Malaysia is a fascinating small country rich in exciting places and unique cuisine that force every visitor to make return plans or even settle down in the country. The country may be lacking in size but it is big on holiday destinations including religious sites, captivating islands, unique museums, and landmarks.
Expats love that they can freely roam around the country and not worry about being lost in translation. Most of the locals here are friendly and can converse in English. The multi-ethnic country has numerous things to offer its visitors from legendary tourist attractions to gastronomic cuisines.
Visiting Malaysia means seeing incomparable attractions. More than the usual tourist attractions, Malaysia has unique sites that deserve to be seen and experienced by anyone who sets foot on the country.
Skip the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park. These landmarks may be famous but they are overrated. Change your itinerary and instead head on to these amazing and rarely visited sites on our list:
The Niah caves is one of Malaysia’s natural treasures. This huge underground chambers can fit several cathedrals stack onto one another. The caves were also the site where the country’s first human remains and cave paintings were discovered. A trip to Malaysia would definitely become interesting with a visit to the caves.
An eclectic landscape of pointed rock spires rising up out of the forested jungle. Adventurous visitors brave the dangerous mountain to see Malaysia’s stunning vistas. The pinnacles are so difficult to climb that they are often used as training grounds by the Malaysia Army. The towering stone spikes are made up of natural karst formation. To view the pinnacles, hikers may take several days to reach the topmost rock, serving as the viewing platform. Aside from the majestic view on top, visitors may also see toucans and pitcher plants dotting the way.
Since the Pinnacles of Gunung Mulu have had its share of fans all over the world, organizers have installed railings and ladders to make the trek upwards easier.
Amazed by the Petronas Twin Tower’s Sky Bridge? It is nothing compared to the Langkawi Island’s Sky Bridge that curves around the forested mountain peak. The steel sky bridge is suspended over 2,000 feet by a large pylon that lines sturdy steel cables to the bridge. The bridge allowed visitors to see the exquisite forestry of the Gunung Mat Chinchang Mountain from the top. In addition to traversing the bridge, visitors can also head to the Seven Wells waterfall or continue their hike to the summit of the Gunung Mat Chinchang.
More than 6 miles away from the islands of Kuah and Cenang, Langkawi is not accessible by public transport. Those who want to visit the island may only do so by renting a scooter, hailing a cab, or contracting a private car rental.
More than a place for prayer, the Crystal Mosque of the Islamic Heritage Park on Wan Man Island is also a place of commerce. The spectacular mosque is made from glass and steel making it one of the most unique places of worship in the world. It has a sophisticated and elegant look particularly when its glass domes shine as the illuminated mosque reflects off the water. The Crystal Mosque also offers modern amenities including a wireless internet connectivity.
Located in the Johor Bahru, the Hindu temple of Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman is one of the oldest in the country. The temple was an inheritance of Sri Sinnathamby Sivasamy from his father. The creation of the temple was born out of the glass artworks he saw while riding a tuk-tuk.
Covered in over 300,000 multicolored mosaic pieces of glass and thousands of glass beads, the temples houses statues of Mother Teresa and Gautama Buddha. It also contains glass murals that depict cross faith love.
Located at Bestari Jaya, the flashing fireflies of Kampung Kuantan treat its visitors to a mesmerizing display of animation as fireflies light up simultaneously. The synchronicity of this particular species of fireflies in Kampung Kuantan is a mysterious phenomenon that adds to the charm of the place. This magnificent display of lights may soon fade as the beetles are slowly disappearing so it’s better to catch them now before they are lost to pollution.
Despite being a wealthy country, Malaysia is kind to those who travel on a budget. There are various places one can enjoy without breaking the bank. Here is a list of budget-friendly things to do in Malaysia:
Address: Jalan Kebun Bunga, Tasik Perdana 55200 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 8pm
Phone Number: +603 2617 6404
Also known as Lake Gardens or Taman Tasik Perdana, the botanical garden is one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest recreational park. It boasts of highly maintained gardens, expansive children’s playground, jogging paths, and outdoor exercise equipment. There are also numerous themed gardens worth exploring. The garden is best visited during weekdays but free guided tours are available every Sunday from 8 am to 10 am.
How to Get There:
At the Pasar Seni LRT station, take the RapidKL Bus B112. You can also ride the KL Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus and get off at the Station 14 fronting the KL Bird Park.
Address: KL Lot 240, Bukit Nanas, Jalan Raja Chulan 70300 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 6pm
Phone Number: +603 2070 6342
While at Kuala Lumpur, explore the hidden treasure of the KL Forest Eco Park. It is a great hiking place favored by many locals and tourists for its well-maintained rainforest. The park now features a canopy walk that provides an aerial view of the forest and cityscape.
Formerly known as the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, the park has regular guided tours headed by the Malaysian Forest Department every 10:30am, 12.30pm, 2:30pm, and 4:30pm.
How to Get There:
From the Puduraya Bus Station or Chinatown, the park entrance at the Jalan Raja Chulan is only a 10-minute walk. There is also an access from the base of the KL Tower steps. One can also take the entrance at the back of the Malaysian Timber Product Gallery to reach the Dang Wangi LRT station.
Address: 2, Jalan Temerloh, Off Jalan Tun Razak, 53200 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily from 10am to 6pm
Phone Number: +603 4025 4990
Home to Malaysia’s most celebrated artists and designers, the four-story gallery is a must-visit even if it is located on a rather inaccessible area of Titiwangsa. Visitors may have the chance to catch touring exhibitions and experimental works. While at the area, guests also head on to the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens for a soulful stroll.
How to Get There:
The easiest option to reach the National Gallery is via a taxi. If not, take the RapidKL Bus B103 that courses from Bukit Bintang to Titiwangsa through the KLCC route.
Address: 27, Jalan Raja, Dataran Merdeka, 50050 Dataran Merdeka
Tour Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday starting from 9am to 11:30am
Phone Number: +603 269 80332
Exploring the British colonial buildings by yourself is possible but to really get to know the history of these buildings, it is highly advisable to take a guided tour by the KL City Hall. No worry about the fee as the tour is free. The tour, starting from the City Gallery, will include 11 historical sites and lasts for about 2 hours and a half.
How to Get There:
Reach Dataran Merdeka via the KL Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus and get off at the KL City Gallery. Via the LRT, get off at the Masjid Jamek or Pasar Seni station and walk towards Dataran Merdeka.
Address: Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple, Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily from 6am to 9pm
Phone Number: +603 2287 9422
The Batu caves are popular among devotees of the Lord Murugan. They would often visit the temples here to pray for good fortune and give offerings. The Thaipusam is the busiest day at Batu caves as the festival draw in many devotees and visitors. The festival begins the night before with the Silver Chariot procession from Kuala Lumpur to the Batu Caves.
For a great experience, climb the 272 steep rock stairs before exploring your first cave. Frequent visitors know that they need to come to the site early so they choose a good climbing spot. Make sure that you also have your own climbing gear for safety.
How to Get There:
For a cheaper route to the site, take the Intrakota Bus 11D from Pasar Seni or Central Market. You can also ride the Cityliner Bus 69 from Jalan Pudu.
Southern Malaysia is popular for its beautiful blend of modernity and history. Aside from exploring the historic Melaka, guests can also have fun at the bustling city, national parks, and sandy beaches. In short, there are just plenty of awesome things to do in this side of Malaysia.
When in Southern Malaysia, it is but a must to get a real feel if the country’s history. Head on to the World Heritage City of Melaka and be amazed at the well preserved and notable architecture. Negeri Sembilan is where one can experience Sumatran heritage, as evidenced by the colonial Victorian style shophouses. One should not miss the Sri Menanti where the official home of the royal family is. The home built without nails features 99 pillars, representing 99 warriors of different clans.
Johor Bharu is a famous spot for Singaporeans. Many Singapore locals cross Johor’s capital to have a taste of the colourful nightlife in this integrated hotel that comes with a ferry terminal, a duty free shopping, and a dining complex.
Southern Malaysia does not disappoint for those who want to visit greenery. The Endau-Rompin National Park, located between the Pahang and Johor borders, features 336 square miles of vast forest. It is home to the Asian elephant, Malayan tiger, wild boars, bear cats, and white-handed gibbons.
While Southern Malaysia offers varied activities for its visitors, East Malaysia is more of an escape. Sabah located at the northern side of the Borneo Island offers a range of activities that are more nature-themed. It is home to the 4,000-metre high Mount Kinabalu. Hiking the country’s tallest mountain is a bucket-list activity one can do while there.
After a nice hike, explore the night market at Kota Kinabalu. The ‘pasar malam’ is famous for its wide range of cuisines. As said, east Malaysia is rife with natural wonders. One can also visit the Sipadan National Park, a top diving destination where they can dive and see colourful corals and sea animals and plants.
Both the Turtle Islands Natural Park and Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Center are a must for animal lovers. At the Sepilok Center, visitors can see the endangered orangutans swinging from trees or taking care of their young. The Turtle Islands has three islands: Little Bakkungan, Gulisaan, and Selingaan and is famous for the hawksbill and green turtles.