Malaysia is a country of contrasts, where different languages and cultures fuse and merge to create a unique Southeast Asian nation that’s quite unlike any of its neighboring countries.
Malaysia is home to beautiful coastline, tropical islands and coral reefs that are scorched by the sun. Humid rainforests in Borneo and on the mainland are full of rare wildlife, while the highlands are always a cooling retreat from the heat.
To help you plan your trip, here are the best places to visit in Malaysia.
1. Kuala Lumpur
Any journey to Malaysia should start in Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital and largest city. Although at first it may seem like a sprawling metropolis, once you’ve found your feet you’ll realize that this is the heart of modern Malaysia. Old markets and colonial buildings stand in the shadow of the brightly lit Petronas Towers and gleaming skyscrapers. There’s food, intriguing museums and a diverse blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences to discover across this vibrant city. It’s easy to spend at least three days in KL with all it has to offer.
2. Sipadan Island
Sipadan Island truly holds the best of Malaysia when it comes to scuba diving and snorkeling. This is Borneo’s best island. It’s a coral atoll, surrounded by some of the most diverse and colorful reefs and marine life in the world. Here you can see all sorts of underwater creatures, large and small, while the island itself is home to white sand beaches and beautiful green palm trees. It’s not the easiest island to reach, as it’s remote and isolated, but it is worth every extra effort needed to travel to it.
3. Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara is the largest national park on the Malay Peninsula. In fact, the name Taman Negara literally translates from Malay to English as ‘National Park’. It’s an area of rainforest and wildlife, one of the last surviving areas in the country outside of Malaysian Borneo. Travel here is best done along the river, and there are local villages connected by boat where you can overnight before taking on the canopy walks that are suspended high in the trees.
Malacca is one of the most historic Malaysian destinations to visit. Found on the west coast, there’s an eclectic mix of architecture and culture to explore. There are colonial Portuguese ruins, British era buildings and a dense Chinatown that have all contributed to the UNESCO World Heritage status. Visit the famous Jonker Street to uncover local culinary delights and check out the unusual ‘floating mosque’ that sits out on stilts in the ocean.
5. Johor Bahru
Few people ever seem to visit Johor Bahru, so if you are wondering where to go in Malaysia that’s off the beaten path, then this is the city to visit. Johor Bahru is overshadowed by Singapore which lies across the border to the south, but actually, this is one of Malaysia’s biggest cities and traditionally one of the most important. You can delve into the culture and see the grand palaces of the Sultan of Johor who used to hold sway over much of the peninsula.
6. Genting Highlands
The Genting Highlands are found just outside of Kuala Lumpur and have long been a great escape from the city. There are holiday resorts and amusement parks in the highlands that cater to the locals of KL, but it’s an intriguing look at local tourism and a fun place to include when you plan a trip to Malaysia.
7. Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands is one of the best holiday destinations in Malaysia. If you tire of the heat of the coast or the humidity of the cities, then head into these central hills for something completely different. Founded as a hill station for the colonial British to escape to in the summer, the Cameron Highlands is cool, rainy, and very refreshing. There are jungle walks, tea plantations and strawberry farms to see up in these beautiful hills.
8. Pulau Pangkor
Sleepy Pulau Pangkor is one of the best tourist spots in Malaysia, but it’s also one of the last hidden gems on the west coast. The island is halfway between Malacca and Penang, but sees few tourists other than local Malaysians. It’s a rustic place with a few hotels and guest houses, but it has lots of nice beaches and places to relax.
9. George Town
UNESCO World Heritage listed George Town is the epitome of multicultural Malaysia. Found on the island of Penang, this is a foodie’s paradise where you can have a traditional Malay breakfast of roti, followed by a steaming bowl of Chinese dumplings for lunch and a delicious Indian curry for dinner. The streets are full of character and street art, and there’s a thriving nightlife any day of the week.
Langkawi is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in Malaysia, and the country’s favorite tropical getaway. It’s perfect for a weekend escape because this duty free island is laid-back and beautiful, with some of the best beaches on the west coast. There’s great island hopping opportunities, spectacular vistas from the top of the Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge and plenty of bars and restaurants along the beaches.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
You can support my work directly on Patreon or Paypal
Contact by mail: email@example.com
Contact by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org