You’ll encounter the wonderful juxtaposition of historic culture clashing directly with forward-thinking concepts, and no other destination quite captures this notion than the capital Kuala Lumpur, the natural gateway for holidays to Malaysia. Outside the capital and across the rest of the country you’ll discover beaches and islands, jungles and wildlife, mountains and plantations, and a non-stop vibrancy that will always transport you back to the diverse and multicultural core of Malaysia.
You’ll find more of this during your holidays to Malaysia in the charming city of Malacca, with its gorgeous colonial architecture and historic sites providing an ode to Portuguese, Dutch and British rule, while on the island of Penang you’ll encounter the wonderful city of Georgetown – a UNESCO World Heritage destination that combines temples and distinctive districts with forts and colonial landmarks – oh, and some of the best street food dishes in the world.
Like Borneo, the peninsula boasts its fair share of gorgeous islands, all offering diving, snorkelling and a general beach bum lifestyle that connotes rest and relaxation. Langkawi is one of the most accessible of the islands, situated on the country’s west coast, home to great tourism infrastructure, beautiful beaches and some captivating inland natural attractions. Off of the east coast you’ll find the backpacker haven that is the Perhentian Islands, undiscovered by mass tourism but often visited by turtles and sharks, while the jaw-dropping island of Kapas will satisfy all your Robinson Crusoe fantasies. For some cool climate refreshment, drop in on the Cameron Highlands, a destination offering great trekking in misty forests and tours to engaging and attractive tea plantations.
Langkawi is a phenomenal archipelago of islands that boasts some breath-taking beaches and tropical landscapes. Pulau Langkawi is the main island and is graced with exotic desert island beaches with pale white sands and turquoise sea waters. Penang is an island also blessed with an exotic landscape, but boasts an array of destinations, from the bustling Georgetown city to sleepy fishing villages such as Telus Bahang.
Malaysia’s beaches are the ideal destination for a laid back desert island break, so most just love to spend their time with the soft sands between their toes, soaking up the hot sunshine. More active visitors can try water sports across the coasts, such as kayaking, and diving and snorkelling is fantastic with crystal clear waters and long visibility. The diverse landscape across the country provides some striking mountains, which you can explore on excursions such as cable car trips or forest treks.
Animal lovers will enjoy a trip to see the orang-utans, which live across various sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres in Malaysia. If you would rather see some spectacular landscapes, the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are just that, and are where you can take a refreshing dip in the freshwater after a brisk hike to their location.
You can enjoy some luxury at the beachside in the Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort, which sits on a landscape of tropical gardens. The hotel boasts a wide array of amenities, from an outdoor swimming pool to a spa area. Chic and contemporary, the Citidel Penang sits in the heart of Georgetown, within easy reach of the city’s cultural attractions and popular sights.
Multicultural and diverse, Malaysia has an impressive collection of destinations. The bustling capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a striking modern city with towering skyscrapers, historic temples, contemporary shopping malls and traditional marketplaces. Georgetown is a charming city filled with a blend of colonial buildings, Chinese and Indian temples and narrow streets that are home to ancient trades workers in rattan weaving, woodcarving and fortune telling. At the other end of the scale sits Kota Kinabalu, a coastal city bordered by a lush landscape and some phenomenal beaches.
Malaysia is the ideal destination for shoppers, with the largest duty free shopping mall found in Johor. Its other towns and cities boast some atmospheric local markets and bustling bazaars, and there are countless restaurants where you can sample some regional Malaysian cuisine at its very best. Culture fans can trawl across some of the best museums, which include the National Museum and the National History Museum in Kuala Lumpur, and the Orang Asli Museum in Gombak, which explores the life of the original settlers of the country.
The cities of Malaysia are home to some beautiful ancient sights, which include temples such as the Kuan Yin Teng Temple in Penang, which was constructed in the 1800s and is one of the oldest Chinese temples in the country. The Batu Caves Temple complex rises 100 meters above the ground and boasts three striking caves. The ancient Stadthuys building and the Queen Victoria Fountain can be found in Malacca, and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers can be found in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Sitting in the heart of the capital, the Hilton Kuala Lumpur is an impressive hotel with stylish rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a superb restaurant. Within easy reach of the main sights, it’s ideal for those who want to explore the city. The Cititel Penang sits in the centre of Georgetown and offers pretty views from its chic guest rooms.
Malaysia boasts some beautiful landscapes, none more so than in its national parks. The Bako National Park sits on the island of Borneo, and is home to the unique proboscis monkey. Kinabalu Park was one of the first national parks in the country, and is where you will find Mount Kinabalu, which soars into the sky some 4000 metres high. The Gunung Mulu National Park is a phenomenal landscape of caves, mountain ranges and plunging gorges.
Mat Cincang Mountain sits in the northeast of Langkawi Island, and although only 710 metres tall, creates a beautiful backdrop to the landscape of the island. Mount Kinabalu is the tallest island in Borneo and is found surrounded by the stunning terrain of a national park. Mount Tahan sits within the Taman Negara national forest, and provides some beautiful views from its 2,100 metre high peak. The striking mountains of Malaysia offer some diverse landscapes and sights for any adventurers, whether you soar across the range in a cable car, or join a hiking trek in search of wildlife.
Malaysia’s rainforests and jungles provide beautiful landscapes for trekking and nature walks, with the possibility to camp overnight if you really want to explore the region. The Taman Negara Rainforest is the world’s oldest rainforest at 130 million years old, and stretches over 4000 squared kilometres. Danum Valley is a conservation area with unique virgin, undisturbed rainforests, the largest area of its kind in the country. The small Lambir Hills National Park is a firm favourite amongst tourists, with hiking trails that will take you across waterfalls, summits and an abandoned oil rig.
There are some simply stunning islands in Malaysia that offer serene, idyllic landscapes for an exotic break. Penang is diverse island, with destinations that range from sleeping coastal villages to the bustling city of Georgetown. Redang is a beautiful island offering some of the most superb beaches and crystal clear ocean waters that are ideal for snorkelling and diving. Layang Layang Island is a tiny escape formed of 13 reefs, making it perfect for an exploratory diving daytrip, as is Sipadan, an oceanic island that is often ranked amongst the top diving destinations in the world.