Maldives What? Malaysia’s 11 Most Stunning Overwater Villas

Who needs the Maldives when you’ve got powder-soft sand, crystalline waters, and luxurious overwater villas all over Malaysia?
Who needs the Maldives when you’ve got powder-soft sand, crystalline waters, and luxurious overwater villas all over Malaysia? ((L) pangkorlautresort/Instagram / (R) beautiful_destinations1/Instagram)

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Yes, we know you’re free to travel internationally. But if you’re not willing to contend with quarantining upon return (yet), then fret not. You can still capture all the vibes and catch all the feels of a stunning, IG-worthy beach holiday akin to that of the Maldives and the Philippines’ El Nido. We’re talking thriving sea life, powder-soft sands, and crystal-clear water in a beautiful overwater villa. Don’t believe us? Well, here are 11 resorts for your consideration:

Pangkor Laut, Pangkor, Perak

Going with the one island, one resort concept, Pangkor Laut Resort is nestled within a 2 million-year-old rainforest but fringed by soft, sandy beaches and emerald-hued water.

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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort, Sipadan, Sabah

This floating paradise in Semporna is just 20 minutes away from the world-renowned dive sites of Sipadan. The Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort is the perfect respite for those who want a beach escape that’s ‘off the grid’.

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Berjaya Langkawi Resort, Langkawi, Kedah

Straddling both land and sea, Berjaya Langkawi Resort is an overwater escape along Burau Bay. It is sprawled over 70 acres. When you’re done enjoying the water, you can explore the 500 million-year-old rainforest that makes its backdrop.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, Kedah

Coming in at #7 on the Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Choice Award is The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi. While, yes, they have some beautiful overwater villas, the Villa Mutiara is something else! It comes equipped with all the luxe creature comforts one would expect from the Ritz and two of your own swimming pools!

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Gayana Marine Resort, Pulau Gaya, Sabah

With four kinds of villas to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice! But we’ll stick to the Ocean Villas off Pulau Gaya that afford you breathtaking views of the South China Sea. These villas at the Gayana Marine Resort even feature a private balcony and stairs that lead you right into the ocean!

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Lankayan Island Dive Resort, Lankayan, Sabah

Paradise found! A tiny island in the Sulu Sea that’s about 1.5 hours from Sandakan, the Lankayan Island Dive Resort offers a tropical resort’s amenities despite the remoteness. Of course, you can bet you’ll find the surrounding waters teeming with marine life.

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The St. Regis Langkawi, Langkawi, Kedah

Granted that The St. Regis Langkawi isn’t located along with one of the island’s better beaches, it’s still worth a stay. The property itself was designed by the acclaimed Bill Bensley, while their ultra-plush villas allow guests to watch the most spectacular sunsets.

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Nusakuya Resort, Semporna, Sabah

Nature really has been perfected in Semporna. The Nusakuya Resort is a rustic but charming floating resort located on Bum Bum Island. While the villas themselves are basic, they open up right into clear, azure waters. What else could you possibly need?

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Pom Pom Island Resort, Semporna, Sabah

Giving you sweeping vistas of the sea on your own private sun deck, a break at one of Pom Pom Island Resort’s Water Villas certainly won’t disappoint. Fully decked out with modern luxury amenities, the villa’s large tubs even open up to a gorgeous view.

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Seaventures Dive Rig, Semporna, Sabah

Okay, so this clearly isn’t an overwater villa in the traditional sense. But how amazing would it be to stay on a rig? Seaventures Dive Rig is the world’s first and only dive rig and is clearly any diver’s paradise! Staying here will give you access to diving in the coral-rich waters of Sipadan, Mabul, and Kapalai.

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Ombak Villa, Langkawi, Kedah

If a view of the endless horizon is the high you’re chasing after, then the overeater villas at Ombak Villa may be just the thing for you. Unlike other resorts, the overwater villas here are built for one thing — height. So you’ll get the most amazing of vantage points from your room.

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Going by the nickname Kuzai, the Kelantan native has spent 15 years in the wonderful world of publishing, formerly managing the beauty sections of glossies including ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR. Now, Kuzai is the Editor of Zafigo. The wannabe runner is also mom to a feisty toddler, suffers from constant wanderlust, and really just works to eat, travel, and shop.