Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country, spans on the parts of the Malay Peninsula and Borneo Island. The country is famous for its rainforests, white sand beaches, colonial buildings, and a mixture of modern skyscrapers with old historical architecture. Besides, Malaysia is one of the multicultural countries you’ll visit in the region with a heavy influence of European, Chinese, and Malay cultures. Unfortunately, I only visited the capital, Kuala Lumpur, so I asked other travel bloggers to suggest some of the best places to visit in Malaysia to help you create an ultimate bucket list.
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Best cities in Malaysia
The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is a modern metropolitan city with a 452 meters tall Petronas Twin Towers dominating the skyline. Even though the city’s skyscrapers and tall glass-covered buildings attract the eye, Kuala Lumpur has lots of green spaces and parks to escape the heat or relax after long walks.
There are plenty of places to visit in Kuala Lumpur. However, the major attractions are its colorful temples and mosques of its multicultural population of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cultures.
Its bustling streets of food and shopping stalls add a special charm to the city along with the colonial-era architecture that can’t be missed. Make sure to visit the railway station, one of the best examples of Eastern and Western design mixture.
Besides architectural landmarks, Kuala Lumpur has several interesting museums to satisfy history buffs and museum-lovers. Art enthusiasts can also find galleries and art museums along its streets.
One of the things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to take a day trip to Batu Caves – a limestone hill with several cave temples and caves. The site is one of the most famous Hindu shrines outside India. To get to the temple, you need to walk up 272 colorful steps making it one of the most photographed spots over the recent years.
There’s an awful lot to love about Ipoh, the biggest city in peninsular Malaysia’s Perak state. Often overlooked for more-popular Penang, Ipoh has many of the same charms without the crowds or inflated costs.
Ipoh is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for food. There are a number of regional specialties to try, including the famous Ipoh bean sprout chicken. Ipoh is the birthplace of ‘white coffee’ and you can find this icy, sweet beverage served at cafes all over the city. It pairs best with Macau-style custard tarts, another Ipoh specialty.
When you’re not eating or drinking, the best things to do in Ipoh include hunting down the street art (there are thousands of murals here – check out Mural Arts Lane for some of the best), walking the Ipoh Heritage Trail to discover the city’s beautiful British colonial architecture, exploring the cute alleyways, and visiting Ipoh’s house museums. Just outside of the city, you’ll find incredible cave temples, lakes, and forest trails that are perfect for short hikes.
Like the rest of Malaysia, Ipoh gets very hot in summer so it’s recommended to visit in shoulder season. You can easily reach Ipoh by bus or train from Kuala Lumpur, and because of its location, it’s a good place to split up the journey between KL and Penang. Don’t just skip through in a day, be sure to book a few nights at one of the city’s cute boutique hotels to make the most of your visit.
As few people go to Perak capital’s Ipoh, even fewer know that 20km to the south is Gopeng, one of West Malaysia’s prime adventure destinations. Set next to the Kampar river, it boasts world-class white water rafting, large caves, and tall waterfalls — there are certainly many things to do in Gopeng.
Start with a visit to the town on a weekend. The Gopeng Museum and the Heritage House in the main square offer a good introduction to the importance that Gopeng had in British colonial times when it was one of Perak’s main tin mining centers. The Heritage House is a collection of old memorabilia such as wooden four-poster beds, old typing machines, and clothes, and is an interesting way to spend an hour pretending to be in colonial Malaya.
The Gopeng market sells fresh produce and sits next to a food court where you can have delicious lai fun (Gopeng’s own twist to noodle soup), chee cheong fun, and roti bakar — toasted bread smeared in coconut jam and butter — which is always a godsend when paired with a cup of the local white coffee.
But most visitors come to town to go further south along the Kampar River to either raft, hop on a kayak, or hunt for tropical fruits like the foul-smelling durian. The area also has a 10-meter-high waterfall at Ulu Genruntum that’s popular for abseiling.
Further inland at Kampung Ulu Geroh the community of local Orang Asli (Malaysian aboriginal people) organizes homestays and treks to see the rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world. If you venture this far, you’ll be able to see the rare Rajah Brooke butterflies fluttering around in big numbers.
Nearby Gua Tempurung is West Malaysia’s biggest caves and offers spelunking trips of different levels of difficulty. Not far away is Gua Kandu, once a hideout for the communist insurgents of the Malayian emergency, with a cool zipline that sends you soaring across its biggest chamber of the cave. During World War II the Japanese invaders planned to house a plane hangar in this chamber.
By Penang Insider
When dreaming of Malaysia, there are usually two things that come to mind: the vibrant, lip-smacking cuisine and world-famous street art. You can find both in droves on the island of Penang, a region renowned for gastronomic dishes like Char Koay Teow and Asam Laksa, but equally notable for the globally-known artworks of Ernest Zacharevic and the murals adorning it’s many street walls.
While Penang is technically an island, it’s also a state. The island itself is so large (and connected to the mainland via a bridge) that your first thoughts won’t be about sandy shores. Penang is not really the place for beach lovers; instead, it’s packed with cultural delights (and food markets!) and heaps of heritage, so much so that it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 2008.
The crowning glory of Penang is the city of Georgetown, where most visitors flock. Spend your time there meandering around the many museums, checking out Cheong Fatt Tze (the Blue House), finding out more about the local Peranakan culture, or simply slurping up noodles at the many fabulous food stalls. Make sure to carve out a few hours to spot street art in Penang as the city boasts some of the planet’s most prominent pieces, all perfect for that Instagram selfie!
If you have some time left, head all the way up Penang Hill to visit The Habitat. Accessed via a funicular (which only costs 30 MYR per person), you’ll love the panoramic views from the top, plus the unique treetop walk and natural rainforests of The Habitat, a world-class natural experience.
By The Travel Scribes
Melaka (also spelled as Melacca) is a UNESCO World Heritage riverside town, rich in British, Dutch, and Portuguese colonial history. The town is a popular tourist destination as one of the options for day trips from Kuala Lumpur, while some prefer to stay for a few nights.
The best way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka is either by private car transfer or by taking the bus. There are several buses departing during the day and the journey takes 2.5 hours, costing around 15 MYR for a one-way ticket.
The town is very compact so you can easily explore it by foot adorning its wonderful colorful heritage buildings, quirky street art, and famous historical landmarks such as A Famosa Fort and Christ Church.
There are many fun things to do in Melaka but one of the highlights is the huge Jonker Street Weekend Night Market. This is one of the best markets in Southeast Asia and runs every Friday to Sunday, starting from the river and ending at the far end of Jonker Street. You’ll find multiple stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts, and amazing Malaysian delicacies. Make sure you try Nyonya Laksa – a rich and creamy coconut-based noodle soup that is a Melaka specialty and a mix of Malay and Chinese influences.
Another fun thing to do is to take a scenic river cruise and view the many beautiful historical buildings and interesting sights around Melaka’s old town, including Kampung Morten – one of the few remaining traditional villages in the area.
Visit Melaka as a full-day trip from Kuala Lumpur
By CK Travels
Ambition or vision? These two should come into someone’s mind while visiting Putrajaya, the newly developed federal administrative capital of Malaysia. Constructed on a marshland amidst green plantation, and inspired by Islamic architectures, this area will also work as the permanent residence of the most powerful persons in Malaysia – their ministers.
The major top attractions of Putrajaya are dotted in front of the waterfront. So, go to the waterfront straight away and appreciate the beauty of the pink-domed Putra Mosque which can accommodate 15,000 worshipers on a single go. There is a huge square in front of this mosque to observe the vibrant life around. From here, you can also enjoy the Putrajaya lake, which has a wonderful white bridge.
Once you have enough of the mosque and the lake, stretch your leg a bit to reach Perdana Putra, the office of the Malaysian prime minister. This wonderfully made architecture will surely inspire you with awe. You may continue exploring more architectures like Seri Perdana, Wisma Putra, or head straight to Taman Putra Perdana, which is a quiet hilltop park. You will be able to enjoy a pleasant landscape and get a wonderful view of the town.
If you visit Putrajaya during the weekend, you might have an eerie feeling as it can become absolutely quiet. Experience Putrajaya before people go in a flock.
Putrajaya is strategically placed between Kuala Lumpur and the airport (KILA), therefore getting from KILA or Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya is extremely easy by taking a taxi, train, or bus.
Johor Bahru is a Malaysian town and state located in the south of inland Malaysia just on the border with Singapore. At first glance, it’s a small town, which doesn’t have much to offer. But once you start exploring you discover that JB (locals quite often refer to town just by its initials) is an exciting place to be.
The old town is nothing pretty but it does have its own charm and it’s a perfect place to explore eateries and coffee shops, which have such mouthwatering (and cheap) food that neighboring Singapourians travel here weekly for a weekend feast. The favorite restaurant for many is the Flowers in the Window.
One of the best attractions in JB, especially if you visit with a family is LEGOLAND. Unlimited rollercoaster rides, Lego workshops, and much more will satisfy everyone young at heart.
In addition, Johor Bahru is a great place for shopping; even though the town is small it does have big shopping malls with all big brands and knock off all.
And if or when you get bored of Johor Bahru, Singapore is only 45 minutes away by public transport or a taxi.
By The Traveling Twins
Genting Highlands is a beautiful hilltop resort city and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malaysia. The real charm of the town, however, lies in the relaxed atmosphere, which together with its wonderful resorts and scenic surroundings, makes for an unforgettable romantic getaway.
The city is bestowed with nature’s best endeavors in the form of a pleasantly cool environment, gorgeous strawberry farms, hilly landscapes, and greenness.
Its Resorts World Genting is famous for hosting the only legal casinos in Malaysia. In addition to this, the resort is home to a world-class indoor theme park, gaming arenas, restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, spa centers, live shows, and various shopping outlets.
Your adventure starts right at the onset of your trip through the Awana Skyway cable car ride which takes you from Kuala Lumpur city to Genting Highlands. The breathtaking beauty of the green valleys, forests, and hills unfold before you and leave you mesmerized.
Once you are at the Resorts World Genting, participate in the plethora of entertainment activities. The central arena designed like New York City’s Times Square hosts live shows. The area also has a replica of the Statue of Liberty. This arena has all the popular food outlets offering a variety of cuisines too.
Apart from Resorts World Genting, make a visit to the marvelous strawberry leisure farms, Arena of Stars – a musical amphitheater, Sky Avenue Concept Mall, or enjoy the cool climate at the green spaces which are closely located to the resort.
The best time to visit Genting Highlands is March till September when the temperature is cool and there is very little rainfall.
Join an organized tour to Genting Highlands from Kuala Lumpur as a day trip
By Cheerful Trails
Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. The easiest way to reach Kuching is by plane with direct flights from Malaysian cities.
Known as the Cat City, Kuching’s name comes from the Malay word for cat, making it one of the unique and best places to visit in Malaysia. Kuching embraces this and has cat statues spread around the city. Additionally, City Hall houses a Cat Museum.
Make sure to visit Fort Margherita constructed in 1879 by Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke. It is now a museum and gallery with exhibits about the Brooke family. Other Kuching attractions include the Sarawak Museum and the Natural History Museum. Close by is the Islamic Heritage Museum and the beautiful Kuching City Mosque. Don’t forget to check out the Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple near the Kuching Waterfront.
Alternatively, spend a day exploring Sarawak Cultural Village to learn about many indigenous groups that live in the region. Nature-lovers should visit Semenggoh Nature Reserve to see the orangutans, as they come twice a day to eat at the center. In addition, the reserve is home to other animals such as crocodiles and birds. To get to the reserve, catch a bus from Mosque Rd.
Another notable area to explore is Bako National Park to see the Proboscis Monkeys. Walk on its trails to spot monkeys and boars. Getting there is easy by a number 1 red public bus from the Kuching Waterfront. [More on the Bako National Park below]
After all this sightseeing, you will need to treat yourself with delicious meals, as Kuching is famous for its incredible food.
By Beth at Frugal Female Abroad
Sipadan Island – best for scuba diving in Malaysia
The spectacular Sipidan diving paradise is one of the most exotic and offbeat locations, not just in Malaysia but also throughout the world! Sipadan is Malaysia’s largest ocean island, rises an astounding 600 meters from the vast Sulawesi Sea seafloor (off the eastern coast of Sabah State).
Previously an active volcano, it has been formed by living corals that have made their home here over thousands of years. Today this unfamiliar environment has an amazingly vibrant pelagic marine ecosystem and is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia.
Not to mention, it has some of the nation’s most excellent scuba diving. This tropical paradise sits just five degrees north of the equator and houses more than 2000 species of fish and scores of colorful coral species.
It is a popular spot for divers to find hawksbill turtles, parrotfish, and barracuda. Also, regular guests are manta rays, eagle rays, the majestic hammerhead sharks, and mammoth whale sharks. Although you might see one or two turtles on a dive in other parts of the world (if you are lucky), on Sipidan, you will almost always see more than twenty.
There are a dozen popular dive sites on the island. Turtle Cavern, Barracuda Point, and the Hanging Gardens are among the most prominent.
Sipadan Island is legally guarded, so tourists can’t sleep on the island any longer. They instead remain on Mabul Island and receive a permit provided by the Sabah government supplier of local diving operators. Every day, they give out around 179 permits. Therefore, sometimes they are booked in advance for months. So if you want to visit this incredible place in Malaysia, plan ahead.
By Inspired By Maps
Redang Island – relaxing and isolated getaway
One of the largest islands off the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula, Redang Island is well known for its crystal clear waters, white-sand beaches, and an abundance of marine life.
Located in a marine park sanctuary in the Kuala Nerus District of Terengganu, it is a haven for those in need of an isolated getaway in a natural, undisturbed surrounding. While many travels here for a relaxed beach holiday, the island has plenty of activities to enjoy.
There is the opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive as it boasts beautiful hard and soft coral gardens and sandy bottom sites. In addition to your typical tropical marine life, expect a diversity of tropical reef life as well as an abundance of sea life.
You will also find a calm lagoon lined with mangroves behind the shore that offers seclusion, resulting in very little current flow and a safe place to swim. The island has some of the best beaches in Malaysia while the rainforests that cover much of the interior are home to a number of waterfalls and fauna.
The region has something to offer for every visitor and no traveling to Malaysia is complete without a stay to what is often considered to be one of the best islands to visit.
By A Rai of Light
The Perhentian Islands – perfect for diving in Malaysia
The Perhentian Islands is a spectacular tropical paradise located close to the coast of North-East Malaysia. Beautiful coral reefs rich in marine life and long powder white sandy beaches surround the islands.
The two main Perhentian islands are Pulau Perhentian Besar (The Big Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil, the Small Perhentian Island. There is fantastic diving around the Perhentian Islands, the archipelago surrounding the islands is accessible by small boat with plenty of fantastic reef and wreck dive sites. The reef close to the islands offers great snorkeling in the crystal clear, warm water with beautiful coral formations, reef sharks, large bump head parrotfish, and plenty of other amazing creatures that can be seen snorkeling from the beach.
The beautiful sandy beaches are great for swimming with nice hiking trails leading into the surrounding forest. You have to walk everywhere on these islands or take a boat taxi, there are no roads or cars!
To get to the Perhentian islands fly to Kota Bharu Airport (KBR) and take a taxi to Kuala Besut Jetty. From the jetty take a boat to the Perhentian Islands.
The Perhentian Islands have a variety of accommodation ranging from beautiful luxury accommodation to camping. Perhentian Besar is the honeymoon island, less developed with more expensive resorts and restaurants, while Perhentian Kecil attracts more budget travelers with a chilled-out backpacker vibe and many dive centers.
By Stingy Nomads
Tioman Island – tropical Malaysian island getaway
For anyone who is a nature lover who likes to escape it all on tropical beaches, don’t miss Tioman Island! Located off the southeastern part of peninsular Malaysia, Tioman is easily reached by ferry from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok which can be reached in a couple of hours from Singapore or Johor Bahru. The 1.5-2 hour ferry (depending on which part of the island you disembark) is easy and part of the adventure with great views of Tioman Island on the way in. There is a Marine Park entrance fee to enter the island to be paid before hopping on your ferry.
The island itself is stunning with a great coastline and a mountainous interior filled with jungle. There are only a few roads and most exploration is possible by foot or boat. Most attractions are based in the sea, with great marine life to check out via snorkeling or diving, or on land, with great hiking opportunities.
Tioman Island offers many water sport activities, some great beaches to explore, and many boat trips. There is also a turtle sanctuary and a Marine Park Information Centre.
There is a range of accommodation on the island but prices are more expensive than on the mainland. The best choice is the Berjaya Tioman which is connected by road to a couple of places for easy exploration. For other suggestions on where to stay in Tioman, read this guide here.
Tioman Island is affected by monsoonal weather from late October and much of the island shuts at this time with ferries unreliable. It’s best to visit at other times unless you are a surfer with Juara Beach a popular spot at this time.
By Dive into Malaysia
Pangkor Island – great to spot Hornbills
If you’re looking for an off the beaten, yet one of the best places in Malaysia, consider Pangkor Island as a day or overnight trip. The easiest way to get there is either from Ipoh (~1.5-hour drive) or Kuala Lumpur (~3-hour drive). You need to drive to Lumut and catch one of the regular passenger ferries (you leave your vehicle in Lumut). Or, you can catch a bus from Kuala Lumpur.
The main reason for visiting Pangkor Island is the hornbills because of their unique look. Every day during the sunset dozens of them come to the area surrounding the main beach, Pantai Pasir Bogak. There’s no way to miss seeing them. Afterward, you can indulge yourself with a meal sold at the few street food stalls on the beachfront.
There are a few other beaches along the west coast of the island, but if you’re interested in water activities Pantai Pasir Bogak is the coast for you.
There are a couple of temples on the island to visit, such as Fu Ling Kong and the Sri Pathirakaliamman temples. And if you ask around, there are guides to take you through short hikes and help you spot the wildlife.
To get around Pangkor Island, you can walk but given the heat, the fun pink taxis will be your main form of transport. The island is becoming carbon-free, so the taxi you catch might be an electric vehicle! And you can let your friends know about the sustainable travel aspect of Pangkor.
Spotting Malaysia Wildlife
The Kinabatangan River
The Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo provides a stunning opportunity for Malaysian wildlife spotting and on a low budget too. This area of Malaysia is easily reached by bus or plane from Kota Kinabalu and is the perfect place to see orangutans in the wild as well as at a nearby sanctuary.
The Sun Bear Rescue Centre and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre [more on this below] are well worth a day of your time to visit. The Kinabatangan River is located close to the town of Sandakan and is the second-longest river in Malaysia.
Most Malaysian wildlife here is from river trips – there are crocodiles, macaques, monitor lizards, and a large variety of birdlife. The stars of the wildlife show here, though, are the wild orangutans, Proboscis monkeys, and the gorgeous Asian pygmy elephants. Only 1500 of these smallest elephants remain in Asia and they’re fabulous.
These Malaysia wildlife spotting trips are mostly offered as part of an all-inclusive accommodation; food and trips deal by lodges and bed and breakfasts along the riverbank, but you can find rooms here for as little as $12 a night.
There are no National Park fees here, transport is easily arranged – or included – from Sandakan and some lodges, like the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort, are built directly onto the river and offers dorm room facilities.
By A Social Nomad
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
One of the best places to visit in Malaysia is the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, in North Borneo. Founded in 1964, the center was built to rehabilitate injured, orphaned, and rescued orangutans. Its located at the edge of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve and trains Orangutans on how to survive in the forest.
The center has around 60 to 80 orangutans living there, so you can come and see them. As Orangutans are becoming much harder to see in the wild, the center provides a fantastic opportunity to see these amazing creatures up close while supporting their conservation.
The center is opened every day of the year for visitors. The ticket counter is opened from 09:00am to 11:00pm and 14:00pm to 15:30pm. Visitors can see the Orangutans being fed at 10 am and 3 pm. Tickets cost 30 MYR for foreign tourists, which allows you to see both feedings. There is an additional 10 MYR fee if you want to bring a camera. Getting to see these playful, intelligent mammals is a wonderful experience to add to your Malaysia bucket list.
Danum Valley Conservation Area
Danum Valley Conservation Area in the Sabah region of Borneo is a great place to visit. It is one of the few remaining areas of virgin rainforest on Borneo and because it is a designated conservation area, the ubiquitous palm plantations can’t encroach on it.
It has incredible biodiversity, so this is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia and Borneo to see wildlife. The only place to stay in the conservation area is Borneo Rainforest Lodge. For a cheaper option, the Danum Valley Research Center, which is just outside the conservation area, has basic accommodations.
However, for the full Danum Valley experience, the best choice is the ecolodge in the middle of the valley. Comfortable rooms are reached over elevated wooden walkways and an enormous lodge house with open walls, where all meals are served, faces a jungled escarpment.
Guided hikes and meals are included in the all-inclusive rate. There is a canopy walk through the treetops, which is great for bird watching and also gives a good chance of seeing orangutans. Hikes go through the steamy jungle to the top of a cliff overlooking the lodge, past ancient burial sites, and to a waterfall. It’s even possible to get a “fish spa” by having small fish, which gather in a shallow area of the river, nibble the dead skin off your feet.
A guided night walk and a night drive give the opportunity to see many of the nocturnal creatures in the jungle, including bug-eyed tarsiers, lemurs clinging to the trunks of trees, and giant flying squirrels leaping between the trees.
The nearest airport is Lahad Datu, where Borneo Rainforest Lodge has an office. From there, they supply a driver for the two-hour drive to the lodge.
By Travel Collecting
Sabah is a state in East Malaysia on the northern part of the island of Borneo. For most adventure-seekers, what makes Sabah one of the best places to visit in Malaysia is its famous mountain, Mount Kinabalu. Mount Kinabalu (4095m) is the tallest mountain in Malaysia and has stunning granite spires. Besides being home to Malaysia’s highest peak, Sabah also has incredibly beautiful beaches and coral reefs as well as lush rainforests, national parks, and wildlife reserves that are abundant with wildlife.
Sabah is ideal for nature-lovers and Malaysia wildlife spotting one of the best places in Malaysia to visit if you love nature and wildlife. It is home to the critically endangered orangutan, a species that shares 97% of genes with human beings. Here, you have a good chance of spotting them along with Proboscis monkeys in its jungles.
The city is also a perfect base if you want to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre just 25 km away from the city, or taking a cruise along the Kinabatangan River offers a chance to spot the Bornean pygmy elephant.
Most visitors get to Sabah by flying from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. As there are so many attractions in Sabah for wildlife lovers, you’ll want to spend at least a week or more exploring the forests and visiting the reserves.
National Parks in Malaysia
Bako National Park / Sarawak, Malaysia
Bako National Park is the kind of place that you rarely find these days. Hidden away on the island of Borneo, it is accessible only by a combination of car and motorboat. It’s not an easy feat to get to, but it’s well worth it for secluded beaches, endemic wildlife, and dense rainforest.
The best thing to do in Bako is to hike along the many uncrowded trails that weave through the jungle and out to the beaches. The beaches are nice enough, but what you’re really looking for is Malaysian wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may see bearded pigs, mouse deer, civets, macaques, and the best-recognized creature of Malaysia, the Proboscis monkeys. Nighttime unlocks a whole host of other wildlife, insects, reptiles, and nocturnal creatures.
You can get to Bako from Kuching via bus or private car. From Bako Bazaar, it’s just a 20-minute trip to the Teluk Assam jetty by motorboat. Boats usually leave every hour from 8 am to 4 pm, but they typically only depart when they’re full. You can charter a private boat if you’re in a hurry. You can stay either in a forest lodge or a campsite, but because of the persistently muggy weather, stay at the lodge. Rooms start from 40 MYR.
There are surely better beaches in the world. Nature reserves with more dense wildlife or better hiking trails. But the real reason Bako is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia is for the rare travel experience in a place that is uncrowded and still very local.
By Travel Outlandish
Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara National Park is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia, perfect for nature lovers looking for more than pristine beaches in Malaysia. This is the most primitive virgin rainforest in the world, created more than 130 million years ago (according to the experts), which makes it much older than the Amazonian forest in South America!
Taman Negara is located 240 km north-east of Kuala Lumpur, and it is very easy to reach by car, which makes it the perfect weekend getaway to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital. If you don’t have your own car, some of the hotels located in the park or nearby can arrange a pick up from Kuala Lumpur for an extra fee.
On-site, there are many outdoor activities, from great hiking trails to boating trips to guided excursions to explore the park’s wildlife. You can also decide to just lay on a hammock and relax with your favorite book (with the monkey’s permission) surrounded by the enchanting noise of the jungle.
Amongst all the hotels in Taman Negara, Mutiara Taman Negara Resort is the only hotel located inside the park so visitors can enjoy the jungle during all their stay. The bungalows spread along the property are pretty and with all the comforts for the modern guest, and they are located at only a few meters of the nearest hiking trails.
Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu National Park is one of the most beautiful parks to visit, not just in Malaysia but in all of Asia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its craggy peaks and cave system which is the largest in the world by surface area.
Some of the most popular caves to explore are Lang Cave, Deer Cave, Clearwater Cave, Wind Cave, and Lady Cave. They each have their own unique charms and otherworldly landscapes made up of unique rock formations, swathes of greenery, stalagmites, coral structures, and more.
Deer Cave is the most well known for the mass bat exodus which takes place each evening at dusk. The bats leave the cave in the thousands in search of food. There is a viewing platform to watch the spectacle.
Mulu Pinnacles are the other star attraction in Gunung Mulu National Park. These interesting rock formations are located in a remote area of the park. To reach them, visitors must embark on a grueling 3-day hike. However, it is well worth the effort.
By Drink Tea & Travel
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Malaysia travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
- Book affordable flights on Skyscanner, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
- Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Malaysia, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
- Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda
- Pre-book a private transfer from Kuala Lumpur Airport to your hotel
- Buy Kuala Lumpur City Pass to skip the lines for admission and save money on various attractions
- Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
- Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here