In the South China Sea, 12km north of Kuala Penyu, Pulau Tiga National Park once consisted of three islands, but wave erosion has reduced one to a mere sand bar. Of the remaining two, Tiga and Kalampunian Damit, only the former holds any accommodation. It acquired a degree of fame in 2001 as the location of the first series of the American reality-TV show Survivor.

Most visitors today content themselves with relaxing on the sandy beaches and snorkelling or diving in the azure sea, but it’s possible to hike right around the island in six hours. An easy twenty-minute walk to the centre of Pulau Tiga leads to a couple of (lukewarm) mud volcanoes. Slip and slide around there, then walk 1.2km further to clean up at lovely Pagong-Pagong beach. Be warned, though, that walking can be hard going if your feet and flip-flops are muddy.

Just 1km northeast of Pulau Tiga, Kalampunian Damit is also known locally as Pulau Ular (Snake Island), because it attracts a species of venomous sea snake called the yellow-lipped sea krait. The island is normally visited as part of a morning trip from Pulau Tiga Resort, combined with some snorkelling. It used to be possible to see dozens of snakes on a good day, but now they seem to be much more scarce and some visitors come away disappointed.

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