12 stunning nature retreats in Malaysia you should visit in 2023
Are you looking to reconnect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life? We'd recommend you pack your overnight bag and head to Malaysia – the land of lush rainforests and gorgeous beaches. Mother Nature has indeed, doled out the best natural scenery in Malaysia – from magical wetlands to cascading waterfalls – it's perfect for a mindful getaway as you recharge for a few nights.
Here are some retreats close to the beach or wilderness you may like to unwind on your next getaway trip.
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Tanjong Jara Resort
Facing a gorgeous stretch of white sands, the architecture of Tanjong Jara Resort was inspired by 17th century Malay palaces and won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Furnished in local timber and rich fabrics, each of Tanjong Jara Resort's rooms commands a view of the South China Sea or the resort’s tropical landscaped gardens.
Located in Terengganu, the luxury beach accommodation's amenities include comfortable bedding, a writing desk, a powered safe, a day bed, a large open en-suite bathroom with an oversized bathtub, a separate shower plus two vanity units, as well as an outdoor verandah.
Ed's note: My wonderful stay here a few years ago was complemented by an amazing spa experience at their Spa Village and a drive to the Chemerong waterfalls. You can expect top-notch service all-around!
Terrapuri Heritage Village
Terengganu Classic houses are said to be between 100 to 250 years old and are refurbished as residential villas. Terengganu classic houses (Rumah Bujang & Rumah Bujang Berserambi) have features similar to Cambodian and Thai houses. With its raised platform on stilts, triangular shape, steep gabled roof, gently curved gable ends (Peles), rhomboid-shaped terracotta roof tiles and walls made of timber panels slotted into grooves frames; you'll be sure to experience the full olden Malay experience that's preserved by time.
The heritage villas feature unique traditional décor that comes with facilities like air-conditioning, a ceiling fan, a wooden bathtub and a verandah.
2. Negeri Sembilan
Selepas Hujan (After The Rain) is an idyllic nature retreat that overlooks the Berembun Rainforest in Seremban. The house's structure is made from salvaged kampung houses and features an open concept that's perfect for socialising. The retreat can fit up to 11 guests and there are two bedrooms and three bathrooms. Take a dip into the private salt-treated infinity pool and have a barbeque night with family and friends. It's the perfect getaway for those who are prepared to soak in the tranquillity of an exclusive, private retreat.
Ed's note: I stayed here for three nights and in the mornings, you'll be greeted by a beautiful sunrise. Fern, a caretaker from the nearby Orang Asli (indigenous peoples) settlement makes sure the house is in tip-top condition during our stay there.
Langit Rimba is set on a mountain surrounded by a permanent forest reserve in Seremban. The reserve consists of three self-sufficient units (with kitchen and other facilities): Hornbill Terrace, Kesidang and Sunrise. The reserve is also suitable for a cluster of several families.
Facilities include a salted outdoor pool, filtered spring water showers, complimentary WiFi and a halal home-cooked breakfast. Activities nearby include forest walks and a trek to a jungle waterfall.
Nature retreat The Dusun features seven self-catering, socially-conscious eco-bungalows on a durian orchard. Facilities include two swimming pools, free WiFi, and a kitchen with a dining area. Enjoy walks to the deer enclosures and forest walks where you can discover the durian orchard and vegetation. The retreat overlooks misty mountains as it is located about 800 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Titiwangsa.
While air-conditioning is not available in the rooms, travellers can still enjoy the cool wind off the forest reserve, and cooler temperatures at night. If you're looking for a place that's completely off the grid, you may want to consider The Dusun as it is a little piece of paradise.
Located in Kampung Baru Pantai in Seremban, this property that's located 357 metres above sea level puts you close to Berembun Forest reserve and two ostrich farms which can be both thrilling and intriguing for adults and kids alike. Unlike the other retreats that don't have restaurants on the property, Sembayu Villa has a restaurant and outdoor pool on-site.
There are about five luxurious rooms and two suites if you're planning a big gathering with family and friends. To enhance your stay, some rooms at the resort come with linen service and air conditioning. There are also specially-designed rooms at Sembayu Villa that offer a layout option like a balcony or terrace.
Bon Ton Resort Langkawi
Bon Ton Resort Langkawi is one of the island's most stylish, unique and intimate resorts. With eight individually styled antique Malay villas, it's the perfect small boutique hotel that's surrounded by swaying palm trees and perched by the edge of the wetlands.
The resort is just a 10-minute drive from the airport and a 5-minute from Pantai Cenang, making it a secluded but convenient stay. There are eight individually styled antique Malay villas which are equipped with a fridge, coffee and tea making facilities, complimentary mineral water, TV, CD/DVD player, Internet (Wi-Fi) throughout the resort and computer/printer for guest use.
Ambong Ambong Langkawi Rainforest Retreat
Ambong Ambong is a tropical retreat set on Langkawi island, the dazzling jewel of the Andaman Sea.
There are five room types comprising a mix of studios and suites that you can choose from. The resort villa features free WiFi in all rooms for easy connection and complimentary parking. Conveniently situated in the Pantai Tengah part of Langkawi, this property puts you close to the famous Cenang Beach.
Kota Rainforest Resort
Kota Rainforest Resort is located at Kota Tinggi distinct of Johor and it is approximately 50km away from the city. The resort is conveniently situated in the Gunung Panti Recreational Forest part of Kota Tinggi, and it puts you close to attractions and interesting dining options.
The traditional-styled resort comes with air-conditioned chalets and the furniture is predominantly custom-made timber. As an added bonus, the outdoor pool is provided on-site to conveniently serve your OOTD needs. Try cycling around the area or trek to a nearby waterfall, which is just five minutes away by car.
One&Only Desaru Coast
One&Only Desaru Coast is positioned on the south-eastern shoreline of Malaysia between lush rainforests and the South China Sea. The resort extends expansively across 128 acres of unspoilt wild flora and a pristine 1.5 kilometre stretch of private white sand beach.
Easily accessible in just two hours by car from Singapore and 45 minutes to Johor’s Senai Airport, the ultra-luxury tropical escape offers guests the ultimate privacy, leading wellness programmes, destination-defining cuisine and curated experiences that celebrate the destination. Facing the stunning ocean or wrapped by the jungle, the resort has a collection of 42 Junior Suites, two expansive two-bedroom Grand Suites, and an opulent four-bedroom residence, Villa One.
Bayu Lestari Resort
Bayu Lestari Island Resort is located in Pulau Besar, an island that lies 16km from the fishing town of Mersing, Johor and is part of the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park off the east coast of Malaysia.
Starting operation in early 2018, the resort prides itself in offering 15 private villas to its guests ensuring comfort and privacy. At its maximum capacity, the resort could accommodate up to 110 guests at one time. The only way into the island is via a private boat arranged by the resort.
There are four types of accommodation here, including villas, suites and a bungalow-style chalet. Facilities include air-conditioning, shower, balcony, towels, hairdryer and kettle.
Are you looking for a serene and beautiful resort for your next getaway? The Kasturi is a five-star luxury beachfront resort that's located on the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia.
The resort’s 15 acres boasts 800 metres of beach backed by forested dunes of Tanjong Geliga. The site has virtually exclusive access to another kilometre of beach towards the north, right up to the estuary of Sungai Pak Siak, wonderful for dawn walks or evening runs. And if you're lucky, you may occasionally see a family of otters basking on the banks.
With just 23 rooms, the majority being villas on the beachfront with their own private pools and vistas across the sand to the water, travellers can be ensured that they have complete privacy.
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