Malaysia Stunning Nature and endless Exciting Sites to Explore

Sabah Tourism-10, Sabah, Malaysia

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying key areas of the Malaysian island and the peninsular of Borneo. Malaysia´s tourist attractions are varied and abundant. The country is famed for its pristine beaches, rich rainforests, amazing mountain ranges, natural attractions such as coral reefs, mangroves, islands, forests, national parks, wildlife spots, bird parks, marine life sanctuaries and aquatic life. There are numerous natural wonders, historic cities, markets, monasteries, and wildlife sanctuaries. Some places of interest are also extremely affordable, with some offering amazing deals for group travelers and tourists. In addition, some of Malaysia’s famous landmarks are not accessible by road, making these destinations ideal for an overnight stay. Malaysia is renowned except for its tropical rainforests and serene beaches also for its harmonious mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic influences. The country´s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is being home to busy commercial areas, including high-rise buildings, colonial buildings and skyscrapers like the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

The Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers-2, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Petronas Twin Towers-2, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Petronas Towers or the Petronas Twin Towers, in Malay: Menara Petronas, or Menara Berkembar Petronas, undoubtedly, make the pride of Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia. They are named after the Malaysian oil and gas company with the same name Petronas. They attain 452 meters high, spread over 88-floors and count not less than 76 elevators. A skybridge connects the twin towers to each other at the levels of the 41st and 42nd floors. While the upper floors host offices for several renowned international companies, the lower floors accommodate over 300 department and retail stores, recreation and entertainment spaces, prayer service premises, cafés, restaurants, food stalls and a concert hall. Outside the buildings is the KLCC Park, which includes jogging trails and a playground. The twin skyscrapers used to be the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004, before being surpassed by Taipei 101. The Petronas Twin Towers remain however the tallest “twin towers” in the world and the tallest buildings in Malaysia until the construction of Merdeka PNB 118 will be completed (expected in 2021). Until then and maybe beyond, Petronas Twin Towers are one of the major landmarks of Kuala Lumpur, along with nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower, and are visible from many places across the city.

Mount Kinabalu and Kinabalu Park, Sabah, Malaysia

Sabah Tourism-12, Sabah, Malaysia
Sabah Tourism-12, Sabah, Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu (Malay: Gunung Kinabalu) is the highest mountain in Malaysia at 4095 m of elevation. Located in Ranau district, West Coast Division of the state of Sabah, Malaysia, the mountain is part of  Kinabalu Park that is protected as World Heritage Site for its “outstanding universal values” and its role as one of the most important biological sites in the world. Kinabalu Park (Malay: Taman Kinabalu), established in 1964, is one of the first national parks in Malaysia. The mountain and its surroundings are among the most important biological sites in the world because of their unique ecosystem and extremely rich fauna and flora. With up to 6,000 species of plants, over 300 species of birds, and more than 100 mammalian species identified, Kinabalu Park is a major tourist destination in Sabah and the whole Malaysia. To protect the site, only a maximum of 185 climbers are allowed daily to conquer the unique Kinabalu, including tourists, Malaysian and people of the state of Sabah. The climbers are also required to reserve, in advance, an accommodation on the site and a local mountain guide.

Kota Kinabalu, Capital City of Sabah, Malaysia

Sabah Tourism-28, Sabah, Malaysia
Sabah Tourism-28, Sabah, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu (Pronounced in Malay: [ˈkota kinaˈbalu]; formerly known as Jesselton) is the capital city of the state of Sabah, Malaysia. Located on the northwest coast of Borneo, it faces South China Sea, with the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park to its west and Mount Kinabalu, after which it was named, is located to its east. According to the population growth forecast, Kota Kinabalu´s population is estimated to surpass the threshold of 560 000 by the current year 2021. First, under Bruneian Empire´s influence in the 15th century, the current Kota Kinabalu fell into the hands of the British Empire in the 19th century, that installed its first settlement in the area, the British North Borneo Company (BNBC), nearby the Gaya Island. Occupied by the Japanese during the World War II, the town returned back under British colonization after the war and was declared capital of the North Borneo. By the formation of Malaysia, North Borneo became Sabah and Jesselton renamed Kota Kinabalu, after Mount Kinabalu, Kota meaning in Malay fort. Kota Kinabalu got its status of city in 2000. Often know as KK, also internationally, Kota Kinabalu is the inevitable gateway to visit Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu Park, which is one of the major tourist attractions in Sabah, is located at the vicinity of KK. For that reason alone, Kota Kinabalu is a major tourist destination.

Sipadan & KK’s islands: Diving, Snorkeling & Hiking, Sabah, Malaysia

Sabah Tourism-5, Sabah, Malaysia
Sabah Tourism-5, Sabah, Malaysia

Sabah is richly blessed with nature diversity, unique cultures, fun adventure, beautiful beaches, amazing diving and snorkeling sites and fantastic cuisines. Sabah has it all, from the world’s largest flower – the Rafflesia -, one of the highest mountains in South-East Asia – Mount Kinabalu -, to one of the world’s top dive sites – Sipadan Island. With its surrounding ocean waters, a chain of five off coast islands – Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi and Sulug – this unique environment is part of the world´s richest marine habitat and one of the best diving destinations worldwide. Sabah is also known for its great natural treasures which include the world-renowned Danum Valley Conservation Area and Tabin which is Sabah’s largest wildlife reserve. Not only will you be amazed by the places to see and things to do here, you will also be treated with unique Sabahan hospitality.

Batu Caves, Selangor

Thaipusam Temple, Selangor, Malaysia
Thaipusam Temple, Selangor, Malaysia

Batu caves is a Hindu holy site located at the remote outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, at about 13 kilometers north in Gombak, Selangor. Its name originates from the Malay word “batu”, meaning rock. The site was first known as “Kapal Tanggang” that took its name from the local legend of Si Tanggang. It consists of several caves formed by limestone rock and corridors connecting them. Their age is estimated at about 400 million years.The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of the Tamil festival Thaipusam in Malaysia. In front of the main cave also known as Cathedral cave or Temple Cave stands a reinforced concrete made, gold painted about 43 meters high sculpture dedicated to Murugan. Behind the sculpture, a staircase with 272 steps leads to the temple. Nowadays, the site is one of the most popular attractions in Kuala Lumpur. The area is also known for macaques, which steal everything from tourists in the hope of food.

Malacca City, Melaka/Malacca, Malaysia

Stadhuys, Melaka, Malaysia
Stadhuys, Melaka, Malaysia

Malacca (Malay: Melaka; called also “The Historic State”; Malay: “Bandar Raya Bersejarah” is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, bordered by Negeri Sembilan to the north and west and Johor to the south. Its capital is Malacca City, which is around 148 kilometers southeast of Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur. UNESCO listed the city´s historical centre as a World Heritage Site in 2008. The head of state is the Governor rather than the Sultan that was in usage until the conquest of the city by the Portuguese in 1511. The economy of Malacca City is largely based on tourism. The city is located along the Maritime Silk Road, proposed by China in 2013 following the “One Belt, one Road” (OBOR, also BRI or B&R) initiative launched by the Chinese president Xi Jinping. Nowadays, Malacca is famous for its unique history and is one of the major tourist destinations in Malaysia. Some of the main tourist attractions in Malacca City are Porta de Santiago, Jonker Walk, Little India, Portuguese Settlement, Christ Church, Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum and Taming Sari Tower.

Penang Hill or Bukit Bendera, Penang, Malaysia

Forest Trail, Penang, Malaysia
Forest Trail, Penang, Malaysia

Penang Hill is the highest point in the state of Penang and comprises a group of peaks on Penang Island, located at around 9 km west of the center of George Town, the capital city of Penang. It is also known by its Malay name Bukit Bendera (literally “Flag Hill”) and refers to its original name Flagstaff Hill. At 833 m above the sea level, the Western Hill is the highest point and offers an impressive panorama view over the surrounding lowlands, green forests and the city. The area used to be a retreat during the British colonial period. Nowadays, it is a major tourist destination in Penang. To access the top of the hill, you may use the Penang Hill Railway starting from the Hill Railway Station Road which makes the climb up in just 10 to 20 min, including a few mid-stops upon passengers´ request.    

The Habitat Penang Hill, Penang

Habitat, Penang, Malaysia
Habitat, Penang, Malaysia

The Habitat Penang Hill is a marvelous must-experience nature escapade that one cannot miss when visiting Penang. It offers probably the most complete Malaysian rainforest experience. The 1.6 km Nature Trail dates back to the British East India Company that initiated the first work in the early 1800s. Let yourself be submerged by thousand and one sights and sounds of the rainforest, along 40 m off the forest floor from Langur Way Canopy Walk. Once up, enjoy the open panoramic 360-degree views of Penang Island from Curtis Crest Treetop Walk allowed by the skyway and experience the rainforest from the air with the Flight of the Colugo zip line course. Let yourself immerse in the stunning natural beauty of the rainforest, with its amazingly marveling flora and fauna, inhabiting rare and ancient species that cannot be seen elsewhere. This wildlife´s natural sanctuary is unique and unmissable destination in Penang.

George Town, Capital City of Penang

Street View, Penang, Malaysia
Street View, Penang, Malaysia

With a population of around 720 000, George Town is the third most populous city in Malaysia. Since 2008, the city´s historical centre is listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site along with Malacca City´s old centre. George Town is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang. As the first British Settlement in Southeast Asia, George Town served, following its creation in 1786 by Francis Light, as an entrepôt for the East India Company, along with Singapore and Malacca. After Japan conquered the city during the World War II, George Town was recaptured back by the British at the end of the war and declared a city by the Queen Elisabeth II. Like Malacca, George Town is a cosmopolitan city, much due to the prominent intermixing of ethnicities, religions and cultures that anchored on the city over the last centuries. The city´s cosmopolitanism is especially visible in the different architectural styles, both colonial and Asiatic. George Town is home to unique cultural heritage sites and has over the years acquired the distinction as Malaysia’s gastronomic capital, mainly for its typical, unique and inescapable street food.

Notable sites to explore in George Town:

  • Historical Streets of George Town
  • Clan Jetties
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Batu Ferringhi Night Market

Pangkor Island, Perak

Pulau Pangkor-1, Malaysia
Pulau Pangkor-1, Malaysia

Pangkor Island (Malay: Pulau Pangkor) is a relatively small island in Manjung District, Perak, Malaysia. In the 17th century, it served mainly as a retreat for local fishermen, merchants and pirates until the Dutch, intending to control the tin trade in Perak, built a fortress, which is still nowadays known as the Dutch Fort. Located on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, at a midway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, off the coast of Perak, Pangkor Island consists of five smaller islands, besides the main island Pangkor. The island is blessed with an ideal mild weather all the year around. The west coast of Pangkor is famous for its beautiful beaches, resorts and hotels for tourist accommodations while the east coast is where the locals live and work in the local foods, fisheries activities and boat workshops. With its stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and rich fauna and flora, Pangkor is a small paradise on Earth and has much to offer to its visitors.

Eagle Square or Dataran Lang, Langkawi, Kedah

Eagle Square, Langkawi, Malaysia
Eagle Square, Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah), is an archipelago of 99+ islands in the Malacca Strait, about 30 km off the coast of northwest Malaysia. The islands are part of the state of Kedah, which shares borders with Thailand. By far the largest of the islands is the island of Langkawi of the same name (Pulau Langkawi), with a population of around 65 000; the only other inhabited island is close to the island of Tuban. Langkawi is the administrative district with Kuah as its largest city. Pentai Cenang is Langkawi’s most popular beach and tourist area, visited by tens of thousands of visitors annually. According to the old Malay folkloric legend, Langkawi got its name from the Malay words “helang” for eagle and “kawi”, meaning red backed or reddish brown. That explains at least partly why the icon and symbol of Langkawi is a giant eagle on a large blue star-shaped concrete platform. The Eagle Square, known locally as Dataran Lang and its giant eagle are among the main attractions of the city. The 12-meter-tall giant eagle statue looks over the Kuah Jetty and Langkawi´s bay, welcomes visitors and watches over the whole island. The square is permanently open to public and is a popular place to snap photos.

Kilim Geoforest Park, Langkawi, Kedah

Kilim, Langkawi, Malaysia
Kilim, Langkawi, Malaysia

The Kilim Geoforest Park also referred to as Kilim Geopark adjacent to the Andaman Sea, consists of three all interconnected river estuaries that stretch from Kisap village approximately 10 km to Tanjung Rhu. With its unique vertical eroded hills, the park is rich in wildlife fauna and flora with species like sea otters, brown winged kingfishers, white-bellied fish eagles, kite eagles, monitor lizards, and swimming macaque monkeys. There are also several unique limestone caves in the mangroves, a bat cave and one of the natural beauty spots of Langkawi, the Pirate Lagoon. The inner-park area is accessible by riverboat cruise along the Kilim River, but also privately by rental kayaks and jet-ski boats.

Cable car and Sky Bridge, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Sky Bridge, Langkawi, Malaysia
Sky Bridge, Langkawi, Malaysia

The Langkawi cable car operates between the base station at the Oriental Village up to the top of the Gunnung Matchinchang mountain. The 15-minute ride from the base station to the peak is around 2.2 kilometers and offers a breathtaking view over the blue turquoise waters, the bay and the waterfall of Telaga Tujuht. A midway station enables visitors to land and access to a view platform to admire the opening impregnable views. At the top of the mountain, the main attraction is the spectacular pedestrian Sky Bridge along which visitors can enjoy the sweeping panorama views on the below rainforest and surroundings.

Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia

Orangutan, Sarawak, Malaysia
Orangutan, Sarawak, Malaysia

Mount Api (Gunung Api in Malaysia) is a limestone mountain located in Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. Mount Benarat and the adjacent Mount Buda are part of the same formation. Mount Api is famous for its impressive limestone eroded compositions, commonly known as “peaks”. The mountain is home to many caves, and corridors connect the vast Clearwater Cave System. The Api Chamber, Malaysia’s second largest chamber, was discovered on Mount Api during the Benarat 2005 Cave Expedition. Mount Api is notable for the diversity of bait plants, which include at least eight species as Nepenthes campanulata, Nepenthes faizaliana, Nepenthes hurrelliana, etc. Mount Api is classed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Matang Wildlife Centre, Sarawak

Bario, Sarawak, Malaysia
Bario, Sarawak, Malaysia

Matang Wildlife Centre is a unique rescue and rehabilitation centre for endangered species. The centre is around 180 hectares of natural reserves and lowland forests and is part of Kubah National Park. However, Matang is not a zoo. It is dedicated to the rehabilitation of vulnerable animal species such as Orangutan. This intelligent animal is found only in Borneo, Sumatra, and Sarawak. In Matang Wildlife Centre, the Orangutans, orphaned or rescued from captivity, are rehabilitated, and released into forest. Visitors to the Centre have an opportunity to get close to these endangered animals. Besides the Orangutan, the Centre is host to other species such as sambar deer, sun bear, hornbills, storks and other Sarawak local birds.