The Guardian recommend budget hotels in Malaysia
Malaysia is fortunate in having a long coastline with numerous beautiful beaches. The Guardian recently picked ten of the best of the country’s beach resorts for budget travellers. Among the picks are basic wooden chalets with shared baths and comfortable resorts with modern amenities. Whatever your pick, you’re sure to be charmed by the natural beauty of Malaysia.
With a culture that combines Malay, Indian, and Chinese influences, and with everything from bustling metropolises to unspoilt beaches, Malaysia makes a fascinating travel and holiday destination. But with so many beautiful beaches, natural parks and exotic places to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start. The Guardian recently made booking that Malaysian trip a bit easier by choosing ten of the best budget beach hotels in Malaysia.
Colourful Motel, Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
Langkawi consists of 104 tiny islands in the Andaman Sea, which provides beautiful beaches, reef diving and jungle exploration. There are all manner of accommodation, but one of the more interesting is the Colourful Motel, a funky backpacker hostel that is clean and comfortable, if basic. Unlike many hostels, the Colourful Hotel offers private baths and air conditioning. Pantai Cenang is a party destination with numerous bars and frequent live music, so if visitors who are looking for tranquillity might have better luck elsewhere.
Angullia Beach House Resort, Marang, Terengganu
The Angullia has amassed a loyal following over its 24-year history. The shared dorms are very affordable and the resort also offers beach chalets and kampong-style houses amid the gardens. A beach cafe is open during the day and at night, there’s a restaurant specializing in Malay cuisine.
Bubu Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil, Terengganu
The islands and marine park of Perhentian are among Malaysia’s most popular tourist destinations. On the pristine Long Beach, there are numerous basic chalets (shared bathrooms and no air conditioning), but for travellers who want more creature comforts, the Bubu Long Beach is a proper resort, with 38 rooms, some with balconies overlooking the water.
Scarborough is one of Langkawi’s more eccentric offerings. It consists of a simple fish and chips shop on the beach alongside two caravans for rent. The owner, Param Dhillon, claims they are the only ones in Malaysia. The caravans have modern amenities like air conditioning and accommodate four. As they open right onto the beach, staying at Scarborough is about as close to sleeping on the beach itself as you can get.
Lone Pine Resort, Batu Ferringhi, Penang
The Lone Pine Resort is one of the country’s oldest hotels, having opened in 1948. It’s recently been restored and is now a retro boutique property. The original building has vintage furniture and album covers from the 1960s and 70s, or in the newer addition which has a minimalist décor. Perhaps the hotel’s most appealing feature is a designer swimming pool lined with Arabian-style tents and cushions.
Chymes, Tanjung Bungah, Penang
A favourite among the locals, Tanjung Bungah is just a short drive outside George Town and is one of the most exclusive parts of Penang. Amid the towering luxury condos there are still a few mid-century bungalows, one of which is Chymes. The rooms on the top floor offer beautiful sea views.
Maznah Guest House, Cherating, Pahang
Cherating was one of the first locations along the east coast of Malaysia to attract backpackers, and the Maznah Guest House has been bringing them in since 1989. The guest house is located in the main village, but the beach is only two minutes away. There are simple huts with a fan and shared baths or modern bungalows with air conditioning and private baths.
Tenggol Coral Beach Resort, Tenggol Island, Terengganu
There are numerous islands along Malaysia’s east coast, and many of them are popular destinations for divers. Tenggol is one of the lesser-known destinations, and the Coral Beach Resort just opened there this year. It’s not a luxury resort, but it does offer 20 wooden chalets with two or four beds, and they are air conditioned and have private baths. Perched at the water’s edge, Coral Beach Resort offers a welcome escape from civilization.
Holiday Villa, Cherating, Pahang
The Malaysian owners of Holiday Villas have properties in far-flung locations like London and Paris, but their first venture, on Cherating’s long beach, is their pet project. “Tropical paradise” is an overused phrase, but in this case, it’s apt. The resort is located in what is essentially a tropical garden that is full of exotic plants, and the sea is just a short walk away.
Japamala Resort, Tioman Island, Pahang
At the higher end of the “budget” spectrum, Japamala is as near to paradise as you’re likely to find. It’s located on Tioman Island, a beautiful, secluded spot where “South Pacific” was filmed. There are more affordable options on the island, but Japamala is only accessible by boat, and overlooks the South China Sea. For serenity and seclusion, Japamala is as good as it gets.
Whether you’re looking for a rustic chalet or a modern resort with all the amenities, Malaysia’s beach resorts offer something for everyone, and many are in the budget range.
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