The west coast of Peninsular Malaysia is densely populated and runs from Singapore in the south to the border with Thailand in the north. It’s generally meant as a geographical region, rather than specifically as the coast itself and therefore, we also use it to refer to towns slightly inland, such as Kuala Lumpur.
There are very few of the golden sand beaches that one might associate with Malaysia on the mainland west coast itself. That’s because the shore is lined with mangrove forests and the muddy stilt from several of Peninsular Malaysia’s major rivers is deposited along the coast. Also, the islands off the west coast of Malaysia lack the coral of their eastern counterparts, meaning the diving opportunities are much more limited.
Langkawi is the most northern of the islands on the west coast, with fantastic connections via Kuala Lumpur to Europe and beyond. It has beautiful sandy beaches, and the interior is teaming with wildlife and is particularly rich in bird species. The island has some of Malaysia’s best hotels too, with the Datai being the absolute pinnacle.
Next among the major islands is Penang, which has traditionally been a major port and has become a booming high-tech industrial hotspot. It still has excellent beaches, and the UNESCO protected old town of Georgetown. Further south, Pulau Pangkor (Pangkor Island) is more tranquil and very scenic.
Further down the coast lie Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, both regions and cities in their own right, whilst Johor Bahru sits next door to Singapore in the far south.