It wasn’t until my recent visit to Desaru Coast in Johor that I realised such a slice of heaven existed in our very own backyard. Located on the east coast of the state, this laid-back coastal suburb is only an hour’s drive away from Johor Bahru. It has become renowned for the luxurious resorts dotted along the beach, and while you should take advantage of staying at one of them, there is more to do than just chilling by the pool.

So, the next time you decide to make Desaru your vacation destination, here are other fun things to do besides tanning by the poolside.

1. Stay at a luxurious hotel

Okay, let’s not front. Desaru is THE place to go for a quiet and luxe stay, and there are plenty of incredible choices to choose from — one of them being the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas. While there are other affordable options to choose from, it’s a wise choice to pick any one that’s by the beach.

Whether you’re on a family holiday, a quiet getaway for two, or a solo trip, there is a 5-star resort to suit any kind of vacationer. What sounds better than being woken up by the sounds of the sea’s gentle breeze? Nothing!

2. Visit Desaru Ostrich Farm

One of the largest ostrich farms in Malaysia, one really should take advantage of the opportunity to check out Desaru Ostrich Farm when down on the coast. Home to over 100 ostriches, visitors can get up close and personal with these giant birds.

Take your time here to learn interesting facts that you may never know about these flightless birds, and if you want, you can even feed them. If you’re on a family vacation with little ones, this destination promises a fun and educational experience for them!

Address: Jalann Teluk Ramunia, Kampung Changi, 81600 Pengerang, Johor
Contact: +607 826 5846

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3. Sign up for adrenaline-pumping activities with Dash

Based at the Desaru public beach, where the sand is immaculate and inviting, Dash Outdoors is all about making your day at the beach even more fun with thrilling watersports. From fun banana boat rides for the kiddos (and adults) to pumping jet ski tours, there is something for everyone to turn their average day at the beach into a full-blown adventure. For a full list of all-year-round thrilling activities, click here.

Address: Desaru Public Beach, 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Contact: +6019 680 3340

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4. Have a splashin’ good time at Adventure Waterpark

While I’m a huge fan of laying by the pool and catching up on my reading, I do love a day at the waterpark too; and the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark is definitely not one to be missed out on!

Housing one of the biggest wave pools in the world that holds over four million gallons of water, this waterpark has five different zones filled with rides and slides to cater to all ages. There’s even a roller coaster that makes an entire 360º horizontal loop! Want your own private section with loved ones? Take up a cabana!

Address: 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Contact: +607 878 3800

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5. Spend time at Desaru Fruit Farm

Eat fruits to your heart’s content at the Desaru Fruit Farm! And did you know this 180-acre fruit wonderland was once named ‘Best Agrotourism Site in Malaysia’ back in 2006? Think of all the tropical fruits like mangosteen, dragon fruit, durians, guavas, jackfruits, and more that you can feast on! When the fruit is in season, there’s even a durian buffet available. I suggest jumping on an ATV tour of this orchard to learn more about what they do!

Address: 92, 82200 Kota Tinggi, Johor
Contact: +6013 720 8686

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6. Feast on fresh seafood

Seafood lovers, it’s time to indulge in the freshest seafood. Being a coastal town with plenty of fishing villages, it comes as no surprise that the seafood options in Desaru are aplenty, and all so affordable too.

Drive to any one of the fishing villages nearby, where you can choose from a plethora of seafood restaurants. If you feel like upscaling the experience, check out Sea.Fire.Salt at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, where grilled seafood (and more) awaits!