Malaysia is often overlooked by first time travellers in favour of its more famous neighbours Thailand and Singapore. But scratch the surface of this intriguing country and you’ll find fascinating cultures and traditions alongside unique wildlife and some damn good food too! So take the road (slightly) less travelled and discover all that Malaysia has to offer.
Our Favourite Five Experiences in Malaysia
Roam Kuala Lumpur
There’s nowhere quite like Kuala Lumpur. Under the towering Patronas Towers (the third tallest in the world) you could be in any super-modern metropolis. Yet just a short ride out on the monorail (yes, monorail!) and you’ll be in little India where you can munch on banana rice and top up your sari collection.
Chow Kit is KL’s Chinatown – home to the stunning Masjid Jamek and Dim Sum restaurants galore! But to see what makes this city really special, get up high and stare out at the rainforest spilling over the surrounding hills and running down into the city in a torrent of green – you’re stood in the middle of a jungle….
Take a Breather in the Cameron Highlands
200km from the madness of Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands is like a cold shower on a warm day. Cooler than the lowlands (the average temperature is around 18 degrees) and with strawberry farms, village visits and tea tasting all on the menu you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the English countryside! For the more active traveller you can also go jungle trekking to hidden waterfalls and climb up to the observation tower on the top of Gunung Brinchang …or you could just have a nice brew and a sit down.
Stuff Yourself Silly in Penang
Step out of Indo-china and into China! Penang’s streets are lined with clan halls, ancient mansions and temples that all stem from the area’s Chinese population. Aside from getting lost in the colourful streets Penang is known as the food capital of Asia with many restaurants open 24 hours a day serving curries, noodles and dim sum. Take the local busses away from the beaches and you’ll find one of the hidden gems of the island – Kek Lok Si temple, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia.
Gety Back to Nature in Borneo
Orang-utans, flying foxes, sea turtles, pigmy elephants, Borneo is essentially an awesome animal theme park! Why not get up close and personal with the animals and invest in their future by volunteering at an orang-utan sanctuary? On the side you can climb to the top of Mt Kinabalu, swing through the trees at jungle retreats or kick back and relax on the beach – Borneo has something to please everyone. Well honestly, who wouldn’t be pleased about pigmy elephants?
Marvel at the Batu Caves
Just 20 mins outside of Kuala Lumpur stand the Batu Caves – massive limestone rock formations which have been a sight of Hindu worship for well over a century. So close to the metropolitan chaos of the city, the caves are surrounded by lush green jungle filled with the calls of birds and the cries of monkeys who will come so close to visitors you could touch them (But don’t. monkey rabies is not fun).
Aside from climbing the 272 steps to the awesome interior of the caves (phew) you can wander round the colourful shrines that dot the area and even take a walk on the wild side with a tour of the aptly named “dark cave”. Though, filled with bats, centipedes and millions of cockroaches, it’s not a walk for the faint hearted.