Penyabong Is A Quiet Beach Town In Johor With Seaview Villas, Hiking Trails & Island Hopping

Penyabong beach town near Mersing, Johor

If you’re one to enjoy a sun-kissed day at the beach, then you should be no stranger to Malaysia’s extensive offerings. From chilling with the feline residents at Penang’s Cat Beach Sanctuary to splashing down into the tropics of Semporna, our neighbours across the border are blessed when it comes to beautiful oceanic retreats.

Well, another one has popped up on our radar, and this time you’re headed to Penyabong, a quiet seaside town in Mersing that’s equal parts tranquil and stunning. Here’s what to plan for when you’re heading down yourself for a quick day trip.

How to get to Penyabong

Penyabong is situated in the north of Johor, so prepare for a little bit of a road trip if you’re driving there. It’s roughly a 2-hour 15-minute drive up the Laluan Persekutuan Malaysia 3 from the JB checkpoint.

Getting to Penyabong via bus is doable too; well, sort of. Much like getting to Tioman Island from Singapore, you can hop on bus services operated by KKKL Travel & Tours that’ll take you from Kovan Hub or Bugis MRT to Mersing Jetty. From there, you’ve got to hop on a private hire vehicle and travel 20 minutes to Penyabong.

What to do at Penyabong – Peaceful beaches & island hopping

Image credit: @dayanazmnnn via Instagram

Once you’ve arrived, heading for pearly white sands is a no-brainer, so plop down your picnic mat at Pantai Penyabong. Visitors have noted that the footfall at the beach is not heavy at all, so it’s not uncommon to have the shore all to yourself.

As a testament to the beach’s serenity, the beach was previously named Pantai Pasir Lanun, which translates to Pirate Sand Beach in Malay. Legend has it that pirates in the past used to frequent the area, as the undisturbed beach would prove to be a good spot to hide their plundered loot.

Image adapted from: @cikain31 via Lemon8 & @muhammadbaik94 via Instagram

For those looking to spruce up their social media feeds, Pantai Penyabong’s home to many IG-worthy spots. For starters, even the winding road that leads here is picturesque in and of itself; there’s even a popular photo spot right by one of the bends.

Image credit: @pelly1231 via Instagram

For a better vantage point, there are a couple of curious rock formations by the beach to scale too. There’s also a fishing village round the corner where you can observe the local fishermen at work. Of course, feel free to haggle with them to dabao some of their freshest catches for a seafood feast back home.

In case you’re feeling a little peckish from wading in the shallows, just duck into the nearby eateries for a snack. Logically, seafood is on the menu for restaurants like ICT Pantai Penyabong, so dig into delicacies like fried prawns and fragrant otah.

Image credit: Teluk Penyabung Resort via Facebook

While you’re here, don’t forget to take a stroll down the Penyabong Jetty while enjoying the breeze. This is where you’ll board your chartered boats when you decide to take it to the seas.

Speaking of which, if the allure of the surrounding islands is too strong, you can chart a course for them by going island hopping. Boat charter services like Pasir Lanun Charter will take you from the Penyabong Jetty to the islands in the vicinity like Pulau Sribuat and Pulau Layak, to set foot on their remote beaches for about RM140/pax (~S$40.16).

Image adapted from: Pasir Lanun Charter via Facebook & @glimpseofmalaysia via Instagram

Pulau Sembilan is another gem to stop by, especially at night to observe its “blue tears”, which is caused by bioluminescent plankton in the water. When the sun is a tad overbearing, go for a dip and cool off with some snorkelling.

Tioman Island is just 25 miles off the coast of Penyabong, so you can expect to swim amongst schools of tropical fish, gaze at colourful corals, and even touch fins with the occasional turtle.

Rest up at seaview resorts

Image credit: Teluk Penyabung Resort via Facebook

If you’re in no hurry, check into one of the seaside resorts at Penyabong for some R&R. You’ve got a couple to choose from, and they are all located but a stone’s throw away from the beach. Teluk Penyabung Resort (from RM130/night, ~S$37.31) and Endau Beach Resort (from RM130/night, ~S$37.31) are the most convenient of the bunch, as they’re just a 10-minute walk from the Penyabong Jetty.

Fishermen from all over the world use these affordable resorts to get some shut-eye between expeditions, but nothing’s stopping you from booking a room to kick back with the fam. In particular, Teluk Penyabung Resort’s rooms come with access to a swimming pool, as well as a karaoke system to wind down with.

Heaven’s gate rock formation at Pulau Mawar.
Image credits: @hui_hoon_yeong1121 via Instagram

They can also organise activities to fill out your itinerary with when you’ve had enough of the crashing waves. These include hiking at Gunung Arong Recreational Forest and jungle trekking at Pulau Mawar, another one of Mersing’s hidden gems worth dedicating a whole day to discover.

Head to Penyabong for your next lesser-known beach getaway

Image credit: Tourism Johor via Facebook

The bustling Bali beaches are nice and all, but sometimes you want some peace and quiet as you saunter along the shoreline, and Penyabong is a great nearby option to do just that. It’s an idyllic spot that not many know of just yet, so head down soon before this beachside paradise gets too rowdy for your liking.

Should you be on the prowl for more tropical getaways, Redang Island is a great alternative to Tioman Island. Here’s a list of the best resorts in Bintan when Malaysia’s getting stale, and we’ve got our very own version of Jeju Island in Singapore with Into The Woods glamping at Lazarus Island.

Cover image adapted from: Tourism Johor & Teluk Penyabung Resort via Facebook, @glimpseofmalaysia via Instagram



Khoo Yong Hao

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