Travel

The best nature getaways in Malaysia: Forest retreats, farmstays, resorts and more


With lush rainforests, sprawling fields, pristine beaches, and rolling hills, Malaysia offers much more than just food and shopping.

Unplug from the hustle and bustle of life and take your short-haul escapades into the great outdoors. Get a digital detox, rejuvenate your soul, or simply kick back into nature’s embrace at the best nature getaways in Malaysia; some are less than two hours away.

Seaside escapade

Rawa Island Resort, Johor

Your slice of Maldives is a 25-minute boat ride away from Mersing. The Rawa Island Resort sits on the privately owned Rawa Island, situated within the Johor Marine Park. Its powdery-soft shorelines and crystal clear waters beckon beach lovers to this paradise, where you can easily spot corals and fishes.

Head to the dive centre for fascinating dives with coral catsharks and turtles, or hike to the hilltop at dusk to watch the sun dip into the South China Sea. In between meals that come with your full board package, visit the barn owls in their natural habitat and stop by the Rock bar for a tipple or two while you stroll the vista.

Rawa Island Resort is located at Rawa Island, 86800 Mersing, Johor, Malaysia, p.+60 7-799 1204. Full board packages start from RM2,100 (S$611) for two nights for one person, including boat rides to and from Mersing.

Rimba Resort, Johor

Unwind with a serene getaway to the northern tip of Pulau Sibu, Malaysia. Immerse in the rustic island vibes at Rimba Resort and kick back with a cocktail or a relaxing spa. Follow the professionals at Hi-Tide Dive Centre for dive or snorkel trips to surrounding islands, and join the conservation crew in beach cleanups.

If you’re lucky, you might even witness a nest hatching at the turtle hatchery. For the cherry on top, you can leave all travel logistics to the resort staff. Their full board package includes daily meals, return boat transfers and even return land transfers from Singapore (Prinsep Street).

Rimba Resort is located at Lot PDT 22 & 141, Mukim, Pulau Sibu, 86810 Mersing, Johor, Malaysia, p.+60 12-710 6855. Full board package with transport from Singapore starts from RM1,280++ for two nights per person in a sharing room.

Batu Batu Resort, Johor

From a refugee campsite to a location set for survival reality shows, Pulau Tengah with its rich marine life and tropical forest, is now a conserved site within the Johor Marine Park. Batu Batu Resort spearheads these efforts with the Tengah Island Conservation, and offers activities for a transformational travel experience.

In between talks and beach cleanups, support the in-house turtle hatchery and dive into the coral kingdom. Then, spend sun-kissed days on the island’s pristine beaches (all eight of them!) and trek through the jungle to learn about its fragile ecosystem. Retreat into the “kampung”-inspired villas constructed by local artisans or treat yourself to a signature Batu Batu oil massage.

Batu Batu Resort is located at Pulau Tengah, 86800 Mersing, Johor, Malaysia, p. +60 17-755 2770. Villas start from RM 1,484 per night, with three-meal-plans starting from RM 340+ per adult, RM 170+ per child.

Farmstays 

Talula Hill Farm Resort, Johor

The foothills of Gunung Lambak cradle a unique farm stay with cosy cabins fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Embrace nature’s gifts at the animal and vegetable farms of Talula Hill Farm Resort; go fishing or dip your toes in the cool mountain waters at the Grotto.

Though the breakfast is a simple spread of toast, cereals, and sausages, you can always head to the Farm Cafe for Western and Asian cuisine or drive to the nearby Kluang town for local delights. Round the day with some stargazing by the campfire, or if you are a morning person, catch the blazing sun rising behind the mountains from the reception building. 

Talula Hill Farm Resort is located at PTD 40612, Jalan Padang Tembak, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia, p. +60 19-375 5818. Cabins start from RM 445 per night. 

Sinar Eco Resort, Johor

Escape the hustle of city life and get back to basics in the container rooms at the Sinar Eco Resort. Nestled in the heart of an oil palm plantation in Pekan Nanas, Johor, the ecological resort lets you get close to farm animals like baby lambs and cows. You can even ride a horse under the guidance of their staff.

The full board package includes BBQ dinner and breakfast, together with a complimentary tractor tour, access to the farm and swimming pool. Enjoy a lazy cruise with an eco raft or go on a river adventure on the kayak. 

Sinar Eco Resort is located at Lot 2346 GM 2535 Kg. Sungai Molek Mukim Jeram Batu Pekan Nanas, 81500 Pontian, Johor, Malaysia, p. +60 13-757 2434. Two Days One Night package starts from RM 250 per adult, RM 220 per child.

Forest Retreats

The Dusun, Negeri Sembilan

Built from scratch on a small piece of hill, The Dusun is an eco-friendly resort tucked away in the lush Berembun Forest Reserve. With houses built into its natural landscape, you’ll feel like a part of the forest, fully immersed in nature.

Let the symphony of the forest lull you to sleep at night and wake up to misty mornings and a nourishing breakfast served at The Patio. Internet connection may not be the best here, so slow down and trek the forest trails or swim in one of the salt-water infinity pools. 

The Dusun is located at 3437, Jalan, Mukim, Kampung Baru Pantai, 71770 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, p. +60 12-616 2585. Rooms start from RM 315 per night.

The Shorea, Negeri Sembilan

The boutique resort, The Shorea, offers a verdant escape with villas perched atop the hill. Separated into two wings, air-conditioned duplex villas with private dining can be found at The Shorea ESTATE, while villas at The Shorea RESORT are naturally ventilated with communal dining facilities.

Besides swimming in the infinity pools with views overlooking the lush rainforest, guests can play board games and unwind with in-house massages. Take guided walks along the Batang Benar River, which ends at a waterfall where you can cool off.

The Shorea is located at Village Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai, Jalan Jelebu, 71770 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, p. +60 17-338 5698. Villas start from RM 530 per night per person, including breakfast.

Glamping

Villa Takun, Selangor

The Templar Park Forest Reserve is home to Villa Takun, a glamping spot with aesthetic minimalist vibes. Glamp out in sturdy A-frame houses with loft beds, private courtyards and an outdoor bathtub next to the flowing stream. If you enjoy movies under the stars, opt for the caravans, which sleep up to four persons; you can even soak in the outdoor bath while catching the movie.

The resort also offers room stays that boast spectacular views of Takun Hills from sky hammocks. Grab your morning cuppa from Kore, the cafe operating out of a caravan, or feast at The Edible for a garden-to-table private dining experience.

Villa Takun is located at 6, Jalan 3/3A, Templer Park, 48200 Rawang, Selangor, Malaysia. A-frame and caravans start from RM 700 per night; rooms start from RM 600 per night.

Tiara Escapes, Pahang

Take glamping up a notch in the safari-style tents & dreamy treehouses at Tiara Escapes. Surrounded by mountain mist and babbling brooks, the lush rainforest sets the stage for your nature getaway.

Explore the grounds and meet the native crimson-winged woodpecker, or chill out with a picnic by the riverbank. Gather and dine by the ceremonial bonfire and lounge on the comfy bean bags while you snuggle up for a movie at the Moonlight Cinema. 

Tiara Escapes is located at Persiaran Enderong, Kampung Janda Baik, 28750 Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia, p. +60 12-887 7777. Tents start from RM 990 per night.

Stellar Golden Hills, Cameron Highlands

Touted as Malaysia’s first caravan glamping experience, Stellar Golden Hills offers caravans complete with comfy beds, private bathrooms and all the amenities you need for a delightful time amidst the rolling hills of Tanah Rata. The cool air of Cameron Highlands allows for refreshing treks through the jungle, all the better to enjoy playing outdoors in traditional games, congkak and hopscotch.

Ignite your imagination with painting at the campsite, and when night falls, grab a telescope for a stargazing night. And if you’d like to sleep closer to nature, the resort also offers luxury tents and bell tents where you can snuggle up and sleep under the stars. 

Stellar Golden Hills is located at Lot 13, 9, Jalan Golden Hills, Brinchang, 39000 Brinchang, Pahang, Malaysia, p. +60 18-586 9642. Caravans start from RM888, including breakfast and dinner.

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This article was first published in City Nomads.



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