Malaysia's Islands and Beaches

SeasideIt would be an impossible task to describe every one of Malaysia's thousands of beautiful beaches. Ranging from the powdery stretches of sand that characterize the eastern coastline of Peninsular Malaysia to the black sand beach of Pantai Pasir Hitam and the smooth pebble beach of Pantai Batu Kerikil, Malaysia's shores offer more idyllic locales than one could explore in many lifetimes. In addition to the plenitude of beaches along the the peninsula and the coast of Eastern Malaysia, the country also possesses over a hundred tropical islands. Many of these are so beautiful as to have entered into legend centuries ago, like the islands of Langkawi remain desert isles, marked , or Pulau Tioman. Others only by the imprint of the South China Sea on their sands.

island2.JPG (15286 bytes)Despite such abundance and variety, Malaysia's beaches are noticeably different from those in other parts of the world. They are often less differentiated from the shoreline than those of the Caribbean, for example, tending instead to be almost nestled up against the lush forests that this nation is famous for. The color palette is different as well--golden sands and emerald waters imbue Malaysian beaches with an air of succulent sweetness that isn't found in the cool whites and blues of many western strands. The result is that these beaches impart a very different sensation, a sense of languid peace and a distinct feeling that the division between land and sea is less a sharp line than a smooth continuum.

This continuity is noticeable in Malay culture as well. Kelongs, the traditional villages of coastal Malaysia, are built out over the water on stilts, reversing the usual notion of a beach view. Exploring the waters of Malaysia can produce a similar sense that the sea rather than the land is dominant here--cruising among the islands of Langkawi or those off Johor, for example, or scuba diving and snorkeling among the country's many world-class reefs.

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