Desaru Is Making A Comeback As An All-In Beach Getaway Destination, Here Are The 10 Must-Dos

If you’re from Malaysia or Singapore, you might remember Desaru as a beach getaway your parents took you to during your holidays. But as time went by, it became less heard of as travellers discovered other holiday hotspots around the Southeast Asian region.

Well, guess what, Desaru is back! If you haven’t visited Desaru for quite some time, you’re in for a surprise, as the once sleepy coastal town has been transformed to an all-in beach getaway destination. Already rich in nature and culture, Desaru has benefitted from multi billion ringgit Desaru Coast development, which includes a water theme park, golf course and four hotels to cater to modern travellers.

Image: Desaru Coast

But even beyond the spanking new development, there are many things to be enjoyed here. Read on to find out the best things to do around Desaru

1. Take a Stroll along Desaru Beach

We don’t know about you, but the beach is up there on the list when it comes to the most important things to have on a beach getaway. The casuarina-lined beaches around Desaru are known to be pristine, the water calm, and activities are abundant. Take some time to walk along the beach and feel the cooling breeze, and don’t forget to enjoy the sunset.

2. Have a Splashin’ Time at Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark

Whether you’re looking for rides to get your adrenaline pumping, kiddy rides for the little ones, or just to have some down time at a cabana, this waterpark has everything. Have you ever seen a roller coaster in a water park before? Kraken’s Revenge, one of the rides at Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, combines a roller coaster with a splashing flume ride, and is a ride that makes Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark stand out among other water parks in the country. And don’t get us started on the giant wave pool and man-made beach!

Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark

Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor Darul Ta’zim

3. Savour the Fresh Seafood at Sungai Rengit and Teluk Sengat

No beach getaway is complete without engorging yourself with seafood, and you are spoilt for choice when you’re in Desaru. If you’re looking for a different experience than the ones you find at your hotel’s F&B outlets, a short drive will take you to Sungai Rengit or Teluk Sengat where you can pick and choose from the many seafood restaurants here.

SEE ALSO: Forget Cafe/Bar-Hopping, THIS Is The Most Fun Group Activity You Can Do In Malaysia

4. Tee One Up at the Els Club Malaysia

Set against spectacular backdrops, Els Club Malaysia offers an unbeatable experience for golfers of all skill levels. The club offers two beautifully manicured golf courses: a 27-hole Ocean Course designed by Ernie Els, and an 18-hole golf Valley Course designed in collaboration with Vijay Singh. With 45 holes in total, these courses work with the various landscapes found in Desaru, from valleys to streams, making for an exciting golf outing.

The Els Club Malaysia

The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course, No. 4, Jalan Danau, Desaru Coast, 81930 Johor Darul Ta’zim

The Els Club Desaru Coast – Valley Course, No. 2, Jalan Pantai 2, Desaru Coast, 81930 Johor Darul Ta’zim

5. Learn about Traditional Fishing in Malaysia

Another place to have your favourite seafood is at the peaceful fishing village of Tanjung Balau, where you can also visit the Tanjung Balau Fishermen Museum (Muzium Nelayan Tanjung Balau). Learn all about the bygone era of traditional fishing in Malaysia through various artefacts and replicas.

Tanjung Balau Fishermen Museum

Tanjung Balau, 81930 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Ta’zim

6. Get Up Close and Personal With Ostriches

Not only is the ostrich the world’s largest bird, it also lays the largest eggs. As the bird hails from Africa, Johor is the last place you’d expect to see one. But, lo and behold, there’s actually an ostrich farm here! At the farm, caretakers will teach visitors interesting facts about this giant bird, and you can even have a special meal consisting of an ostrich egg.

Desaru Ostrich Farm

Jalan Telok Ramunia, Kampung Changi, 81600 Pengerang, Johor Darul Ta’zim

7. Get Up Close and Personal with Prehistoric Beasts at Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm

The signs welcoming you to the farms says it all: The largest crocodile farm in West Malaysia, more than one thousand crocodiles. Trust us when we say seeing such a large quantity of crocodiles gathered at one single location is quite an experience. You can get close enough with the prehistoric beasts to hear the snapping sound they make at feeding time.

Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm

Teluk Sengat, Kota Tinggi, Johor, 81920, Ayer Tawar 2, Johor Darul Ta’zim

SEE ALSO: 11 Underrated Destinations In Asia-Pacific To Visit Before The Year Ends

8. Take a Break at Kota Tinggi Waterfalls

When you’re in the vicinity of Kota Tinggi, make sure to stop by Kota Tinggi Waterfalls. Located at the foot of Mount Muntahak, the waterfall cascade down some 34 meters from the mountain and is surrounded by an area of natural beauty that is perfect for picnics.

Kota Tinggi Waterfalls

Sungai Pelepah,, Gunung Panti Recreational Forest, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Ta’zim

9. Enjoy Freshly Picked Tropical Fruits at Desaru Fruit Farm

Situated on 100 acres of land, the Desaru Fruit Farm is a great way to learn about tropical fruits grown in the region. With over 100 varieties of tropical fruits grown here, you can also sample freshly picked tropical fruits and bring some home to share with your family and friends.

Desaru Fruit Farm

Sungai Cemaran, Desaru 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Ta’zim

10. Get Some Retail Therapy at Desaru Riverside Village

For a modern retail experience, head to Desaru Riverside Village. Located at the heart of Desaru Coast Riverside Village is a 23-acre waterfront landscaped retail and lifestyle village where you can eat, shop and relax. You’ll have a field day trying out all the exciting retail outlets, restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues. You can find the finest local products at outlets like Desaru Fruit Farm as well as local eateries. Keep a lookout on activities and events that are happening throughout the year.

Desaru Coast – Riverside

No.10 & 12, Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Darul Ta’zim, Johor

Where to Stay In Desaru

Where you choose to bed down can make or break your beach getaway. If you’re looking for an all-in accommodation, look no further than the hotels at Desaru Coast. When you stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas or One&Only (slated to open later this year), you’re only a short walk to Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark and Desaru Coast – Riverside Village. Els Club Malaysia’s Ocean and Valley Courses are also a short drive away. The MYR4.5 billion development spanning over 3,900 acres, along a 17-kilometre beachfront facing the South China Sea is like a self-sustaining beach getaway destination that you don’t even have to leave to get all your holiday needs fulfilled!

With four hotels, a conference centre, a water park and sprawling golf courses, Desaru Coast has totally transformed Desaru from a formerly bustling beach destination to the next luxury holiday destination. Image: Desaru Coast

EXPERIENCE JOHOR: AirAsia offers the lowest fares to over 150 destinations. Book your seats, accommodation, holiday packages and activities now at

What do you think?

Written by Ari Vanuaranu

Albeit claiming to be a vegetarian, this self-professed culture vulture says that he’s willing to make an exception every time he is in an exotic place, as trying the local food is essential to widening a traveller’s horizon. But then each and every single place in the world outside of his hometown in Indonesia’s South Borneo counts as an ‘exotic place’...

Sirocco Hospitality Group Partners With AirAsia BIG

10 Green Destinations Around The World (Part 1)