Desaru, a hush away from the city

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If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway not too far from Johor, or even Kuala Lumpur (approximately a four-hour drive), Desaru is a great choice for its family-friendly activities, wide stretch of beach, and laidback vibe.

Desaru is located on the eastern tip of the peninsula, approximately 97km from Johor Bahru city, with clean and sandy white beaches, pristine blue waters, and a lush tropical rainforest. Some of the activities on offer are canoeing, swimming, boating, fishing, jungletrekking, and other sea sports. There are also plans in the near future for attractions such as a water theme park and golf course, which should draw greater number of visitors to the area.


Back in the ’80s, Desaru was set to be a developed commercially with several mega projects in the plan targeted to tourists, but unfortunately, they never gained traction and were abandoned. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in tourism due to a number of relaxing no-frills resorts and beach activities opening up, as well as easy access from the Johor Bahru expressway.

One such resort is Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort Desaru, which was officially opened in January 2016. It’s a great place for both business and pleasure, with a wide range of facilities and personalised services. There are a total of 134 rooms and suites which offer picturesque and unobstructed views of the blue seas and sandy beach, designed for immense comfort without compromising the natural essence and surroundings of the resort.

Pawana Restaurant offers an international dining experience, and a romantic beachside BBQ dinner can also be arranged. There are also several cafés and restaurants around the area offering mainly authentic Malay food.



fruitfarm013-8Besides relaxing and enjoying sea sport activities, another notable thing to do at Desaru which is fun for the whole family is visiting the Desaru Fruit Farm, about a 10-minute drive from the beach. It occupies an area of 100 acres, planted with over 100 varieties of tropical fruit, both seasonal and non-seasonal.

Some of the fruits planted there are durian, rambutan, passion fruit, guava, jack fruit, pineapple, mango, rose apple, banana, soursop, and mangosteen. There are several packages and activities on offer at the fruit farm such as guided farm tours which includes an outdoor lunch and fruit
fiesta, team-building exercises, and an organic herbal garden.


fruitfarm017-9You can sample fruits as well as buy them from their mini mart. For those who are looking for an adrenaline rush, the Desaru Fruit Farm also has an Adventure Park which offers Paintball and Dirt Kart games.

As Desaru sits on Malaysia’s east coast, the destination is highly seasonal and the best time to visit would be April to October, to avoid the monsoon season from November to February. For those who love to surf, however, December to February is the best time as waves are almost constantly high.

Desaru is a great choice for a relaxing, laid-back beach getaway with your special someone, family, or even as a company bonding trip. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the chill-out atmosphere of beautiful Desaru.

This article was originally published in The Expat magazine (November 2016) which is available online or in print via a free subscription.

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Hayley Louise Ranwell

Have spent many happy family timea there ♡

Kinetic Kirpaljeet Singh

From an idyllic village to a booming oil town. Development is rapid and lots of commercialisation

Epul Donflamingo

I thought this place is already dead?

Ezad Hfizy

cant wait for the biggest integrated resorts in Malaysia — Desaru Coast — coming soon (Hard Rock Hotel, The Westin, Aman Resort & Villas, Anantara Resort, The Desaru Adventure Waterpark (include one of the biggest wave pool in the world) + a convention centre, Riverine Retail Village (mall), The Els & The Valley)

Lotus - Ocean View Escape, Apartment for rent in Melaka, Malaysia

Not a bad place at all to visit. On weekends it can be a little bit busy on the beaches but in the week it is completely deserted and really nice for long walks. Taman Desaru Utama is the nearest “village” and provides great local food.

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