Diminutive Pulau Kapas, less than half an hour from Marang by speedboat, boasts arcs of sandy beach the colour of pale brown sugar, and aquamarine waters that visibly teem with fish. It’s a very appealing little island with a laidback charm, emphasized by the friendly approach of the best of the resorts. Just offshore, the even smaller Pulau Gemia is the site of just one resort. In theory it’s possible to visit Kapas as a day-trip, by catching an early boat out and returning late in the afternoon, but this means making the most of the midday heat – and besides, it’s really worth staying for at least a night or two.

The only season when things are not quite so idyllic is from June to August, particularly at the weekends, when the island can get pretty busy. The rest of the time it’s a great place to do very little for a few days; the one notable highlight in the slim social calendar is the annual Kapas–Marang swimathon in April. During the northeast monsoon almost all the resorts close down.

A couple of marked trails make it possible to hike to the undeveloped eastern side of Kapas, ending up at the pebbly (and sadly far from litter-free) Berakit Beach where you can take a dip. The longer but more interesting route starts close to Kapas Turtle Valley, the shorter from behind Kapas Island Resort, running alongside a stream for almost all the way. You can combine them to take a circular route; both include steep sections close to the beach. Bring plenty of water and use insect repellent, particularly if you’ll be in the forest after 5pm when the mosquitoes come out in force. The paths can be very slippery after rain.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Malaysia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Living the good life in Borneo

Living the good life in Borneo

Life in the beautiful region of Sapulot is relaxed and uncomplicated, and the communities who live here want to keep it that way. They are inviting visitors to …

02 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

Looking to unwind on a tropical island somewhere in Southeast Asia? Then head to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia’s ultimate escape from the country’s frene…

09 Feb 2016 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one…

02 Jul 2015 • Rebecca Hallett help Quiz
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month