Together with Antarctica, Mexico’s La Paz, Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, and 96 other spectacular destinations on TIME’s third annual World’s Greatest Places list is a Malaysian destination – Desaru Coast in Johor. This list of unique destinations, that comes up to 100 locations, features countries, regions, cities, towns, parks, and even lakes.
It’s little wonder why we made it though. As along the 17-kilometre stretch of pristine beachfront real estate facing the South China Sea stand a number of luxurious, world-class resorts from the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast to The Westin Desaru Coast Resort. Of course, there’s also the f One&Only Desaru Coast that accounted for the country’s biggest hotel opening in the last few years for being the chain’s first and only property in Asia. Finally, the newly-established resort area also already has a family favourite – the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas.
There’s also countless other attractions set up on this new coastal area, making it an ideal beach escape for vacationers – like the championship golf courses with stunning views and Sedili Wetlands well-known for being home to the endangered water trumpet.
If you’re wondering how Desaru Coast made the cut, here’s how. Among its criteria is that the places chosen are a, “tribute to people and businesses at the forefront” of tourism industries that have been badly affected by the pandemic yet managed to adapt and be innovative. All of which describes Desaru Coast. TIME also gathered nominations from correspondents and contributors around the world on which places they find attractive and offers thrilling new experiences.