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What To Do In Desaru

Shah Shamshiri

This coastal resort town in Johor, Malaysia is now one of the premier holiday destinations in Malaysia promising all a rockin’ good time!

The town of Desaru, in the state of Johor located in the south of Malaysia, may have just started out as a simple beach area for locals to spend their weekends, but in recent years it has seen a rather spectacular makeover. Now rebranded as Desaru Coast, the whole area has a lot to offer holidaymakers, much like a one-stop destination for an amazing vacation with friends, family and loved ones. With a portfolio of globally renowned hotels and resorts alongside one of the biggest waterparks in the world and a world-class golf course, the overall resort area has definitely been designed with the perfect escape in mind for the ultimate rejuvenation aspiration – all nestled within a rich bio-diverse location that is easily accessible via road, air and sea. Here we share with you activities to do when in Desaru and where to stay for the best experiences.

For The Music Lover

The second Hard Rock Hotel in Malaysia, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast offers a ‘music-infused, memorabilia-bedecked experience, ’ as per its website. This is clearly shown in the property’s architecture as well as the interior design, which is very heavily-influenced by music and pop culture. Imagine, while sipping a cuppa at Constant Grind cafe, you can enjoy the wall mural depicting British band The Beatles, or the framed photographs of latte art featuring Gene Simmons from KISS, Slash from Guns N’Roses, and Jimi Hendrix.


Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast (L), Superior Room at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast (R). (Photo:

Elsewhere around the hotel, you’ll also come across authentic music memorabilia being displayed including Rihanna’s sheer robe that she wore in one of her music videos, Christina Aguilera’s fur-trimmed robe worn in her “Ain’t No Other Man” video, and rocker Lzzy Hale’s studded jacket. If you book the Rock Star Suite, you’ll also be privy to displays of garments worn by Beyonce, Nicky Minaj and Chris Brown right in the room.

You can get guitars sent to your room when at the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

Of course, whether you’re staying here or not, expect to see electrifying shows from live bands at the Hard Rock Cafe. For performances by bigger names, check their update for special occasions that might warrant a rock legend on stage. Past events have seen Amy Search and Yuna entertaining guests during their launch and New Year’s Eve party. Elsewhere, even the Outdoor Music Pool is equipped with underwater speakers so you can groove to the music even while swimming.

When you’re ready to retire, retreat to your room with the Hard Rock Hotel signature bedding complemented with Rock Spa® bathroom amenities. As Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast offers the “Sound of Your Stay® experience, you get Fender® guitars, Crosley turntables, and a personal 10-track playlist delivered to your door upon request and availability.

For Some Family Fun Time

Head on down to the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark for a splashing good time. There’s plenty of fun rides for you to try out, such as the Super Twister, The Tempest, Riptide and many more. The star of the show is the Tidal Wave Beach - one of the biggest wave pools in the world. The signature water feature spans across nearly 1.3 hectares, along a 170 metres manmade sandy beach with waves coming on every 30 minutes. For kid-friendly rides, check out Kids Ahoy, which is a dedicated children’s zone that consists of appropriate play areas, water play equipment and 13 different water slides.


Some of the rides available at Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark include Surf Ride (L) and Riptide (R). (Photo:

If you’d like to bring the kids to explore more of nature, bring them to the Desaru Fruit Farm, which is about a 20-minute’s drive from the waterpark. Here, you can join a guided tour and see how tropical fruits are grown, visit the herb and vegetable garden, and learn about beekeeping, before embarking on an ATV ride around the farm. Meanwhile, just a bit further out is the Desaru Ostrich Farm, where the kids can ride an ostrich and get to see these flightless birds up close.

Nearby Desaru Coast is also the Tanjung Balau Fisherman Museum, which displays the story of the traditional fishing community in the area. Back at Desaru Coast, you could also opt for a bit of rough-and-tumble at DASH Outdoors, where you can rent fat-tyre bikes for some beach cycling, roll around in a Zorb ball, or do any of the beach activities including paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, surfing and riding the banana boat float with the kids.

Surfing activity at DASH Outdoors (Photo:

Meanwhile, a great hotel to return to after an adventure-filled day with the kids would be The Westin Desaru Coast Resort. Located along the South China Sea, the hotel offers a peaceful sanctuary with spacious rooms, scenic private balconies and their signature Westin Heavenly Bed, for some body rejuvenation as you get some shut-eye. For your dining pleasure, Seasonal Tastes offers an array of international and local flavours; Prego is where you go for freshly baked breads and pizza, while the Beach Bar features a flavourful menu of light meals complemented by an extensive selection of wines and beverages. This is further completed with the cozy MIX Lounge as the perfect place to unwind after a long day, with a cup of brewed coffee or tea, and Splash, the resort's pool bar - the perfect place to grab a bite or sip cocktails while enjoying the outdoors.

Beach view (L) and Deluxe Suite (R) at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort.
For A Relaxing Spa Holiday

A class above the ordinary, the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas offers a range of luxury accommodation nestled in lush tropical gardens including rooms and villas, as well as expansive residences offering families and groups utmost privacy with an infinity pool, full kitchen and chef and butler service. The resort’s five-star amenities include a private beach, a lagoon pool and an ocean-fronting infinity pool, fitness centre, kids and teens clubs as well as myriad Malaysian, Thai and international dining options.

Of course, there is also the Anantara Spa, with several spa treatments available for resort guests. The Bespoke Spa Experience invites guests on an exclusive spa journey, where you can request for problem areas for therapists to focus on and treatments are tailored accordingly. You can also opt for the Roots of Malaysia package for its healing treatments and techniques from the Malay world that focuses on a guided breathing technique. Meanwhile, Balance Wellness by Anantara also features a range of personalised approaches to wellness on holiday.


Anantara Desaru Coast Resort (L), outdoor view at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort (R). (Photo:

For sustenance, indulge in scrumptious meals prepared by their world-class chefs at the many food outlets including Sea.Fire.Salt for their signature seafood grill; Turmeric for all-day dining set in colonial charm; or any of their three bars, namely the Infinity Bar, Lagoon Pool Bar or the Observatory Bar for some special cocktails.

Meanwhile, for the ultimate relaxation and privacy, One&Only Desaru Coast is an exclusive ultra-luxury resort with only 42 junior suites, two Grand Suites with two bedrooms, and one 1,500m2 four-bedroom villa - each with its own in-room private pool. The resort also boasts its own private beach exclusive for guests for total relaxation away from the crowds. Unwind further with their posture-improving recovery massages, or a game of golf at the neighbouring 9-hole Els Club.

One&Only Desaru Coast Resort (L); Aerial view of One&Only and its beach. (R).

With so much to offer in such a wide expanse of space, Desaru Coast is truly the ideal escapade for even the most discerning of holidaymakers. The only problem you’d probably have is having to leave!

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