16 Overwater Bungalows in Malaysia

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Most people who head to Asia expect overwater villas like those in the Maldives or Mauritius, but for those in the know, Malaysia is one of the best under-the-radar destinations for nature and luxury stays. With spectacularly blue waters and some of the highest concentrations of marine life in the world, Malaysia is just the spot for hotels on private islands and on the water. Malaysian Borneo, particularly islands like Sipadan and Mabul, offers some of the world’s greatest diving spots, while just off the east coast of Malaysia’s mainland lie protected marine parks.

You can enjoy Icoa cooking at the onsite restaurant or BBQ up your own food using the grill facilities, while water sports are abundant, including snorkelling, canoeing, fishing and, of course, scuba diving in the incredibly clear waters near Sipadan, with all equipment and divemasters available at the resort.

On the west coast, islands like Langkawi promise coral reefs and exploration, with plenty of hotels offering overwater bungalows to boot. Because fewer people know about them, these overwater hotels in Malaysia are often far more affordable than elsewhere in the world, offering private pools, terraces and lots of amenities, not to mention access to a range of water sports and epic dive sites, just a short flight from the capital of Kuala Lumpur, often followed by a scenic boat ride to your new home.

Overwater Bungalows In Malaysia

1- Pangkor Laut Resort

Pangkor Laut Resort
Overwater bungalows in Malaysia’s Pangkor Laut Resort.

For a more deluxe, luxury vibe, Pangkor Laut Resort lies on a private island off Malaysia’s west coast.

It has just 45 classic overwater bungalows, which are ideal for a romantic escape or luxury holiday, as you’ll also have access to a gorgeous spa and a wide array of watersports.

Aside from massages and treatments, you can go waterskiing, sailing, diving and more, or on excursions around the island.


Each of the spacious bungalows also has its own sundeck, balcony and direct access to the sparkling blue waters below.

2- Mabul Paradise Lodge

On Mabul Island, Mabul Paradise Lodge offers a classic Malaysian overwater experience with a touch of rustic – there’s limited electricity and fresh water, but you’ll be staying in a spectacular location.

There are several rooms, with the entire hotel being overwater, and there’s also a sun terrace and observation tower.

Despite its remoteness, the island resort also has multiple restaurants and bars where you can enjoy freshly cooked local cuisine with amazing ocean views.

3- Lexis Hibiscus

Lexis Hibiscus
Overwater bungalows in Malaysia’s Lexis Hibiscus.

Port Dickson has a whole range of stunning overwater bungalow resorts, but one of the most famous and popular is Lexis Hibiscus.

It’s one of the largest resorts in the area, with more than 500 villas spread out over the water in the shape of a flower and on land.

Each villa is impressive, with tonnes of space, private plunge pools, steam rooms and terraces, plus entertainment systems and room service.

The rest of the resort is also as amazing as you’d expect, with a variety of restaurants, bars, a sauna, indoor and outdoor pools and a spa.

There’s also a 24-hour buggy service for getting around and a range of water sports like diving, snorkelling and SUP to get out on the water.

4- Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Malaysia, particularly Malaysian Borneo, is famous for diving, so one of the best places to stay with overwater bungalows are dive resorts.

At Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort in Semporna, the resort sits right in the middle of the open ocean – although the water surrounding your room is perfectly shallow and covered in beautiful coral reefs.

It has a small sand spit, which you can walk along or see the fish on snorkelling and diving excursions, while both Sipadan and Mabul are just a few minutes away by boat.

All bungalows have big terraces and direct access to the water, although the range of activities and lessons means you might not end up spending much time in your room!

5- Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort

Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort
Overwater bungalows in Malaysia’s Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort.

Inspired by similar overwater properties in the Maldives, Avani Sempang Goldcoast Resort is located in Bagan Lalang, not too far from Kuala Lumpur, making it a good choice when staying close to the capital.

The huge resort has almost 400 overwater villas plus a private beach, five restaurants and two bars.

There is also a spa and infinity pool, lots of water-based activities, a kids’ club, and things to do like karaoke and fishing tours.

The gorgeous bungalows, which are arranged in the shape of a palm tree, come in a range of options, including multi-bedroom villas for families, and offer private terraces and panoramic views over the water.

6- Mabul Water Bungalows

Another resort just off the island of Mabul is Mabul Water Bungalows, which is off the southeast coast of Borneo.

The resort is made up of epic wooden bungalows standing right over the water – there are just 16, and six luxury suite villas too.

They’re traditional and spacious, with flatscreen TVs and a private balcony.

Diving is a big focus, with Sipadan just 15 minutes away, and they also offer lots of island hopping excursions, but you can also try other watersports or head to the resort’s spa or restaurant, which serves fresh local food in an open-air setting.

7- St Regis Langkawi

St. Regis Langkawi
Overwater bungalows Malaysia St. Regis Langkawi.

St Regis resorts are known the world over for being incredible, and the same can be said for its Langkawi hotel.

Overlooking the Andaman Sea, the hotel has 89 rooms but only four exclusive overwater villas, including a four-bedroom villa, which is one of the biggest in Asia.

This one features a private pool and fitness room, while all have private infinity pools, direct access to the ocean and glass floors to let you see through to the ocean, and you can make use of 24-hour butler service.

The rest of the hotel is home to five restaurants, including an overwater dining option, a spa and its main infinity pool.

There are also dozens of day trips and excursions, plus watersport equipment rental, such as parasailing, snorkelling and diving.

8- Berjaya Langkawi

Berjaya Langkawi
Overwater bungalows in Malaysia at Berjaya Langkawi are a paradise escape.

In the captivating location of Langkawi, an island off Malaysia’s northwest coast, Berjaya sits on its own secluded stretch of coast surrounded by lush jungle.

There’s a private beach, across from which sit the 47 luxury overwater bungalows, complete with views over the hills and private balconies, while the premier suite villas also have outdoor Jacuzzis.

There are endless things to see and do at the resort, from watersports to jungle hikes and treatments at the spa, which has a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi.

Plus there are four restaurants to choose from serving Malaysian cuisine.

Aside from being a great base for exploring other areas, the resort is perfect for families, with a kids club, outdoor pools, and activities like banana boating or day trips to nearby waterfalls.

9- Gayana Eco Resort

Located on Gaya Island, Gayana Eco Resort, also known as Gayana Marine Resort, is a great environmentally friendly option for an overwater bungalow stay.

Although it’s close to transport connections, it feels very remote, perched on the water with 45 overwater villas to choose from.

Each villa comes with a private sun deck, plunge pool, balcony and direct access to the water, with incredible views over the ocean.

The hotel’s dedication to ecology means it has an onsite research centre, but you can also check out the spa, infinity pool and range of dining options, along with the dive centre and watersports options, and the chance to do coral planting or find giant clams.

10- Sipadan Water Village Resort

Designed in a very traditional wooden style, Sipadan Water Village Resort is in a prime location near Sipadan on Mabul Island.

There are 45 rooms in varying categories, including a variety of overwater villas on stilts, which have private balconies, while bigger groups can opt to book connected detached villas.

The hotel features a spectacular overwater restaurant with sunset views, and although they offer all kinds of activities, the focus is on watersports in the area.

Snorkelling and diving excursions to the surrounding area let you explore the amazing underwater world at dozens of dive sites in nearby Sipadan.

11- Grand Lexis Port Dickson

Grand Lexis Port Dickson
Overwater bungalows in Malaysia at Grand Lexis Port Dickson.

A huge, stylish and modern overwater resort in Port Dickson, the Grand Lexis is the epitome of luxury.

The five-star resort is about an hour from Kuala Lumpur, so it’s easy to get back to the capital.

There is a range of overwater bungalows with pools, which also have glass floor panels, flatscreen TVs and water access.

The sprawling resort also encompasses a gym, spa, outdoor pool, kids area and bike rentals for getting around, along with multiple delicious dining options and water sports like snorkelling, diving and kayaking and evening entertainment.

It’s a perfect choice for a quick escape from the city, with lots of space in the villas for families.

12- Avillion Port Dickson

Avillion Port Dickson
Overwater bungalows in Malaysia at Avillion Port Dickson.

Right in the middle of the Strait of Malacca sits Avilion Port Dickson, with overwater bungalows that stretch out into the water.

The hotel sits on the coastline on the former site of a local fishing village and has 80 overwater villas which connect to the main resort area.

The overwater bungalows range from standard villas on the beachfront to the huge 3-bedroom villa, which all have terraces and private jacuzzis with sunset views, four poster beds and a rain shower.

If you manage to leave your incredible room, you’ll discover the hotel’s main and kids’ spas, adults-only pool, aviary and selection of watersports.

These are on top of the multiple restaurants, local shops, sauna and steam room, and excursions around the island.

13- Lankayan Island Resort

Situated in the north of Sandakan, Lankayan Island Resort is on a stunning stretch of clear blue sea, which makes it perfect for the hotel’s main focus, which is diving.

There are both land and overwater bungalows at this resort, which have wooden, laid-back interiors that come with amazing views and private balconies.

You can book a hotel package here depending on whether you’re a diver or non-diver, although there are plenty of other activities, such as snorkelling, canoeing and sports.

There’s also an open-air restaurant and private beach, plus Lankayan Island is a protected marine area, so it’s home to an abundance of incredible marine life, which you can see whether or not you’re an experienced diver!

14- Pom Pom Island Resort

Pom Pom Island Resort has got to be one of the most beautiful in Malaysia, in a stellar location just a 45-minute boat trip off the coast of Borneo, with the option to upgrade to a private yacht if you want to splash the cash.

There are 30 overwater bungalows with stretching views over the water and surrounding island, which have direct access to the waters below, where fish and nesting turtles can often be spotted, and private decks.

The resort is one of the best dive resorts in the area, and there isn’t TV or WiFi in the rooms, so watersports are the main activity here.

There is a restaurant and lounge area for relaxing, but you won’t want to waste the five-star PADI dive centre, where you can learn to dive or head out to some of the world’s best dive sites.

15- Dragon Inn Floating Resort

Located in Pemporna, Dragon Inn Floating Resort is a laid-back and simple yet beautiful place to have an overwater bungalow experience.

The hotel is built like a traditional village on stilts, so it’s not the same as what you’d find in other locations, but you will be right on the water, including being able to enjoy overwater restaurants and a local experience.

The rooms are air-conditioned with WiFi and are inexpensive, making it an affordable base if you’re visiting nearby dive hotspots like Sipadan and the Celebes Sea.

The restaurant serves up fresh seafood and there is an onsite spa, along with a range of snorkelling and diving tours in the surrounding area.

16- Seaventures Dive Rig

This hotel might be the most unusual of them all since it doesn’t technically have overwater bungalows, but you won’t get more overwater than on this oil rig, which has been converted into a dive hotel.

It’s one of the most unique hotels in Malaysia, if not the world, and is essentially a huge floating platform you can stay on, which offers spectacular diving packages around Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai.

Over time, the rig itself has been consumed by the ocean, so even jumping over the side here, you can find a wealth of cool marine life, and these house reef dives are unlimited and free.

You’ll be staying in comfort with air-conditioned rooms that have WiFi, but most of the time is spent learning and diving from the five-tsar dive centre on the rig or refuelling at the restaurant, which serves seafood and barbecue food and has live entertainment.

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India-Jayne Trainor
India-Jayne Trainor is a British/Australian freelance writer, photographer and contributor to various online blogs and travel websites. She has travelled to almost 30 countries, most recently Cuba and Sri Lanka. Her work focuses on solo female travel, having spent two months backpacking alone through South East Asia as well as living in Germany for a year. Her favourite country to date has been Hong Kong, but she is happy in any country by the ocean. Her next destinations are Uzbekistan and a road trip through the American Mid-West. India is currently based in London, UK.