The East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur and the rolling hills of the Cameron Highlands. With long stretches of sandy beach, fantastic reefs for snorkeling and diving, and a charming laid-back atmosphere, the East Coast offers a more off the beaten track beach experience versus more well-known areas such as Langkawi.
There are a number of 'hot spots' to visit along the East Coast. Tioman Island is located 32 kilometers (20 miles) off the coast of Pehang, and its protected marine parks offer some of the best areas in Malaysia for diving and snorkeling. The reefs here are resilient, and are still home to a myriad of marine life, including tropical fish and turtles. The island itself boasts palm-fringed white-sand beaches, and inland visitors will find lush jungle and picturesque waterfalls, with local inhabitants including mouse deer, long-tailed macaques and flying squirrels.
Much further north, in the Terengganu region, the sand that lines the coast is more golden rather than powder-white, however the beaches here are also incredibly beautiful. There is also a lovely local feel, which is harder to achieve on the remote islands off the coast. Local villages dot the Dungun district, with pleasant night markets and herb gardens.