Food, Fun, and Fireflies: Things to Do to Discover Desaru

Destination: Desaru!
By: Aina Shamshuri
June 12, 2023

Desaru is so much more than just its beaches. Granted, the coastline at Desaru Coast is beautiful, but the area is now packed with so many activities and attractions that are perfect for any solo travellers, couples, and families alike. Whether you’re a nature lover, foodie, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway, Desaru has something for everyone. Join us as we discover some of the best things to do in Desaru to discover the best of what this coastal heaven has to offer.

Best Things to Do in Desaru

1. Feast on Seafood

Being a coastal town, Desaru has no shortage of seafood. There are simply tons of seafood restaurants in Johor, just take your pick! Better yet, go food hunting and find out for yourself which are the best restaurants in Desaru. Here, you’ll find some of the most freshest, juiciest, mouth-watering dishes you’ll find in Malaysia. Some of our favourites include Super Lobster Restaurant (pictured) for Chinese seafood dishes, Nelayan Seafood by the Coast for the view, and the ever-famous Jade Garden Seafood Corner. Dinner in Desaru is amazing, and is definitely one of our favourite things to do in Desaru at night.

2. Float with Fireflies

Image via Tripzilla

Did you know that you can take a cruise to watch fireflies show off their lit butts? At night, Kota Tinggi Firefly Park runs tours along the banks of the Bujang River, and it’s almost exactly like that scene in Princess and the Frog. It’s definitely a sight to behold, and watching the fireflies dance around in the moonlight will definitely delight kids and adults alike. Before the riverboat cruise however, you can treat yourself to a scrumptious dinner at the restaurant right on the docks. There’s also a mini farm that has rabbits and wild boars, too! One of the best and most enchanting things to do in Desaru at night, you can’t miss out on the fireflies.

For more information, click here.

Address:Jalan Kota Tinggi, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor
Operating hours:1pm – 11pm daily
Contact details:017 460 7775

3. Tour the Mangroves

If illuminated bugs aren’t your thing but you still want to catch a cruise, we recommend going on a cruise to see mangrove trees instead. Both fun and educational, it’s a great way to learn about the importance of mangrove trees to the environment, and you get to be one with nature. One of the most unique things to do in Desaru, you can catch a guided tour of the protected mangrove trees here, here, or here. You’ll get to visit three different swamps, and definitely keep an eye out for all the fauna that reside there.

4. Swim with Crocodiles

Image via Adventoro

We’re joking, please don’t swim with crocodiles. But you can still see them somewhat up-close at the largest crocodile farm in Malaysia, located right here in Teluk Sengat. Established in 1979, this crocodile farm is home to over 1000 crocs, including one who’s over 130 years old. Even if you can’t swim with them, you may get a chance to touch baby crocodiles! You can learn all about these water dinosaurs at the crocodile farm, and you can even morbidly bring home leather goods and crocodile meat. We hear it tastes like chicken.

For more information, click here.

Address:Lots 1289 & 1290 , Jalan Sembilang , Kampung Belading , Teluk Sengat , 81940 Kota Tinggi , Johor , Johore Lama, Malaysia
Operating hours:9am – 6pm daily
Contact details:019 791 5116

5. Visit an Ostrich Farm

Ever wondered if you were taller than an ostrich? Wonder no more at Desaru Ostrich Farm, where you can see these magnificent beasts with your own eyes. You can even get up real close and personal with the ostriches, and the pictures with them will make a great addition to your Instagram feed. It’s a fun family destination, and we definitely recommend setting aside a few hours of your Desaru itinerary to visit this farm. You can feed the ostriches, and kids can even ride them! It’s RM12 for adults and RM8 for kids, making it a fun and affordable activity for the whole family.

For more information, click here.

Address:Jln Teluk Ramunia, Kampung Changi, 81600 Pengerang, Johor
Operating hours:10am – 6pm daily
Contact details:07 826 5846

6. Splash Out at the Desaru Waterpark

Image via Tripfez

One of the most famous attractions in Desaru, you just can’t miss out on visiting Desaru Waterpark. Definitely one of those things that you need to dedicate a whole day for in your Desaru itinerary, this waterpark has a massive wave pool, an artificial beach, and five different zones to explore for some fun-filled water adventures, including one that’s just for kids. Fun for families and friend groups, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Desaru.

For more information, click here.

Address:Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast, 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Operating hours:Wed – Mon: 10am – 6pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Contact details:07 878 3800

7. Stroll Along the Beach

Image via Petit Go

This one is a no-brainer. A trip to Desaru just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach, and boy, isn’t it beautiful. Desaru is famous for having white, sandy beaches, lined with tall coconut trees, and the glittering water. For the adventurous ones, there’s tons of watersports to do like jet-skiing, surfing, paddleboarding, and so much more. If you just want to relax, the warm sand and cool breeze will definitely help you chill and get that vitamin sea.

Address:Desaru Public Beach, 90, Desaru, 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Operating hours:
Contact details:

8. Hunt for Birdies at The Els Club

Image via The Golf Wire

Shoot some hoops and score a goal, or whatever it is that golfers do at the gorgeous Els Club. A multi-award winning golf course, The Els Club is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Malaysia. Just look at the view! Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a first-timer, playing ball at this course is an experience you definitely can’t miss out on when you’re in Desaru. If you get hungry after making a touchdown, dine at one of their two eateries that all overlook the golf course.

For more information, click here.

Address:No. 4 Jalan Danau, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Operating hours:Ocean Course: 7.30am – 7.30pm
Valley Course: 8am – 2pm
Contact details:019 791 2217

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