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Top 10 Must Try Activities in Desaru 2024

10 Fun Activities Must Try in Desaru

If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, Desaru Coast is a great spot to chill and unwind. And it’s not that far off from Singapore too! Located along the east coast of Johor, Desaru is about a 1.5-hour drive from Woodlands Checkpoint or a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.


From its many golden beaches for seaside picnics and water sports to fishing villages for hearty seafood feasts, and of course, Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast for a splashing good time, Desaru boasts many amazing things to see and do.


Here are some of our favourite things to do in Desaru to inspire your next trip!


How to go to Desaru

Travelling to Desaru by Ferry

The ferry is docked along the coast at Desaru Coast

The ferry to Desaru operates every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is recommended to be at the ferry terminal at least 1 hour before your departure.


There is only one timing for the schedule:

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Desaru Coast: 8.30am

Desaru Coast to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal: 5.30pm


Travelling to Desaru by Car

desaru jb car drive

The easiest and quickest way to get to Desaru is by car. If you are already driving up to Johor Bahru for your weekend retreat, getting to Desaru is easy peasy. The driving distance from JB to Desaru is 71km and the journey is an easy 55-minute drive.


Desaru Private Car Charter

A sculpture of a guitar outside the Hard Rock Resort at Desaru

If you don’t want to drive, the hassle-free option is to go for a private car charter. It’s perfect for big groups (especially if you are travelling with kids in tow), and it is definitely a more convenient transport option. All you need to do is sit back and relax, and your driver will get you to where you want to go!


We took the private car transfer from Desaru back to Singapore on our last day and it was a breeze!


Things to Do in Desaru

1. Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast

A water rollercoaster makes a splash at the waterpark

If you’re a fan of Wild Wild Wet and Adventure Cove, you have to visit Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark! This family-friendly waterpark houses one of the biggest wave pools in the world, and plenty of thrilling rides to conquer for both the young and young at heart!


Cannot-miss highlights include:

      • Swing Ship: a pirate ship that arches up to 180 degrees

      • Surf Wall: surf simulator for catching waves

      • The Tempest and RIPTIDE: thrilling tube slides you can ride with your friends and family

      • Kraken’s Revenge: roller coaster and splashing flume ride that includes a full 360º horizontal loop

      • Kids Ahoy: kid-friendly splash zone for the little ones

    Address: 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia

    Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)


    2. Desaru Fruit Farm

    A walking tour to show the different fruits on the fruit farm

    Next stop, Desaru Fruit Farm! Enjoy an educational tour around the fruit farm grounds with your expert guide and learn more about the various species of fruits grown there, including passionfruit, starfruit, jackfruit, banana, durian and more!


    Besides learning more about fruit, the tour also allows you to:

        • Get up close and personal with stingless bees, learn about how honey is made, and enjoy honey tasting at the end of the tour

        • Feed colourful koi at the koi pond (food sold separately)

        • Feed adorable little bunnies and playful goats at the petting zoo (food sold separately)

      Address:  92, 82200 Kota Tinggi Johor, Malaysia


      3. Go Birdwatching

      birdwatching desaru

      Can you spot the pair of woodpeckers on the right?


      If you think that birdwatching sounds like a very slow activity or if you’re doubtful about what kind of birds you’ll be able to spot (after all you don’t want to spend an hour just looking at crows or something right?). Trust us, this birdwatching experience was one of the most enjoyable activities we did and you won’t be disappointed with what you will be able to spot!


      Accompanied by our birdwatching guide and armed with a trusty pair of binoculars each, we went on a walk on a mission – to spot as many birds as possible! And boy, were we surprised! Besides the the usual suspects like crows, we also were able to observe woodpeckers, egrets, and killdeer too – cool right?


      Thanks to our guide, we also learned so much about the various types and species of birds that we saw. It was truly a fun and educational tour that will leave you in awe of nature and wildlife.


      4. Do a Beach and Tide Pool Walking Tour

      Beaches beside clear waters

      Another interesting activity that’s great for wildlife enthusiasts! Instead of birds, this tour consists of a guided coastal walk where you can get up close and personal to marine creatures, as well as learn more about them and their habitat!

      desaru beach walk

      We got to see little hermit crabs and sea snails and observe them in their surroundings as well as learn more about the marine biodiversity. You can also pick up some beautiful seashells to keep as souvenirs too!


      Note: To get to the coast, you will have to first walk through a stretch of forest that can get quite muddy depending on weather conditions. We highly recommend wearing booties if you have them, or sports sandals that can be washed after you’re done with the tour. Do prepare mosquito repellent and water as well!


      5. Fireflies Tour

      firefly tour desaru

      Here’s something that you probably won’t be able to see in Singapore – fireflies! Hop on a boat tour into the mangroves, to catch a glimpse of these elusive little twinkling fireflies ✨


      If you’re lucky your guide will catch one and hand it to you so that you can get a closer look at it under the cupped palm of your hand – truly a magical sight and experience!


      6. Play Golf at Els Club Desaru Coast

      The Els Club Desaru Coast

      Image credit: The Els Club Desaru Coast


      For those who enjoy golfing, be sure to pack your golf set and set aside some time in your itinerary for a golfing sesh at Els Club Desaru Coast, a scenic golf club located along the Desaru Coast. Els Club offers two courses, the Ocean Course and Valley Course, which allows you to play against the backdrop of the South China Sea or lush rainforest.


      If you don’t have golfing experience, you can still sign up for a lesson at the in-house golfing academy to learn how to swing and hit some balls!


      After your golfing sesh, you can enjoy a hearty brunch or moreish high tea at Big Easy Bar & Grill, a restaurant located on the grounds of Els Club itself. Boasting a whopping varoety of both asian and western dishes – you can tuck into local favourites like smokey wok hei infused char kuey teow or nasi goreng, or indulge in a burger, beautifully stacked with all the fixings – your choice!



      Ocean Course: Darul Ta’zim, 4, Jalan Danau, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia

      Valley Course: No. 2, Jalan Pantai 2 Desaru Coast, Desaru, 81930 Coast, Johor, Malaysia


      7. Indulge in a Seafood Feast

      Chilli crab with a luxurious rich sauce

      Closely situated by fishing villages, Desaru is a great destination for seafood lovers, and you’ll get to feast on affordable, fresh seafood dishes here!


      We recommend having a sumptuous dinner at Nelayan Restaurant where you can enjoy comforting and tasty zhi char favourites like fresh steamed fish, salted egg prawn, hotplate tofu, lemon chicken and more!


      8. Pamper Yourself To A Luxurious Stay

      Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas Hotel

      Whether you’re planning a holiday with your family, friends or partner, Desaru Coast is a perfect destination for those craving a beach getaway to relax and unwind.


      Pamper yourself to a wonderful stay at one of the town’s beautiful resorts where you can wake up to the gentle ocean breeze and indulge in ultimate comfort. Most of these resorts have direct access or are within walking distance to the beach as well.


      9. Desaru Beach + Water Sports

      Water sports and activities along the beach

      The long stretch of Desaru Beach overlooking the South China Sea is the highlight of the coastal town. Pack a beach mat and a picnic lunch and laze your day away lounging with family – or maybe pack a volleyball so you can have a game with friends!


      If you’d like to swim, the waters here are generally calm and shallow, great for casual dips and for kids to splash around in. Water sports are also available here – there are plenty of local operators around so you can compare prices before committing.


      10. Go on a River Cruise Eco Tour

      desaru river cruise

      Looking for more nature getaways? For a tour around Desaru’s wetlands, hop on a river cruise eco-tour to explore the mangrove and its surroundings and spot the rich wildlife in the area!


      Your guide will also share more about the various species of mangroves (there can be up to 42 species in the area alone!), ocean tides, and how these affect marine life and the ecosystem too!

      About Us

      Welcome to Holidays From Singapore! Our blog seeks to help travellers plan their next adventure! From insightful articles, practical tips, to stories from our travellers, you can always find useful information and inspiring ideas for your new experience.

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