Perhaps you’re thinking of heading to Malaysia now that the borders have opened, but if you’re not exactly keen on spending your weekend cafe hopping in Johor Bahru, then maybe Desaru Coast should be on your cards.
If you’re not already familiar with the place, the area was recently recognised as World’s Greatest Places 2021 by TIME Magazine, the only destination in Malaysia to make the list last year. Plus, it’s only a 1.5 to two-hour journey by car if you’re driving from Singapore, so you have zero excuse to not make a trip up north.
Now, you’ve come here to relax and get away from it all, but if you’re the kind who needs to fill up your itinerary to the brim to feel like you had a ‘fulfilling’ trip abroad, then the Desaru Coast area does have activities and attractions for everyone.
Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, for instance, has five different zones for the whole family to enjoy. It’s also home to both wet and dry rides, which includes the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia. Those who want to revel in offerings from Mother Nature can head over to Desaru Fruit Farm, which plays host to more than 120 species of tropical fruits. The award-winning locale is over 100-acre in size, and guests can do everything from embarking on a fruit farm tour to riding an ATV within the area.
Got a golfer in your midst? The two world-class golf courses in The Els Club Desaru Coast is designed by four-time Major Champion, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, with a combined play of 45 holes. Of course, no trip to Desaru Coast will be complete without a visit to Desaru Beach. The white, sandy shore stretches over 25 kilometres, fringed by breezy palm trees and casuarinas.
If it seems like there’s too much to cover for a day-trip, you’re just about right. Which is why we’ve taken the liberty to list out a couple of our favourite hotels and resorts around the area for your next long weekend getaway.
Where to stay in Desaru Coast:
(Hero and featured image credit: One&Only Desaru Coast)
One&Only Desaru Coast is the luxury resort brand’s very first Southeast Asian property, boasting a medley of 42 Junior Suites, two expansive two-bedroom Grand Suites, and an exclusive four-bedroom Villa One. You won’t be missing out on any views no matter where you stay: all suites face either the the calming ocean or the verdant rainforest, complete with its own private plunge pool. Besides five restaurants and bars for you to dine at, guests can also swim laps (i.e take a ton of IG pictures) at the stunning 27-metre infinity swimming pool or get their stress massaged away at the spa.
Darul Ta’zim, Persiaran Damai, Desaru Coast Bandar Penawar, 90, 81930, Johor, Malaysia
Before One & Only opened in 2020, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas was one of the only luxury destinations for travellers coming to the area. The locale is home to 108 airy rooms with wraparound balconies as well as stand-alone villas with private plunge pools if you’re looking for something fancier. After checking in, soak off the heat in the infinity pool before kneading your knots out at a traditional Malay spa treatment and adjourning to a romantic beachfront dinner.
Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Sleep well, eat well and feel well. These are the values that’ll define your stay at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort. The iconic Heavenly® Bed found in every room here is a big draw for choosing to stay here, but the sparkling coastal spectacle from the Sea View rooms is what takes the cake. After pigging out at any of the five dining establishments, work it off at the fully-equipped, 24-hour gym.
Jln Pantai 3, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
When you book a stay at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, you know you’ll be in for a musically fun time. The colourful interiors and friendly service are just the tip of the iceberg: the hotel also sits on adjacent one of the world’s biggest waterparks, and overlooks the giant wave pool and a man-made beach.
Jln Pantai 3, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
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