The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide: Malaysia’s Secret Paradise

The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide: Malaysia’s Secret Paradise

The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide has been written by Laura Peters and edited by the website editor. 

Imagine picture perfect white sandy beaches, clear blue water, colorful coral reef, hills that are covered with rainforest and spectacular viewpoints – it all sounds too good to be true? Welcome to the Perhentian archipelago – Malaysia’s lesser known paradise island group.

If you’re an island-lover, the Perhentian Islands are not to be missed. If you’re visiting Malaysia (or just South East Asia in general) then do yourself a favor, give yourself a break from the bustling Kuala Lumpur. Take a few days to explore the turquoise water and white sand beaches of these islands make for a perfect holiday getaway. You wouldn’t want to leave!

Ready to know more? First, let us introduce Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands to you.

What and Where are The Perhentian Islands?

The Perhentian Islands lie between Northeast Malaysia and Thailand. They have everything it takes to be called a tropical paradise. In today’s age of over tourism and Instagram led hectic travel madness, these islands will kind of give you a sense of peace that not a lot of so called peaceful destinations offer.

Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

Historically, The Perhentian Islands were a stopping point for traders that traveled between Bangkok and Malaysia. In today’s age, they are a part of Pulau Redang National Marine Park and are protected. They are in the state of Terengganu in Malaysia.

 

The Perhentian Islands Map

Out of all the Perhentian Islands, two of them are the main ones:

  • Big Perhentian (Pulau Perhentian Besar) – Family friendly
  • Small Perhentian (Pulau Perhentian Kecil) – Backpacker friendly

We will talk more about these two islands in detail one of the next sections.

Apart from the main two islands, there are five other uninhabited islands which you will probabaly visit if you go diving or snorkeling as mentioned in the things to do on the Perhentian Islands section.

Are The Perhentian Islands Worth Visiting?

Keranji Beach, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

If you love exploring off-the-beaten-path places, then the Perhentian Islands are definitely worth visiting. We loved that these islands attracted far fewer tourists than other Malaysian islands like Langkawi and Penang.

We also found that these islands had plenty of activities for any type of traveler. With some of the best coral reefs in the country and friendly locals, we highly suggest adding the Perhentian Islands to your bucket list.

How To Get To The Perhentian Islands

Getting to Perhentian Islands – Boat – by Omar Elsharawy on Unsplash

Getting to the Perhentian Islands is an adventure in itself. Unlike Langkawi and other Malaysian islands, the Perhentian Islands are very secluded and offer very limited transportation options. But aren’t the most amazing places are? 

To start, you’ll need to get from Kuala Lumpur (or your starting destination) to Kota Bahru or Kuala Terengganu. Both of these locations have direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, so it isn’t too inconvenient.

Note: You can also fly into Redang and hire a boat from Redang to the Perhentian Islands, but it is typically a longer journey.

If you fly into Kota Bahru, take a taxi from the airport to the Kuala Besut Jetty. From the jetty, take a boat over to the islands. You’ll tell your boat driver where you want to be let off and they do a great job of accommodating you.

This is by far the easiest way to get to the islands and it’s still relatively cheap, but keep in mind that you’ll want to coordinate your flight so that you can catch a boat across the ocean. The boats only run during certain times of the day.

Another easy way to get to the Perhentian Islands is by flying into Kuala Terengganu. From the airport in Kuala Terengganu, take a taxi to the Kuala Besut Jetty. That’s where you’ll take a boat over to the Perhentian Islands.

Perhentian Besar OR Perhentian Kecil – which one is for you?

As mentioned before, there are two main islands on the Perhentian Island group. Wondering if you should stay on one of them or both? If just one then which one?

Pulau Besar (Big Perhentian)

Perhentian Besar, Malaysia

Pulau Besar is more expensive in terms of accommodation. It has decent resorts and attracts families and couples. The island has many bays that offer decent snorkeling opportunities.

Pulau Kecil (Small Perhentian)

Pulau Perhentian Kecil is backpacker friendly. A lot of restaurants and places to stay are on the Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil. Coral Bay offers decent sunset views. As compared to Besar, Kecil attracts more visitors.

Coral Bay Jetty. Kecil

Perhentian Islands Things to do + Activities

The paradise of the Perhentian Islands is best for travelers looking to enjoy a beach holiday. There are Perhentian islands activities whether you like adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both; you can find it on the islands. To make your trip to the Perhentian Islands as simple and enjoyable as possible, use our guide to create the ultimate itinerary.

Most travelers spend their time in the ocean or on the beach, but you can also find adventures inland as well. Here are the 13 best things to do in the Perhentian Islands:

1) Diving in the Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Island Diving experience by Nazarizal Mohammad on Unsplash

Diving in the Perhentian Islands is a true adventure. The marine life and coral reefs found here are incredible.

As one of the best things to do in the Perhentian Islands, it’s safe to say that these islands boast some of the most colorful diving sites in the world. You will find many dive shops on the Long Beach (Big Island) or the Coral Bay (small island). Here are a few of the diving spots that you cannot miss during your trip:

Tokong Laut

Divers of all experience levels should start their dive tour at Tokong Laut, one of the best dive sites in the Perhentian Islands.

Frequently called Temple of The Sea, Tokong Laut has an amazingly diverse ecosystem. It is home to various species, including neon-colored parrotfish. 

Tokong Laut is a diving staple for the Perhentian Islands, so regardless of which company you choose to dive with, you will likely visit this location.

Sugar Wreck

Another awesome dive site of the Perhentian Islands is a sunken shipwreck off Pulau Perhentian Kecil. The Sugar Wreck is a dive spot that will make you feel like you’re living in history.

During your dive, keep your eyes peeled for some Longnose Hawkfish, Cuttlefish, and Porcupinefish (our personal favorite). In our opinion, the Perhentian Islands had some of the most unique marine life we have ever seen.

Shark Point

We have been swimming with blacktip reef sharks all around the world, but it never ceases to amaze us. And you can do the same at Shark Point, another great dive site of the Perhentian Islands.

Contrary to popular belief, not all shark species are dangerous. The blacktip reef sharks are docile compared to their tiger and great white brothers and sisters. So, although these sharks are harmless, it is still an awesome feeling to be diving with sharks.

Note: We recommend diving with a company that has a lot of knowledge about the Malaysian Islands and surrounding reefs. Not only will you learn about the ocean’s biodiversity, but your guides will help you find the best marine life, too.

2) Enjoy the Beaches of the Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Islands Beaches – Malaysia

As one of the most beautiful archipelagos in Malaysia, you have to set aside time to explore the many pristine beaches. Whether you want to get a suntan, go snorkeling, or just walk along the shoreline, you’ll fall in love with the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Perhentian Islands.

As there are many beaches on the Perhentian Islands, we recommend adding only the best beaches to your Malaysia itinerary. Here are the three beaches you must visit:

Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil

Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil

Long Beach is located on the smaller island of Perhentian Kecil. This little piece of paradise has something for everyone, from fun dives to relaxing days spent reading by the water. Stretching along the coast for nearly half of a mile, Long Beach has plenty of restaurants, bars, resorts, and ocean excursion companies.

Note: Although Long Beach is beautiful and may seem like the perfect place to swim, locals know that the riptides here can be deadly. Ask a local before swimming because, during some seasons, the riptides are extremely dangerous. We were there in April and three people nearly drowned because they decided to swim while on Long Beach.

Turtle Beach on Perhentian Besar

If you’re spending time on the larger island, Perhentian Besar, you have to make a stop at Turtle Beach. While visiting other islands in the surrounding area, we decided to stop at this beach for a break.

Although there aren’t any coral reefs to explore, it makes it easier to go into deeper waters without worrying about cutting up your feet.

Keranji Beach on Perhentian Kecil

Keranji Beach Bar, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

By far our favorite beach on the Perhentian Islands was Keranji Beach, located on the small island of Perhentian Kecil. This beach is often overlooked and that’s why we like it so much. With fewer tourists, you’re able to relax and have the beach all to yourself (most of the time).

Keranji Beach Huts, Perhentian Islands

There is also a hammock on this beach that is available for anyone to use. Claim the hammock for an hour for a quick nap or to watch the sun dip below the horizon at night.

 

3) Hike to the Viewpoints

While most travelers to the Perhentian Islands spend their time on the beach or in the ocean, we recommend setting aside some time to explore inland as well.

To get you started on a few hikes on the islands, here are our two favorites:

Perhentian Loop

The Perhentian Loop Trail will lead you to some of the best locations and viewpoints on the big island (Perhentian Besar). This 3-mile hike is easy enough for people of all fitness levels, but with very little shade to cover the trail, you’ll want to head to the beach when you’re done for a refreshing swim in the ocean.

I recommend completing this hike in the early morning to avoid the hottest part of the day, but if you decide to hike in the afternoon, be sure to bring water and some extra cash for a mid-hike snack and drink on the beach.

The Windmill

The Windmill Hiking Trail, Perhentian Islands

The Windmill Trek can be found on the smaller Perhentian Island (Perhentian Kecil). This trail brings hikers to the highest point on the island and offers endless scenic views in every direction.

During your hike, you’ll be walking along a washed-out dirt road and similar to the Perhentian Loop Trail, you’ll be exposed to the sun along much of the trail.

If you decide to go hiking while visiting the Perhentian Islands, pack a few bottles of water and bring your sunscreen. You’ll thank me later!

4) Island Hopping to the smaller Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Island hopping by Faizah Othman on Unsplash

Apart from the two main Perhentian Islands (Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil) there are several others that you should add to your list of things to do. Here are a few of the best islands to visit while island hopping in the Perhentian Islands:

Pulau Tokong Kemudi

Sitting just north of Perhentian Kecil is Pulau Tokong Kemudi, a magical island perfect for snorkeling, diving, and other water adventures.

Hire a boat to bring you across the South China Sea to this secluded island; it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, but if you’re traveling on a budget, find a few friends to go with you from your resort or hostel. This way, you can split the cost.

Redang Island

Redang Island, the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia by Aleksandra Khoroshykh on Unsplash

Redang Island is a bit more well-known among travelers than the Perhentian Islands, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring it while island hopping.

This island is south of Perhentian Besar and offers some unique snorkeling opportunities. With its vibrant coral reefs and tropical fish, I strongly suggest bringing your snorkeling gear during this excursion.

5) Perhentian Islands Snorkeling

Perhentian Islands Marine Life

Divers will be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful location for underwater exploration. The Perhentian Islands boast one of Asia’s most impressive barrier reefs, which houses hundreds of different species, and it would be a shame not to explore them.

But if you don’t have your PADI certification or you aren’t too keen on scuba diving, you can’t miss out on snorkeling around the Perhentian Islands.

There are plenty of dive shops that rent snorkeling gear for a reasonable price, but I recommend asking your accommodation if they supply such gear first. Our hosts had hoards of great snorkel gear, so we were able to go snorkeling for free.

6) Watch the Sunset on the Perhentian Islands

View from the Crocodile Rock Villas, the Perhentian Islands

The sunsets in the Perhentian Islands are majestic. To start, you’ll be surrounded by the brightest aquamarine water you’ll ever see. As the sun begins to set, watch its reflection in the water and the brilliant colors it radiates.

To make your night even better, watch the sunset from a beach bar with a fruity cocktail or an ice-cold beer.

We loved doing this each night from the comfort of our own nature resort, Crocodile Rock Villas. With an attached restaurant that serves some of the best seafood and Malaysian beers, you may want to make this an evening routine.

7) Make the Most of the Happy Hour

Before the big sunset show, you might be looking for a way to unwind after a long day of hiking, snorkeling, and swimming. And if that’s the case, sit back and relax at one of the many beach bars on either of the Perhentian Islands.

For expansive sea views, we suggest grabbing an affordable happy hour drink at Keranji Beach Bar, located on our favorite beach that shares the same name.

A few other notable beach bars on Perhentian Kecil include El Paraiso Resto Bar and Chillout Cafe.

But, if you’re staying on the bigger island, Perhentian Besar, Jim’s Bar is perfect for classic cocktails and barbequed fresh seafood. 

8) Perhentian Islands Kayaking

There are many ways to explore the Perhentian Islands, but our favorite mode of transportation was by kayak. One of our favorite things about kayaking around these islands is that you get to see them in a whole new light.

With each twist and turn, different views emerge, including hidden coves with beautiful turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and towering limestone cliffs jutting out from lush green mountainsides.

The best way to add a kayaking tour to your itinerary is by renting a kayak from one of the popular beaches like Long Beach, Turtle Beach, or Coral Bay. Prices should be relatively affordable, so make sure to pay for an extended rental package.

But, if you don’t feel comfortable kayaking around the island on your own, simply join a popular snorkeling tour.

9) Camping On The Beach

One of the coolest things to do on the Perhentian Islands is to camp on the beach. The best part about camping on Perhentian Islands is that you are able to experience everything a beach has without ever having to leave. From rolling waves and crashing surf, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the sounds one wouldn’t normally hear in a resort or hotel room.

To experience a night sleeping on one of the beaches of the Perhentian Islands, visit Long Beach on the small island, Perhentian Kecil.

Along this beach, you’ll find a nice campground that comes equipped with tents. We found this to be really helpful as we didn’t want to haul our camping gear around with us.

If you are looking for other campgrounds on the Perhentian Islands, check out Orang Hutan Camping on the westside of Perhentian Kecil, or Perhentian Cabana along the south shore of Perhentian Besar.

10) Watch the Fire Shows

It’s very rare to find an island in Southeast Asia that doesn’t host weekly or nightly fire shows. Whether you’re exploring the Thai islands, the Filipino islands, or the Indonesian islands, you’re bound to find a fire show at one of the nearest beaches.

Luckily, the Perhentian Islands are no different, which means that fire shows are one of the best things to do and experience while visiting.

Above all, the best place to watch a fire show on the Perhentian Islands is on Long Beach. Make your way to beach bars after the sun has set and wait for the coveted fire show.

11) Visit The Turtle Sanctuary

Turtle Sanctuary Perhential Islands – by qianyu pan on Unsplash

In 2015, an environmentally conscious group of adventurers established the Perhentian Turtle Project to advocate for and protect sea turtle populations in Malaysia. Through a collaborative effort between environmental activists and officials from the Fisheries Ministry and Marine Parks Division (MPD), this project is able to respond quickly when stranded turtles are reported on beaches.

To make your stay on the Perhentian Islands as memorable as possible, consider volunteering for this amazing project. Not only will you get to enjoy the sights of an island paradise, but you’ll be able to contribute and give back to nature.

You can sign up to volunteer with the Perhentian Turtle Project by visiting their website.

12) Day Trip To Terengganu Marine Park

Turtles – Terengganu Marine Park by Nazarizal Mohammad on Unsplash

For an additional adventure during your island hopping day trip, I recommend stopping at Terengganu Marine Park. Just off the coast of Redang Island, Terengganu Marine Park is just like its famous neighbor and has its own set of exciting underwater features to explore.

Hire a boat from Coral Bay, Long Beach, or Perhentian Besar and spend the day on some of the best beaches in Malaysia. Although we found more snorkeling opportunities in Perhentian Kecil, Terengganu Marine Park made up for it with beautiful views.

If you decide to add Terengganu Marine Park to your Perhentian Islands itinerary, bring your snorkeling gear anyway. This marine park may be lacking in coral reefs, but they still have some of the most fascinating fish.

13) Try The Local Food

Fresh Fish at Crocodile Rock Bistro, Perhentian Islands

The best way to get a good feel of the culture in any destination is to try the food. And the Perhentian Islands aren’t any different.

The Perhentian Islands aren’t the most accessible islands in the world, which means that the islands provide for themselves as often as possible. Fish and other seafood are a staple of any meal in the Perhentian Islands and you’ll find that it is a lot fresher here than nearly anywhere else in the world.

For the fresh catch of the day, I recommend going to Crocodile Rock Bistro on the small island of Perhentian Kecil. And for the most delicious giant shrimp, visit Keranji Beach Cafe’.

On the big island of Perhentian Besar, check out Ocean Boys Cafe for classic barbeque and seafood. Hang around for a while after dinner for an impressive fire show.

 

Where To Stay In The Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands aren’t very big islands, so accommodation options are limited. But I was impressed to see a wide variety of different types of accommodation.

There were campsites, luxury resorts, homestays, hostels, and more. Whatever your budget, the Perhentian Islands could serve you.

Here are a few different accommodation options on the Perhentian Islands that you should consider for your holiday:

Crocodile Rock Villas

View from the Crocodile Rock Villas, the Perhentian Islands

We chose to stay in the Crocodile Rock Villas because it seemed that this nature resort was well-equipped. Since we work online, it was nice to have a wifi connection and it’s always a good trip when the bed is comfortable.

The Crocodile Rock Villas checked all the boxes and the owners, Erika and Atord are some of the most welcoming people you’ll meet.

Note: If you are getting to the Kuala Besut Jetty later in the evening and the boats are no longer running, reach out to Erika and ask if she can set up a private transfer. That way, you don’t have to spend the night on the mainland before heading over to the islands.

Bubu Resort

It’s hard to visit Perhentian Kecil and not notice Bubu Resort. On the far end of Long Beach, Bubu Resort sits in all of its glory, capturing the most picturesque view of the islands.

For an upscale stay, Bubu Resort has it all from direct beach access to spa services to an onsite bar and restaurant. It’s safe to say that Bubu Resort will take care of all of your problems so that you can fully enjoy your stay on the Perhentian Islands.

Long Beach Camp

For the most unique accommodation option in the Perhentian Islands, check out Long Beach Camp. As mentioned before, this is one of the best things to do on the islands. 

Stay on the beach for a late-night fire show before retreating back to camp. Listen for the waves crashing into the beach; this sound will lull you to sleep. And as morning approaches, I recommend getting up early to watch the sunrise and to explore the shoreline before other travelers get up.

 

How To Get Around The Perhentian Islands

Coral Bay, Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands have no paved roads nor any motorized vehicles. To get around the Perhentian Islands, you can choose to walk or to take water taxis.

We chose to walk everywhere we went while visiting the Perhentian Islands and although some of the destinations are a bit far from each other, the unbelievable scenery kept us occupied.

Taking a water taxi is likely the quickest way to get around the Perhentian Islands. Water taxis stop at many of the beaches around the islands, so I recommend asking your accommodation host where the closest water taxi stop is located.

 

Best Time To Visit The Perhentian Islands

The lovely Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands experience two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season lasts from November to March and during this time, many restaurants and resorts shut down.

We recommend visiting the Perhentian Islands when it is sunny and dry so that you can maximize your time on the beach or in the ocean. You’ll get the best weather from mid-March to early November. But keep in mind, the dry season will also bring in more tourists and higher resort prices.


Safety On The Perhentian Islands

Overall, Malaysia is a safe country and the Perhentian Islands are no different. The crime rate is very low but always take normal safety precautions.

On the other hand, the Perhentian Islands do pose some safety concerns. Long Beach, one of the most popular spots on the islands, can be extremely dangerous during certain times of the year.

With strong currents and riptides, this beach has claimed many lives over the years. To stay safe, always check with your host before swimming in the ocean at Long Beach. In addition, pay attention to any signs on the beach warning of danger. Take these signs seriously.

The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia – Paradise island group with pristine beaches and rain forest

Conclusion

The Perhentian Islands are the perfect location for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur or more popular island destinations. If you’re ready for some rest, relaxation, and beautiful turquoise bays, book your flight to the Perhentian Islands.

This is one of the most secluded and off-the-beaten-path island paradises in Malaysia that will leave you feeling completely refreshed. We hope you enjoy your time on the Perhentian Islands as much as we did.

About the Writer

Laura Peters

I’m Laura and I’m the storyteller behind Mike & Laura Travel. With adventurous spirits and a strong work ethic, we’ve been able to maintain this full-time nomadic lifestyle since 2018. Our stories provide insight into how you can also make your “dream life” a reality through remote work and determination.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Visiting Jasmund National Park on Rugen Island: Germany’s Baltic Coast

Visiting Jasmund National Park on Rugen Island: Germany’s Baltic Coast

Jasmund National Park is on Reugen Island, which is the biggest island in Germany. It is on Germany’s Baltic Coast in Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns state. In Germany, the Baltic Sea is called the Ostsee and Reugen Island is called Insel Rügen.

Having lived in Germany for a while, I had no idea about this island. Even when talking about Germany’s beaches, most of the people mention Nordsee – or the North Sea. Not many people end up visiting Rügen Island, but those who do absolutely love it.

Introducing Jasmund National Park and the Chalk Cliffs

Jasmund National Park is famous for its dramatically high chalk cliffs. The chalk cliffs go as high as 160 meters above the sea level. The chalk cliffs are along the coast, so the chalk coast runs from Sassnitz via Lohme to Glowe. There is also a beech forest behind the cliffs. 

Baltic Sea Coast in Jasmund National Park on Rugen Island

Baltic Sea Coast in Jasmund National Park on Rugen Island

Reugen Island is pretty big and there’s a lot more to see and do here apart from just Jasmund National Park. This post however only focuses on the smallest national park of Germany – Jasmund National Park.

One of the Chalk Cliffs of Jasmund National Park along the Baltic Coast, Germany

One of the Chalk Cliffs of Jasmund National Park along the Baltic Coast, Germany

The chalk cliffs of Jasmund National park are eroding continuously. Wissower Klinken, one of the most beautiful parts of Jasmund National Park collapsed in 2005 because of a landslide. Chalk being a porous and soft sedimentary carbonate rock, can not withstand aggressive storms. [/box]

How to Reach Jasmund National Park

Wild Poppy field on Rugen Island and a car with a caravan in the background

Wild Poppy field on Rugen Island and a car with a caravan in the background

The easiest way to read Jasmund National Park is by road. Drive your own car or rent one to reach here. Here’s a search engine for cars where you can find cheap rentals. We actually did this trip on our camper-van – check out these tips for Van Life Europe. Now you must be thinking how is that possible if Jasmund National Park is on an island, no? Well, there is a bridge that connects Reugen Island with mainland Germany. 

In order to reach Jasmund National Park by road, you have to drive to Stralsund town and from there drive over Germany’s longest bridge, called the Rügenbrücke. After entering the island, you have to follow the signs to Jasmund National Park – it is that easy. The national park is on the North East of the island.

If you’re looking for a way to reach Rugen Island by train, then please note that the journey isn’t exactly easy or cheap. You have to first reach the closest town Stralsund and from there catch a train to Sassnitz. You can also take a train to Ostseebad Binz, but that is a little outside Jasmund National Park but on the Rugen island.

The thing is, if you’re traveling anywhere in Germany, it is much easier if you drive. The trains are expensive and sometimes you have to change many. Trains make sense when you’re heading to a big city like Berlin / Hamburg / Frankfurt, etc. Check out our post about 5 amazing short road trips in Germany.

What to do in Jasmund National Park

1) See Königsstuhl (the King’s Chair)

The King’s Chair or Königsstuhl in Jasmund National Park

The King’s Chair or Königsstuhl in Jasmund National Park

At 118 meters above the sea level, Königsstuhl is one of the highest chalk cliffs in Jasmund National Park. Königsstuhl means “King’s Chair”. This spot is the most famous point of the entire national park. 

Once you enter the Königsstuhl National Park Centre, you can climb the narrow granite staircase to a flat area that’s almost the top of the cliff. From here, you can get an amazing view of the Baltic Sea.

There is also a small museum inside that provides information about Jasmund National Park’s history, flora, and fauna. Entering Jasmund National Park is free but if you want to go inside Königsstuhl National Park Centre, you will have to pay a small fee. 

You can also see the Königsstuhl from the water. Some boat tours can take you along the chalk coast and you can see the Königsstuhl from another perspective.

View of the Königsstuhl from the Baltic Sea

View of the Königsstuhl from the Baltic Sea

Honestly, if your motive is just to see and admire the King’s Chair cliff, I’d recommend you skip entering the Königsstuhl National Park Centre. You can’t see the Königsstuhl from there. For a free and faster option, see the next point.

Suggested: Durmitor National Park in Montenegro – A detailed travel guide

2) Victoria-Sicht (Victoria Viewpoint)

Admiring the view from Victoria-Sicht in Jasmund National Park

Admiring the view from Victoria-Sicht in Jasmund National Park

When you enter the Königsstuhl National Park Centre, you can’t really see the Königsstuhl because you’re on top of it. However, the best spot to see the Königsstuhl is Victoria-Sicht. 

Victoria-Sicht translates to Victoria’s view or Victoria viewpoint, is right next to the Königsstuhl. You can choose not to enter the Königsstuhl National Park Centre but head to the Victoria-Sicht directly to see the amazing view. Even the Lonely Planet says that this is the best spot to see Königsstuhl.

If you’re short on time (or money), I’d recommend you avoid going inside the Königsstuhl National Park Centre but head to Victoria-Sicht instead. There are many benches where you can sit and relax. 

Königsstuhl or the King’s Chair in Jasmund National Park

Königsstuhl or the King’s Chair in Jasmund National Park

The viewing platform on Victoria-Sicht is pretty small. At one time just one person can stand and look. You can also spot the Königsstuhl viewing deck from Victoria-Sicht.

In case you want to click photos or create a video, then you should come here early. I remember I was here around midday and I stood on the viewing platform and clicked barely just five photos. When I turned around, I noticed there was actually a queue behind me. I couldn’t, of course, be shameless and hog this spot and let everyone else wait. 

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3) Experience the Beech Forest

Sitting in the forest in Jasmund National Park

Sitting in the forest in Jasmund National Park

Jasmund Park’s chalk cliffs get all the attention but the Beech forest should not be overlooked. This particular forest is centuries old and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The forest inside Jasmund National Park has many trails, which can be explored by walking or cycling. We were here with our 7 month old baby so we decided to walk with her on the pram.

The Beech Forest in Jasmund National Park

The Beech Forest in Jasmund National Park

As you walk inside the forest, you will cross ponds and small lakes. You will also notice several patches of wildflowers, especially wild poppies. Of course, this totally depends on the season. We visited in the month of June.

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4) Find a Wildflower or a Poppy Field

Wild Poppy field in Jasmund National Park, Germany

Wild Poppy field in Jasmund National Park, Germany

One of the first things that amazed us about Jasmund National Park was the abundance of wildflowers, especially poppies. We saw many poppy fields that looked stunning from a distance, like a sea of blood (eww but looked fab).

If you love photographing flower fields, then you will love these poppy fields. I have seen many flower fields but I will never forget the stunning sight of red poppy fields

5) Herthasee (Hertha Lake) and Herthaburg

View from the Herthaburg over the Herthasee in Jasmund National Park on Rügen Island

View from the Herthaburg over the Herthasee in Jasmund National Park on Rügen Island by Lapplaender – [cc-by-sa-2.0-de] via Wikimedia Commons

Herthasee is not very far from the Königsstuhl and we crossed it on our way back to Kruger Nature Camp from Victoria’s view. It is 170 meters long and 140 meters wide. This lake also has a Slavic hill fort – Herthaburg which was inhabited between 8th and 12th century.

I wasn’t very impressed with this lake and I think it is avoidable if you don’t have enough time. Of course in our case, if we had another few days and if our little baby wasn’t restless at this point, maybe we would have loved the Herthasee.

 

6) Waterfall at Kieler Shore

It is said that the waterfall at Kieler Bach is the biggest one in the entire Mecklenburg Vorpommerns state. We did not visit this waterfall but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. This point is on this list so that you are aware of this waterfall’s existence and you can include it in your itinerary.

 

7) Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Sicht

The view from Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Sicht in Jasmund National Park

The view from Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Sicht in Jasmund National Park – CC0 by micpicee via Pixabay

The Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Sicht or viewpoint can be reached by getting on the path that connects Sassnitz with the Königsstuhl. You will also see the remains of Wissower Klinken on this path. 

The Ernst-Moritz-Arndt viewpoint is towards the south of Jasmund National Park. I wasn’t able to find this spot on Google Maps but you will see it on local maps. You can find more information about this viewpoint here

The Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Sicht or viewpoint in Jasmund National Park

The Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Sicht or viewpoint in Jasmund National Park

Where to Stay in Jasmund National Park

Krüger Naturecamping 

Kruger Naturecamping in Jasmund National Park

Kruger Naturecamping in Jasmund National Park

If you’re visiting Jasmund National Park on your camper van or car, then you should definitely book a spot in Krüger Naturcamping (or Kreuger Nature Camping in English). This place is HUGE with really big individual camping / van parking per van. Perhaps the biggest I have ever seen. Exactly as the name suggests, you’re in the middle of nature in Krüger Naturecamping. 

Early morning deer sighting in Jasmund National Park - do you see the antlers?

Early morning deer sighting in Jasmund National Park – do you see the antlers?

If you’re staying in Krüger, then you’re not far from Königsstuhl. You don’t even have to get out of the camping area to go there. There is a path that goes from the inside of Krüger Naturecamping that will take you to the Königsstuhl and Victoria-Sicht.

Krüger has a restaurant, kitchen area, play area of children and really good toilets that are new. I did not use the restaurant because it was closed when we were there. 

Red Sky in Jasmund National Park near Krugar Nature Camping

Red Sky in Jasmund National Park near Krugar Nature Camping

There is a good sunset spot that’s right outside Krüger Naturecamping. In order to find it, you just have to get out of the camping area and move on the right side. There’s a very small hill with a bench where you can sit. This bench directly faces west, so it is a perfect spot for sunset.

Bench near Krugar Nature Camping in Jasmund National Park - ideal for sunsets

Bench near Krugar Nature Camping in Jasmund National Park – ideal for sunsets

Click here to read reviews about Krugar Naturecamping on Tripadvisor

Not interested in camping areas? No worries. Below are some more places inside Jasmund National Park. I haven’t stayed in these places personally but I have handpicked them for you based on the word of mouth and reviews by other travelers:

Have you ever visited Germany’s Baltic Coast?

We’d love your recommendations of other places to visit on Germany’s Baltic Coast. Leave a comment below and let us know.

5 Amazing Places for Yoga in Ubud, Bali

5 Amazing Places for Yoga in Ubud, Bali

Ubud is the heart of Bali, the island of Gods. It is green, fresh and magical. Most of Bali’s rice fields are in Ubud and because of this it is sometimes also called “the Lungs of Bali”.

Ubud has long been known as the ‘Yoga paradise’ in Southeast Asia. The yoga way of life is deeply entrenched in the Balinese culture. Yoga studios are known as ‘Shala’, which means home in Sanskrit. For the yogis, these are the perfect places to rest your body and mind.

If you’re heading to Bali for Yoga, we have handpicked a few amazing Yoga retreats and studios for you. Also, check out these amazing Yoga retreats in Bali that aren’t just limited to Ubud.

Top Places for Yoga in Ubud, Bali

The Yoga Barn

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📅 CLASSES EVERYDAY👌 Reduced Class Hours⠀ Monday 24 DEC 🎈 Christmas Eve | Classes start as usual with last class starting at 4pm. We close at 6pm. ⠀ .⠀ 🎄 Christmas Day⠀ 🌺 Gulungang⠀ 🎉 New Years⠀ .⠀ Holidays are about feeling good and setting yourself up for new beginnings. So please see our special holiday open and close times for yoga classes, Garden Kafe, Juice Bar and Wellness and Healing hours🙏🏽⠀ .⠀ 25 DEC 🎁 Christmas Day | Classes start as usual with last class starting at 4pm. We close at 6pm. ⠀ 26 DEC 🌺 Galungan Day – A beautiful Balinese holiday. The Yoga Barn will open in the afternoon with the first class starting at 2pm.⠀ 31 DEC 🎉 New Years Eve | Classes start as usual with last class starting at 4pm. We close at 6pm.⠀ .⠀ 1 JAN ❤️ New Years Day⠀ Special Donation Classes for AYO! Kita Bicara HIVAIDS.⠀ .⠀ 🧘🏽‍♂️8am to 9:30am | @tanyakapsyoga Pranayama & Hatha Yoga⠀ 🧘🏽‍♂️9am to 10:30am | @teodoyogaguitar Vinyasa Flow⠀ 🧘🏽‍♂️11am to 12:30am | @levi.banner Shamamic Breathwork⠀ .⠀ It will be an Indonesian Public Holiday so all Yoga Barn facilities will be closed with the exception of the Lower Reception in our main Nyoman & Ketut studios off the amphitheater deck. Volunteer staff will help teachers with class registration and donation collection. Arrive 30 mins and find your way to Lower Reception to register. Spaces are limited for visitor comfort.⠀ . 📱Class times are also available on our APP

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The Yoga Barn is the most popular and the largest yoga studio in Ubud. It is conveniently located in central Ubud. Also, it provides much more than an ordinary studio. Other than its seven yoga studios, they have guest accommodation, healthy restaurant, juice bar, and treatment room. You can be sure to find the class suitable for you since they have a huge variety of 15 yoga and meditation classes available.

 

Radiantly Alive

 

 

Radiantly Alive is located in central Ubud as well. They have three studios where they offer a variety of very interesting practices and workshops, including arm balance, sky yoga flow, and roll and release (self-massage using balls). The good place to try all different types of yoga.
 

Ubud Yoga House

 

 

If you prefer a small class and a more personalized experience, then Ubud Yoga House is ideal. It is perfect beginners yogis as this small studio is much friendlier and more relaxed compared to the other studios since teachers can attend to everyone. The yoga studio also has a very good view.

 

Taksu Yoga

 

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Meet Indra, your new Yoga Instructor. . Indra will start this Tuesday, May 22nd and join our current Team of Indonesian Yoga Instructors Astri, Nina and Agung. . Indra's attitude is simple: to reach depth, one does not have to travel far. We already have all the solutions and improvements we seek, but we overlook them because we make ourselves believe that they have to be beyond our reach. . Indra's Yoga poses do not challenge one's limit – they invite one to explore one's self. In his classes, you do less but get more results. . At Taksu, Indra will focus on teaching a class known as "Nuad Boran" in Thai. . This class invites participants to pair up with one another to take turns giving and receiving the massage. . The giver will guide the receiver of the massage into Yoga postures and work on his/her energy lines and pressure points, alleviating the latter’s muscular tension and improving the body’s circulation. . The receiver, whilst laying in relaxation, will achieve Yogic flexibility without doing anything, hence its other name – the lazy man’s Yoga. . Join us each Tuesday from 4.00pm till 5.30pm. Come 15min prior to the class and enrol our Spa Reception. . Drop-in price: Rp 120,000. . Class Cards: 3 classes – Rp 300.000 5 classes – RP 475.000 10 classes – Rp 900.000 15 classes – Rp 1.150.000 20 classes – Rp 1.400.000 . . . . . #yogalover #myyogalife #yogaflow #practicedaily #yogalifestyle #feeltheyogahigh #yogaforlife #yogacommunity #yogatime #yogaclass #yogaforeveryone #healthylifestyle #yogavibes #yogaforeverybody #spreadtheyogalove #yogabali #yogainbali #justbreathe #ubudyoga #mindbodyspirit #liveinspired #lookwithin #ubudbali #ubudlife #ubudhood #thebalibible #balibible #balidaily #thebaliguru #baliadvisor

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Taksu Yoga is located in a jungle temple far away from the traffic noise, all the crowd and souvenir shops. The classes here are very small and personalised as well. It is a very quiet environment that is just what is needed for yoga. They have health workshops, restaurants and spa as well. You just take a whole day and relax here!

 

Intuitive Flow

 

 

This studio is located on the Penestanan Kaja hill, overlooking the Balinese jungle and the volcanic peaks. The view is stunning and it gives off a peaceful and tranquil vibe, that is exactly what is needed for the perfect yoga session. You can discover the unique consciousness-based Yoga Pranala here as well. If you want to avoid the crowd, here would be a better choice.

 

Where to stay in Ubud

After a good yoga workout, we all want to have some time to relax, appreciate the moment, have a nice massage or take a refreshing deep in the pool. There are plenty of Ubud villas where you can enjoy these all together. Guess what? Many villas in Ubud have a yoga area or a large garden for your practice. Check them out below for your inspiration.
 

Villa Kelusa

 

This villa has a huge beautiful garden and two infinity pools with sunbeds provided just beside them. The living and dining space is spacious and comfortable. You can also enjoy the stunning views of the rice fields, jungle and mountains. There are also villa staffs that are very friendly and are willing to help with any you need.

 

Shamballa Moon

 

A romantic getaway for two would be best here. Many couples were here for their honeymoon. The villa has a great view of the Wos River Valley and Mount Agung. Similarly, there is a nice private pool. Very relaxing and luxurious stay.

 

Guide to Ubud Rice Fields [and Around]- the Famous Rice Terraces in Bali, Indonesia

Guide to Ubud Rice Fields [and Around]- the Famous Rice Terraces in Bali, Indonesia

Travelers flock to Bali by the millions, it seems. The island is frequented by tourists at all times of the year, and it’s easy to see why – the tiny area packs in a huge amount of natural beauty and unique culture, enough to keep even the most fatigued traveler entertained for days. 

One of the quieter towns of Bali is Ubud. It is in the middle part of the island and is surrounded by the forest. Ubud is an absolute must-do on most people’s Bali itinerary, and with the range of attractions in the area it’s easy to see why.

Ubud is pure bliss. It is the heart of Bali’s culture and the lungs of the island of Gods. Ubud is the land of spiritual awakenings as per Lonely Planet.

Villages of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Villages of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

From beautiful temples, towering volcanoes, traditional shows, delicious eateries and of course, rice terraces – there’s so much here to enjoy. Yes, there is a lot to do here but the rice fields in Ubud steal all the limelight (and for all the right reasons)!

Information about Rice Fields in Ubud, Bali

Arrival into Ubud can be rather daunting, and it’s difficult to imagine that beautiful rice terraces are just around the corner.

Suggested: 10 Instagram Worthy spots in Bali that are Unbelievably Spectacular 

The crazy traffic and hoards of people everywhere make it near impossible to picture a calm scene of green grass and trees where rice is grown. But they are definitely there – if you know where to find them! We’re going to look at some of the best Ubud rice fields and how to reach them, as well as some top tips for when to go and where to stay to really enjoy the area. 

Ubud Rice Fields, Bali

Ubud Rice Fields, Bali

Ubud Town Centre

There is actually a very pleasant Ubud rice fields walk that you can do around the town centre. The hour and a half walk goes through the fields, which are on either side of the trail, and it even visits a temple on the way. It’s a great way to escape the madness of Ubud town centre for a couple of hours. It’s also relatively non-visited by tourists, making it one of the more unique things to do in Ubud!

Tegalang Rice Terraces

Tegalang Rice Terraces, Bali, Indonesia

Tegalang Rice Terraces, Bali, Indonesia

There are lots of rice terraces around Ubud, but the most famous is Tegalang Rice Terraces. They are the most photographed, that feature in many Ubud tourists’ Instagram feeds, and that have the best potential for exploration. 

The Tegalang Rice Terraces are located 10 kilometres away from Ubud town centre. It’s possible to get there a variety of ways, the most popular two being renting a scooter and taking a taxi. Many people rent scooters for a few days and twin their rice fields trip with seeing temples and other attractions in the Ubud area. Alternatively, others hire a driver for a day who takes them to a few different sites. 

Lovely Rice Terraces of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Lovely Rice Terraces of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia – cc0 via Pixabay

The Tegalang Rice Terraces are free to enter. At the stop of the terraces there are a few small shops selling souvenirs, but further down into the terraces, they have a very peaceful atmosphere. The further you walk, the further you get away from the tourists! 

They’re one of the most photographed places in Bali, and for good reason – the lush green of the terraces and the delightful palm trees are an instagrammer’s dream. It’s also the location of the iconic ‘Love Bali’ sign. As well as trekking through the rice terraces – which takes most people 1-2 hours – Pakudui village is worth checking out. Here you can purchase some local art, including carvings and canvas artworks. 

Suggested: Most Beautiful Places to Stay in Bali for every budget 

Where to Stay in Tegalang

Super Green Rice terraces in Bali, Ubud - Indonesia

Super Green Rice terraces in Bali, Ubud – Indonesia – CC0 via Pixabay

Staying in Tegalang is a great option to be out of the hustle and bustle of Ubud town centre and wake up in nature. There are a few great hotel options that will put you in prime position to be near the rice fields each morning. 

Bali Jungle Huts

This accommodation is great for couples and offers free WiFi, a hot spring bath, a restaurant with Asian cuisine (with vegan options available!) and American breakfasts. Click here to read the reviews about this place on Tripadvisor.

Pondok Sebatu Villa

This villa has an outdoor swimming pool and features free WiFi throughout the villa. It is close to Sebatu Temple and overlooks the gorgeous rice fields. It’s a unique place to stay to relax and unwind and be within nature. The villa features a semi-open bathroom with shower facilities and gorgeous Balinese decorated suites. You can read more about Pondok Sebatu Villa on TripAdvisor

Book a Room at Pondok Sebatu Villa

Suarapura Resort and Spa

This four-star resort is a 25 minute drive from Ubud, close to the rice fields. There is an on-site restaurant and guests can enjoy deluxe suites and rooms with WiFi. On site is also the spa which has some relaxing health and beauty treatments. For the ultimate Balinese experience, there is also a yoga and meditation hall! Read what other travelers are saying about Suarapura Resort on TripAdvisor.

Book a Room at Suarapura Resort

Penestanan 

Penestanan Rice Fields of Ubud, Bali

Penestanan Rice Fields of Ubud, Bali – cc0 via pixabay

This village, while growing in popularity, is still relatively unvisited by tourists and has its own rice field walk. It is located about 4 kilometres from Ubud’s centre. It’s a great option for those wishing to see rural Bali that is untrodden by tourists. You’ll get to see workers in the fields going about their day and maybe meet some friendly local children. 

Suggested: Best Things to do in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia  

Don’t worry if you come hungry – there are cafes and restaurants within the village. The walk is pretty short, taking only 30 minutes. Penestanan can also be visited by motorbike or taxi (there is no bus service in Bali). It is also possible to stay in the village. 

Hotels in Penestanan

Ubud rice terrace and Huts - Bali, Indonesia

Ubud rice terrace and Huts – Bali, Indonesia

Nefatari Exclusive Villas 

Featuring an outdoor swimming pool and WiFi, Nefatari is traditional Balinese accommodation with an on-site restaurant. It provides one or two bedroom villas for guests, and they can make use of the outdoor pool and spa and wellness centre. It’s great for couples. Read what other travelers have to say about this hotel

Book a Room at Nefatari Villas

De Munut Balinese Resort

This resort features simple accommodation, each room having a private terrace. The resort has two outdoor pools, a spa and wellness centre, and free WiFi in public areas. Read reviews about De Munut Resort on TripAdvisor.

Book a Room at De Munut Resort

When to visit the Ubud Rice Fields 

Rice fields in bali - Ubud

Rice fields in bali – Ubud – CC0 via Pixabay

Ubud sees tourists year round, but the official high season is April – September. This is when the weather is (mostly!) dry. I’d recommend heading to the Ubud rice fields as early as possible in the morning – they will be less crowded this way. Seeing the sunrise over the rice fields is an especially mesmerizing experience that’s a must-do in Ubud. 

How to Reach Ubud from the Airport

Lovely Ubud Rice Fields [and Around]- the Famous Rice Terraces in Bali, Indonesia

Lovely Ubud Rice Fields [and Around]- the Famous Rice Terraces in Bali, Indonesia

From the airport, it’s easiest to take a taxi to reach Ubud town centre. The journey time ranges from 1-2 hours depending on traffic (there tends to be a lot of it in Bali!) and the taxis cost around 200,000 IDR. 

You could also use the Bluebird App and try to get a Bluebird taxi using it (they won’t always come into the airport though) which is on the meter and cheaper. Grab and Uber are illegal in Bali – and it is especially enforced in Ubud, so taking one of these is not recommended. 

This post has been written by Claire Martin

Claire Martin in Tegalagang Rice Fields, Bali

Claire Martin in Tegalagang Rice Fields, Bali

Claire Martin is a British travel blogger and freelance writer. She blogs about eco-travel and overland adventures on her blog Claire’s Footsteps; she has drove around the entirety of Australia and is currently living in Mexico while plotting her next big overland adventure. 

Top Places to Visit in Langkawi, Malaysia

Top Places to Visit in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi, famous as the Jewel of Kedah is dotted with gorgeous beaches, lush green rainforests, and awesome waterfalls.

The wide variety of wildlife and those bizarre rock formations are just a few of the many reasons why you should make a trip to Langkawi. It is hard to resist the lure of the expansive parks, popular beach destinations and natural landscapes for any traveler. Also, Langkawi has some of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia.

If you’re heading to this gorgeous island destination, be sure to check out these beautiful resorts in Langkawi.  Apart from just the beaches, the massive island is world renowned for its forest parks, exciting nightlife and excellent diving opportunities as well. Not just for the honeymooners, but it is also the perfect place for a family vacation because there are many things to do in Langkawi with kids. All you need to do is look for some good booking hotel online rates and start planning and packing for the trip.

The right time to visit the island is between December and March. Many of the great attractions of Langkawi are placed well within the main island that can be best explored by rented vehicle.

Top Places to Visit in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi Cable Car and the Langkawi Sky Bridge

Enjoy an awesome ride on a cable car that takes you to the summit of Mount Mat Cincang. Once there, enjoy breathtaking views of the Andaman sea and the towering peaks.

Langkawi Sky Bridge - Places to see in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi Sky Bridge – Places to see in Langkawi, Malaysia by Engin_Akyurt [cc0] via Pixabay

The Skybridge is another engineering marvel. The curved pedestrian bridge about 125 meter-long offers an exhilarating experience and view of the verdant Telaja Tujuh waterfalls, Gunung Mat Cincang and several islets that surround Langkawi. The sturdy bridge is fitted with double steel railings and covered by an enclosed wire mesh. Check out this post for more information about Langkawi Cable Car and Skybridge.

Langkawi Sky Bridge can contain up to 250 people at a time. Once you reach the top of Machincang mountain, the views are absolutely stunning. Just look for the best hotel in Langkawi on Traveloka that takes care of your lodging needs and enjoy

Suggested Post: What to Eat in Langkawi, Malaysia

Underwater World

Underwater World Langkawi showcases more than 500 species of sea creatures including seahorses, seals, rockhopper penguins, mandarin ducks, and flamingos.

A 15-meter walkthrough underwater tunnel is the highlight of the Underwater World, from where you can get a close-up view of sharks, green turtles, and giant stingrays. The 60,000 sq. Ft. building lodges over four thousand fish and marine creatures., There are separate sections for birds and animals as well and based on different themes such as Temperate, Sub-Antarctic, Tropical Rainforest, Ponds, Corals and more.

Gunung Raya

Gunung Raya is hailed as the highest peak in Langkawi at an altitude of 881 meters. According to an old legend, the mountain was made because of a cursed form of a giant called Mat Raya.

The dense rainforest on the peak is home to a wide range of wildlife such as leaf monkeys, macaque monkeys, flying foxes, mountain hawk eagles, squirrels and great hornbills. It is a popular destination for hikers and trekkers. The road winds its way up the mountain and passes through thick forest. One gets to enjoy panoramic views whenever there is a clearing.

Pulau Payar Marine Park

Pulau Payar Marine Park is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. A45 minutes away from Kuah Jetty and located 30km south of Langkawi Island, you can either take a speedboat or a catamaran to get there.

The park has well developed surrounding water areas and few other islands. Enjoy swimming at the beaches amidst the beautiful scenic settings. You can feed the baby sharks, or just relax and laze on the beaches.

Paradise 3D Museum

Paradise 3D Museum boasts of more than 200 impressive artworks that appear lifelike when photographed. It is the second3D art largest in the world and the largest 3D art museum in Malaysia. Enjoy exploring nine different interactive zones on safari, fantasy, classic, optical illusion, aquatic, Egyptian, and Malaysian.

The best part of this unique attraction is that it is situated next to the iconic Langkawi Cable Car.

Coverphoto by safiamycentrio [cc0] via Pixabay

 

Achill Island, Ireland – A Travel Guide to the Gem of County Mayo

Achill Island, Ireland – A Travel Guide to the Gem of County Mayo

Achill Island – you’re gorgeous. I think I’m in love with you!

Unbelievably spectacular viewpoints, hundreds of sheep, gorgeous Keem beach and tonnes of adventure is what I remember the most about my brief but unforgettable time on Achill Island, Ireland.

A few weeks back I visited Ireland for the first time to one of the biggest conferences for travel bloggers – TBEX. After the conference, I along with 8 more bloggers went on an epic road trip with Fáilte Ireland on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Out of many places that I visited in Ireland, Achill Island surely stands out in my memories. It is so because I got to experience stunning empty landscapes where for miles I didn’t see anyone other than us.

Sunset on Achill Island, Ireland - County Mayo

Sunset on Achill Island, Ireland – County Mayo

One of the things that I loved about Achill Island is that you can see some seriously stunning views because of its many high cliffs. Oh and Achill Island also has Europe’s third highest sea cliffs on the northern slope of Croaghaun Mountain. The icing on the cake – Achill Island has a stunning white sand beach and is the perfect destination for adventure enthusiasts.

Sheep on Mount Croaghaun Achill Island, Ireland

Sheep on Mount Croaghaun Achill Island, Ireland by IrishFireside (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

 

Achill Island Travel Video

Don’t want to read the entire post? Here’s a quick video that I made about this lovely island which will give you a virtual tour of Achill Island and will surely make you smile towards the end as I enjoy my glass of Guinness beer. Watch it with music, please!

 

 

Achill Island, Ireland – A Quick Travel Guide

Where is Achill Island?

Achill Island is on Ireland’s West Coast in Mayo County. It is on Wild Atlantic Way – a 2500 KM long trail that goes along the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland. This route can be covered in many different ways – driving, cycling, hiking and even kayaking. Achill Island is just after Newport and right before Belmullet.

If you look at the map of Achill Island, you will notice that it is on the West Coast. In fact, it is one of the must visit places on Ireland’s West Coast as per many websites!

 

Achill Island Map

Here’s a simple map of Achill Island that I have created for you and marked some points of interest to give you an idea about where to go.

Achill Island, Ireland - Map

Achill Island, Ireland – Map

How to get to Achill Island?

Achill Island is connected to the rest of Mayo County by Michael Davitt Bridge. There are numerous ways you can reach here; depending on how much time you have on your hands.

When you arrive in Dublin, spend a day or two here (and be sure to check out Dublin castle) and head to Westport city. It is very easy to reach Achill Island from Westport.

To reach Achill Island, we cycled from Newport (just a little ahead of Westport) to Mulranny on the Great Western Greenway trail and from there we did the rest of our journey by road. We could have cycled the entire way to Achill but had to return our rented bicycles.

If you’re slightly adventurous, I highly recommend you cycle from Westport or Newport to Achill and enjoy Mayo County’s Great Western Greenway Trail – but do remember to pack light. It is 42 km from Westport but shorter from Newport and Mulranny – so you can either break up your journey or cycle a shorter route like we did. To make things easier, you can opt for an electric bicycle instead of a regular one. We rented ours from Clew Bay Bike Hire and yes we had opted for the electric ones too.

If you’re traveling with a group of 5+ people, then I highly recommend you consider booking a luxury coach by Kerry Coaches. The seats are spacious and there is WiFi on the board. If you’re traveling solo or in a pair, it makes more sense to rent a car to experience the Wild Atlantic Way and reach Achill Island by driving. If you do end up renting a car, be sure to experience the drive from Galway to Clifden on the Wild Atlantic Way.

There is also a bus (Route 440 on Bus Éireann) that runs from Westport to Achill Island every day. The ticket costs €7 and the total journey time is usually 1 hour. I highly recommend you book your ticket beforehand.

Suggested Reading: 55 Top Island Destinations

Achill Island Accommodation

While I was on Achill Island, I stayed in a place called Pure Magic, which had a wonderful atmosphere. It is surely not a high-end resort but a cozy hotel that will make you feel at home.

Pure Magic Lodge, Achill Island, Ireland

Pure Magic Lodge, Achill Island, Ireland

Pure Magic has an in-house bar, which was buzzing with people while we were there. The sitting area had games, guitar, a fireplace and light music. To make things better, Pure Magic has delicious food. I highly recommend you order cheese garlic bread with your beer and later eat their signature wood oven pizzas for your meal.

Pure Magic's Lovely Bar - Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland

Pure Magic’s Lovely Bar – Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland

My room at Pure Magic had everything that I needed – a comfortable bed, towels, toiletries, hairdryer, etc. I was so comfortable here that I could have happily parked my butt here for at least a month – if I wasn’t on a fixed itinerary.

You can also check out Bervie Guesthouse near Keel beach. This is where some of my friends stayed and absolutely loved the hospitality. If you see their reviews on TripAdvisor, you will see nothing but praise.

 

Achill Island Weather Information

Rain clouds over Keem bay, Achill Island, Ireland

Rain clouds over Keem bay, Achill Island, Ireland

Like rest of Ireland, Achill Island is cold and the warmest months are July and August where the temperature is around 14°C but can range from 11°C – 17°C. The second warmest months are June and September with 12°C normal temperature but can range from 10°C to 15°C.

The coldest months are January and February where the normal temperature is 6°C but can range from 3.5°C to 8°C. I visited Achill in the month of October and somehow enjoyed the weather because it wasn’t as cold as where I live in Germany.

If you’re visiting Achill Island then be sure to pack a rain poncho because it can rain anytime. Carry something to cover your head and ears and layer up.

 

Achill Island is 87% Peat Bog

Achill island is 87% peat bog

Achill island is 87% peat bog

This has nothing to do with travel information but I found it really interesting that Achill Island is 87% peat bog. You don’t know what is peat bog? Even I didn’t but I learned on this trip that it is a wetland that accumulates peat.

Peat also known as turf, is a deposit of decayed plant material and this gradual accumulation works as a carbon sink. When I say gradual, I’m talking about thousands of years! Peat can be used as a source of fuel but is not renewable and is “fossil fuel”. In early days this turf (or peat) was used in fireplaces and is still used in some rural parts of Ireland. Isn’t it interesting?

 

Things to do on Achill Island, Ireland

Here are some of the most interesting places to see and things to do on Achill Island, which you will surely enjoy. I was on this island for a short time but I have also included information with the help of locals about things that I couldn’t do here but you should try doing them.

 

1) Drive to Keem Bay and chill on Keem Beach

Keem Beach on Achill Island, Ireland

Keem Beach on Achill Island, Ireland

Imagine a white sand beach that looks like it belongs on a tropical island, but is in the middle of Ireland’s cold cliffs. Yup, this is exactly what Keem Bay looks like. Keem beach is in the middle of cliffs of Croaghaun and Benmore, which are quite high and they create a spectacular viewpoint. In fact, Croaghaun mountain creates the third highest sea cliffs in Europe, but not towards Keem Beach but on the other side.

As we drove towards Keem Bay, we were rewarded with Keem Beach’s spectacular views at literally every twist of the road. Believe it or not, we even saw dolphins in the water as we approached the beach.

“How can this be real?” was my first thought and I was the first one to run out of our bus as soon as it stopped here. We did not really have time to snorkel here but this beach is the site of a Blueway snorkel trail.

 

2) Visit Keel Beach and try Kitesurfing or Surfing

Keel Beach, Achill Island, Ireland

Two Tourists with Kites on Keel Beach, Achill Island, Ireland – by Gabriela Avram [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

While Keem Beach is sandy, Keel beach, on the other hand, has more pebbles than sand. The proper geographical term that can be used to describe Keel beach is “shingle beach”.

Keel beach is also known as Trawmore Strand and is popular for plenty of watersport activities such as kite surfing, sea kayaking, windsurfing, etc.

 

3) Stand up Paddle Boarding on Corrymore Lake (Lough Acorrymore)

Stand up Paddleboarding on Corrymore Lake - Achill Island, Ireland

Stand up Paddleboarding on Corrymore Lake – Achill Island, Ireland

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the most interesting adventure activities that I tried recently and I did not want to stop. Firstly, the spot – Corrymore Lake is absolutely gorgeous and you should totally spend more time here than just paddle boarding. Like most of the points of interest on Achill Island, you may not be able to locate Corrymore Lake on your own on GPS but you will have to ask the locals.

Stand up Paddleboarding with Pure Magic - Achill Island, Ireland

Stand up Paddleboarding with Pure Magic – Achill Island, Ireland – Photo by Kristen Gill

Secondly, you HAVE to try stand up paddle boarding with Pure Magic Watersports regardless of your age, weight or adventure level because it is a lot of fun [AND they will make it easy for you]. It is also known as stand up paddle surfing and involves standing on the board instead of sitting on it. It also involves using a paddle to move around.

 

4) Visit The Annexxe Inn to Experience the Irish Pub culture

No visit to any part of Ireland is complete without experiencing a local Irish pub. Achill Island has a lot of pubs but I recommend you visit the Annexxe Inn and drink a glass of Guinness beer (or more).

This lovely pub was full of Achill Island’s locals who were extremely friendly. It’s the perfect place where travelers can mingle with the locals. Be ready to laugh a lot because Irish people usually have an amazing sense of humor. Ask them any question and you will most likely hear a hilarious answer in a seemingly formal choice of words.

 

5) Eat a Pizza at Pure Magic

The restaurant inside Pure Magic, Achill Island, Ireland

The restaurant inside Pure Magic, Achill Island, Ireland

While you’re in Ireland, you will get plenty of chances to eat Irish food but I urge you to head to Pure Magic for at least one meal and eat a wood oven pizza. The atmosphere here is super chill and the food is unbelievably good. We also tried the cheesy garlic bread here that was really good.

This recommendation of eating a pizza in Pure Magic actually came to me from an Irish traveler that I met in Killarney. He said, – “if you visit Achill Island, you MUST visit Keem Beach and eat a pizza in Pure Magic”. Yep, Pure Magic is the same place that I suggested earlier in this article as a place to stay on Achill Island.

 

6) Head to Dugort and see Silver Strand and Golden Strand (beaches)

Dugort is a blue flag beach that’s lesser known if compared to Achill Island’s Keem and Keel beaches. It is also known as Silver Strand or Pollawaddy Strand and is under Slievemore Mountain’s shade.

Dugort Beach, Achill Island, Ireland

Dugort Beach, Achill Island, Ireland by Gabriela Avram [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A very interesting thing about this beach is that it is the spot for a quick ceremonial dip on New Year’s Day. I wonder how the locals can even think of taking a dip in the cold Atlantic Ocean on one of the coldest days of the year.

A little ahead of Silver Strand is also Achill’s Golden Strand, which is a small blue flag beach that looks over to the Blacksod Bay. Golden Strand is also known as Barnyagappul Strand, which means beach of the gap of the horses.

 

7) Cycle on the Great Western Greenway Trail

Somewhere on the Great Western Greenway trail near Achill Island, Ireland

Somewhere on the Great Western Greenway trail near Achill Island, Ireland

As mentioned in how to reach Achill Island section, the Great Western Greenway is a 42 KM trail for cyclists and hikers, which is from Westport to Achill Island. We did a part of this trail on our bicycles and absolutely loved the experience because there was a lot to see.

 

8) Enjoy the Beauty of Achill Secret Garden

Achill Secret Garden belongs to Bleanaskill Lodge and is a dreamy garden that’s hidden in a small bay by the Atlantic coast. This garden has around 8 themed chambers and a boathouse where you can try some snacks. You can visit this garden only in the months of June, July, and August after making an appointment.

 

9) Experience Magic at Woodland Faerie Trail

If you’re visiting Achill with children then I’d suggest you visit Woodland Faerie Trail at the Valley House. For €2 per person, you can enjoy this themed trail with lots of games and fun activates that can be enjoyed on the way. There are small faerie houses with tiny doors and tiny bridges that you can see on the trail. Although this can be covered in less than an hour, it is recommended that you don’t rush through it and be here for long.

 

10) Explore a Deserted village – Slievemore

Slievemore Deserted Village on Achill Island, Ireland

Slievemore Deserted Village on Achill Island, Ireland – by Degreexero [CC0] – via Pixabay

A village that was abandoned not many years back, Slievemore has now become a tourist attraction on Achill Island. This village has around 80 stone cottages that were used as summer accommodation primarily to let the owners’ cattle graze in summer grassland. Some say that it was abandoned during the potato famine in 1845.

Ireland has many deserted villages and Slievemore is one of the more recently abandoned one. This village is located on the slopes of the Slievemore Mountain, close to Dugort.

 

11) See Kildavnet Castle of Grace O’Malley – the Pirate Queen

Kildavnet Castle a.k.a. Carrickkildavnet Castle is one of those places that you should visit only if you’re interested in its history. Don’t expect an elaborate castle here – it is just a single ruined tower.

Kildavnet Castle of Grace O'Malley – the Pirate Queen - Achill Island, Ireland

Kildavnet Castle of Grace O’Malley – the Pirate Queen – Achill Island, Ireland – by Stacy [CC BY SA 2.0] via Flickr

Visiting Kildavnet Castle can be very meaningful for you if you already know about the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley. Grace’s tower is on the Wild Atlantic Way so you don’t really have to go out of your way to visit it but can stop here for 10 minutes while you’re driving in or out of Achill Island. Kildavnet Castle is at the tip of Achill Sound – the waterway that separates Achill Island from the mainland.

 

12) Hike around Croaghaun to see Europe’s Highest Sea Cliffs

Croaghaun Mountain is 688 meters high has the third highest sea cliffs in Europe and the highest in Ireland and Great Britain. The only way of seeing these cliffs is by hiking around Croaghaun or from the sea.

Croaghaun Mountain - Highest sea cliffs - Achill Island, Ireland

Croaghaun Mountain – Highest sea cliffs – Achill Island, Ireland – by t_y_l (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Croaghaun cliffs are actually three times the size of the more popular Cliffs of Moher in County Claire. Croaghaun is towards the west side of Achill Island and the hike to the top is not easy. The Corry Lake is in the middle of these cliffs and can be seen during the hike.

 

13) Stop at Bellacragher Bay on Your Way out of Achill Island

This isn’t technically on Achill Island but is outside the main Island. It is an extremely scenic spot where we stopped for a few pictures and later Mulranny Tourism informed me that it’s Bellacragher Bay.

Bellacragher Bay Outside Achill Island, Ireland

Bellacragher Bay Outside Achill Island, Ireland – Photo by Kristen Gill

The Irish meaning of this bay is ‘The Bay of the Plundering’. It is so because the stories of piracy and smuggling are part of its history. Spots as pretty as this should surely be a part of your Ireland itinerary.

Honestly, my brain is overflowing with my newly acquired information about Irish history and I’m not sure how much I can remember but for me, Bellacragher Bay is a pretty spot which deserves a few minutes’ of your time so that you can admire the beauty.

 

Have you visited Achill Island in Ireland?

Enjoying Achill Island's sunset right after Paddleboarding (Co Mayo, Ireland)

Enjoying Achill Island’s sunset right after Paddleboarding (Co Mayo, Ireland) – photo by Kristen Gill

Thanks to my friend Kristen Gill for clicking the cover photo and many amazing pictures of me on Achill Island.

Enough about my experience, I’d love to hear about yours now. If you have visited County Mayo’s Achill Ireland and have a few recommendations or pictures to share, just leave a comment on this post.

Before you leave this page, check out my travel video that I made in County Mayo’s nearby town – Westport. It is also on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

 

Disclosure: I explored Achill Island with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland on a press trip but all opinions and bad jokes in this article are mine. 

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