Popular spots in Malaysia such as A Famosa in Melaka, Penang Hill in Penang, and Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur are found on many travel itineraries. There are many hidden gems to be discovered in Malaysia, though, from natural reserves to an island with a fascinating history. Here are some fantastic places that you didn’t know that existed in Malaysia.
Kek Lok Si Temple | Penang
Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the most extensive and most outstanding temples in Southeast Asia. The interior and exterior of temple halls, pagodas, and archways consist of detailed carvings, sculptures, and murals representing Buddhist teachings and Chinese culture and rituals of daily life. The temple is one of the definitive heritage treasures of Mahayana Buddhism.
Start by visiting the Tortoise Liberation Pond, where you will see hundreds of tortoise swimming and relaxing in the pond by the temple entrance. Walk around the temple gardens and admire the three-tier Kek Lok Si Pagoda, with different architectural styles on each tier.
Belum Rainforest | Perak
Together with Temenggor, Belum Rainforest has existed for more than 130 million years, making this one of the world’s oldest rainforests. It is a protected rainforest next to Temenggor Lake, home to many flora and fauna and indigenous people. Go on an adventure by hopping on the boat cruise across Temenggor Lake or join the Belum Adventure Camp to take part in adrenaline activities such as high rope and zip line challenge.
Catch sight of the beautiful birds while birdwatching at Royal Belum or go fishing on the lake. Stay for a few nights at the Belum Rainforest Resort to become at one with nature.
Semporna | Sabah
Located in Borneo, Semporna leads to Tun Sakaran Marine Park (an archipelago of eight islands) and Sipadan National Park, where you go island-hopping and scuba diving in the beautiful coral reefs. Bajau Laut community, known as the Sea Gypsies, live their traditional lifestyle here, with their stilt houses built above the clear waters.
Drop by to say hi to the sea creatures in the beautiful coral reefs while scuba diving – including Kapikan Reef and Church Reef. Hike along the Bohey Dulang Island trail to see the panoramic island views surrounded by turquoise waters, followed by a visit to the beautiful bird sanctuary. We recommend island hopping to discover all there is on offer here. You might also have an opportunity to chat with the locals.
Chemorong Forest Reserve | Terengganu
Explore Terengganu’s Chemerong Forest Reserve, which consists of crystal clear rivers and pools. Start taking a 1.5-hour hike through the forest, from the park entrance to the majestic waterfall. Explore the multiple tiers of the waterfall, where you will catch the stunning forest views and relax by the pools.
Camp out by the crystal clear rivers that pass through the forest and reservoirs leading to the waterfall. Soak your feet in the pool, and the little fishes will come by to tickle your feet. You’ll find various sandy and emerald pools, including at Jeram Lesung and Bangan River.
Sasaran Sky Mirror | Selangor
Sasaran Sky Mirror is Malaysia’s ‘Salar de Uyunni’, located off Jeram Fishing Village. The perfect view at Sasaran Sky Mirror occurs twice a month (full moon and new moon). You are required to book a tour to visit this site.
It takes about an hour from Jeram Fishing Village to get there, including a 30-minute boat ride. Once you reach this amazing place, step on to the sandy bank island and look at the waters to see your complete reflection. A great photo opportunity for you and your friends.
Kundasang | Sabah
Kundansang is a quaint little town found behind Mount Kinabalu. An ideal way to explore the beautiful valley along the winding roads is by hiring a car from a rental agency in Kota Kinabalu. Visit the Desa Dairy Farm to meet the cattle, be amazed at the view of Mount Kinabalu with its green pastures, learn how dairy food and drinks are produced, and quench your thirst with local dairy products, including yoghurt and ice cream.
Learn about Kundasang history at the Kundasang War Memorial with beautiful gardens. Don’t miss sampling other local products, including tea, wine, and pizza, at the markets and towns in the area.
Sekinchan | Selangor
Take an hour’s drive to Sekinchan from Kuala Lumpur to enjoy the countryside and fishing village lifestyle. Soak in with the expansive scenic views of paddy fields followed by making your wishes at the Wishing Tree. Visit the Paddy Processing Gallery to learn how the rice is produced with workers and technology.
Stop by at N. 16 Café for your meals and coffee while enjoying the view of paddy fields. Drop by at the Bagan Fishing Village to learn about the fishermen’s daily lives. Don’t forget to savour delicious and affordable seafood dishes.
Kenyir Lake | Terengganu
Kenyir Lake is the largest human-made lake, surrounding 340 islands in Southeast Asia. Thirty rivers connect to the lake, 25 waterfalls, and it is home to about 25 fish species. The lake is near the luscious rainforests and limestone caves, including Taman Negara. There are shuttle buses that take you to the lake from Terengganu’s Sultan Mahmud Airport.
Explore the lake by boat or canoe and take in the breathtaking hilltops and highland views. Challenge yourself to some jungle trekking and visit the fish farm on the lake. Admire the wondrous multi-tiered Lasir Waterfall surrounded by rainforest canopy.
Rainbow Waterfall | Pahang
Hike through the forest to visit one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Malaysia. Catch glimpses of the mesmerising Rainbow Waterfall in the early morning as the sun seeps through the flowing waters.
Follow the local tour guide – 4×4 pickup trucks will take you to the sandy hills to watch the sunrise, going into the forest for 45 minutes, and walking through the trees and rocky paths for another 45 minutes. Reward your adventurous hike by dipping right beside the waterfall and soak in with the view of Rainbow Waterfall.
Tiga Island (Pulau Tiga) | Sabah
Reality TV series Survivor fans may know that the contestants were sent to Pulau Tiga, known as the Survivor Island. Take a 40-minute boat ride from Kuala Penyu jetty.
The island has wondrous flora and fauna, beaches, and marine life, which provide exciting recreational activities for travellers to enjoy. Hike through the rainforest with different trails, walk along the sandy beaches, and go snorkelling in the beautiful coral reefs. You can also enjoy a therapeutic experience at the mud volcanoes.
Jerejak Island (Pulau Jerejak) | Penang
Known as The Alcatraz of Malaysia, this used to be a prison and quarantine centre for criminals, immigrants, and tuberculosis and leprosy patients back in the late 1700s until 1993. Now, it has become a place to take in rich history and nature. Take a 20 minutes ferry ride at the Jerejak Ferry Terminal, Bayan Lepas. Round trip costs RM25 for adults and RM16 for children.
Get your adrenaline fix by taking part in bold activities, including rock climbing, jungle trekking, and mountain biking. Explore the ruins within the jungles to discover the island’s history. Make arrangements for your visit to the Batu Uban Fishermen Jetty.