ideal location for honeymoons and anniversaries. Its turquoise waters paired with coral white beaches are pristine as ever, making it look as if the island has been left untouched for years.

Where to stay: Sutera Sanctuary Lodges at Manukan Island, which comprises beachfront and hillside villas and suites — all of which come with direct beach access and picturesque views of the South China Sea. Laze on the sandy beaches, or go snorkelling, scuba diving and parasailing. As the day draws to a close, catch the gorgeous sunset at Sunset Point, located at the tip of the island.

Getting there: Head to the island via a 15-minute speedboat ride from Sutera Harbour Marina, located around 10 minutes from Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur. 

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