Feel the pulse of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, its capital and largest city. The famous Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest building in the world, provides a bird’s-eye view of the cosmopolitan metropolis and houses a multitude of shops and art galleries. For a look at the city’s past, take in the 1910 Moorish-inspired Old Railway Station, the riverside Jamek Mosque and the Sultan Abdul Samad building with its 131-foot clock tower. Malay, Chinese and Indian influences ensure colorful dining experiences.
The beauty and rich history of George Town keeps tourists flocking all year round. George Town offers views of the famous Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Kapitan Keling Mosque and many of the capital’s golden crowned Buddhist temples. With museums showcasing the country’s rich-historical treasures, restaurants that offer classic Malaysian cuisine and dozens of shopping malls, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone to see.
The 99-island archipelago of Langkawi is heaven on earth for beach-going, sun-chasing nature lovers. Forested hills, romantic white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters greet visitors to tropical Palau Langkawi, the largest of the 99 islands in Langkawi archipelago. Known mysteriously as “Legendary Island” because of myths associated with its ancient geological formations, it drifts serenely alongside Malaysia in the azure Andaman Sea. Sample local cuisine at the night markets, hike to dramatic waterfalls or dive into an underwater marine park to take a guided glimpse at life beneath the sea.
Miri is a terrific base for exploring Borneo’s spectacular rainforests and alpine meadows. Here you’ll find four National Parks, each with its own distinct drawing power: Gunung Mulu is teeming with caves and limestone formations; Niah was the discovery site of prehistoric human remains; Lambir Hills features stunning waterfalls and wildlife; and Loagan Bunut is ideal for hiking and birdwatching.
Kuching is a fine choice for an enriching vacation that’s as packed with learning as it is leisure. Its many museums and impressive planetarium will enthrall even the tiniest travelers, and a quick climb to the top of the Kuching Civic Center will reward you with jaw-dropping 360-degree views. Grab a snack from a stall on the bustling waterfront, and don’t miss the absolutely massive Sunday market, which is an electric experience for shoppers, vendors, and observers.
Tropical Sandakan is a paradise for animal lovers. Watch turtles lay eggs at Turtle Islands Park, keep a giggly distance at a crocodile farm or share an impish smile with some of the residents at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. The houses on stilts in the fishing village of Buli Sim Sim are perfect for sightseeing and photographing.
Most travellers only stop in busy Kuantan, Pahang’s capital and Malaysia’s second biggest port, to break up long bus trips. We think this is a shame; while the city isn’t geared towards tourism, it is definitely interesting enough to warrant a day or two’s exploration, offering some of the coast’s best eating opportunities. The nearby beach of Teluk Chempedak is worth visiting as well.