When you live in a concrete jungle amid the daily hustle and bustle, nothing sounds more appealing than jetting off for an island holiday filled with endless summer nights and turquoise waters.

Yet who says you need a flight ticket to paradise?

Some of Malaysia’s most beautiful beaches, for example, can be reached by car or by foot, a mere hour or two away from the metropolitan centre.
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Turn from city dweller to sunseeker at these unspoilt, lesser-known beaches that boast powder-soft sand and golden sunsets – ideal for a quick recharge after a hard week of work, or for that beach getaway you’ve been dreaming about all day.

Dalit Beach, Kota Kinabalu

Situated within 400 acres (160 hectares) of lush rainforest, Dalit Beach offers an idyllic escape only 30 minutes outside Kota Kinabalu by car.

Exclusive to guests at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Dalit Beach offers private seclusion where you can take in sweeping ocean vistas while lounging on sparkling white sand.

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Yet do not just come for the beachside pina coladas – there are many activities to enjoy throughout the day, too.

If water sports and jungle trekking do not tickle your fancy, there’s also the option of a scenic horseback ride along the shore, ensuring there is something for everyone in this tropical paradise.

Kerachut Beach, Penang


While everyone scuttles to tourist hotspots such as Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah, take the road less travelled.

Head further west to Penang National Park, where you can embark on a two-hour hike to Kerachut Beach, one of the capital city’s best-kept secrets.

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Serene and secluded, the tranquil beach is home to a meromictic lake – where the layers of water do not intermix – and green turtles that abound during nesting season (the Penang Turtle Sanctuary is located right at the end of beach).

Although steep slopes and jellyfish lurking in the waters make it unsuitable for swimming, the dancing pink and purple skies at dusk more than make up for it, affording a magical view many return for.

Tusan Cliff Beach, Miri


At Tusan Cliff Beach you can witness nature it all its majestic splendour right before your eyes.

Just a 40-minute drive from Miri, on the island of Borneo, the ocean waters emit a luminous blue glow that twinkles like dazzling sapphires – a natural phenomenon known as “blue tears”, which occurs only during specific weather.

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Locals have reported seeing it in the months from September to December.

If you miss it, fret not, as you are still guaranteed a stunning sight to behold: the unique cliff and rock formation that resembles a horse drinking water from the ocean – Tusan Cliff Beach’s own captivating piece of art.

Chendor Beach, Kuantan 

Club Med Cherating attracts visitors from all over the country.

Yet discerning locals know that just 10 kilometres (six miles) away from the premium holiday resort is Chendor Beach, a natural extension of Cherating, which affords the same expansive coastal views, only without the hubbub.

The charming beach sits within a bay enclosed by lush greenery.

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It is ideal for quiet relaxation as you soak up the sun and watch the sampans go by.

On balmy nights from April to September, green turtles come ashore to lay eggs and, if you’re lucky, you may even spot the nearly extinct leatherback turtle, which would undoubtedly make the 3.5-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur more than worthwhile.

Sepang Goldcoast, Kuala Lumpur

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Dubbed as a coastal eco-city, Sepang Goldcoast is the place to be when you want to enjoy nature’s beauty without sacrificing modern comforts.

AVANI Sepang Goldcoast’s luxury water villas boast unobstructed views of the Malacca Strait, while the private beach lined with verdant trees and deck chairs is the perfect setting for unwinding with a drink in hand.

There is also a lovely breezy beachfront restaurant that offers delectable choices for hungry guests, as well as a fireworks display after dark.

It’s a tropical haven you wouldn’t believe is only 90 minutes by car from the city centre.

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