Deluxe Four Seasons resort on Langkawi
For pampered travellers: the carefree island of Langkawi
Langkawi is the quintessential tropical island with a turquoise ocean, swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches. Locals make a living catching fish, planting rubber and growing rice. Tourism is also an important source of income – after Penang this is the most popular island of Malaysia. Most visitors never venture out into the mountainous interior, overgrown with dense tropical rainforest and full of waterfalls, monkeys and monitor lizards. They travel here to relax in one of the super deluxe beach resorts, such as the Bon Ton with 8 exclusive guest villas, or the Four Seasons with its infinity pool and spa.
Snorkelling around the Perhentian Islands
For backpackers: laidback Perhentian
Two islands for the price of one: Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil are located on the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula, just below Thailand. These 2 islands are bathed by the crystal blue South China Sea and offer great diving and snorkelling spots that are mostly accessible from the beach. While the former island, 'Big Perhentian', attracts mostly families, ‘Small Perhentian' is popular among backpackers. The islands have a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, beautiful white sandy beaches and affordable hotels and guesthouses. However, do note that most places are closed during the monsoon season (October-March).
The hills surrounding Penang
For culture and nature lovers: Penang
The turtle-shaped island of Penang is also known as 'The Pearl of the Orient’. This is no exaggeration: the British-colonial architecture has earned capital Georgetown a UNESCO World Heritage site designation. Stroll through the fragrant markets and visit the colourful temples; Penang also has some of the best cuisine in Malaysia. The east coast is densely populated, but the west coast is much less busy. The entire north-west corner has just been preserved into Malaysia’s newest national park with a tropical rainforest and the largest Buddhist temple in the country. Take a trip in a cable car to the top of Penang Hill or enjoy the beautiful unspoiled beaches.