Malaysia has a thriving tourism industry with exciting destinations all around the country. And the east coast of the peninsula has some of the most charming places you can visit. This region of Malaysia is famous for its traditional Malay culture and cuisine, beaches, and islands.

With locations such as Cherating, Kuantan, and Pulau Perhentian, this part of Malaysia can provide a rewarding holiday to any traveller. Take a look at some of the best holiday destinations on the east coast below.


Cherating is a small seaside town on the coast of Pahang. Located around 45 minutes from the city of Kuantan, Cherating is a good place to visit if you need to escape from city life. It's also only a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, making it popular as a weekend holiday location.

Besides the beach, Cherating has a number of attractions including the Cherating River, Cherating Turtle Sanctuary, traditional Malay village, and even a surf beach which attracts an international crowd. There are two cruises on the river; a daytime mangrove river cruise and an evening firefly river cruise. You can also see turtles at Cherating during peak nesting season, and at the Turtle Sanctuary. Cherating is also home to the world-class Club Med Cherating Resort. There are also multiple dining options along the coast from rustic cafes to seafood restaurants.

Pulau Perhentian

Pulau Perhentian effectively consists of two islands; Pulau Perhentian Besar (Big) and Perhentian Kecil (Small). They're located in the Besut district of Terengganu and are gorgeous tropical islands. The islands have many accommodation options that can suit any budget, so they regularly attract visitors from couples to families, and also backpackers.

Both the small and big Perhentian Islands have white coral sand beaches and clear blue waters. Perhentian Besar is more suited for families with its mid-range resorts and lack of nightlife. Perhentian Kecil on the other hand, has the occasional beach party and is popular with backpackers. Besides diving at the multiple sites around the islands, you can do water activities like snorkelling, canoeing and more.

Pulau Redang

Another island in Terengganu, Pulau Redang is beautiful island with white beaches and clear waters. It has multiple snorkelling and diving sites with coral just a few metres off the coast. You can expect to see crowds along the beach especially on weekends and school holidays. There are bars with music, and some even karaoke that you can visit till late night. Further inland, there's a local fishing village and every April, the local community celebrates the candat sotong festival where people catch squid with handheld hooks attached to a line.

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the capital of Terengganu. It's a gateway to many tourist attractions in the state from the beaches on its coast to islands like Pulau Perhentian and Redang. Kuala Terengganu is less urbanised than many other capitals in the country and retains a subtle charm. Visitors to the city can head to Tasik Kenyir lake further inland, the colourful Central Market, the old Chinatown, the Floating Mosque, and the Terengganu State Museum which is among the largest in the country.