Unforgettable islands of Johor

Johor is blessed with some of the most fascinating islands off its east coast.. There are a total of 43 islands  and about 50 sea stacks /huge rocks from the sea that makes up about 93 “islands”…

Out of these, those seeking vitamin sea, world class diving sites, marine parks, big game fishing or deep sea fishing, snorkeling and beautiful islands to visit should check out these 8 main islands of the Johor Seribuat Archipelago – Pemanggil, Besar, Tengah, Rawa, Aur, Dayang, Tinggi and Sibu…

I personally was fortunate to be able to visit 4 of these 8 islands, thanks to Tourism Johor and Gaya Travel recently…

Pemanggil Island
Pemanggil Island got it’s name from a popular myth where an Indonesian man who was drifting near the island with his family heard a voice telling him to settle on the island…

It is how Pulau Pemanggil got its name, which means “caller” in Malay. The voice is said to be the guardian of the isle… The Indonesian man landed and saw a huge boulder, the Batu Buau on the island. It is believed that the boulder is sacred, and the guardian resides at or in the rock…. Until this day, you can see numerous offering made to Batu Buau on the island.

It does make me think of some siren calling out to fishermen and such except that they said the guardian was an old lady back then and now the guardian is one of descendants of the old lady…

Where we visited –


This Lanting Beach Resort is situated at the far end of the island. To get to the island, you need to take a one and a half hour boat ride from Mersing jetty to the resort’s. It would be best to get a seat where you can breathe freely.. I was seated inside a half closed up boat and towards the end of the journey was feeling somewhat queasy from lack of oxygen and the added smell of fuel…

What makes Lanting Beach Resort unique is that the entire resort is built on a rocky outcrop that gives visitors a breathtaking view of the surrounding area..

The view at this rocky and hilly resort is breathtaking, almost like a bird’s eye view. The dining and leisure areas are located on the top landing of a very steep staircase.

A collection of antiques such as watches, cameras, gramophones etc can be found here…

The Lanting Beach Resort is currently focused on refurbishing its jetty as well as rooms and the renovation is scheduled to end February 2021…

Website – https://m.facebook.com/lantingbeachresortLBR/

Besar Island


Besar Island (formerly known as Pulau Babi Besar) is an island off the east coast of Johor, Malaysia. It is a 30 mins boat ride from Mersing jetty…

A local myth was about a fisherman couple who transformed into mermaids. This legend is so popular among the local folks that they believed at one time, a pregnant fisherman’s wife was craving for a kind of seaweed, that is plentiful in the Mersing waters. After eating, she turned into a mermaid and the heartbroken husband became one too after eating the same seaweed. Until today, it is claimed that mermaids can sometimes be spotted eating seaweed around the island.

The island got its former name, Pulau Babi Besar, (Big Boars Island) from the numerous wild boars that roamed the island before man inhabited the place. Nowadays, there is not a single boar on the island and thus, the island was renamed as Besar Island.

Where we stayed –

Aseania Resort Pulau Besar provides 3-star accommodation in comfortable  air-conditioned chalet with television and minibars…

The chalets can accommodate up to 3 pax and have private balconies with chairs and also clothes line for you to hang your wet clothings to dry… The bathrooms come with hot showers…

There is a lovely outdoor pool, with a kiddies pool and also a jacuzzi…

The Aseania Resort Pulau Besar also has a sun deck which can be transformed into a BBQ deck in the evenings…

Website – http://www.aseaniapulaubesar.com

Tengah Island


Just a 25-minute boat ride from Mersing Jetty, Tengah Island (formerly Pulau Babi Tengah) is home to the most exclusive island resort (yup… More exclusive then Rawa Island Resort, apparently), Batu Batu – so popular that the island name is often substituted with that of the resort’s.

This gorgeous rustic eco – friendly Batu Batu  can be found amongst coconut groves and white sandy beaches, was inspired by the Malay-styled kampong, and is exclusively for those with moolah to spend for a truly luxurious getaway.

It is an unspoilt island retreat with an ecological ethos and conviction that tourism can and should support biodiversity and local communities…

If you are lucky… You can even witness giant leatherback turtles making their way ashore to lay eggs, especially in July.

Where we visited –


The Tengah Island Conservation (TIC) is a biodiversity management initiative located on the island’s Long Beach, which was founded and partially funded by Batu Batu…

TIC is dedicated to the research, rehabilitation and regeneration of our natural environment with TIC scientists based at the Tengah Island Hatchery collecting data on endangered Green and critically endangered Hawksbill turtles in an otherwise undocumented and unstudied region to be shared openly with governmental agencies, turtle conservation NGOs and academic institutions….

TIC is doing it’s best to protect the populations of the turtles, and to increase turtle hatchlings survival rates through best practices in effective hatchery management and awareness.

The programme includes morning boat patrols of the neighbouring islands in order to try discover turtle nests before they are poached or predated. Regular nightly patrols of the island are also scheduled to try and encounter and tag nesting females.

TIC is doing their best to also manage, protect and restore areas important for conservation – preserving and enriching coral reefs, sea grass beds, beaches, forests and other critical ecosystems and the species which reside within them.

This is also done to educate tourists and local communities within the Marine Park on the need for, and importance of, marine and terrestrial conservation as well as to develop sustainable relationships with local communities and organizations, encouraging eco-tourism practices, sustainable living and conservation of our environment….

Website – https://www.tengahislandconservation.org/

Rawa Island


Rawa Island is lauded as the crown jewel of the islands of Johor, since it also happens to belong to the Johor royal relatives…

It consists of a small rocky cliff surrounded by clear turquoise water with swaying coconut trees and soft powdery white sand…

And a pier that makes first time visitors especially those who enjoy a rush of adrenaline excited, how not to when there is a couple of swooping slides, where you can slide and splash straight into the clear blue shallows of the South China Sea or even just jump off the pier…

I get excited getting under the pier too because of the many fishes you can see and marvel so close to you…

These is just so many activities you can indulge in to keep you entertained.

Snorkelling (you have to bring your own gear though or purchase your own set) , kayaking, paddleboarding and beach volleyball are all on the cards….

There’s always the short hike to the top of the island offering spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding islands.

Where we stayed –


Rawa Island Resort offers lush green surroundings with spacious rooms.

Stepping onto the jetty, you’ll be welcomed by the hotel team with a welcome drink and your holiday begins immediately…

Amble on to the beach, feel your toes melt into the sun-baked sand and just let all your stresses melt away. Rawa is an ideal place to lounge on the beach, catch up on that reading or even slumber through the midday heat…

The rooms and villas are pretty basic, comes with air-conditioning and fan but comfortable, clean and modern!

Do keep an eye out for stunning visitors that might just wander over to say hi wordlessly… There are a few of these majestic peacocks wandering freely around the resort…

We got to indulge in BBQ night with satay, fresh fish, prawns, lamb and the accompanying sauces…

Website – https://rawaislandresort.com/

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