How are we already in the last quarter of 2022; and in December, no less? With this realisation in mind, the time to plan for a New Year countdown is now! Sure, everything is easing up, and we are somewhat returning to how things were before the pandemic, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious. So, why not switch up a wild countdown at a bar with one by the beach and under the stars?

Some of the best beaches surround this country, so take full advantage of them and make any of these beautiful sandy spots a place to ring in the New Year.

1. Pulau Tiga, Sabah

The three small islands that make up the destination that is Pulau Tiga are Pulau Tiga itself, Pulau Kalampunian Besar, and Pulau Kalampunian Damit (Snake Island), which are just 10km off the West Coast of Sabah.

Spend the night at any one of the two resorts on the island — Pulau Tiga Resort and Borneo Eagle Resort. Both offer tropical island getaways with facilities and fun activities like swimming, snorkelling, or kayaking. Divers can clock in some dive logs and explore Borneo’s underwater treasure trove.

The natural volcanic mud found on Pulau Tiga is also well-known for its healing properties, so be sure to check that out. Want to see some wildlife? You definitely will, as snakes are the well-known inhabitants of this island.

2. Desaru Coast, Johor

Fancy ringing in the New Year somewhere more upscale? Head down to Desaru Coast, a beach destination with a waterpark, renowned hotels, luxurious resorts, and even a golf course. Secluded and only an easy hour’s drive from Johor Bahru, Desaru Coast is one of Malaysia’s gems with its untouched and pristine beaches.

Take your pick from The Westin, Hard Rock Hotel, One&Only, or Anantara Desaru, as any one of them promises a memorable stay. Whether for leisure, a golf retreat, or a mid-week respite, this destination offers the ideal getaway for sophisticated tourists. Anywhere along the 17 kilometres of pristine coastline, this luxury integrated destination allows you to be your ideal self and have a romantic New Year countdown getaway with your loved ones.

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3. Tanjung Rhu Beach in Langkawi, Kedah

Tanjung Rhu Beach is one of Malaysia’s most beautiful and pristine beaches, boasting white sands and emerald waves, and quite easily one of the cleanest beaches in the Langkawi archipelago.

Additionally, Tanjung Rhu beach preserves its tranquilly for visitors seeking some time alone or a romantic getaway because it is secluded from the outside world and the grasp of commercialisation. The entrance to the shoreline is marked by a corridor of tall trees, which serves as an interesting entryway. The beach is peaceful, unpolluted, and tranquil all year long, with gentle sea breezes blowing. Not a bad place for a New Year countdown.

In terms of where to stay, Tanjung Rhu only has one large resort (Tanjung Rhu Resort) while other properties are small boutiques hotels or chalets. Tanjung Rhu Resort has its own private stretch of beach while the other smaller hotels dot the main Tanjung Rhu stretch.

4. Pantai Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan

Teluk Cempedak is a recreational beach in Kuantan that is also known as Palm Beach, and while it may not be as exciting as the one in the USA, it’s definitely worth going to. There are rocky promontories facing the South China Sea along with a white sandy beach, and casuarina and pine trees adorning the coastline, which happens to be five kilometres east of Kuantan’s city centre.

The famous Hyatt Regency resort is also located along the beach, and there are several cafes — both local food and chain establishments — dotted on the coastline, so you’ll have a good stay and won’t go hungry. Additionally, visitors can enjoy various leisure activities here, such as kite-flying, strolling on the beach, and swimming. As the island is a perfect beach spot for a getaway at any time of the year, it does tend to get busy on weekends.

5. Pasir Bogak, Perak

Situated on the southwest coast of Pangkor Island, Pasir Bogak beach is one of the island’s renowned beaches. A 1.5-km stretch of white sandy beach and clear water are some of the few reasons that have visitors flocking, and such a setting makes the perfect spot if you’re looking for a romantic destination to welcome 2023. The beach is crescent-shaped and coconut palm trees line either side of the sandy stretch, shielding visitors from the midday heat.

Pasir Bogak is not famous for nothing, as the island has many activities for its visitors, from fishing and sailing to snorkelling and windsurfing. Foodies, there are plenty of open-air food stalls offering delicious and fresh seafood, satay, and other local delights.

6. Damai Beach, Sarawak

Damai Beach, located at the tip of the Santubong Peninsula, is one of the picturesque beaches dotted throughout Sarawak‘s coastline. Damai Beach is highly recommended for tourists seeking a tranquil beach that is fairly close to the lush mountainside.

The beautiful beach is ideal for visitors looking to unwind and escape the city’s hustle and bustle. It is also Sarawak’s best beach and the only one of its kind to combine a sandy beach with the lush greenery of a mountain nearby.

7. Tanjung Aru, Sabah

Tanjung Aru Beach, the most photographed beach in Sabah, offers one of the most breathtaking sunset landscapes in the entire world. This 2.3-kilometre-long beach, divided into first, second, and third beaches, is located between Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) and Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa.

A sophisticated hotel occupies the first zone with all the necessary amenities any tourist would need. The second zone will surprise guests with its abundance of restaurants and even an ice rink; while the third zone is the most peaceful and ideal for relaxing, which is also the best choice for a romantic New Year’s countdown.

8. Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu

In recent years, the Perhentian Islands (Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil) have gained even more popularity than it already has. Thousands of visitors from all over the world visit the islands each year in search of a relaxing getaway from the chaos of urban areas. Situated about 19km from the coast of Terengganu, Pulau Perhentian Besar and Kecil are renowned for their pristine beaches.

For those looking for a more lively island life scene, your best bet will be Perhentian Kecil, whereas Perhentian Besar is more suited for families with little ones. Both islands are also popular diving spots, and we recommend this as a New Year’s destination.

9. Pantai Pasir Panjang, Penang

The Pasir Panjang Beach is a secluded spot on the island of Penang, located further south of Balik Pulau, and is popular amongst the locals for picnics. It also overlooks the Malacca Strait, and up until a few years ago, it also had a humble fishing community that lived in huts surrounding the area.

What it lacks in fine and powdery sand, it makes up for with a breathtaking view of the sunset. All in all, not a bad place for that New Years’ kiss!

10. Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang

Batu Ferringhi Beach is Penang’s second most popular tourist destination after George Town. Located in the northwest part of the island, Batu Ferringhi is a perfect area to get away from the city’s heat and enjoy the cool sea breezes. It’s also home to several luxury beachfront hotels of the highest class, a lengthy stretch of restaurants and food stalls, a variety of water sports, and a bustling night market.

Since it’s the only populated sandy beach on Penang Island that faces west (or, more specifically, northwest), sunsets here are exceptionally stunning. There’s no better way to end the year than with a memorable and picturesque setting.

11. Port Dickson Beach, Negeri Sembilan

Due to its proximity to the Straits of Malacca, Port Dickson (PD) was previously a mining and commerce hub, and its coastline spans up to 18 kilometres! Since the beach in PD is public, local families love to frequent the area. So if you’re looking for something more secluded, and rightfully so since it’s New Year, then book a stay at one of the hotels as they often offer private beaches.

There are numerous activities on the beach that you can check out if you’re looking to have an exciting afternoon on New Year’s Eve; they include horse riding, banana boat rides, kayaking, parasailing, and even paintball.

12. Klebang Beach, Melaka

Pantai Klebang, about 20 minutes outside Bandar Hilir, is a famous stretch of Melaka beach known for its tasty coconut shakes and food truck vendors. Additionally, it’s the location of some significant, albeit picturesque, land reclamation. The sand hills are the end consequence of land reclamation that took place 10 years ago.

Beachfront developments were halted due to stability concerns, leaving large piles of sand between 10m to 20m high sitting idle on the land of desolation. The artificial Klebang dunes continue to entice photography enthusiasts to experiment on their blank canvas for dramatic photoshoots against the ideal location of blue skies and white dunes. They are also sought-after for bridal portraits. Mad Max kind of New Year celebration, anyone?