Tourism Malaysia

Battling the Waves in Malaysia

People like us are most likely to stay far, far away from the beaches during the monsoon, which usually occur from October to March if we are talking about the east coast in Peninsular Malaysia. But like a secret world, when the monsoon season comes and the islands close their doors to the public; that is when the surfers come out to play. To the uninitiated, monsoon means persistent rain, angry winds and ferocious waves, but to the surfers, it’s just a good day to surf. Indeed, surfing is not my scene at all and it’s not until words got around that a Malaysian surfer won third place at the 2019 REnextop Asian Surfing Tour that prompted me to check out our surfing scenes. Malaysia is no Hawaii or Bali but our surfing spots have start making waves among surfers around the world, no pun intended. Let’s check out Malaysia’s top surfing spot.

Cherating, Pahang

Photo: Cheratingpoint

Cherating, a small beach town about 45km north of Kuantan has been a surfing spot since the 80’s; but since surfing is not part of our culture, it has never been a sport enjoyed by the mass. Nowadays, we can see that the surfing community in Malaysia has grown bigger and stronger. There are even many surfing schools in Cherating.

Photo: Didaqt Surf FB

I don’t speak the surfer’s language but from what I gather the waves in Cherating are consistent and are suitable for beginners, intermediate, advanced and longboard surfers. It’s a good place for beginners to learn surfing, while the more experienced surfers can enjoy a swell that goes up to five foot. For a “hodad” like us (a term surfer uses for a person who hangs around the beach and does not surf), there are also other activities to try your hands at such as turtle-watching, kayaking, kitesurfing and windsurfing.

How to get there:
By Bus
From Kuala Lumpur international airport (KLIA), take a train (KLIA Transit) to the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) Bus Terminal – Check here : From TBS, please take a bus to Kemaman Town.
Kuala Lumpur (TBS) – Kuantan – Cherating – Kemaman Town – Kuala Terengganu – Kota Bahru . This is the normal route to east coast.
*note: Let the bus driver know that to drop you at Kampung Cherating Lama (Old Cherating Village).

By car
From Kuala Lumpur , just follow the east bound highway towards Kuantan and Kemaman. Normally, it takes about 3 hours to reach Cherating.

Pantai Batu Burok, Terengganu

Photo: Terengganu SURF Community

The strong waves of the South China Sea makes the beaches and idyllic islands of Terengganu ideal for surfing. To the local and international surfers, Pantai Batu Burok is well-known for its beach breaks surfing. Over the last 10 years, various international surfing competitions have been held in Pantai Burok regularly, thus helping this beautiful sandy beaches with casuarina trees lining up the shore, to gain international recognition. In Terengganu, there are at least 15 other surf spots to be explored along the coast from Kemaman to Besut. Merang in Setiu, for example, is suited for point breaks, while Pulau Kapas is ideal for reef break surfing.

Photo: Terengganu SURF Community

How to get there:
Batu Buruk and the surrounding beaches are easily reached from Kuala Terengganu by bus (Marang / Dungun), mini bus (No.14 / 13), trishaw and taxi or even on foot if you like walking (about 20 minutes from the city center). (

Desaru, Johor

Located in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Desaru has a few surfing spots that are worth mentioning. Among them are Pantai Desaru, Pantai Tanjung Balau, Pantai Sedili and Pantai Wild Boar.

Pantai Desaru is a great spot for beginners to learn to surf. The best time to surf here is in the early morning when the waves are in best condition with a less crowded beach.

Pantai Tanjung Balau is only 13-minute drive from Pantai Desaru and is home to a strong local surf community and even hosts its own international surfing competitions. Sandy breaks and three-foot-high waves make it an excellent spot to learn to surf.

Every surfing season, Pantai Sedili, a hidden beach located along the road of Sedili is always crowded with surfers especially during “good waves” day as the surfers called it. As the beach is quite isolated, you must bring your own food and drinks because there is no public facilities there.

Photo: Big Foot Industries

Wild Boar Beach is the most secluded surfing spot compared to the other three beaches in Desaru. Aptly named after the local animal that resides in the area, the beach is so secluded that you need a local guide to show you the spot. Surfers have to bring their own food and water supply because the beach has zero facility but these inconvenience means nothing to them as long as they get to have a long uninterrupted ride on sandy breaks.

How to get there:
A one hour drive from Johor town, along with the way to Desaru, palm oil plantation can be seen and a bridge will be connecting the route to Desaru through the Senai Desaru expressway. Driving is recommended to get to Desaru because it is faster and convenient.

For public transportation to Desaru, there are direct Mara Liner coach services four times a day from Johor Bahru’s Larkin Bus Terminal to Bandar Penawar via Kota Tinggi. Besides that, there’s an option of taking a non-express bus from Larkin Bus Terminal (Maju 227 or Causeway Link 66) or from downtown Johor Bahru’s Jalan Wong Ah Fook (Transit Link 41, Maju 227, Causeway Link 6B; the bus stop is opposite City Square) to Kota Tinggi’s bus terminal (duration about 1h; Maju 227 one-way fare from City Square RM4.80; average frequency of Maju 227 is 15 min), and then take another bus from Kota Tinggi to Bandar Penawar (duration max. 1h, one-way fare RM4.50, frequency every 90 min). (Travelistaclub)

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat, Sabah


Kudat in Sabah has long been a favourite surfing spots among Malaysian and Bruneian surfers. Located at the Tip of Borneo in Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, the Kalampunian Beach has waves that can reach up to 6 feet high with 50 to 100 meters ride. The type of break here is beach breaks and pointbreaks. It is an ideal spot for those with advanced surf skill set. But for the non-surfers, Kudat’ sandy beaches and crystal clear water is reason enough to hang around the beach; or maybe, just maybe you will be entertained by the tricks and twists of the surfers while chilling by the beach.

Photo: Bahzi Damit

How to get there:
The Tip of Borneo is about 215 KM north of Kota Kinabalu. You need to drive about 2.5 to 3 hours on a paved road (with a few small sections of gravel road) to reach there (via Kota Kinabalu → Tuaran → Kota Belud main road). Or you can charter a taxi (can take 3 or 4 passengers) for a return trip for about RM240. (

Tidal Bore of Sarawak

Photo: abadiphotography

I wonder whether those experienced surfers dare to fight a tidal bore in Sri Aman’s Batang Lupar River, which is famed for its crocodile-infested waters. The tidal bore in Sri Aman, which is located 170km from Kuching is rated among the best bores in the world. A tidal bore may take on various forms, ranging from a single breaking wave front with a roller, somewhat like a hydraulic jump to undular bores, comprising a smooth wave front followed by a train of secondary wave (whelps). The tidal bore is a high wave caused by the meeting of two tides or by a tide rushing up the narrow river estuary. Its height depends on the time of the year, weather and phase of the moon. Sri Aman hosts the annual Tidal Bore festival known as ‘Pesta Benak’, normally held in the month of May.

How to get there:
To get to the town, board a bus at Kuching Sentral Transportation hub. The hub is a 5-minute drive from the Kuching International Airport and 20 minutes from Kuching City Centre. On average, it takes about four hours to travel by road from Kuching. Usually, bus will stop at the bazaar town of Lachau for toilet break.

Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Beach, Selangor

Photo: Sunway Lagoon

Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Beach is a man made wonder right here in the city where holiday makers all around the world come for a fun filled day in the sun. You can either laze in the beach or for the thrill seekers you can enjoy surfing or body boarding and beach volleyball. You can also show off your surfing skills on Malaysia’s only Surf Simulator or ‘FlowRider’*.

Stretching over 13,000 square meters, the Surf Beach is capable of churning out perfectly shaped waves up to the maximum height of eight-feet. The ability to condition the waves according to the needs of the surfers in terms of height, time and wave patterns make Surf Beach @ Sunway Lagoon a surfer’s paradise for both professional and aspiring surfers.

How to get there:
By Car
Sunway Lagoon is located in the bustling township of Sunway City, within the district of Petaling Jaya in the state of Selangor. It is a mere 15-minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur in smooth traffic conditions and is accessible via a network of expressways including the Federal Highway, Damansara-Puchong Expressway, New Pantai Expressway and KESAS Highway.

Surf Wall, Adventure Waterpark, Desaru Coast, Johor

Photo: Adventure Waterparks Desaru Coast

A safe and high-energy surf simulator where surfing beginners or enthusiasts can catch and ride a radical artificial wave. The Surf Wall can accommodate up to five boogie boarders or two stand-up surfers at one time.

How to get there:

By Car
4 hours from Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway.

By Air
1 hour from Kuala Lumpur to Senai International Airport with additional 1 hour for shuttle to Desaru Coast.

Suddenly I feel the urge to join the monsoon mayhem and pick up the surfboard myself. Paddle,paddle, paddle, and stand up… bruddah!

Featured image is courtesy of andiaceh/ombok

Tourism Malaysia

JB Arts Festivals 2013 Press Conference at Villa Warisan , Johor Bahru.

The yearly JB Arts Festivals is coming back again on 6th September – 5th October 2013. This will be the 10th Arts Festivals in Johor Bahru and it’s also the established as the longest- running arts festival in Malaysia.

“This year, the Festival will be held from September 6th to October 5th at the iconic Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim on Bukit Timbalan, as well as with some performances also spread out to some of JB’s premier night spots namely Eight Lido Danga Bay. This year’s programme will feature over 100 eclectic live performances spanning all disciplines of performing arts – music, dance, theatre, film, comedy and visual arts, and we want YOU to be a part of the fun!”

We had been invited for the Media Conference on 25th Aug 2013 (11am) at the J.A. Heritage Villa (N1.46672 E103.75737) at Jln Abdul Rahman Andak, Johor Bahru.

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I was there around 11am and the place was crowded. Everyone was waiting for Tan Sri Dato Shahrir bin Abdul Samad to arrive to start the media conference.

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Before the shows start, Tan Sri Dato Shahrir had a short speech and follow by the performance…

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The Flash Mob performance started during the short introduction from the MC…with the popular song – Oppa Gangnam Style…

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Follow by the the Chinese Traditional dance performance from the young children…

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After the traditional dance, the 70s song – ‘I Love Roses’ started…with another dance performance by the group of lovely teenage…

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The Wu-shu performance by one of the association continued after the dancing performance…that was exciting!

Photos of the Wu-shu performance :-

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After a short break, the historical drama show started…

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And the ‘Kupang’ performance by one of the school from Kota Tinggi.

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The ‘Kupang’ performance was the last show of the day, the Mock Cheque Presentations by Sponsors continued around 11.50am.

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The buffet lunch was prepared for everyone before the end of the media conference…

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The Founder – Mr. Yap Siong Cheng and the organizers are strongly encourage everyone to participate in the Festivals. If you can’t perform, doesn’t matter…just visit the Arts and Cultural shows at Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim in Johor Bahru during the 6th Sep – 5th Oct. You can get the ‘Yellow Booklet’ from their website, as for the time table of the shows for the month.

My last visit was on year 2012, you can view some photos from the link.

Please visit the venues where all the shows perform to support our Arts and Culture!

Official website for JB Arts Festivals :  or you can visit their Facebook page at :

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Tourism Malaysia

A Weekend At The Greater Desaru

Desaru, Johor


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Teluk Sengat, Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tel.: +6 07 895 5116; Teluk Sengat; From RM150 per group of 10; Time: 11.30AM-10PM)
What: One of the many seafood restaurants available in Kota Tinggi that serves fresh catches of the day. Diners get to enjoy tasty meals by the seafront, watching the sunset.Why: After a full day of activities, you deserve to treat yourself to a satisfying meal of seafood freshly caught from the sea.
Must try: Nyonya fish, Chilli crab, and Pepper crab.

Teluk Sengat, Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tel.: +6 07 895 5220; Teluk Sengat; Adult/Child: RM8/RM4; Time: 9AM-6PM)
What: Opened since the 1920s, this crocodile farm has about 1,000 salt water crocodiles, including one that is more than 135 years old!
Why: Meet the oldest inmate in Croc World, and also, if you’re brave enough, you may pet the baby crocodiles, or even kiss them!

Sungai Rengit, Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tel.: +6 07 826 5846; Sungai Rengit; Adult/Child: RM10/RM6; Time: 10AM-6PM)
What: An ostrich farm with some 300 big birds roaming free in their natural habitat.Why: You can get up close and personal with the birds, maybe try out some delectable dishes made out of ostrich eggs, such as satay and marble cake, or even purchase some lamps made out of empty ostrich eggshells.

Desaru, Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tel.: +6 07 822 5886;; Desaru; Adult/Child: RM18/RM15; Time: 8AM-6PM)
What: A 50-acre fruit farm with a huge collection of fruits growing, such as durian, rambutan and mangosteen, papaya, banana, pineapple and many more.
Why: Try out a table full of fruits freshly plucked from the orchard, and even buy a few bundles back.

Tanjung Balau, Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tanjung Balau; Adult/Child: Free; Time: Daytime)
What: A popular beach with a commercialised fishing village, equipped with facilities such as a food court, children’s playground and souvenir shop.Why: It is a good place for photo enthusiasts to take pictures, and for families to spend a day there relaxing. If you’re lucky, you can meet up with the fishermen coming back with the catch of the day!

Johor River, Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tel.: +6 019 779 6385 (Mr Liew – Bujang Boat Service); Johor River; Adult/Child: RM20 per person; Time: From 7.15PM, 45 minutes per trip)
What: A night river cruise along Johor River to check out the abundant firefly colony there. Meals can be provided upon prior request.Why: A quiet and serene way to end your hectic day being in the midst of one of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

Kota Tinggi, Johor
(Tel.: +6 019 355 8889;; Kota Tinggi; From RM70)
What: Humble abodes by the Johor River with a host, Bob, who welcomes you with open arms.
Why: You can experience the kampung life in Johor complete with cultural performances and a riverside BBQ, as well as hop on the heritage trail nearby to get to know the history of Johor a little bit more.

Desaru, Johor
(Tel.: +6 07 822 1212;; Desaru; From RM120nett)
What: The first resort to be opened in Desaru since 1974, with well-maintained and spacious chalets for a quiet family retreat by the beach.
Why: You get to enjoy a bunch of beach, sea and land activities, such as sailing, canoeing, trekking and go-karting, or you can just lay by the beach and take in the serenity.

Pengerang, Johor
(Tel.: +6 07 826 6688;; Pengerang; From RM280++; 4-star rating)
What: A high standard resort with one of the best marina views available. It is an architectural masterpiece amidst natural surroundings, with a wide range of facilities and amenities.Why: If you prefer a more comfortable accommodation, as well as a waterfront view to take your breath away every morning.