From steamy jungles packed with wildlife to beautiful beaches and idyllic islands, there are many wonderful places to visit in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a vibrant destination that retains many elements of its diverse culture while having cities as modern as anywhere else in Asia. It is Malaysia’s blend of multiculturalism and natural areas from beaches to islands, mountains and rainforests that make it such a popular Asian holiday destination for travellers of all kinds. This diverse landscape combined with its unique plants and animals offers tourists enchanting opportunities and a truly Asian experience.
To see the best of Malaysia, here are some of the best places.
Imagine a city, its skyline punctuated by minarets, Mogul-style domes and skyscrapers, its colorful, food-stall-lined streets shaded by a leafy canopy of banyan trees. To fully connect with locals, join them in two of their favorite pastimes: shopping and eating. Malaysian consumer culture achieves its zenith in KL, where you could spend all day browsing glitzy air-conditioned malls such as Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Suria KLCC and Mid Valley Megamall in search of designer fashion and bargains. For such a frenetic city, KL has an uncanny way of charming its visitors, particularly the sheer variety of delicious dining options that reflect the very best of Malaysian cuisine. An essential part of the vibrant mix are the incense-wreathed, colorfully adorned mosques and temples of the country’s Malay, Chinese and Indian communities.
Cameron Highlands is the country’s largest and most popular hill station, with a consistently pleasant climate, rolling hills, lush tea plantations, and distinctively colonial character. In Malaysia's largest hill-station area, the breeze is freshened by eucalyptus, fuzzy tea plantations roll into the distance, and strawberry farms snooze under huge awnings.
From north to south, the Cameron Highlands roughly encompass Tringkap, Brinchang, Tanah Rata, Ringlet and their surrounds. This fresh climate inspires convoys of visitors to pick strawberries and sip tea here each weekend. The highlands' combination of genteel tea culture, hiking trails and mild temperatures is irresistible. With eco-conscious trekking, unexplored forests and some interesting temples, there is serenity to be found amid the touristic hubbub.
Borneo’s most sophisticated city brings together a kaleidoscope of cultures, crafts and cuisines. The bustling streets – some very modern, others with a colonial vibe – amply reward visitors with a penchant for aimless ambling. Chinese temples decorated with dragons abut shop houses from the time of the White Rajahs, a South Indian mosque is a five-minute walk from stalls selling half-a-dozen Asian cuisines, and a landscaped riverfront park attracts families out for a stroll and a quick bite. Kuching’s other huge asset is its day-trip proximity to a dozen first-rate nature sites.
Combine three distinct and ancient cultures, indigenous and colonial architecture, and embellish with some of the best food in Southeast Asia, and you have the irresistible urban cocktail that is George Town.
Most impressive is the movie set–like mishmash of the city's buildings, people and culture; you find Chinese temples in Little India and mosques in Chinatown, and Western-style skyscrapers and shopping complexes gleaming high above British Raj–era architecture.
The eclectic jumble makes this a city that rewards explorers. Get lost in the maze of chaotic streets and narrow lanes, past shrines decorated with strings of paper lanterns and fragrant shops selling Indian spices; or enjoy George Town's burgeoning street art scene, its modern cafes and fun bars.
The Kinabatangan River is Sabah's longest: 560km of brown water, coiling like the serpents that swim its length far into the Bornean interior. Riverine forest creeps alongside the water, swarming with wildlife that flee ever-encroaching palm-oil plantations. Lodges are tastefully scattered along the banks, while home-stay programs pop up with the frequency of local monkeys.
Dozens of tin boats putter along the shores offering tourists the opportunity to have a close encounter with a wild friend. This is the only place in Sabah where you can find a concentration of 10 primates including: orangutan, Bornean gibbon, long-tailed and short-tailed macaque, three kinds of leaf monkey, western tarsier, slow loris and proboscis monkey. Add to this eight different kinds of hornbill, herds of pygmy elephants, crocs, wild boar and a clouded leopard.