Desaru is one of those places in Malaysia that you won’t hear much about from travel agencies. Its beaches are pristine and idyllic enough for a great family outing on the weekends. The small town is perfect for resting and relaxing your mind, and it offers a different experience than staying in Johor Bahru, which is the second biggest city in Malaysia.

Desaru has one of the best beaches in the state of Johor. Both locals and foreigners from neighboring Singapore and Indonesia travel to Desaru for a short vacation getaway. If you want to hear the soothing sound of rhythmic waves coming from the ocean after a long week, then Desaru is the place to go.

With the recent opening of one of the country’s biggest water parks, the place is set to attract more people than ever. The latest attraction, Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, is said to accommodate up to 12,000 visitors per day. Also, the unveiling of the latest hotel property in Malaysia from the world-renowned brand Hard Rock International, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, adds to the appeal of Desaru for a great weekend adventure.

So if you’re traveling to Johor for business or leisure, be sure to take a short trip to Desaru. You’ll love the sun, fun, and beautiful beaches, not to mention the food is delicious as well.

Wadeh prawns. Wadeh is a category of savoury fried snacks from India.
Wadeh prawns. Wadeh is a category of savoury fried snacks from India.

Getting to Desaru

Desaru, being a small coastal town, doesn’t have its own airport. For international travelers, getting here means you’ll either arrive from Kuala Lumpur, Senai International Airport in Johor, or Changi International Airport, Singapore. If you’re not driving, some buses and ferries can take you to Desaru. Buses are a better option if you’re coming from Johor.

The Causeway Link JDX bus service is a convenient way to get to Desaru Coast. It operates from JB Sentral Bus Terminal and picks up passengers from the terminal and another pick-up point at Larkin Sentral. The seats are spacious and comfortable, and you’re offered complimentary drinks on the bus. It takes about 90 minutes to arrive on Desaru Coast, and you’ll be dropped off right at the entrance to Desaru‘s Adventure Waterpark.

At the time of writing, the Causeway Link JDX bus has halted operations due to the covid-19 Movement Control Order. It will resume operations on August 27, 2020.

Renting a car from Kuala Lumpur is another option for tourists. It’s a four-hour drive to Johor along the North-South Expressway and an additional hour from Johor to Desaru Coast using the Senai-Desaru Expressway.

Sungai Johor Bridge at Senai-Desaru Expressway.JPG" by Khairul hazim is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Sungai Johor Bridge at Senai-Desaru Expressway by Khairul hazim is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Where to stay in Desaru

Desaru has no shortage of options when it comes to lodging. It has everything from hip, new resorts that offer luxurious surroundings and the most refined rooms, to smaller, affordable chalets located right by the beach for guests to enjoy all kinds of water sports or even fishing. There are also privately-owned homestays if you travel in a big group and want the whole house to yourselves.

Our first choice – Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast

This is the second hotel of its kind in Malaysia, the first one being in Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang. This trendy spot is famous for its rock & roll-theme. With music memorabilia from artists around the world displayed artfully throughout the hotel, the place gives off a lively vibe, especially at nighttime.

Live bands perform at the hotel and good music plays throughout the lobby and in the swimming pool area via underwater speakers. You can even borrow an electric guitar to bring up to your room and jam like Jimi Hendrix if you wish. Not feeling like a musician? Then get a turntable and groove to the sounds of music from various artists and a collection of iconic records in the comfort of your room.

Rooms at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast cost an average RM 500 to RM 1600 for a Duplex Suite. All rooms have in-room blockbuster movies on demand, Crosley turntables, and The Sound of Your Stay® experience with Fender® guitars.

The Hard Rock Hotel Desaru is located right next to Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast, and guests with a valid ticket can directly access the waterpark from Level 1 of the hotel.

hard-rock-cafe-Malaysia

 

What to do in Desaru

Take a stroll along Pantai Desaru

Not many will disagree that Desaru is the perfect location for a weekend relaxation by the sea. The word Desaru itself means ‘Village Of Casuarinas.’ In the Malay language, ‘Desa’ means village, and ‘Ru’ refers to the casuarina trees lining the beaches.

Walking down the 25km stretch of Pantai Desaru, which is what the public beach is called, you’ll be able to forget all your woes and worries. You’ll lose yourself amidst the calm breeze from the deep blue ocean, watching it gently sway the casuarina trees as you take a quiet stroll along the surf.

Visit Taman Buaya Teluk Sengat

If you have kids traveling with you or love watching animals up close, this crocodile farm should be on your itinerary. It’s the biggest one in Peninsular Malaysia, and is home to more than 1000 freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. Some of the crocodiles are more than a hundred years old!

If you’re brave enough, you can feed the crocodiles chicken carcasses provided by the owners. There are also educational programs for kids to learn more about these beautiful cold-blooded animals.

Splish-splash fun at Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark

The weather in Malaysia is usually hot all-year-round. So what better way to cool off than to spend a day at one of the largest water parks in the country? Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark has more than 20 rides and slides, including both extreme and fun rides for adults and children.

If you have nerves of steel, you should go on ‘The Tempest,’ a giant tube slide that sends riders down a 24-feet drop for a zero-gravity moment right before swirling through a water vortex.

Enjoy exotic dining while watching fireflies

Have you ever wanted to watch fireflies, eat and enjoy a boat cruise at the same time? If it never entered your mind, then we hope it sounds intriguing enough to merit a trip to Restoran Terapung Bujang Firefly. A few of its signature exotic dishes include horseshoe crabs and edible sea snails. But if you want something more common, there are other seafood items to choose from, like steamed sea bass, chili crab, and tender, sweet prawns.

Our thoughts

Desaru is a fantastic destination that combines adventure, tranquility, fun, and relaxation all in one location. The beaches, parks, resorts, animal farms, and other attractions make Desaru a worthwhile place to visit.

So the next time you visit Johor, Malaysia, take a few days and explore Desaru to your heart’s content!