12 Best Places to Visit in Malaysia

by Nur Faisal

For sheer variety alone, Malaysia would take the top spot on any list. Only in Malaysia can you find a melting pot of ethnicities, cuisines, and faiths, all live happily in the same place. Large island groups to mountains, lush highlands, and tropical rainforest make up the country’s landscape.

Malaysia is a one-of-a-kind nation in that it is separated into two distinct regions. West Malaysia is located on the southern half of a peninsula that Thailand shares, whereas East Malaysia is located on the island of Borneo in the South China Sea. The cultural, historic, and ecological wonders of Malaysia are highlighted in this guide to the country’s top tourist destinations. Take a look at the greatest island in Malaysia to get a sense of the country’s most popular islands and beaches.

12. Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu, Malaysia’s second-largest city, is a popular stopover for visitors to the gorgeous Perhentian Islands. The state capital of Kelantan, Kota Bharu, is located in Peninsular Malaysia near the Thai border and is a city that is simple to navigate about.

There are several museums in Kota Bharu dedicated to Kelantan’s history, culture, and legacy. The Royal Museum is a popular destination for anyone interested in learning more about the state’s royal dynasty and its opulent antiques. A visit to the Museum of Royal Traditions and Ceremonies is well worth going simply to view the stunning wood castle in which it is situated!

The Central Market, the city’s busiest market, is at the center of most of Kota Bharu’s daily activities. In the midst of bustling cafes, antique trishaws, and crowded streets, the Central Market is a veritable hive of activity for local women.

Swimming, river cruises, rafting, and cave exploration are all available outside the municipal boundaries at Pantai Cahaya Bulan and Mount Stong State Park. A Japanese wreckage from the Pacific War has been turned into a scuba diving destination.

11. Sipadan

A tropical island off Borneo’s east coast known as Sipadan is Malaysia’s only oceanic island. Scuba divers flock to this one of the world’s richest marine environments, which was formed over millennia from live coral reefs.

Visitors may pick from a wide variety of dives, some of which lead them through eerie underwater tunnels and caves, while others take them past soaring coral walls and shoals of fish. Sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, and manta rays are among the many species of marine life that frequent the island’s waters.

It is only accessible by boat from Mabul or Kapalai, both of which are nearby, due to the island’s closure since 2004 for the protection of its lovely beaches and abundant underwater life. Sipadan, once a point of contention between Malaysia and Indonesia, is now a world-class diving site.

10. Melaka

It’s no surprise that Melaka, located on the west coast of West Malaysia, has seen its fair share of tyranny, since it served as a vital stop on the bustling maritime route between India and China for centuries. Thus, today’s Malaysian city is a popular tourist destination filled with a wide range of architectural and cultural attractions that represent the city’s long-standing history and culture.

Melaka, a cultural hotbed, is divided up into various districts, each with its own unique set of sights and sounds. Historic churches and ruins of a fort exemplify the Portuguese Settlement’s architecture. There is a big Chinese cemetery and Malaysia’s oldest Chinese temple (Cheng Hoon Teng Temple) in the Chinese area. Some of the city’s earliest Dutch buildings may be seen in the Dutch area. Additionally, each cultural zone has its own customs and holidays, such as the Portuguese “Intrudu” and the Chinese New Year celebrations.

9. Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands in the Titiwangsa Mountains have been a popular tourist attraction in Malaysia for decades. It’s a magnificent tableland that’s been developed with an English garden charm, offering lush landscape, colorful flower farms, tea plantations, woodland, lakes, animals, and outdoor activities.

In spite of their enormous distances, the Camerons are home to a number of villages and communities that provide housing, a variety of marketplaces, and museums such as The Time Tunnel Gallery. Brinchang and Tanah Rata are two of the most visited places in this region.

Tea plantations and flower gardens abound in Malaysia’s tea and flower capital, Cameron Highlands, as do vegetable and fruit orchards, butterfly gardens, and beehives. Public access to many of these institutions is readily available. Golfers may choose from a variety of picture-based courses to practice their swing. While driving to Malaysia’s highest peak, Mount Brinchang, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas and a boardwalk through the pristine trees and flora of the Mossy Forest. Hikers may follow well-marked forest routes to stunning waterfalls and vistas.

8. Kota Kinabalu

At the foot of Malaysia’s highest peak, Mount Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, Kota Kinabalu has become a popular tourist destination in recent years.

Many of the city’s notable landmarks, monuments, and an observatory may be found in the city’s tiny central area known as KK. In addition to wildlife like proboscis monkeys and tigers, as well as outdoor activities like camping, jungle trekking, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, and river cruises in the Kinabalu National Park, the majority of the city’s main attractions are located outside of the city limits. These attractions include the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre and the Kinabalu National Park.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park has five islands that are great for diving, swimming, and sailing within a short distance from the city. If you want to learn more about the Kadazan culture and witness the trophy skulls won by a great warrior more than 300 years ago, make a trip to the Monsopiad Cultural Village.

7. Perhentian Islands

Near the Thai border in northeastern Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands are a tiny series of picturesque, coral-fringed islands. “Big Perhentian” is the larger of the two major islands, while “Small Perhentian” is the smaller. In terms of lodging, Kecil is more popular with tourists since it is less costly than Besar, which caters more to families and individuals who want to avoid the backpacker party scene.

The Perhentian Islands are a terrific place to do scuba diving or snorkeling because of the superb underwater visibility and coral reefs. The Perhentians are also a haven for sea turtles and a variety of shark species, in addition to coral and fish. There are also short roads that link beaches on the islands, but be prepared to sweat and swat away pests.

On the Perhentian islands, there is relatively little luxury lodging. featuring air-conditioned cottages at the top and a bed in a longhouse at the bottom. In the off season, discounts are common, although the best lodging might sell out quickly on weekends and holidays.

6. Kuching

Kuching, the island’s capital and biggest city, is a popular starting point for trips to the rainforests of Borneo and the state of Sarawak. However, Kuching has a lot to offer travelers, from historic sites to lively marketplaces and outdoor sports, making it a great place to spend a few days.

Kuching’s skyscrapers and sophisticated buildings are bordered by verdant forest, creating a stunning contrast. Historic sites like Fort Margherita and Astana Palace may be seen from the riverfront, as well as spectacular contemporary buildings like the DUN complex, which sits on the banks of the Sarawak River. There are a variety of food sellers, musical fountains, an observation tower, an outdoor theatre, and a number of river boat businesses on the bustling waterfront area.

Many antique and handicraft businesses can be found along Kuching’s Main Bazaar street, which is the city’s oldest. The Sarawak River’s fish species are on show in an aquarium of the city’s several museums. The Kuching Civic Center’s distinctive umbrella-shaped top has a planetarium and an observation platform that offers stunning aerial views. Lakes, waterfalls, and other outdoor activities abound in picturesque gardens and surrounding national parks, including hiking routes, jungle treks, and cave exploration.

5. Penang

Tourists flock to Penang Island’s historic George Town and a wide range of cuisines because of its location in the Strait of Malacca off West Malaysia’s northwest coast. Located on one of the world’s busiest maritime lanes, Penang’s architecture, food, and culture are all influenced by its location.

From the Botanic Gardens and Bird Sanctuary to Butterfly Park and the pristine beaches of Batu Ferringhi on Penang Island’s north coast, visitors should take advantage of Penang’s various transportation options, whether by vehicle or public bus. Most people want to see the Snake Temple with its resident vipers and the enormous Temple of Supreme Bliss, which is a must-see while visiting the island, but there are other others as well. On Penang’s southernmost edge, Jerejak Island, once a leper and jail colony, has been transformed into a tropical paradise providing outdoor adventure and wellness facilities.

In Penang, a trip to the island’s main city, George Town, is not complete without a trishaw ride or a stroll around its old Chinese and Indian temples. George Town also has a plethora of markets, dining establishments, and nightlife establishments. You can’t miss Little India, a neighborhood full with exotic foods and pulsing Bollywood music.

A gastronomic conglomeration of all the world’s main cuisines, Penang’s cuisine is a one-of-a-kind gourmet experience. Char Koay Teow, a stir-fried dish of rice noodles, cockles, and bean sprouts, is a local delicacy that may be found in luxury seafood restaurants, Chinese Dim Sum stalls, bakeries, and roadside sellers.

4. Kuala Lumpur

Only over a century ago, Kuala Lumpur was just a tin-mining settlement in West Malaysia. As the country’s capital and greatest city, this peaceful town has grown into a thriving metropolis in its own right. As the locals describe it, Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting pot that is renowned for its towering buildings and pulsating nightlife scenes. Kuala lumpur is one of the more economical travel destinations when compared to other major international capitals.

Due to the high traffic in Kuala Lumpur, the monorail is the ideal mode of transportation. Visit the Old City’s ancient sites and British colonial architecture, then go to contemporary Kuala lumpur to see the Petronas Twin Towers and Chinatown’s vibrant street markets. Kuala lumpur has it all.

3. Taman Negara

Taman Negara, which covers three states in the north of West Malaysia, is said to be the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. The Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Tiger, Asian Elephant, and other endangered species may be found in this national park, which is a popular ecotourism and adventure destination.

The village of Kuala Tahan, which is situated across the river from the national park headquarters, is the most common route for travelers to Taman Negara. You can book jungle walks and other activities at the tourist center. Many fun activities are available for visitors to the area, including hiking, fishing, and cave exploration. The Canopy Walk at Taman Negara, a long suspension bridge high above the trees, is one of the most popular activities for tourists.

Evening safaris with a guide may take you to observe nocturnal animals like owls, leopard cats, and water dragons, as well as night-blooming vegetation and glowing mushrooms. Teresek Hill is also a great place to see uncommon birds, wild boars, and stunning vistas. If you’re interested in learning about the customs and survival techniques of the indigenous communities known as the Orang Asli, you should visit their villages. When it comes to dining, the riverbank floating eateries of Kula Tahan are unbeatable.

2. Langkawi

As a 99-island archipelago off Malaysia’s northwestern coast in the Andaman Sea, Langkawi attracts thousands of tourists each year because to its stunning scenery and awe-inspiring wildlife. Langkawi’s archipelago’s natural beauty has been enhanced in recent years by the development of resorts, hotels, restaurants, and other tourist amenities.

Pulau Langkawi, the biggest island, with a population of around 65,000 people. The only other inhabited island in the area is Pulau Tuba, which lies close by. The beauty of the island’s surroundings is its primary draw. In addition to the beautiful beaches, there are also limestone cliffs and an abundance of water activities. Pantai Cenang, the most well-known beach, is crowded with eateries and bars. Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok are more secluded and so provide a more serene atmosphere.

The Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls and a variety of rare birds and animals, including as monitor lizards and macaque monkeys, may all be seen from the safety of protected parks’ jungle hiking and mangrove excursions. Langkawi’s highest mountains, Gunung Raya and Gunung Mat Cincang, provide stunning views of the surrounding region and over to Thailand. Gondola rides and the SkyBridge are excellent ways to climb the slopes and take in the scenery.

1. Gunung Mulu National Park

The Gunung Mulu National Park is one of Southeast Asia’s most impressive natural attractions, known for its spectacular limestone karst formations and fantastic cave systems. The Sarawak National Park in Malaysian Borneo is home to some of the world’s biggest and longest cave systems. Some of these include the Sarawak Chamber, which is said to be big enough to fit 40 Boeing 747 planes, among others.

The Pinnacles, a cluster of pointed limestone spires, a karst sinkhole known as the Garden of Eden, and two beautiful peaks, Gunung Mulu and Gunung Api, are just some of the park’s other notable attractions. Hornbills, bats, gibbons, barking deer, and bearded pigs are just some of the animals that call the park home. Guided tours of the caverns and trekking are common, but the world’s longest canopy walk is also quite popular.

The only means to reach the Gunung Mulu National Park is via plane, which lands at the nearby Mulu Airport. Although a mix of road, ferry, and hike from Miri is doable, but this may take days or even weeks to complete. Transportation and housing will be arranged by tour leaders.

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