Weekend Getaway to Palau Besar, Johor Malaysia.

Weekend Getaway to Palau Besar, Johor Malaysia.
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Looking for an island getaway in Malaysia? Look no further than Palau Besar. The East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia has some amazing islands to explore. Just 4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur or 3 hours from Singapore lies the town of Mersing in the state of Johor. Mersing Jetty hosts boats and ferries to access many islands including Palau Besar just 30 mins speedboat ride away.

Before your trip.

It is important to note you must book your accommodation and boat beforehand. We did this online while in Malaysia and made our way to the jetty on our departure date. Each accommodation has an office at the jetty where you register and wait around until you all make your way to the boats. This is also the jetty where boats go to Tioman island but we chose a smaller island to visit.

Palau Besar has two places to stay both being 3 star and very family friendly. The island had a very local feel to it and we loved engaging with so many Malaysian families while on holiday. We stayed here at Aseania Resort.

Because of the bus timetable and ferry schedule we spent a night in Mersing. We stayed at a great airbnb run by Yumi and would recommend it for a night before heading to the island. My kids loved the Hello Kitty room and Yumi was extremely helpful and friendly from picking us up and then dropping us to the jetty.


Mersing Jetty
Mersing Jetty Food
Mersing Jetty Food

We recommend getting something to eat at the Jetty as they serve some great juice drinks and rice dishes. It is always great to chat with the locals too and learn more about the area.

As you make your way to the jetty there are two ticket booths you must go to.

There are two payments to me made :

 Marine Park Fee, Malay/Tourist – RM5/30 per adult, RM2/15 per child (below 18 years old)

Johor National Park Fee Malay/Tourist – RM5/30 per adult, RM3 /15 per child (below 18 years old)

Once you have these you are able to head to your boat.

The boat ride takes around 30 minutes and life jackets are provided. It did get a bit bumpy much to the delight of the kids.

Palau Besar beach front play

Arrival on Palau Besar.

Arriving on the island you are able to check in and enjoy lunch. ( We had a full board package for 2 nights) Each meal was buffet style and we all really enjoyed it. The staff were always friendly and welcoming to us. There is plenty of seating on the open decking area and it’s a really nice vibe for families. We went on a long weekend and loved seeing so many extended families holidaying together.

Palau Besar

We stayed in a chalet with 2 beds for the 5 of us. Accommodation was simple but beautiful. The accommodation was small with three steps up to the room. Power was on a generator and rooms did have A/C with good wifi at the restaurant area.

Palau Besar


Situated right on the beach there are many adventures to be had. We spent time swimming in the water and the pool. The kids loved playing on the sand and the highlight was an organised snorkelling trip out to three different dive sites. After dinner they loved hanging out by the beach on the swing rope and making new friends.

Snorkelling off Rawa Island
Swinging at sunset

We recommend purchasing a few snacks and bringing some water to keep in your room. There is a small bar fridge. There are two supermarkets in Mersing to get supplies.

Don’t forget:



*wear sandals

*bathers that offer good sun protection and modesty.

*travel lightly makes things much easier getting on and off boats.

*mosquito repellant


It was the perfect weekend getaway. Have you explored any Malaysia islands and beaches?

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