drive to drive
definition: to take road trips just for the pure joy of driving & exploring
Desaru was much hyped in the 80s with quite a few mega projects aimed at attracting foreign investment and visitors, which have since been abandoned. Today, it’s strictly a local affair with the occasional Singaporeans thrown in: there are no fancy restaurants or hip nightlife spots, just 22 kilometers of beach and a few aging resorts.
Like all of Malaysia’s east coast, Desaru is highly seasonal, with monsoon winds and rains lashing the coast between November and February. There is still plenty of sunshine even during the rainy season, but waves are high and it rains more. The “good” season is thus April to October, with June to August being the busiest months, when the waters are inviting and the sand fine.
Desaru is not a well-developed resort, but there are a lot of things to do while you are there. Take advantage of the nice wide beach, and of the shallow and clear water. All 22 km of it is open to all, even the stretches in front of the hotels, but most locals congregate at the public beach, which provides a carpark, a few barbeque pits.
One thing you can definitely try is surfing. If the wind is good, the waves are quite OK, and especially the lack of jellyfish and sharks makes it an attractive location. During December, January and first half of February (monsoon season), the waves are almost constantly high but do expect the water to be a little cold. There is a company that rents surfboards for 20 RM/hr and provides surf lessons for 100 RM. The same company rents jet skis.
Visiting the Desaru ostrich farm is a chance you shouldn’t give a miss as one of its most attractive features is that you can get up close with the ostriches in the farm. Not only is this interesting, it is also immensely educational since you are able to learn quite a lot from observing the birds.
Distance travelled: Approx. 96 km