For most of the country temperatures stay in the high 20s year round with high humidity and frequent cloud cover (it’s a fairly wet country). October to February brings the monsoon season to the east coast when most of the resorts are closed, so travelling during the Australian winter – or May to September – is your best shot at clear skies. This is also the best time for diving and water sports as the water is clear.
Direct flights to Kuala Lumpur are available from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Flight times range from five and a half hours from Perth to more than eight hours from the east coast. Return economy fares start from A$490 and business class fares from A$2,868.
Best for romance
Bon Ton resort
Lovers of fine food, historical architecture, subtle service – and lovers in general – will be right at home at Langkawi’s boutique Bon Ton resort. Unlike most high-end properties here, Bon Ton is not on the beach. Rather, it is an eclectic collection of eight antique Malay Kampung houses set within a peaceful, three-acre coconut grove that is surrounded by wetlands. Beach-lovers can, however, have the best of both worlds: secluded Bon Ton is only about 10 minutes walk from the vibrant beach-scene of Pantai Cenang.
Villas are priced from MYR650-1,350 (about A$217-450) per night. bontonresort.com.my
Best for groups
Temple Tree at Bon Ton
Temple Tree at Bon Ton is the younger-sister resort of Bon Ton; the two properties are separated by a few minutes’ walk through a shady coconut grove. Like its longer-established sibling, Temple Tree accommodates guests in beautifully restored old houses of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Eurasian origin. Temple Tree’s eight houses make up 13 suites; they can each be rented as one complete villa, or as individual hotel rooms. The ninth house is the 90-year-old Straits Club House, which is the hub of the resort and comprises the reception, library, bar and dining room.
Villas are priced from MYR720-1,400 (about A$240-467) per night. templetree.com.my
Best for active travellers
Gaya Island Resort
Sure you can lie on a sunlounger beside the 40-metre swimming pool, paddle in the pristine ocean or relax with a spa treatment, but at Sabah’s Gaya Island Resort you might not have time. Learn to dive in the Tunku Abdul Ramen Marine Park with the resort’s fully equipped PADI dive centre, snorkel on the house reef, try your hand at stand up paddleboarding, charter a private yacht to explore the surrounding islands or head out into deeper water for game fishing. On land, there are guided walks through the lush jungle, helicopter trips to remote waterfalls, craft lessons with local ethnic groups and private champagne picnics on a secluded beach.
Villas are priced from MYR800 (about A$267) per night and suites from MYR2,800 (about A$934) per night. gayaislandresort.com