Lonely Planet has recently ranked Pulau Perhentian's beach as the 5th "Best Beach to Swing a Hammock" in its 1000 Ultimate Experiences for 2010. It says, "The palm-fringed beaches of the Perhentian Islands, covered in tropical rainforest, are about as natural as they come: calm, hassle-free and with virtually no signs of commercialisation,"
This is the NST's Zalina Mohd Som's selection of the top 10 beaches in Malaysia:
1 - Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu
This exotic island has always been a personal favourite. I remember very well the swing hung from a big tree at the beach fronting Cozy Chalet at Pulau Perhentian Besar. This stretch of beach is dotted with big trees and any spot is perfect to hang a hammock or a swing.
2 - Pulau Sibu Besar, Johor
This one-resort island has four beaches, each with its own unique character. My favourite is Beach Four, secluded and separated by a rocky hill where Sibu Island Resort’s Check-point Two is located. Its shallow water exposes dead corals and straight-up bakau tree roots, giving an edge to the beach. Further across the water are three little islets — Kukus, Sibu Hujung and Lima.
3 - Pulau Tioman, Pahang
Much have been said about this beautiful island. But my favourite beach is at Kampung Air Batang where favourite backpacker’s spot, Nazri’s Place, is located. Huge ketapang trees dot the beach, giving a wonderful canopy not only for hammock swingers but also for those going for those high-back benches. Either swinging in a hammock or sitting on one of the benches, the beach is a perfect spot for watching the glorious sunset.
4 - Pantai Kelanang, Selangor
Formerly a playground for the folks of Kampung Kelanang in Banting, the beach is gaining popularity among KLites for a quick fix of sun, sea and sand getaway. The beach is naturally beautiful with a long stretch of white sandy beach backed by tall casuarinas and mangrove trees. There are quiet, secluded spots for a quiet moment on the swing.
5 - Pantai Bisikan Bayu, Kelantan
It’s quite tough to name one from Kelantan’s stretches of sandy beaches. My choice is between the tranquil Pantai Tok Bali and the beautiful Pantai Bisikan Bayu. Tok Bali scores with its azure waters and casuarinas-fringed beach while Bisikan Bayu has giant trees that whisper sweet nothings to lull you into slumber.
6 - Pantai Teluk Kemang, Negri Sembilan
I have two favourite spots — at Thistle Port Dickson and near Ancasa AllSuites Resort & Spa Port Dickson. The one at Thistle gives a faraway-exotic beach feel, with the happening Cumulus Bar and a pool on a wooden platform. The one near Ancasa is actually the furthest end of the famed beach. Here, the beach takes a more rugged feel with benches and camping sites, well protected by giant ketapang trees.
7 - Pantai Teluk Senangin, Perak
I’m not sure how it looks now but a few years ago, this out-of-the-way beach seemed able to give its posh neighbour Damai Laut a run for its money. This humble beach with quaint chalets and a fishing village has the right element to make it an ideal spot to laze in a hammock accompanied by a wonderful companion — that special someone or a good book.
8 - Jason Bay a.k.a Pantai Teluk Mahkota, Johor
This long beach is located at a secluded gulf at the south-east coast of Johor. It has been making its name as a spot for kitesurfing and kiteboarding. Still, the beach holds enough peace for a quiet, swing time on a hammock.
9 - Pantai Jaya Gebeng Virgin, Pahang
Compared to the State’s famed Cherating and Teluk Cempedak stretch, this rustic-themed beach surely raises some eyebrows. Hidden from view by kampung houses, this beach is located along Jalan Kuantan-Kemaman. Rustic fishing village and lush vegetation add magic to this wide, flat beach.
10 - Monkey Beach a.k.a Teluk Duyung, Penang
Located at the Penang National Park, this broad bay with flat and sandy seabed is protected by the Muka Head cape. Thanks to its unspoilt environment, the beach is one of the must-visit places for tourists, especially those staying in the Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang areas. Getting there is itself an adventure but it promises a wonderful, relaxing end.
I would have also included Pulau Redang in Terengganu and Turtle Beach and Golden Beach of Similajau National Park, Sarawak, in this list.
Pulau Redang, Terengganu
"Redang" is one of the largest islands off the east coast of Malaysia. It is one of nine islands, which form a marine park, and which offer snorkeling and diving opportunities. Access is from Merang or Kuala Terengganu on boats operated by the resorts; there is also a small airport with services operated by Berjaya Air from Singapore. The Pulau Redang archipelago comprises Pulau Redang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Ling and Pulau Pinang. Pulau Redang is the biggest of all the islands in the Marine Park,
Golden Beach and Turtle Beach, Sarawak
These are the two best beaches in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Located close to each other in the Similajau National Park, they boast 30 kilometers of sandy golden beaches surrounded by wildlife. Its jungle streams, waterfalls and 185 species of bird will certainly charm first time visitors. It is normal to spot Macaques, crocodiles, turtles, gibbons and wild boars at this tropical paradise.
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