Malaysia, which is home to a diverse population of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples, has a rich cultural heritage that includes everything from annual festivals and delicious cuisines to traditional architecture and rural crafts. There’s also breathtaking natural beauty to behold, such as beautiful beaches and some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, much of which is surprisingly accessible.
Malaysia’s national parks are ideal for hiking, wildlife viewing, cave exploration, and river rafting, among other activities. Malaysia tourism will whisk you away on a magical journey via its beautiful beaches, remote islands, and lush green forest reserves before you even realize it. Put your taste buds through a whirlwind of sensations from all around the country!
Islam, which was adopted by the Malays in the fourteenth century, is definitely the country’s main cultural force today. But it’s the religious diversity – there are significant Christian and Hindu minorities – that’s so appealing, with mosques, temples, and churches often juxtaposed in unexpected ways.
When you combine the color and vibrancy of Chinese temples and street fairs, Indian festival days and everyday life in Malay kampungs (villages), and Borneo’s indigenous traditions, it’s easy to see why visitors are drawn to this celebration of ethnic diversity; indeed, despite some issues, Malaysia has something to teach the rest of the world about building successful multicultural societies.
For all beach lovers around the world, this mixing pot of cultures and religions is heaven. Malaysia is known for its great contrasts, which add to the country’s diversity. The country’s diversity is reflected in skyscrapers and wooden dwellings, rainforests, and white beaches, enormous mountains and steep plains, chilly highlands, and warm mangroves.
Malaysia caters to a wide range of interests. Families can make the most of their time in Kuala Lumpur and Genting Highlands, two of Malaysia’s highlights. All shopaholics will find Kuala Lumpur to be a one-stop-shop.
The Cameron Highlands, Penang, and Malaysia’s remote islands are among the most popular honeymoon locations in the world. Some numerous adventures and watersports will satisfy the adrenaline needs of the world’s youth. Overall, Malaysia is a potpourri of delights.
Tourism in Malaysia will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, one that you will remember for the rest of your life! This Malaysia tourism guide will provide you with a thorough insight into the country, allowing you to determine whether or not you wish to visit.
Malaysia has its roots in the Malay kingdoms, which were part of the British Empire in the 18th century, along with the protectorate of the British Straits Settlements. In 1946, Peninsular Malaysia was united as the Malayan Union. In 1948, Malaya was reformed as the Federation of Malaya, and on August 31, 1957, it gained independence.
On September 16, 1963, independent Malaya merged with the then-British crown territories of North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia. Singapore was ejected from the federation and declared an independent country in August 1965.
The country’s politics are influenced by its multi-ethnic and multi-cultural makeup. The Malay ethnic group makes up around half of the population, with minority of Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples. Malaysian, a standard form of Malay, is the country’s official language. English is still used as a second language.
While the constitution recognizes Islam as the country’s official religion, it also provides non-Muslims religious freedom. The legal system is based on common law and the government is modeled after the Westminster parliamentary system. Every five years, an elected monarch is chosen from among the nine state sultans to serve as the country’s head of state. The Prime Minister is the head of the government.
Malaysia’s GDP increased at an annual rate of 6.5 percent for over 50 years after independence. The economy has always been fueled by natural resources, but science, tourism, trade, and medical tourism are all growing.
Malaysia has a recently industrialized market economy, which is the third-largest in Southeast Asia and the world’s 33rd-largest. It is a founding member of ASEAN, EAS, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as APEC, the Commonwealth, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
The “Federation of Malaya,” which obtained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, was chosen over other possible names such as “Langkasuka,” which was named after the historic kingdom that ruled the upper Malay Peninsula in the first millennium CE.
When the surviving states of the Federation of Malaya, plus Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak, formed a new federation in 1963, the name “Malaysia” was adopted. According to one explanation, the name “si” was chosen to reflect the incorporation of Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak into Malaya in 1963. Before the modern country adopted the name, politicians in the Philippines considered renaming their state “Malaysia.”
Malaysia has been home to modern humans for around 40,000 years. The original inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula are supposed to have been Negritos. Traders and settlers from India and China arrived in the first century AD, and in the second and third centuries, trading ports and coastal towns were established.
Their presence had a strong Indian and Chinese effect on local cultures, and the Malay Peninsula’s population adopted Hinduism and Buddhism as religions. Inscriptions in Sanskrit date back to the fourth or fifth centuries. The Kingdom of Langkasuka was formed in the northern Malay Peninsula about the second century and lasted until the 15th century. Much of the southern Malay Peninsula was part of the Srivijayan maritime empire between the 7th and 13th centuries.
The Majapahit kingdom had effectively wrested control of most of the peninsula and the Malay Archipelago from Srivijaya by the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 14th century, Islam began to expand among Malays. The Malacca Sultanate was created in the early 15th century by Parameswara, a renegade ruler of the former Kingdom of Singapura who was tied to the old Srivijayan court. During this time, Malacca was a major commercial center, attracting trade from all around the region.
With a land size of 329,613 km2, Malaysia is the 66th largest country by total land area. In West Malaysia, it shares land boundaries with Thailand, and in East Malaysia, it shares land borders with Indonesia and Brunei. A thin causeway and a bridge connect it to Singapore.
Vietnam and the Philippines share marine borders with the country. The land borders are largely established by physical features such as the Perlis River, the Golok River, and the Pagalayan Canal, while some ocean boundaries are still in dispute. The state of Sarawak divides Brunei into two parts, making it almost an enclave in Malaysia.
Malaysia is the only country in Asia that has territory on both the Asian mainland and the Malay islands. Tanjung Piai is the southernmost point of continental Asia, located in the Malaysian state of Johor. The Strait of Malacca, which connects Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, carrying 40% of all worldwide traffic.
The two parts of Malaysia, separated by the South China Sea, have similar terrain, with coastal plains rising to hills and mountains in both Peninsular and East Malaysia.
Peninsular Malaysia spans 740 kilometers from north to south and has a maximum width of 322 kilometers, accounting for 40% of Malaysia’s land area. The Titiwangsa Mountains, which rise to a peak elevation of 2,183 meters at Mount Korbu and are part of a chain of mountain ranges that run down the peninsula’s center, divide the peninsula’s east and west coasts.
These mountains are mostly made up of granite and other igneous rocks and are highly wooded. A karst landscape has resulted from much of it being eroded. Some of Peninsular Malaysia’s river systems originate in this range. The peninsula’s coastal plains reach a maximum width of 50 kilometers, while the peninsula’s coastline is about 1,931 kilometers long, with harbors exclusively on the western side.
East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, has a 2,607-kilometer coastline. Coastal regions, hills, valleys, and a mountainous interior divide it. The Crocker Range divides the state of Sabah and stretches northwards from Sarawak. Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s tallest mountain at 4,095 meters, is located here.
Mount Kinabalu is part of Malaysia’s Kinabalu National Park, which is one of the country’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Malaysia and Indonesia are separated by their highest mountain ranges. The Mulu Caves, the world’s largest cave system, are located in Sarawak’s Gunung Mulu National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Numerous islands surround these two sides of Malaysia, the largest of which is Banggi. The yearly southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons characterize the area climate, which is equatorial. The presence of the surrounding waters helps to keep the temperature down. The average annual rainfall is 250 cm, and the humidity is usually high.
The climates of the Peninsula and the East differ because the peninsula’s climate is directly affected by wind from the mainland, whilst the East’s weather is more maritime. Highland, lowland, and coastal climates can all be divided into the same area. Sea levels and rainfall are anticipated to be affected by climate change, rising flood risks, and contributing to droughts.
On June 12, 1993, Malaysia signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, and on June 24, 1994, it became a party to the convention. Following that, it developed a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was submitted to the convention on April 16, 1998. With a large number of species and high degrees of endemism, the country is megadiverse. It is thought to be home to 20% of the world’s animal species.
Because lowland forest isolates species from one another, the various forests of Borneo’s mountains have high degrees of endemism. The country is home to over 210 animal species. Peninsular Malaysia is home to over 620 bird species, many of which are indigenous to the region’s mountains.
Malaysian Borneo is also home to a large number of endemic bird species. In the country, 250 reptile species have been recorded, including 150 snake species and 80 lizard species. There are over 150 frog species and thousands of bug species. Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone covers 334,671 km2, which is 1.5 times the country’s land area. The majority of it occurs in the South China Sea. The Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hotspot, contains some of its waters.
The waters surrounding Sipadan Island are the world’s most biodiverse. The Sulu Sea, which borders East Malaysia, is a biodiversity hotspot with 600 coral species and 1200 fish species. Malaysian Caves are known for their unusual biodiversity, which draws ecotourism enthusiasts from all over the world. Malaysia is home to almost 4,000 species of fungi, including lichen-forming species. One of the two fungal groups in Malaysia with the most species.
As of 2007, forest-covered around two-thirds of Malaysia, with some forests estimated to be 130 million years old. Dipterocarps are the dominant species in the forests. Lowland forest encompasses areas below 760 meters, and East Malaysia was once covered in this type of rainforest, which was aided by the country’s hot, humid environment. Flowering plants and trees number approximately 14,500 species.
Malaysia has around 1,425 km2 of mangroves and a huge area of peat forest in addition to rainforests. Oaks, chestnuts, and rhododendrons replace dipterocarps at higher elevations. Peninsular Malaysia has an estimated 8,500 vascular plant species, with another 15,000 in the east.
The forests of East Malaysia are home to an estimated 2,000 tree species and are one of the world’s most biodiverse places, with 240 different tree species per hectare. Many representatives of the Rafflesia genus, the world’s largest flower, with a maximum diameter of 1 m, can be found in these forests.
Logging, combined with agricultural activities, has decimated the country’s forest cover, resulting in serious environmental damage. Sarawak’s jungle has been logged to the tune of almost 80%. The loss of trees has exacerbated floods in East Malaysia, and over 60% of the Peninsula’s forest has been removed.
Forests are expected to be extinct by 2020, owing to present rates of deforestation, primarily for the palm oil industry. Deforestation is a severe issue for animals, fungi, and plants, and it has resulted in the extinction of species like Begonia eiromischa. The majority of the surviving forest is found within reserves and national parks. Marine life has been threatened by habitat degradation.
Illegal fishing, which uses methods such as dynamite fishing and poisoning to deplete marine ecosystems, is another big danger. Since the 1950s, the population of leatherback turtles has decreased by 98 cents. Hunting has also been a problem for some animals, with overconsumption and the commercial usage of animal parts putting numerous animals, from marine life to tigers, at risk. Uncontrolled tourism harms marine life.
The Malaysian government is attempting to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental conservation, but it has been accused of prioritizing big business over the environment. Some state governments are currently attempting to mitigate the environmental impact and pollution caused by deforestation, while the federal government is attempting to reduce logging by 10% annually.
There are 28 national parks in Malaysia, with 23 in East Malaysia and five in the Peninsular. In biodiverse regions like Sipadan Island, tourism has been limited. Animal trafficking is a serious problem, and the Malaysian government is working with the governments of Brunei and Indonesia to harmonize anti-trafficking legislation. Malaysia is a cosmopolitan, multilingual, and multiethnic country.
The area’s initial culture came from indigenous tribes who lived there, as well as Malays who eventually settled there. Since the beginning of foreign trade, Chinese and Indian cultures have had a significant influence. Persian, Arabic, and British cultures are among the other cultural influences. Because of the government’s structure and the social contract philosophy, ethnic minorities have had little cultural assimilation.
The government established a “National Cultural Policy” in 1971 to define Malaysian culture. It claimed that Malaysian culture must be based on the indigenous peoples’ culture, that it may include appropriate components from other cultures, and that Islam must play a part.
It also prioritized Malay above other languages. Non-Malays who feel their cultural freedom has been harmed as a result of the government’s interference in culture are enraged. Both Chinese and Indian organizations have sent the government memorandums accusing it of adopting an undemocratic culture policy.
Malaysia and its neighbors, particularly Indonesia, have some cultural differences. Both countries share a common cultural heritage, with many traditions and artifacts in common. However, disagreements have emerged over a variety of topics, including culinary specialties and Malaysia’s national song.
In Indonesia, there are strong feelings about preserving their cultural legacy. The Malaysian and Indonesian governments have met to try to alleviate some of the tensions that have arisen as a result of cultural differences. In Malaysia, where most people recognize that many cultural values are shared, feelings are not as intense.
Malaysian cuisine reflects the country’s multi-ethnic population. The cuisine has been highly influenced by several cultures from within the country and from the neighboring regions. Because the country was once part of the historic spice route, most of the influence comes from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures. The cuisine is quite close to Singaporean and Bruneian cuisines, as well as Filipino cuisine.
Different states have different cuisines, and Malaysian food is frequently different from that of other countries. Food from one culture is sometimes incorporated into another; for example, Malay cuisine is frequently found in Chinese restaurants in Malaysia. Food from one culture is occasionally prepared in a culture borrowed from another.
For example, Chinese restaurants frequently utilize sambal belacan (shrimp paste) as an ingredient in stir-fried water spinach (kangkung belacan). This means that, while most Malaysian food can be traced back to a particular culture, it retains its uniqueness. Rice is used in a variety of meals. Chili is often used in local cuisine, however, this does not always imply that it is spicy.
How To Reach Malaysia
1. By Air
The best way to get to Malaysia is by plane. For the budget traveler, Malaysian airlines provide a low-cost flight to Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia has three major airports: Senai International Airport, Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which is the busiest.
Flights to Malaysia are also available from surrounding places such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. The airfares are usually quite low, and the flight duration is determined by where you are flying from. Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines are two airlines that fly often. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the largest airport in Malaysia.
3. By Road
KTM stands for Keretapi Tanah Melayu, and it is a Malayan railway service that runs between Singapore and Thailand. Both Thailand and Singapore have daily trains connecting them to Malaysia. There is no way to get to Malaysia directly from India. You can fly to Singapore or Thailand and then take the train from there.
If you are traveling from Singapore, trains are the most convenient mode of transportation; however, if you are traveling from another location, avoid riding a train. The trek becomes excessively long and exhausting. To reserve a seat on the train, travel tickets online at least 48 hours before departure.
Travel time: From Bangkok, it takes two days to reach Malaysia, while from Singapore, it takes seven to ten hours. The following is an estimate of the cost per person: Depending on the class you choose, it will cost you roughly INR 600-2700 from Singapore. It will cost you roughly INR 1700-2000 if you travel from Thailand.
3. By Road
It is not possible to enter Malaysia straight from India by road. If you still want to see the gorgeous roads, you can fly to Singapore, Thailand, or Indonesia and board a bus from there. These buses will take you to Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. Taxis are available to take you to your selected destinations from there.
Self-driving is not recommended, as you would need an International Drivers Permit to do so. The roads are really pleasant, and you will have a pleasant journey to Malaysia. Duration Required for Travel: From Thailand, it will take 8-9 hours, while from Jakarta and Singapore, it would take 5-6 hours.
The following is an estimate of the cost per person: From Singapore, it will cost you around INR 1900-2500. It will cost you INR 900-1200 and INR 2500-3000 from Thailand and Indonesia, respectively. Traveling by road: Buses are the most convenient mode of transportation. Take a bus to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore, Jakarta, or Thailand.
4. By Sea
The most relaxing way to get to Malaysia is via ferry. Malaysia is strongly connected to Sumatra, Thailand, and Indonesia. You can travel to Malaysia by taking a luxury cruise from one of these places while relaxing and enjoying your cruise. Peninsular Malaysia is well connected to parts of Sumatra and southern Thailand by ferries.
Sarawak, East Kalimantan, and Mindanao, on the other hand, are connected to Brunei and Sabah, respectively. Singapore and Phuket, on the other hand, routinely provide luxury cruises to Malaysia. In either case, you must fly from India to these places and then take a cruise. Duration Required for Travel: The duration it takes to travel from these locations to Malaysia varies between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
The following is an estimate of the cost per person: The cost of a cruise ranges from INR 15,000 to INR 22,000, although ferries are less expensive. The ferry rides will cost you around INR 2,800-3,500. Sumatra, Thailand, Indonesia, Sarawak, East Kalimantan, and Mindanao are the most important centers.
Best Time To Visit Malaysia?
Between March and early October is the best time to visit Malaysia. When it is possible to avoid the worst of the rains and there is a lower level of humidity. Malaysia’s weather is said to be hot and humid throughout the year, with brief rain showers. At sea level, the temperature in Malaysia typically ranges from 21 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius.
Lower temperatures and significantly colder weather might be expected at greater peak elevations. When planning a trip to Malaysia, the first thing you must determine is whether you want to visit the west coast or the east coast. The best months to travel will depend on your preferred region as well as the types of activities you intend to partake in.
Because of the consistent temperature, Malaysia has little seasonal fluctuations, but the coldest months are reported to be November to January.
1. Monsoon Seasons in Malaysia
The southwest monsoon and the northeast monsoon are the two monsoon wind seasons in Malaysia. The Southwest monsoon occurs from April to September, and the Northeast monsoon occurs from October to March. These monsoon seasons have an impact on the country’s general climate.
The Australian deserts give rise to the southwest monsoon. Rainfall is comparatively lower during this time. During this time, the northeast monsoon pours in additional rain. It comes from China and the Pacific Northwest. The southwest monsoon impacts Malaysia’s west coast, whereas the northeast monsoons are reported to affect Malaysia’s east coast.
2. Malaysia’s peak season
Malaysia is believed to have two peak seasons, one in the winter (December-February) and one in the summer (June-August). Due to school vacations and pleasant weather, these months see a significant increase in foot traffic.
These months should be avoided if you don’t want to stretch your budget and want to have a budget-friendly vacation. During high seasons, you will have to pay more money.
3. Malaysia’s offseason
Apart from the above-mentioned reasons, the rest of the year is known as Malaysia’s offseason since it has a lower footfall than the above-mentioned seasons. If you are traveling without children and on a budget, the offseason is the best time to visit Malaysia.
4. Regions in Malaysia
The best months to visit Malaysia’s East Coast are March and October, when you may enjoy activities such as snorkeling and diving. The Eastern peninsula has the best of the best sites for these activities, and these months are the best time to avoid the monsoon.
If you’re planning a trip to the west coast, the best time to go is between November and March, when rates are lower than other months and the weather is dry, making for a perfect vacation experience.
5. Spring Season in Malaysia- (March-May)
Malaysia’s spring season extends in March and lasts through May. Even though the temperature is believed to be high during these months, the spring months are typically quiet with a little breeze. This is the best time to visit Malaysia if you want to go on a beach trip.
In addition, the Sabah festival, a week-long festival that is well worth seeing, boosts the number of visitors during these months. But don’t forget to carry your sunscreens with you during these months!
6. Summer in Malaysia (June to August)
The summer season extends in June and lasts until the end of August. The temperature is also high during these months, and June and July are the months with the least amount of rainfall. If you are a water sports enthusiast and want to enjoy the water sports activities available in Malaysia, you should plan a holiday during these months due to the favorable weather conditions.
Although rainfall is unlikely during these months, Malaysian weather is notoriously unreliable, so bringing an umbrella at all times is a must! In June, the Gawai festival takes place, during which the longhouse doors are celebrated for the rice harvest celebration. This festival features dance, music, and delicious cuisine, and it’s well worth seeing, making it an excellent time to visit during the season.
7. Malaysian Autumn- (September – November)
In Malaysia, autumn extends in September and lasts until November. The temperature remains high during this season as well, although the number of rain showers gradually increases during these months. These months are ideal for those who enjoy visiting museums and being seen relaxing on beaches.
With the influx of tourists, the weather in Malaysia isn’t too cold during these months. Because of the heavy rains, you’ll be able to get inexpensive lodging during these months. However, don’t forget to carry your umbrellas! Along with the Deepawali festival, a worldwide music festival is celebrated at this time.
8. Winter in Malaysia – (December – February)
Malaysia’s winter months are stated to be December, January, and February. Celebrating Christmas, New Year, and the Hari Raya festival in Malaysia throughout the winter months is a wonderful experience that boosts foot season.
If you’re planning a relaxed, sumptuous trip that includes visits to the beach as well as time spent indoors, these months are ideal. Because the rainfall falls largely during the day and into the evening during this season, morning plans are suitable when visiting Malaysia during these months.
The rain is heavy, and the temperature is expected to drop. Visiting Malaysia during the winter season is suitable for west coast tourism. During these months, festivals like the Chinese New Year and Thaipusam make it a popular tourist destination. These festivals are lavishly celebrated here, and it is a must-see destination at least once in a lifetime.
The rain showers are heavy during these months, but after the rain stops, the festivities continue to make the place brighter, happier, and happier.
Malaysia’s Top Tourist Attractions
Malaysia is a country of contrasts, with an eclectic mix of colonial architecture, beautiful parks and beaches, modern skyscrapers, and a unique tea-plantation environment.
Malaysia, a melting pot of influences from neighboring countries as well as Western countries, has something for everyone, from the world-famous Petrona Towers to the cultural and religious diversity that makes it a one-of-a-kind destination. Here’s a list of the best places to visit in Malaysia, whether you’re planning a trip or just exploring it.
1. Kuala Lumpur
The capital and largest city of Malaysia has a lot to offer visitors. KL is a major tourist destination and consistently ranks in the top ten most visited cities in the world, thanks to the Petronas Twin Towers (the world’s highest twin towers).
The city has a unique aesthetic that you won’t find in other Southeast Asian cities, with a blend of colonial, modern, Asian, and Malay architecture. Even if you don’t plan on exploring inside, the National Palace and the House of Parliament are two instances of spectacular KL architecture worth seeing.
Visit Merdeka Square, shop on Chinatown’s Petaling Street, and explore the KL Bird Park while you’re in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur is regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s best shopping destinations, with around 70 shopping malls, as well as indoor/outdoor markets (such as the massive Central Market, which has over 800 shops and booths) and a fantastic place to buy hand-carved wood and pewter.
The gigantic limestone Batu Caves, home to religious sites and hundreds of bats are less than an hour away if you don’t mind a quick excursion out of town.
2. George Town
UNESCO has designated the older part of Malaysia’s second-largest city as a World Heritage Site, but George Town is as famous for its food as it is for its architecture.
George Town, dubbed “Malaysia’s Cuisine Capital,” is home to some of Asia’s best street food, which can be experienced along the city’s oceanfront Gurney Drive and Chulia Street, a famous backpacker hangout and one of the city’s oldest streets.
While the port and waterfront area of George Town are popular with tourists, there is much more to see and do here. The Rainbow Skywalk, a U-shaped exterior glass viewing deck 68 stories up in the air, is located in the city’s tallest tower. Take the tram up to the top of Penang Hill for a less nerve-wracking perspective of the city; the cityscape is especially lovely at night.
Before buying batik goods from a local market or visiting the bright 19th-century Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple, less adventurous travelers should pay a visit to the Batik Painting Museum Penang.
3. Gunung Mulu National Park
The park, named after Mount Mulu, draws visitors from all across Asia who come for the trekking, caving, hot springs, and natural splendor that has earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Climbers can reach the summit of Mount Mulu after a 24-kilometer trip that begins at the park headquarters and ends at an elevation of 1,200 meters, but there are also gentler trails within the park for those looking for a more pleasant day out.
The caves and the millions of bats that live there are the park’s principal attractions. The caverns, which are carved deep into the surrounding jungle and karst cliffs, are world-record-breakers in multiple respects, including the longest cave system in Southeast Asia and the world’s largest tunnel corridor.
Sarawak Chamber, at 115 meters high and 600 meters long, is the world’s largest cave chamber. It is difficult to reach and can only be explored as part of a guided tour.
Kayaking, mountain biking, and strolling through the park’s 500-meter canopy skywalk are also popular activities.
It’s somewhat unsurprising that Kuantan’s biggest claim to fame is its beaches, given its location right on the South China Sea. Teluk Cempedak Beach is a tree-lined, pristine beach just minutes from the city center, while Cherating Beach is home to a turtle sanctuary and a cultural hamlet that creates and sells traditional batik.
The Sungai Pandan Waterfall and Esplanade Park—from where you may take a boat to see the city from a different perspective—are also popular sites with plenty of opportunities to explore the surroundings, climb, or swim.
The Tin Museum, which is located on the former site of a vast underground tin mine, is a one-of-a-kind attraction worth seeing. Nearby, visitors will find a hanging rope bridge and the Charah Cave complex, which includes a giant reclining Buddha (be prepared for an hour-long climb through tropical palm trees to reach the caves).
5. Perhentian Islands
These coral-fringed, remote islands offer a variety of activities such as kayaking, exploring, snorkeling, and scuba diving (including a popular sugar hauler wreck), as well as the opportunity to assist with local organizations working to protect green and hawksbill turtles.
The islands have remained undeveloped, which means that there are no large hotels, restaurants, or facilities on the island. There are a few guesthouses and homestay choices for individuals who want to stay overnight, but not much else.
Paths zigzag around the islands, connecting beaches and passing through deep forests where monitor lizards and monkeys abound, making jungle trekking a popular activity. Paved paths also connect Coral Bay to a nearby beach and a charming fishing hamlet.
6. Borneo Rainforest
Borneo (which is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei) is densely covered with one of the world’s oldest rainforests and acts as a natural haven for endangered species like the eastern Sumatran rhino and Bornean orangutan.
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is the most environmentally friendly option to see orangutans up close while also helping a worthy cause.
Visitors come to Borneo for the island’s rich indigenous culture, jungle wildlife, and some of the world’s best outdoor trekking—much of which can be explored at the Rainforest Discovery Center, an educational location that serves as a fantastic introduction to the island.
The two-day hike up Mount Kinabalu is a popular alternative for people seeking more physical hobbies.
Langkawi is a group of 99 islands off Malaysia’s northwestern coast that is home to three protected Geoforest parks and many coconut-tree-lined beaches that are among the best in the country. Some beaches, such as Pantai Cenang, are quite popular with tourists, while beaches on the smaller northeastern islands are more private and feature a backdrop of limestone cliffs.
Take the island’s cable car to the top of one of the island’s tallest mountains for the best views of the islands and ocean. From here, you can take the 125-meter-long Langkawi Sky Bridge, a 660-meter-high pedestrian walkway. The Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are a short distance from the cable car and offer stunning clear pools for swimming as well as a forest walk that runs up two distinct slopes.
The Laman Padi Rice Garden has a small museum and rice fields, and the Legenda Langkawi Park, with its groomed gardens, traditional structures, and sculptures of ogres, mythical monsters, and other Langkawi legendary figures, is a perfect place to explore the area’s legacy and history.
8. Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands is a steep location where tea has been grown for centuries on the sloping mountainside. The Cameron Highlands is also home to lavender and strawberry farms, orchards, herbal gardens and nurseries, and the Mossy Forest boardwalk, a perpetually foggy tropical evergreen environment with dedicated trails to explore the indigenous flora and wildlife up close.
BOH Tea Plantation is a fantastic choice if you only have time to visit one plantation—not only is it Malaysia’s largest producer of tea, but visitors can also join tours to view the tea-making process up close, visit the gift shop, and explore through the land’s walkways.
The Mardi’s Agro Technology Park is an unexpectedly enjoyable location where you can explore the fruit orchards (including a vast area dedicated to the uncommon jackfruit) and even camp overnight for an inside view into Malaysian agricultural and farming traditions.
Visit The Time Tunnel, Malaysia‘s only memorabilia museum, to explore reconstructed rooms and shops from the early twentieth century, play old board games, and examine pre-war images.
9. Negara Taman
Taman Negara, a protected region with a 130-million-year-old deciduous rainforest, has enough activities and attractions to keep you busy for days. Visitors come here to climb Mount Tahan (one of Malaysia’s most difficult hikes/climbs), experience the canopy walkway, or jump on the Lata Berkoh river rapids, in addition to jungle hiking and bird-watching.
It would take weeks to explore the full Gua Telinga limestone cave system, but you may join separate guided excursions to view the main caves here, where you’ll have to crawl, squeeze, and perhaps get wet to reach the main chambers.
The park is home to several endangered animals, including the Malayan tiger and Malayan peacock-pheasants, and seeing either of them is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
10. Kota Kinabalu
The capital city of Kota Kinabalu, or KK, is located in the northern part of Borneo, near the South China Sea, and is surrounded by virgin forest and enormous mountain ranges.
Malaysia’s highest summit, Mount Kinabalu (from which the city derives its name), is nearby and a popular climbing destination. Climbing is only permitted in the company of park rangers because the mountain is protected and home to many endangered species (including orangutans and the huge vine known as Rafflesia—with five-petaled blossoms that can reach up to one meter in diameter).
Another popular tourist destination is the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, which spans about five hectares and five islands. Visitors can relax on the sloping white sand beach, snorkel in the coral reefs, or hike through the lush tropical jungle on one of the many hiking paths.
The Sabah State Museum, Merdeka Square (where the declaration of independence took place), and Monsopiad Cultural Village, where visitors may learn more about ethnic local communities, are must-sees for anyone interested in exploring the cultural side of KK.