Malaysia is filled to the brim with beautiful beaches. On the downside, the beaches can get extremely crowded. While some people don’t mind, others just want to get away from the maddening crowd, spend a quiet time with their loved ones, or maybe even just take some pretty pictures for their Instagram without getting photobombed!

Here’s a list of 6 fantastic secret beaches in Malaysia, perfect for a quiet getaway. Each one has a unique feature so that everyone can find something they enjoy.

Secret Beaches in Malaysia to Discover

1) Lankayan Island in Sabah

Lankayan Island  Image: Mathilde Moyell Juul

This tiny little island resides one-and-half-an-hour boat ride north of Sandakan in Sabah. Not only are its beaches and greeneries beautiful, but what lay beneath the surface is spellbinding too! Divers will be thrilled to see the multi-coloured beauties beneath the ocean’s surface, as well as mesmerising wrecks. Lankayan Island has a Sea Turtle Corridor, a nesting and foraging ground for beautiful sea turtles of many kinds.

 Lankayan Island  Image: @meegs_cow

For those on a budget, the best hotel for you is Harbourside Backpackers Hostel, only 1km away from Lankayan Island! Sabah Hotel Sandakan is slightly more pricey, and a little bit further off from the island, but will give you the peace and quiet you are looking for!

2) Coral Beach in Perak

Coral Beach, PerakImage: @ahmadnazmimansor

Separated from Teluk Nipah by a mere, tiny forested cape, Coral Beach may be the quietest and most tranquil beach on this entire list! Many tend to overlook this stunning beach in favour of some of the more popular destinations nearby, but those who do visit Coral Beach are always amazed by how serene the place is.

You won’t be bothered by any pushy tourist guides, or commercialised stores and stalls, or big annoying crowds here. Despite being less popular, the beach still packs a lot of water activities for you and your friends to enjoy. You can even rent boats for island hopping nearby. Those on a budget may want to stay in Pangkor Waterfall Beach Resort, around 10-minute walk away from Teluk Nipah. There is also Joe Fisherman Inn at a higher price point but is closer to Teluk Nipah.

3) Tinggi Island in Johor

Tinggi Island, JohorImage by @fififilla

Tinggi Island, or sometimes known as Pulau Tinggi, is 30m off the east coast of Mersing. Surrounded by clear turquoise water, the island is a lovely stop for divers and snorkellers. Another pull factor for Tinggi Island is the high hill right smack in the middle of the island. The 600m-high extinct volcano is called Mount Semudu, which is ideal for trekking. The jungle trek in the beautiful tropical rainforest will bring you to a beautiful lagoon below a waterfall. It only takes you 45 minutes to reach this lagoon, so even first-timers and amateurs will find it enjoyable.

Tinggi Island in JohorImage by @eeziyang

There aren’t that many hotels to choose from, but Embassy Hotel offers an affordable rate with a good proximity to Tinggi Island. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can check Hotel Seri Malaysia Mersing out.

4) Tenggol Island in Terengganu

Tenggol Island in Terengganu

Pulau Tenggol is at the end of a string of islands off the coast of Terengganu. It is not quite as popular as its neighbours, such as Pulau Perhentian and Tioman, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing and gorgeous! In fact, tons of divers enjoy visiting Tenggol Island for its pristine coral formations and rich marine biodiversity. The clean white sand beach is perfect for you to bask in the sun while enjoying the breeze on your skin.

Don’t miss the breathtaking sunset here where you can see the pink-tinted sky slowly fading away. The limited number of hotels here may be an issue, but it helps to maintain the quality of the beach. Tenggol Jara Resort is a lovely place if you seek some quiet intimate time with your loved one!

5) Pulau Tiga in Sabah

Pulau Tiga in SabahImage by @shawn_victor_lim

Located only 10km off the West Coast of Sabah, Pulau Tiga is also known as the Survivor Island for a unique reason! It was the first secret location for the reality TV series ‘Survivor’. Pulau Tiga has two other neighbours: Pulau Kalampunian Besar and Pulau Kalampunian Damit, part of the Pulau Tiga Marine Park. The nearest jetty to Pulau Tiga is located in Kuala Penyu, a mere 20-minute boat ride away. Pulau Tiga has a few beaches to offer and all of them are mostly empty. Pagong-Pagong Beach at the north is usually swarmed with hermit crabs, while Larai-Larai Beach is perfect for sunset.

Besides the crystal clear water and pristine beach, there are plenty of activities available on the island such as mud volcano, snorkelling and diving. The active mud volcano bath may be a great alternative to your typical spa. Being a less-travelled island, the routes here may not have been properly marked. Be prepared to get adventurous exploring the trails here!

Pulau Tiga in Sabah Image by @nell.cg

Although limited in accommodation, you can get a comfortable stay at Nagapuri Beach Retreat.

6) Bukit Keluang in Terengganu

 Bukit Keluang in TerengganuImage by @shaifunizam

Bukit Keluang is 6km south of Kuala Besut in Terengganu, where tourists and travellers usually catch their boat rides to Pulau Perhentian. So, if you’re in the area, I’d suggest you stop by Bukit Keluang for a little fun!

Bukit Keluang is breathtaking with amazing aerial views and romantic wooden walkways along the cliff edge. It’s a perfect place to snap your next Instagram photos! The beach is full of beautiful rock formations, adding some beauty to the landscape. If you feel rather adventurous, explore the sea caves for a bit of a magical experience. If you have some budget to spare, I recommend you staying at BuBu Villa for a luxurious retreat in the island.

As you can see, Malaysian beaches aren’t just for building sandcastles, catching some rays, and free swimming. There are many hidden beaches in Malaysia with loads of exciting activities such as watching sea turtle hatchlings, trekking in a rainforest, diving into the clear water, bathing in a volcanic mud pool, and caving in Bukit Keluang. The options and fun are endless! What are you waiting for? Time to discover all the secret beaches in Malaysia!