The four Reasons Why Malaysia Got to Be Your Next Travel Destination
Warm waters, white sandy beaches, buzzing cities, rare wildlife and tasty cuisine. Stretching from the mainland Peninsula to Malaysian Borneo, it’s a natural playground for you to indulge your passions, whether they are cultural, natural, spiritual or playful – or a combination of all four.
Capital Kuala Lumpur, your first stop, might be electric with modem life – centred around the glass bullets that are the Petronas Towers – but traditional Malay life can still be found among Kampung Baru’s wooden houses and street stalls. Sample some local favourites, like the fragrant rice dish nasi lemak.
Outside the capital, Penang Island’s UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town is full of architectural ghosts from its historic past. Meanwhile Melaka’s history as a Chinese, Portuguese and Arabian trading port is still felt in a melting pot of culture and cuisine.
Another highlight is to stay with the indigenous Sabah and Sarawak people.
Travellers can organise a visit with a host family in a kampong (traditional village) or a homestay at a tribal longhouse.
Of course, Malaysia’s 800-plus islands offer beach-dwellers and water-babies endless opportunity. The Terengganu islands alone have miles of postcard-perfect white-sand beaches for you to squidge between your toes.
Those keen to get in – and under – the water will soon discover why divers rate Malaysia so highly. The island of Sipadan is a word-class spot for turtles, sharks and vertigo-inducing coral walls, while Labuan Marine Park is the resting place of wrecks – and the marine life that now call them home.
Have a wild adventure
For thrill seekers of all abilities, Malaysia offers an unforgettable experience. Your wanderlust can have you scaling 4,095m Mt Kinabalu, taking in the fauna and flora of Taman Negara National Park from its network of canopy walkways or exploring Deer Cave at Gunung Mulu National Park. For those who like more of an adrenaline buzz, Malaysia’s rivers – like the Kuala Kubu Bharu – offer a wide range of whitewater adventures.
A visit to the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah will put you in the natural habitat of the indigenous proboscis monkey. Just as endangered are the orangutans of Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre or the Malaysian tiger that have made the Royal Belum Rainforest their home.
Once you’ve finished hanging with the wildlife, then start getting back in touch with yourself. Malaysia’s endless number of tiny islands are the perfect setting for some serious relaxation, whether pampering yourself with local healing rituals on one of Langkawi’s 99 islands or taking in the scenery from a cruise-boat deck. Or you can enjoy a spot of retail therapy among the bustling boutiques of Melaka’s Jonker Walk or the heady atmosphere and street food of Penang Island’s night market.