Going on a Desaru trip and want to know what to do in Desaru? We have you covered! Below, you will find our guide to all the Desaru things to do to plan your ultimate trip.
The Desaru Coast is located on the southern end of the east coast of Malaysia. Facing the South China Sea, here you will find a 22 kilometre stretch of beautiful coastline, making it a popular destination from either Singapore or Johor Bahru.
While many tourists visit the Desaru Coast as a day trip, with a range of top resorts recently opened here, it also is the perfect place to relax for a few days. In addition to fabulous beaches, there are many new attractions here and things to do in Desaru including golf, a visit to the huge water park, the beaches and much more.
I recently visited here with my kids and had a great time exploring everything. It’s so easy to visit here from Singapore and to enjoy top-class beaches and more.
Below, you will find our Desaru travel blog post with everything you need to know about the best places to visit in Desaru, as well as the best places to stay for your ultimate holiday in Desaru. There is also a handy map of the places to visit in Desaru town.
You can also watch a video walk-through of what you can explore in Desaru in a weekend which shows the top attractions of the area including Adventure Waterpark and Desaru Beach as well as Hard Rock Desaru Hotel. It’s a quick and easy way to see what Desaru is like.
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What To Do In Desaru Coast 
Here are the top 12 best things to do in Desaru Johor. Read through and select the Desaru attraction options that fit your interests and timeframe.
Relax At Desaru Beach
Of course when it comes to what to do in Desaru, Johor, the number one thing to do is to go to the beach! Along the 22 kilometre coastline, you will find gorgeous white sandy beaches, lined with casuarina trees with beautiful calm water, just perfect for swimming.
It felt like a beautiful huge bath when we swam here. It was a huge effort to get my kids to leave and go back to the hotel 🙂
When it comes to things to do in Desaru Beach, there is a range of activities from simply relaxing on the beach to fishing, boating, hiking or swimming.
Have Fun With The Fam At Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark
Easily among the top 5 things to do in Desaru is a day at the Adventure Waterpark. The whole family will love this one!
The Adventure Waterpark is home to some really cool water rides including Kraken’s Revenge – the first ever water coaster in the region and one of the biggest wave pools in the world!
The Adventure Waterpark consists of five different themed zones including Penawar Falls, Penawar River, Shipwreck Reef, Tidal Wave Beach and Kids Ahoy. Across all the zones there are more than 20 different rides, slides and attractions.
You won’t want to miss the wave pool which is one of the biggest in the world at nearly three acres! So much fun.
Regardless of how old your kids are, or even if you’re an adult just young at heart – this is one of the Desaru tourist attractions which has something for everyone. If you’re visiting soon and wondering what to do in Desaru – put this attraction on your list!
We definitely had the most fun here of any of the Desaru attractions. My kids aged 6 and 11 at the time have to agree and did absolutely everything here.
Address: Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar
Go On A Desaru Firefly Cruise
A must do in Desaru is to take a firefly cruise through the Sungai Lebam Wetlands. These 40 minute tours take place at night, where you will cruise down the Bujang River, through the firefly breeding grounds and see thousands of fireflies light up the night skies as they emit yellow, green and red coloured light.
It is recommended to combine this Desaru activity with a meal at the Bujang Seafood Restaurant. Here, as well as dining on delicious seafood, you can also enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Address: Jalan Jemaluang, 81900 Kota Tinggi
Play Golf At The Els Club Desaru Coast
For the golfers, the best place in Desaru is the Ells Club Desaru Coast. This is a gorgeous golf course which features two beautifully manicured courses both designed by major golf champions. The Ocean Course was designed by Ernie Els and features 27 holes, while the Valley Course has 18 holes and was designed by Vijay Singh.
For golfers with families, you can also bring the kids to play on the 9 hole Par 3 course which has been designed for people with all levels of golfing experience to enjoy.
Address: No. 4, Jalan Danau, Desaru Coast, 81930 Darul Ta’zim
Check Out Desaru Ostrich Farm
Another one of the fun Desaru attractions is the Desaru Ostrich Farm. This farm is a great way to see ostriches – the world’s largest birds.
The farm is home to more than 200 ostriches and you get the chance to see them up close, feed them and, if you are under 20 kilograms, take a ride on an ostrich.
I read that you would be taken on a guided tour with their caretakers when visiting here. They would explain lots of facts about these interesting birds. However, I did not find this to be the case. We could wander the small area, take photos with the ostriches or feed them. My kids loved this.
There is also the option to try an ostrich egg – the world’s largest egg – as well as ostrich meat. Ostrich nuggets, anyone?!
Address: Jalan Telok Ramunia, Kampung Changi, 81600 Pengerang
Visit The Desaru Fruit Farm
The Desaru Fruit Farm is another great Desaru place to visit. Here, you can try all the delicious tropical fruit that can be found around Malaysia. This farm is situated across 180 acres, where, in theory, visitors can learn about over 100 different varieties of tropical fruit through a guided tour.
We found the farm tour was more about paying to feed animals than about the fruit, unfortunately. We also learned about honey and visited their Agricultural Gallery (like a tiny museum) on this tour.
However, in better news, there are other cool things to do at this attraction in Desaru. You can take a super fun ATV ride that we really enjoyed.
There’s also a great lunch extra where you can try 7 courses plus soup of fruit-infused dishes. This meal is absolutely delicious and it’s worth visiting here just for this. It also includes a delicious fruit buffet as pictured above. I would return here just for this!
Before you leave, don’t forget to buy some fresh fruit to take home.
Address: Sungai Cemaran, Desaru 81900 Kota Tinggi
Visit The Desaru Coast Riverside Village
For those that love to shop, the best time to visit Desaru is anytime thanks to the new Desaru Coast Riverside Village.
The Desaru Coast Riverside Village is a 23 acre waterfront modern shopping precinct which includes some great shops, restaurants, cafes, eateries and entertainment.
Address: No.10 & 12, Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Darul Ta’zim
Experience Fun Activities And Adventure At Dash Outdoor
Dash Outdoors is a great place to go for those who want to try some more active and adventurous activities in Desaru. Dash is basically your one-stop-shop for a range of super cool things to do.
At Dash, you can explore the coastline on a fat bike, hire a stand-up paddleboard, catamarans, jet skis or kayaks, go on a banana boat ride, get flipped upside down in a zorb water balls and a whole lot more.
Address: C/O Westin Hotel, Dash Outdoors, Jln Pantai 3, 81930 Bandar Penawar
Have A Splash At The Kota Tinggi Waterfalls
For a swim, another one of the Desaru places to visit is the Kota Tinggi Waterfalls. Located at the foot of Mount Muntahak, the falls cascade down the mountains for 34 metres. It’s a perfect place to cool off on a hot day.
The surrounding area is lovely too and perfect for a picnic – bring your own or purchase something from the nearby food stands.
Some of the Desaru activities in the area including hiking and camping.
Address: Sungai Pelepah,, Gunung Panti Recreational Forest, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Ta’zim
Explore The Tanjung Balau Fishermen Museum
The Tanjung Balau Fisherman Museum is one of the Desaru interesting places where you can learn about the local traditional fishing villages.
The museum is set in a traditional Malaysian fishing village. Through four different galleries and various artefacts, this museum showcases the story of fisherman civilization.
Address: Tanjung Balau, 81930 Kota Tinggi
Visit And Try Fishing At The Tanjung Balau Fishing Village
While you’re visiting the Tanjung Balau Museum, another Desaru best place to visit is the nearby fishing village where you can grab a meal of super fresh seafood. Or why not go fishing yourself.
Address: Tanjung Balau, 81930 Kota Tinggi
Watch Crocodile Feeding Up Close At Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm
The Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm is the perfect place to visit in Desaru where you can get up close and personal with some crocodiles. Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm is the largest crocodile farm in West Malaysia and home to over 1000 crocodiles including a 130 year old toothless crocodile!
While visiting the crocodile farm don’t miss feeding time – this is a great opportunity to see these prehistoric beasts in action.
It’s perfect for anyone interested in crocodiles. My kids thought it was cool.
Address: Kota Tinggi, Johor, 81920, Ayer Tawar 2, Johor Darul Ta’zim
Best Things To Do In Desaru Map
Below is a handy Desaru attractions map to help plan your itinerary.
Best Place To Stay In Desaru
While still a reasonably quiet coastal town, there are now some relatively large first class resorts here for anyone who wishes to stay a few days in Desaru. There are also a few budget options dotted around the area too.
Below I’ve listed a few different places to consider including a budget, mid-range and more expensive option. Note that places to stay in Desaru are pricier than most areas of Malaysia.
The Anantara Desaru Coast Resort is a stunning, luxurious hotel, perfect for those wanting the best in terms of accommodation. Set among lush gardens and lagoons and with a range of low rise villas, this resort is set to look like an upmarket Malaysian fishing village.
There is a range of room options at Anantara including simple hotel style rooms, standalone villas or even a beach house with a private swimming pool. All rooms have private balconies, an espresso machine and free wifi.
The resort has two swimming pools, one of which is a spectacular beachfront infinity pool. Other facilities on site include a spa, gym (complete with personal trainers), yoga classes and a shuttle bus to take guests to Els Club Golf Course which is just 5 minutes away.
Guests can also walk to Adventure Waterpark from the resort.
For a mid-range option, the Hard Rock Hotel is a good one to consider. With its location being right by the Adventure Waterpark, this is a particularly good option for anyone planning on spending some time at this Desaru place of interest.
The Hard Rock Hotel is a first class 5 star resort offering a range of room types. All rooms come with air-conditioning, free wifi and private balconies – you could even upgrade and have an in-room plunge pool!
As mentioned, the hotel is right next to the Adventure Waterpark. While the hotel is not beachfront, you can walk through the Westin Hotel opposite and be at the beach in moments.
Opened in just 2016, the Amansari Hotel is fairly new and is a good option for those after budget accommodation on their trip to Desaru. This 3.5 star hotel has 238 rooms and is ideal for all sorts of travellers from business travellers through to families.
There is a range of room types, including family suites. Each room comes with air conditioning, free wifi and city views. On-site, there is also a range of facilities including a gym, lounge and cafe.
The pool that was on-site is currently closed, but you do get access to a pool nearby.
Amansari Hotel is located in Bandar Penawar which is convenient for all the things to do at Desaru and shopping with the city centre nearby. But note, that this isn’t by the beach. The beach is about a ten-minute drive away.
Weekend In Desaru Video Walk-Through
In the following video, you can experience what it’s like to visit the Desaru Coast for a weekend with a walk-through of all the top attractions, Desaru beach and a stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru.
How To Get To Desaru
It’s easy to get to Desaru by bus or car from Singapore, Johor Bahru or the rest of Malaysia. If you have your own car, great! You are good to go.
If you need to take a bus, click here for the latest timetables and bus prices. Getting to Desaru can be tricky by bus. You may need to go to Kota Tinggi first.
You can also hire a car to get you there by clicking here.
The easiest way to get to Desaru is by private taxi. We can book you a safe and reliable taxi from anywhere in peninsular Malaysia or Singapore.
If you are coming from Johor Bahru, find our full guide to travelling between Desaru and Johor Bahru here.
If you want to visit Legoland before or after Desaru, read our guide to travelling between Legoland and Desaru here.
Desaru With Kids
If you’re travelling with kids to Desaru you’re in for a real treat as there are plenty of kid friendly attractions in Desaru. This is the perfect destination for family holidays with its lovely beach and great family friendly attractions.
I visited here with my own kids aged 6 and 11 on our last visit. It was a very easy place to be and they enjoyed the crocodile farm, ostrich farm and, of course, Adventure Waterpark especially.
As with anywhere in Malaysia, kids are made to feel welcome in Desaru, and there is a great range of family friendly accommodation with excellent facilities.
For those looking to escape the busy Malaysian cities, Desaru is such a great option. This is a reasonably quiet coastal town, with a stunning beach, yet there is plenty of things to do in Desaru Coast to keep all sorts of travellers entertained.
It’s easy to get here from Singapore and Johor Bahru and a much easier way to access a great beach than travelling to Tioman.
Whether you come for a day trip or stay for a few days, you are sure to have a wonderful time in Desaru.
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