Islands and Beaches – Johor

Islands of Johor Islands of Johor

The magical islands of Johor are endowed with crystal clear waters, powdery white sand and colourful marine life.

Johor, the southernmost state of the peninsula, is steeped in history and is a haven for nature lovers. The state has an unbroken coastline flanked by the South China Sea in the east, extending around its southern tip to the western shoreline overlooking the Straits of Malacca. Johor Bahru, the state capital, is the site of several historical buildings and landmarks.

Located off the coast of Mersing, the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park is made up of 13 islands in six island clusters namely Pulau Tinggi, Pulau Aur, Pulau Pemanggil, Pulau Besar, Pulau Sibu and Pulau Rawa. Snorkelling and scuba diving are the main activities here as the waters are endowed with an abundance of undersea attractions. The park area is surrounded by forest-clad hills and mangroves, making it a favorite destination for nature-lovers. Various types of beach accommodation is available.

Like a necklace of glittering jewels, the islands of Sibu, Rawa, Pemanggil, Aur, Tinggi, Besar, Tengah, Mensirip and Hujung lay nestled off Johor’s eastern coast. They are accessible from Mersing, a charming coastal town and the jumping-off point to the world-renowned Tioman Island.

Lush vegetation and endless stretches of golden beaches characterise the Sibu Group of Islands. They are accessible from the Tanjung Leman jetty, 60km from Mersing. The islands abound with water sports such as snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. Opt for a visit to the nearby kelong, where anchovies are caught. For some adventure, hike through the jungle trails leading to unspoilt mangrove swamps.

The island of Rawa is perfect for snorkelling, kayaking and windsurfing. Famed for its tall palm trees, white sand and secluded coves, this is the ideal tropical getaway. Get close to the marine life as neon-coloured fish swim close to shore, right below the jetty and around your ankles!

Pemanggil is the largest among the cluster of islands of Johor. Squid fishing is an enjoyable seasonal sport here. Other popular activities are jungle-trekking, snorkeling and diving.

The islands of Tinggi, Besar, Tengah, Mensirip and Hujung are idyllic secluded getaways. These islands boast beautiful beaches with shady cool trees and clear waters. Perfect for simply working on nothing but a tan!

Over on the mainland, the popular seaside destination of Desaru commands a magnificent view of South China Sea, and boasts 25km of inviting beaches fringed by palm trees and casuarinas. Located at the southeastern corner of Johor, the waters here are conducive for swimming, waterskiing, canoeing and catamaran sailing. In Desaru, you can also enjoy thrilling adventures such as learning how to fly an ultra-light aircraft or take part in a go-kart race. Other forms of recreation include jungle trekking, horseback riding, archery and off-road adventures. The Desaru International Triathlon and Kite Board Tour Asia-Asia Pacific Hydrofoil Series are two of the exciting annual events that can be found here.

Mersing is the main staging point to Johor’s islands in the South China Sea. It is 138km north of Johor Bahru or a two-hour drive from there. Tourists can also make travel arrangements with tour operators stationed here. Nearby beaches of Penyabong, Air Papan, Teluk Buih and Tenglu are also worth visiting.


From Kuala Lumpur, drive along the North-South Expressway and exit in Kluang to get to either Mersing or Tanjung Leman. Both serve as departure points to the islands. Mersing and Tanjung Leman can also be accessed from Johor Bahru via Kota Tinggi. The drive to Mersing from Kuala Lumpur takes about four hours. Overnight buses are available from Kuala Lumpur and the journey takes about six hours. From Singapore, Mersing can be reached in two and a half hours by car. 

By Rail

KTM has rail services from Kuala Lumpur to Kluang. From Kluang, public transportation is available to the jetty.


Tourism Malaysia

Tourist Information Centres:

Sultan Iskandar Building
Tel: 607 227 0822 / 1822

JB Sentral
Tel: 607 224 4133

Copyright © Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board

Tourist Map of Malaysia

There is so much to do and so many places to see in Malaysia. To make sure that you don’t miss anything, use this handy map to navigate your way across the country and find great places to visit.


Perlis is the northern gateway to Malaysia. Despite its small size, Perlis has an abundance of attractions that make it a great destination.


Kedah is Malaysia’s largest paddy producing state. Delve into history in Lembah Bujang, the site of an ancient civilisation or relax in Langkawi, a world-famous resort island.


The site of a UNESCO World Heritage City, Penang is a holiday paradise with fabulous beach resorts and eclectic cultures. It is also the undisputable haven for foodies.


A tin-rich state in its heyday, Perak beckons with a range of sights and experiences. The state’s top attractions include Pangkor, an island getaway and Pangkor Laut, an internationally-acclaimed private island.


Hailed as the Cradle of Malay culture, Kelantan is a destination teeming with age-old arts, crafts and pastimes.


Beautiful islands, culture and nature give Terengganu its magical appeal. Dive, snorkel, sunbathe at the islands or journey to its hinterland to experience the best of nature.


The largest state in the peninsula beckons nature-enthusiasts with exciting eco-adventures. From Taman Negara, the oldest national park in the country, to the idyllic Tioman Island, Pahang is simply mesmerising.

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s dynamic capital city is bustling with attractions and activities. Explore the city by day and night.


Selangor is home to the country’s main airport KLIA, and the main gateway by sea, Port Klang. It is also the country’s most developed state with a long list of shopping malls and themed attractions.


Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia, is a well-planned township with impressive buildings, verdant parks, scenic lakes and beautiful bridges.


From the majestic height of Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s tallest peak, to the stunning depths of the world-famous Sipadan Island, Sabah is a magnificent nature destination.


Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, has a vast wilderness that contains numerous national parks including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mulu National Park.


Located off the northwestern coast of Borneo, this island thrills visitors with its wreck diving sites, historical relics and duty-free shopping.


The birth place of the nation, Melaka is a treasure trove of history and heritage. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City for vestiges of the past.

Negeri Sembilan

Known for its fascinating Minangkabau culture and a unique social system, Negeri Sembilan is the place to learn age-old customs and traditions.


Visit Malaysia’s southern gateway, for a family vacation at the theme parks or escape to its islands for an unforgettable holiday.

Birdwatching Paradise

Enjoy birdwatching at 55 Important Bird Areas (IBA) throughout the country, tucked away at various habitats such as islands, coasts or lush lowland and montane rainforests.

Cool Highland Resorts

Love the cool highlands? Find refreshing destinations to unwind in Malaysia. From French-themed settings, energetic amusement parks to forest-clad hills, there is something for everyone.

Fun and Fantasy

Find the fun and thrill that you are looking for in Malaysia. Meet your favourite characters, plunge down the world’s longest water slide or enjoy the rides and games!