Malaysia offers two very different experiences: the Peninsula and Borneo (an island shared with Indonesia and Brunei). The Peninsula or West Malaysia is a mix of Malay, Chinese plus Indian flavours with an efficient and modern capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian Borneo features some of the fascinating places in Malaysia with a wild jungle, orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes. Malaysia is coupled with some beautiful islands, luxury resorts along with colonials towns, Malaysia, for most visitors, grants a happy mix.
Almost 2 million tourists travelled to Malaysia every year. Most of them were citizens from neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Indonesia, but an escalating number of other foreign tourists are exploring this country as well.
Here’s a look at the top Malaysia tourist attractions!
Wannabe botanists likely will enjoy a visit to Gunung Gading National Park where the world’s most giant flower grows.
Rafflesia blooms can grow up to three feet in diameter and have a foul smell. The flowers die after a few days. The good news is they can bloom at any time of the year, though the best time is November through January.
But there’s more to see than just one flower. The Sarawak park has excellent beaches, rugged mountains and jungles just made for hiking.
Water activities shine at Manukan Island, the second largest island in Tunku Abdul National Park, Malaysia’s first marine national park. Placed in eastern Malaysia’s Sabah state, the park is recognised for its magnificent beaches. The most excellent beach is at the island’s eastern end.
Travellers also will discover coral reefs offshore that offer some pretty spectacular scuba diving and snorkelling. Manukan Island has the most advanced tourist facilities of the five islands in the park. It is accessible by ferry from Kota Kinabalu.
The Temple of Supreme Bliss, as it’s also known as, is an impressive sight, with myriad images of Buddha another Buddhist representations and gods.
Travellers who make their way to Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur will be rewarded with some pretty awe-inspiring Hindu art. The three main caves that make up Batu Caves make it the most famous Hindu shrine outside of India and brings thousands of worshippers at Thaipusam, an annual Hindu festival.
The highlight of the site is a colossal statue of a Hindu god, reached by climbing 272 steps to the Cathedral Cave. Monkeys also enjoy the site and can be seen playing there.
The Semenggoh Nature Reserve is renowned for its orangutan orientation program in which orphaned or rescued orangutans are taught to live in the wild.
Because of this, the surrounding forests have a growing population of orangutans that are breeding in the wild. The most suitable time to see the orangutans are the morning and afternoon feeding sessions.
The Semenggoh Nature Reserve Also has a flourishing bird population with colourful, fascinating and exotic Malaysian birds. Including the Bornean black magpie, yellow rumpled flowerpecker, Malaysian honeyguide and brown hawk owl.
Travellers can take a journey into the past with a ride on a 1900s steam train, the North Borneo Railway. The unique train on Borneo, this old-fashioned train chugs about 83 miles from Tanjung Aru to Papar.
Travelling on this train is an excellent way to see local villages with houses built on stilts and rice paddies being worked with water buffalo. Travellers enjoy Asian as well as Continental cuisine as they journey in one of five restored carriages. The train only runs on Wednesday and Saturday.
Travellers who like to shop ‘til they drop will have a field day at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur’s central shopping district. Bukit Bintang has numerous malls, including Berjaya Times Square. This mall houses an indoor theme park.
Redang Island is made for beach lovers, with its white-sand beaches and crystal clear ocean water, making it popular with snorkelers. Excellent snorkelling is the island’s main attraction. Scuba divers love it here, too.
Though it’s one of the largest islands off the eastern Malay Peninsula, it’s small enough that visitors can get around on foot, either on roads or trekking through the jungle. Redang Island is one of nine islands in a marine nature reserve. Accommodations are resort-style.
Travellers can see wildlife, rainforests, tumbling waterfalls, beaches and sea stacks. The biggest attraction in the park is the bizarre, obscene-nosed proboscis monkey, though they are rare and difficult to spot. It also has excellent nature trails, from strolls to full-day hikes through the jungle, so all visitors should be able to find one that suits them.
Christ Church is a landmark in Melaka. Built by the Dutch in the mid-18th century, it is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia. Built-in typical 18th-century Dutch architectural style, the church is noted not only for its colourful façade but for its contents, too.
Among them is a bell cast in 1698; tombstones, written in Portuguese that are fused into the church floor, and a brass Bible stand. It is now an Anglican church.
Kinabatangan River is the second-longest river in Malaysia, stretching nearly 550 km (350 miles) from the mountains to the Sulu Sea. Located in Sabah state on Borneo, the Kinabatangan River is known for its diverse wildlife and vegetation.
It’s an excellent place to see Asian elephants, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys and Bornean orangutans – it’s one of two places in the world to find ten species of primates, as well as 200 bird species. It’s known, too, for rain- and limestone forests, and salt and freshwater swamps.
Sipadan, in the Celebes Sea, is a diver’s paradise. Malaysia’s only oceanic island, Sipadan was formed by living coral atop an extinct volcano cone. Because of rich marine life, it’s one of the best diving spots in the world.
Sipadan has more than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of different corals, all waiting to be explored. Divers may come across hawksbill and green turtles, manta rays, schools of barracudas and whale sharks. The island also has lovely sandy beaches.
The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations, first developed by the British in the 1920s. It has a population of more than 34,000 people consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups.
The Cameron Highlands is notable for its trails. They lead visitors through the forest to waterfalls and other tranquil spots. Apart from its jungle walks, the sanctuary is also known for its tea plantations, and visitors can book several “tea factory” tours.
Named after Britain’s King George III, Georgetown is placed on the north-east corner of Penang Island. Most of Georgetown’s population is of Chinese origin. Due to strict controls, Georgetown retains many of its colonial-era shophouses to this day.
It is formally recognised as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in Southeast Asia. The town truly springs to life in the evenings, when most of the locals head to the nearby street hawkers to have their meals and drinks.
Taman Negara, which means “national park” in Malay, is one of the oldest tropical rain forest in the world. It features massive trees, waterfalls, jungle treks of various duration and the world’s longest canopy walkways. Several trails enable the visitor to explore the forest without a guide.
Taman Negara is a haven for endangered species such as the Asian elephant, tigers, leopards, and rhinos, but numbers are low, and sightings are sporadic. It’s unlikely that you will see anything more than birds, small deer, lizards, snakes and perhaps a tapir.
Tioman is a small island located off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. In the 1970s, Time Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Tourists have surged to the island ever since, seeking a taste of paradises.
The island is surrounded by numerous white coral reefs, making it a haven for scuba divers while the interior is densely forested. Visitors outnumber villagers outside the monsoon (November to February), but Tioman can be deserted at other times.
Over 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species have been identified at Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding. The prominent peak of the mountain can be climbed easily by a person with an excellent physical condition and requires no mountaineering equipment. However, guides must accompany climbers at all times.
The 88-floor towers are constructed mostly of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. The Petronas Twin Towers feature a sky bridge between the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors.
By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Langkawi Island with a population of about 65,000, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Fringed with long, white beaches and with an interior of jungle-covered hills and craggy mountain peaks.
It’s easy to see why this is Malaysia’s most heavily promoted tourist destination. The most popular beaches can be found on the west coast with a wide choice of restaurants and eateries and some of the best resorts in Langkawi.
They are located off the coast of northeastern Malaysia not far from the Thai border. The Perhentian Islands are the must-go place in Malaysia for budget travellers. They have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and excellent diving with plenty of cheap accommodation.
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation opened in 1964 for rescued orphaned baby orangutans from logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting. The orphaned orangutans are trained to survive again in the wild and are released as soon as they are ready.
The Orang Utan sanctuary is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, much of which is virgin rainforest. About 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in reserve. It is one of Sabah’s top tourist attractions and a great stopover on any Malaysia itinerary.
The Mulu Caves are located in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysian Borneo. The park encompasses incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting. The Sarawak chamber found in one of the underground caves is the largest cave chamber in the world.
It has been said that the chamber is so big that it could accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings. The enormous colony of Wrinkle-lipped bats in the nearby Deer Cave exit almost every evening in search of food in a spectacular exodus.