Exploring the Johor Islands


Johor, the southern most state of Peninsular Malaysia is blessed with numerous islands (known as pulau in Malay). My dream is to venture to each and every one of them. Many friends have asked my opinion about the islands I went to and to advise them which island is the best. I always have a hard time deciding as everyone of them is charming in their own way. It really depends on what kind of traveler you are, and what kind of vacation experience you would like to have. In this post, I'd like to share my two cents and make some comparison between the Johor islands to help you make up your mind!

Map of Johor. Map Credits: https://sacjb2015.wordpress.com/about-johor/
Map of Johor
Map Credits: https://sacjb2015.wordpress.com/about-johor/

Let's begin by listing down the gorgeous (inhabited) islands of the Johor Marine Park:

  • Pulau Besar √√
  • Pulau Rawa √√
  • Pulau Sibu √√
  • Pulau Tinggi
  • Pulau Pemanggil
  • Pulau Tioman
  • Pulau Tengah
  • Pulau Aur √√
  • Pulau Dayang √√

Those with √√ are the ones that I have explored. This post will be constantly updated once I have set my footprints on the remaining islands. Kindly note that all trip prices listed below are estimated figures based on our travel period and excludes road transport fares (unless otherwise stated). Please check with the respective resorts on the current price or price range for your trip.

Alright, let's dive straight to our first island!

1. Pulau Besar 

Pulau Besar (or previously known as Pulau Babi Besar) is only a 30-minute boat ride away from Mersing Jetty. There are 3 resorts on the island and we stayed at Aseania Beach Resort. The beach here is clean with fine white sand. Snorkeling trips are available here to nearby islands such as around Pulau Tengah and Pulau Hujung. To me, my best experience on the island has to be Aseania Beach Resort. 

5-star, fully carpeted rooms equipped with air cond, TV and whatever you think you may need on an island. Very clean, spacious and comfortable at an affordable price of ~RM640/pax for 3D2N. And don't get me started on the food. It was THE MOST awesome food I have tried on an island - free flow buffet styled dishes, desserts and drinks.

I'd recommend Pulau Besar Aseania Beach Resort if you are looking for a super comfortable island vacation with top class island resort. 


2. Pulau Rawa 

Pulau Rawa might be tiny but is definitely a gem among the Johor islands. Just 30 minutes boat ride away from Mersing Jetty, Pulau Rawa is famous for its silky white sand beach, clear waters and the popular Rawa Slide. You can also take the island coastal walk as well as hike up to the top of the island for a breathtaking view! There are two resorts on the island and we spent our night over at Alang's Rawa Resort at a price of ~RM650/pax for 2D1N. 

My most memorable experience on Pulau Rawa was the hike to the island's peak. The view was one of THE MOST GORGEOUS views that I have seen on an island! It is a pretty short hike so be sure to give it a shot!

I'd highly recommend Pulau Rawa if your trip goal is to see one of the most beautiful island beach in Malaysia and don't mind a slightly higher budget.


3. Pulau Sibu 

Located just 25 minutes boat ride away from Tanjung Leman Jetty, Pulau Sibu is actually a group of 3 islands made up of Pulau Sibu Besar, Pulau Sibu Tengah and Pulau Sibu Kukus (or Pulau Kukus). We went to Pulau Sibu Besar and stayed at Sea Gypsy Village Resort, which has in my opinion the best beach on the island! Our 3D2N stay was ~RM830/pax including the resort's subsidized road transport from Singapore to Tanjung Leman Jetty (return)

The beach fronting Sea Gypsy Village is by far THE LARGEST BEACH I have been to in any of the Johor islands. And the beach slopes very gradually as you go towards the sea so this is a perfect place to bring your kids for outdoor swimming. What's more, there are various excursion trips scheduled by the resort to nearby islands like Pulau Mentinggi, Pulau Lima Kechil and Pulau Kukus which made the trip to Pulau Sibu even more exciting and worthwhile. 

I'd highly recommend Pulau Sibu for family trips especially those with young children. It is a very safe and fun resort for kids to play and adults to unwind


4&5. Pulau Aur & Pulau Dayang

Pulau Aur and Pulau Dayang are the two furthermost islands within the Johor Marine Park. They come in pairs as both islands are right opposite each other - which means you can visit these two amazing islands in one single trip! 

Both islands have resorts and we stayed in Pulau Aur's Sebukang Bay Resort. The resort is very rustic, kampung-styled with very limited amenities and comes with a price of ~RM549 for 3D2N. But trust me, the view here is absolutely stunning. You get the emerald clear waters at Pulau Aur and crystal blue waters at Pulau Dayang. Our favourite is definitely the hiking excursion to Letak Semalu, the peak of Pulau Dayang. So make sure you bring your sports shoes and join the hiking gang!

I'd recommend Pulau Aur & Pulau Dayang if you are don't mind experiencing basic island life as a trade off to the beautiful, Maldives-like scenery.

Alright that's all for now (so far). I will continue to update this post from time to time as I "conquered" the remaining Johor islands. If you have any question, please feel free to leave a comment below. Don't forget to follow and like us on Instagram@1step1footprint and Facebook@1step1footprint!

I am thinking about Pulau Pemanggil for my next trip! Heard that it is famous for its amazing cliffs and corals! Stay tune!


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