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Extraordinary regional experiences away from Perth

Perth makes for a perfect base for exploring Western Australia, as there are plenty of destinations which offer extraordinary experiences within easy reach.

Here are some short trips that you can take from Perth, ones that you will never forget :

Pinnacles Desert

Pinnacles Desert

Pinnacles Desert (2 hours drive from Perth)

Located in the heart of the Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles Desert is considered one of Australia’s most unique landscapes, featuring thousands of limestone spires up to five metres tall. Explore the desert on the designated four-kilometre driving trail or stroll through them at your leisure on the 1.2-kilometre walking trail. Learn more about the Nambung National Park’s fascinating geology, flora and fauna at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.

The Lobster Shack (2 hours drive from Perth)
A stroll past the jetties in Cervantes will take you to the Indian Ocean Rock Lobster Factory, where you can take a Lobster Shack tour and learn how the prized Western Rock Lobster is processed and exported around the world. Be sure to pick up some delicious seafood to take away or enjoy in the picnic area outside. The Lobster Shack is also now offering visitors a half-day boat tour, departing at 8.30am from the Lobster Shack jetty (seasonal). Passengers will experience the real life adventures of a lobster fisherman and can opt to select a lobster from the day’s catch, which can be taken back to the Lobster Shack and cooked for lunch. The 68-foot vessel, Shack Attack, also operates fishing charters and seasonal whale watching expeditions.  (For more:

Coral Spawning Tours in Exmouth or Coral Bay (2.5 hour flight from Perth)
The pristine waters of Ningaloo Reef transform into colourful clouds each year during the Coral Spawning season. Catch this nightly amazing natural phenomenon which happens between seven and 10 days after the full moon in March and April.

The annual coral spawning cycle is an incredible sight which is part of the regeneration of Ningaloo Reef. The coral spawn is also a major factor in the arrival of the world’s biggest fish, the whale-shark. Krill and plankton are drawn to the reef by the coral spawn, which are then in turn eaten by whale-sharks which arrive each year to feed.

Swim with whale sharks (2.5 hour flight from Perth)
Whale sharks visit the Ningaloo Reef between March and July annually following the mass spawning of coral. Ningaloo is considered one of the most reliable and easily accessible places on Earth to swim with whale sharks that grow up to 18 metres in length. Swim with whale sharks, snorkel with manta rays or go scuba diving with new Exmouth boat operator Ocean Eco Adventures. Live aboard for a couple of nights and really experience sea life at Ningaloo Reef. Ocean Eco Adventures run adventure tours from April to October each year from Coral Bay and Exmouth. During the summer months (November to February), the company offers Humpback whale, seal and dolphin tours from Margaret River. (For more:

Ningaloo Reef

Swim with whale sharks at the Ningaloo Reef.

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Tourism Malaysia

Island hopping in Malaysia

Island hopping in Malaysia

Malaysia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world that are renowned for their scenic beauty, surrounding tropical greenery, local villages and of course scuba diving and snorkeling. So if white sands, blue waters and good food is your scene, here are five islands that will take your breath away.

Langkawi is a cluster of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea that are breathtakingly beautiful and lure visitors from all over the world to their white sand beaches and clear waters. Some of the popular beaches are Cenang, Tengah and Kok. Langkawi was also declared a World Geopark by UNESCO in 2007 thanks to its sustainable development. The main island is well developed and populated with good air connections to Kuala Lumpur.

Langkawi might be a beach destination but there’s also plenty to do. The famed cable car ride is almost an essential part of an itinerary and has the most incredible views of rainforest, the Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh) and the island spreading out below. Another popular day trip is to hire a boat and explore the nearby islands. Boat rides also offer eagle viewing, cave explorations and snorkeling at Pulau Payar Marine Park. Both luxury and budget accommodation is available on Langkawi making it suitable for everyone. The other drawcard for visitors is the duty free shopping.

Beautiful Langkawi beaches. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Beautiful Langkawi beaches. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Sipadan Island on the east coast of Sabah, Borneo is a diver’s paradise, but as you are only allowed on the island during the day many people find themselves praying the boat will break down so they can spend more time on the beautiful island. If you have not gone diving before this is the place to see for yourself what a fascinating world is there below the sea! Chances are everything else will pale in comparison afterwards though.

The number of dives allowed per day is limited to protect the coral reefs. Sightings of turtles, sharks and other colorful small fish are common including the clown fish made popular by the movie Finding Nemo. The corals are said to be the best in the world and different diving sites including “Drop Off” that gives you a look at an abyss in the ocean floor. Sipadan is connected by boat from Semporna (fly to Tawau then bus to Semporna).

Tioman Island is located in Pahang on the east cost of Peninsular Malaysia and once listed in Time Magazine as one of the world’s most beautiful islands – many would say it is still true. Today people go to Pahang mainly to do nothing, although there is indeed plenty to do if you feel motivated.

There many hotels and chalets situated right off the beach inviting the visitor to commune with nature by sitting with a book, going for a walk or just soaking in the atmosphere. There’s also wildlife to enjoy such as monitor lizards that are commonly sighted on the island. You can also scuba dive, enjoy the jungles and rainforests or visit some of the most amazing beaches – Juara is considered the best beach and if you want to see for yourself you can get there by renting a boat or taking a  4WD. Tioman Island, like Langkawi, is also duty free. The island can be reached by air or you can get a ferry from Mersing on the mainland.

Panuba Bay, Tioman Island. Pic: Ferrazo, Wikimedia Commons.

Panuba Bay, Tioman Island. Pic: Ferrazo, Wikimedia Commons.

The Perhentian Islands are located in Terengganu and include Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil that boast white sand beaches filled with palm trees and blue waters. Scuba diving and snorkeling options are on hand and very popular amongst visitors. Snorkeling is extremely beautiful and can be done right off the beach thanks to the abundance of crystal clear waters. There are jungle walks through the forest linking the beaches, or you can take a water taxi to move around. One can get to Perhentian Islands by boat only (fly to Khota Bharu).

Perhentian Islands. By Joanne Lane.

Perhentian Islands. By Joanne Lane.

Pulau Pangkor is an island close to Perek in north-west Peninsular Malaysia. Pangkor is known for its white sand beaches and two of the most popular are Teluk Nipah and Coral Bay. Other than the beaches here there is a Dutch Fort worth a visit and two temples on the island. Pangkor is popular with the locals so it is good place to take a break from the regular tourist circuit. Pangkor Laut is an upscale resort on this island at a scenic location, so if you are looking for luxury this could be one option. You can reach Pangkor by air (to Ipoh) and ferry.

And if you thought this was all, there are many more islands like Penang, Layang-Layang, Redang, Rawa and many more waiting to be explored with their cool waters inviting you to take a dip.

Malaysia Travel Guide

Pulau Pangkor

Lying off Perak on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, this tranquil island with its white sandy beaches and charming fishing villages will enthrall you.

Currently Berjaya Air is the only airline that is operating flights direct to Pangkor Airport from Kualu Lumpur Subang Airport.

Lumut is the gateway to Pulau Pangkor. Here’s how to get to Lumut.
KTM Train
Express Bus

From Lumut, you have to take a ferry to Pulau Pangkor which departs every 30 minutes during the day and cost RM 10 for a return ticket.

Getting around Pulau Pangkor is really simple. You can choose to rent a motorbike, a bicycle or use the unmetered taxis widely available.

The main draw to Pulau Pangkor is undoubtedly the white sandy beaches.
Pantai Pasir Bogak
Teluk Nipah has 2 beaches: Nipah Beach and Coral Bay
Teluk Ketapang
Pantai Puteri Dewi
Teluk Segadas
Emerald Bay (on Pangkor Laut)

However other attractions on Pulau Pangkor makes an excellent full day excursion. You can get to these places easily on a rented motorbike or bicycle.
Pangkor Town
Fishing Villages
Fu Lin Kong Temple
Kali Amman Temple
Batu Bersurat and Tiger Rock
Dutch Fort (Kota Belanda)
The Tombs
Tortoise Hill

Here’s the full hotel list on Pulau Pangkor.

Pangkor Laut is a privately owned island 20-minute boat ride from Pulau Pangkor, it boasts one of the finest beaches in the Straits of Malacca. Pangkor Laut is home to Pangkor Laut Resort an exclusive resort named after the island.

Malaysia Islands and Beaches