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The rainforests, islands and beaches of Malaysia

Whether you choose the mist shrouded depths of Taman Negara, the pristine allure of the Perhentian Islands, or the palm fringed beaches of Cherating, they each offer a unique blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. Whether trekking through untamed jungles, snorkelling amongst vibrant coral reefs or exploring the coastline and secluded shores of Pahang, travellers will enjoy the unique and diverse tapestry of experiences that await them when they visit the rainforests, beaches and islands of Malaysia.

Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara National Park is over 130 million years old making it one of the oldest rainforests in the world, and stands as a testament to the ecological richness of Malaysia. Spanning over 4000 square kilometres, this biodiverse sanctuary is home to a stunning array of flora and fauna, including rare species like the Malayan tiger and Asian elephant. Visitors can embark on thrilling canopy walks, jungle treks, and river cruises, immersing themselves in the pristine beauty of nature while experiencing the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous Orang Asli communities.

Mutiara Taman Negara

Nestled amidst the ancient embrace of Taman Negara National Park as the only resort within the park boundaries, Mutiara Taman Negara offers an unparalleled gateway to the heart of Malaysia’s wilderness. Here, rustic charm meets modern comfort, with traditional chalets and bungalows blending seamlessly into the lush jungle landscape. Embark on thrilling canopy walks high above the forest floor, explore winding rivers on leisurely boat cruises and encounter elusive wildlife hidden within the emerald depths.

Highlights of our stay at Mutiara Taman Negara included serene boat rides on the Tembeling River, listening to gibbons calling and watching fish eagles swopping for their dinner, whilst embraced by the towering and ancient trees of the surrounding rainforest. Also, the feeling of accomplishment combined with the mesmerising views having arrived at the summit of Bukit Teresek are not be be forgotten. The 344m trek is completed via a combination of walkways and paths, which should be accessible to most and is very much worth the effort and the aching calves on subsequent days!

Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands, nestled off the coast of northeastern Malaysia, are a paradise for beach lovers and underwater enthusiasts. With their powdery white sands, turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs, these idyllic islands offer a postcard perfect setting for relaxation and adventure. Snorkelers and divers can explore the rich marine biodiversity of the surrounding waters, encountering colourful coral gardens, playful turtles, and an array of tropical fish. Away from the water, visitors can trek through lush jungles, visit traditional fishing villages, or simply unwind in a hammock beneath swaying palm trees, savouring the tranquility of island life.

Alunan Resort

Nestled on the serene shores of Perhentian Kecil, Alunan Resort embodies the essence of island paradise. Here, time slows to the rhythm of gentle waves lapping against powdery white sands, and lush tropical foliage provides a backdrop of unparalleled beauty. Step into spacious suites and villas exuding charm and modern comfort, each offering breathtaking views of the turquoise sea. Sustainability is at the heart of everything they offer at Alunan Resort, including water refill stations, reef safe bathroom amenities and the Alunan Coral Project which is committed to protecting and preserving the surrounding reefs.

The team at Alunan Resort are the stars, they have embraced the vision of the owners to practice responsible tourism and ensure that the environment is protected for future generations. This passion, alongside the simply sublime snorkelling on the house reef and further afield made for a truly memorable stay, whilst the Alunan Coral Project was inspiring and an excellent initiative that will surely make a difference through education and action.


Nestled along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in Pahang, Cherating exudes a laid back charm that entices travellers seeking relaxation and adventure alike. This coastal gem is renowned for its pristine beaches, where azure waters lap against golden sands, inviting visitors to unwind and soak up the tropical sunshine. Cherating is also a haven for water sports enthusiasts, offering opportunities for surfing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding, whilst nature lovers can explore nearby mangrove forests teeming with wildlife or embark on a river cruise to spot elusive proboscis monkeys and colourful bird species.

The Kasturi

Tucked away along the tranquil shores of Cherating, The Kasturi stands as a beacon of refined luxury and understated elegance. Surrounded by lush tropical forest and overlooking the shimmering sea, this boutique resort offers a sanctuary for those seeking serenity and indulgence. Immerse yourself in the comfort of exquisitely designed villas, where modern amenities blend harmoniously with traditional Malay architecture.

Having explored the rivers and rainforests of Taman Negara, and the oceans surrounding the Perhentian Islands, our stay at The Kasturi was all about rest and relaxation. Spending time observing the gibbons and hornbills in the trees, or soaking up the ocean vistas from our Beach Front Villa with private infinity pool was something we never got bored of. Whilst a selection of luxurious spa treatments at Ketapang Spa provided the perfect antidote to our aching muscles and adventure filled minds, ensuring that we were perfectly relaxed and revived during our stay.

Exploring the rainforests, beaches and islands of Malaysia is a journey of discovery, where every corner reveals the natural wonders and cultural treasures of this enchanting country. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the jungle and oceans, relaxation on the beaches, indulgence in luxury, or the perfect blend of all three, be assured that the the rainforests, beaches and islands of Malaysia have something for everyone.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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  1. If you’re going to travel to remote communities like some of these I think it’s important that you get some concept of where they’ve come from. It’s only by learning about people’s like the Orang Asli communities that you get a sense of what it would have been like to live in that environment.

    1. Having lived in the region for more than ten years I am always interested to try and understand the history and heritage of those that have called it home for many generations. This is an important part of travel and something I believe everyone should factor in to their next adventure.

  2. I’ve been to Malaysia twice now and have another visit coming up in the autumn. It is an underrated destination in my opinion.

    1. it has so much to offer and i am very excited to continue exploring further now that i am based here. my first visit was 25 years ago and I’ve spent lots of time in Malaysia since, but now calling it home presents an excellent opportunity to see as much of the country as possible!

  3. There was a time when nobody would ever have thought of a rainforest as somewhere you went for a holiday.

    I haven’t been to the rainforest yet and I’m getting the idea from some of the TV programmes that I’ve seen.

    1. if you ever have the chance to visit the rain forests of Malaysia you should certainly take it! it’s truly inspiring to spend time in somewhere that has remained unchanged for generations, if only the ancient trees could tell stories eh?

  4. I watched fish eagles swooping for their dinner when I visited Langkawi. Langkawi is probably a lot more commercialised than these other Malaysian options but I still loved it.

    1. Langkawi is still a wonderful destination despite mass commercial development and the growing tourism sector. But it still has natural beauty and plenty of ‘hidden corners’ where you can escape from the crowds so to speak. I am looking forward to my next trip to Langkawi for sure, it’s only an hour flight away from where I am now based which is great!

  5. it has so much to offer and i am very excited to continue exploring further now that i am based here. my first visit was 25 years ago and I’ve spent lots of time in Malaysia since, but now calling it home presents an excellent opportunity to see as much of the country as possible!

  6. Thanks for the education, I mean it.
    I had no idea Malaysia had so many beautiful natural sites (and I lived in Singapore for a few years)! The Taman Negara rain forest and national park look just stunning, and so different in scale from what I perceived would exist in Malaysia!

    1. the Taman Negara rain forest was mind blowing and the beaches on Perhentian were as beautiful as the famed Maldivian beaches. can’t wait to explore more of this wonderful country…

  7. We recently visited Malaysia for the first time and enjoyed it very much.
    We never visited the east coast though but will consider it next time as The Kasturi looks very nice and the Perhentian Islands seem like paradise!

  8. I’ve spent a few weeks here and there in Malaysia and always enjoyed myself immensely. A beautiful country with fantastic food to be had everywhere. The islands are wonderful for snorkeling or diving and the hill stations are great for walking. Amazing scenery.

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