My daughter loves playing on the beach, building sand castles, jumping in the sand and paddling. Here are the best beaches (pantai) we found in Malaysia for play-time. They are accessible with a toddler (no rocky climbs) and have nice sand. I really think there should be two words for beach and if it’s rocky it should be called something else, but there you go! No rocky ones listed here…

Langkawi- Pantai Cenang 

We really enjoyed our Christmas week here. We had a beach chalet, which meant we could fall out of bed and onto the beach to play while it was not too hot.

The beach was lovely and expansive, with soft sand and the water clear (we saw a couple of jellyfish but could avoid them easily). The only downside about Pantai Cenang is the to-ing and fro-ing of cars, taking jet skis to different parts of the beach.

Being a fairly popular area, it is easy to find places for food- there’s a variety of restaurants as well as small local food court-are all within walking distance. You can get lovely fresh fish, pizza, pretty much anything you want. There was also a shop that sold fresh fruit not far away from our hotel.

Taking a taxi towards the aquarium for 10 RM, you’ll find more place to eat, including the Red Tomato that does great western food in a quirky little restaurant. You can get duty free wine, chocolate and stuff there, too.

In the evening, we found are a number of places to sit, have a drink and enjoy the sunset. Some have music, such as Mali Mali with its colourful cushions on the and umbrellas. There were also a couple of places with live bands, such as the Meritus Hotel, which Daisy loved.

You’ll not be bored or hungry in Pantai Cenang and it’s a great place to chill, too.

Pulau Perhentian Islands: 

The sea is a beautiful aquamarine colour and clear; the sand is soft and golden. You can hire a taxi boat and explore at your leisure. Here’s a list of sample prices.

We got to see a turtle, lots of stripey fish and I even saw some reef sharks when snorkelling.

There are a few places up the beach that offer ok food. We enjoyed our stay in the Perhentians. All in all it’s great for a relax.

Sarawak, BorneoDamai Beach Resort:

This, for me, is one of the best places we’ve stayed. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone, but let me outline why I liked it so much:
We loved the location- near the jungle, so with a green backdrop and on the beach. It was also a stone’s throw from the cultural village. Getting there from Kuching was easy- it’s a relatively short drive (we broke it up with a visit to the cat museum).

The hotel was what made it for me, though. Here’s why:

The staff were lovely-  everyone who worked for the hotel went out of their way to be helpful and friendly, from reception, to security, to the waiters. Most importantly, they all made an effort to speak to Daisy.
There was a little pool with a slide and a lovely big pool. When we were there, we had them almost to ourselves, which was lucky.
The food was delicious- their buffet breakfast was one of best we’ve had: fresh, good quality and great variety. The meals we ordered were delicious, too.
The only downside of this Resort was the choppy sea, but you can’t have it all…

Sabah- Borneo Beach Villas:

There are miles of unspoilt beach- we loved walking along here and Daisy had fun running after the tiny crabs. There was the most beautiful sunset here, too.

The apartment was massive and there was a swimming pool. No obvious loungers there but if you’re part of Borneo Beach Villas I was told you can have one ( they’re stacked up on the ground floor)
There is a tiny restaurant as part of the Villas and it’s not got a bad selection of food, but if you’re organised or have transport you might prefer to make the most of the kitchen facilities in the apartment.

Mantanani, off the coast of Kota Kinabalu:  

You can stay here, which much be cool, but we went as day-trippers from KK ..

The sand is soft and the water is crystal clear; what’s more, you can swim with fish just off the shore. Daisy loved floating around in the life jacket we had hired and spotting fish. If staying in Kota Kinabalu I think it’s well worth popping over (but don’t expect to be alone on the beach!)

So there you have it-our favourite beaches. It may be worth noting here that we lived in Batu Ferringhi for a while- the place for resorts but I’ve not mentioned the beach in our list. Why not? Coarse sand and jellyfish!

It does have beautiful sunsets though.