Did you know that Malaysia is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in Southeast Asia? Brimming with exciting sights and experiences, it is truly a must-visit country that you have to include on your travel bucket list. If you need more reasons to go, read up as we list down the many charms of this Southeast Asian gem.
1. Petronas Twin Towers
Standing at a dizzying height of 452 metres, the Petronas Twin Towers was once considered the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004. Take a lift up to the observation deck at the 86th floor of the most prominent landmark in Malaysia to get a glimpse of Kuala Lumpur up in the skies.
If you’re feeling musically inclined, head over to the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas concert hall located between the two towers. Praised as one of the world’s best concert halls with designs inspired by 19th-century European concert halls, it has played host to some of the world’s most respected musical geniuses.
2. Food Paradise
Mouth-watering food is usually accompanied by a hefty price…unless you’re in Malaysia!
Remember, DO NOT give their hawker centres a miss. Why you say? Because it is filled with everything delicious you can ever imagine!
It also doesn’t matter if you are eating from a food cart by the streets, at a hawker centre, café, or restaurant—in Malaysia, you get to enjoy an eclectic selection of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Thai food.
3. Multicultural Charm
Just like Singapore, if you take a walk along the streets of Malaysia, you’ll discover a mosque next to a Chinese temple and a church just a stone throw away. Christmas, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya are commonly celebrated by everyone in the country regardless of their race or religion. Hurray to more public holidays!
4. Blue Ocean, White Sand
White sandy beaches and blue pristine waters—an ocean lover’s dream. Malaysia is a haven for avid beachgoers! Langkawi, Perhentian Islands, Rendang Island and not forgetting Sabah are some of the top beaches in Malaysia that you absolutely have to go.
Located in the northern parts of Malaysia, Langkawi, also known as the Jewel of Kedah, is rich in natural resources and wildlife. This archipelago of 104 islands is named as one of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia.
5. Atas English Tea
Located in the heart of Malaysia, Cameron Highlands was named after British colonial William Cameron. Plop yourself on a high area and enjoy a sip of the best Southeast Asian English tea, while overlooking Malaysia’s largest tea plantation.
If you are a big nature enthusiast, engross yourself in the different types of floral and fauna Malaysia’s forest biodiversity has to offer while sipping your atas English tea.
6. Malacca World Heritage
Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2008, Malacca is located on the west coast of Malaysia. Previously ruled by Portuguese, Dutch, and British, Malacca is rich in historical and cultural background, making it the best place to visit if you are interested in immersing yourself in a unique cultural experience.
Even though Malacca is a small city, it is filled with architectural and historical monuments like Dutch Square and colonial churches, luring all travellers to take a slow walk by the riverside while basking in the rich cultural history of Malacca and enjoying the sunset!
7. Kinabalu National Park
Kinabalu National Park is also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s one of Sabah’s many famous attractions that draws thousands of visitors each year. As Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, the parks houses more than 5,000 vascular plant species with no shortages of fauna. At an elevation of 4095.2 metres, not only can travellers try their hand at traditional mountain climbing, there are also other activities such as alpine rock climbing, paragliding, and mountain expeditions for thrill-seeking nomads. You can even relax in a hot spring after a day’s worth of adventure!
8. World’s Largest Cave
Gunung Mulu National Park is an exceptional natural beauty with striking forest, karst terrain, mountains, waterfalls, and the world’s largest known underground cave that is said to be able to accommodate 40 Boeing 747s — imagine the size of that!
Gunung Mulu is most notable for both its high biodiversity and karst features. The park contains 17 vegetation zones, revealing approximately 3,500 species of vascular plants. With certain species of biodiversity only found here, the park provides significant natural habitat for a wide range of plants and animal species, above and below ground.
9. The Iban People
Once known for headhunting and territorial expansion, the Iban people had a terrifying reputation as a tough and successful tribe in the past.
Fast-forward to the present day, headhunting has started to fizzle out and most Iban longhouses are equipped with modern technology such as electricity, water supply, and even tar-sealed roads. However, they continue to retain their tribal customs, practices, and language.
10. World’s Oldest Rainforest
Taman Negara is a Malay term for ‘National Park’. Taman Negara, one of the world’s oldest rainforest, is estimated to be around 130 million years old and has produced many rare creatures.
One famous animal that’s still roaming the rainforest is the Malayan tiger whose whereabouts remains undiscovered even till today. Although sightings of tigers and rhinos are extremely rare, you can be sure to find elephants grazing the grasses, monkeys swinging from one branch to another, and even giant squirrels!
11. Southeast Asia’s Largest Buddhist Temple
Believe it or not, the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia is not located in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, but in Penang!
With its huge size comes great responsibility as well—Chinese New Year celebrations in Kek Lok Si Temple is particularly extraordinary. Decorated with lights, the temple remains open till late at night with thousands of glowing lights illuminating the night sky.
12. Sepang International Circuit
Drop by the circuit for a round of go-kart with your family and friends as you race on the very tracks used by famous international races like Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, or even Fernando Alonso!
13. Diver’s Paradise
Sipadan, an island located off the east coast of Sabah, is hailed as the world’s most visited dive sites. If lucky, you might be able to spot sharks, turtles, or even tuna trails! As the environment around the island is well-protected, boats are the only automobile allowed into the island. A point to note, less experienced divers are discouraged from diving because of the strong currents.
After trekking Kinabalu National Park, soar through the skies to see the entire landscape of Mount Kinabalu with Renau Paragliding and Mt. Kinabalu Full Day Adventure, go island hopping at Langkawi to Discover Magical Islands by Jet Boat or experience Snorkelling and underwater Adventure at Pulau Payar Marine Park near Langkawi. If you are not the adventurous type, head over to Malacca to know more about the Heritage of Malacca!
*Featured image by ESB Professional on Shutterstock