When people think about Asia, the first thing that comes to mind is a specter of different elements. The rich culture and history, the amazing food, the lively metropolises, the luscious green tropics and the shops where you can find everything at a cheaper price, the list goes on. When you go through different countries, cuddled in the massive continent, there is one country which looks like it’s holding ‘the biggest hits’. Malaysia has it all!
Malaysia is full of amazing places for the lovers of diving, where you can see different types of corals and hundreds of marine species. The country is suitable for amateurs and professionals alike, because the waters are usually calm, the reefs are protected and most of the locations can be reached with small fast boats.
One of the best destinations for diving in Malaysia is in the province of Sabah, which has many tiny islands, perfect for divers. While there, you can dive in the waters of the National Park “Miri-Sibuti” or you can go to Sipadan Island for a more professional diving experience. Mabul island is suitable for all macro photography fans. In contrast, the next island – Liang-Liang, is a deep dive zone, which goes as far as 40 meters deep.
Borneo is one of the places where you can see hammerhead shark and the best way to see it is in Liang-Liang.
In the western part of Malaysia there are also some suitable places for diving. The islands Redang and Tioman are part of the archipelago Lemgkawi and are in fact perfect for snorkel and scuba diving.
The capital of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur is also the biggest city in the country. Kuala Lumpur is a place where every tourist in Malaysia, has to see. The two million city manages to preserve the different cultures and inhabitants, while not falling behind in its development. Kuala Lumpur, or simply KL, is home to many attractions, the most famous of which are the twin skyscrapers – Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves and Purdana Botanical Garden.
The towers “Petronas” are two 88- floors skyscrapers with high 451,9 meters. The towers were built in 1999 and hold the record for the highest twin towers in the world.
‘Batu caves’ is a system of caves and cave temples situated on a limestone hill, which is located 8.1 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur. The name ‘Batu’ in Malaysian means ‘rock’. The caves are more than 400 million years old. Some of the entrances were in fact shelters used by the local tribes, one of them being the Temuan people. At the moment, Batu is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.
Perdana Botanical Garden
The Perdana Botanical Garden, located in Kuala Lumpur’s Tun Abdul Razak National Heritage Park, contains a large variety of flora and fauna. It was originally created in parts as a recreational park, but it was eventually planted with a collection of tropical plants and turned into a botanical garden. Although the park is located in the center of a busy metropolis, the place manages to preserve its magical atmosphere as a rainforest.
The musical fountains
The musical fountain is one of the preferred tourist locations where you can go on an evening stroll while enjoying the scenery. Often after the sun has set, at 8, 9 and 10 o’clock there is a performance lasting around ten minutes. Guided by the music, the fountain dances to the rhythm of the songs that are played in the background by creating a colorful lightshow.
There are approximately 200 golf courses all around Malaysia. Many places in the mountain region are surrounded by luscious greenery and a not so warm weather. Additionally, in close proximity of many golf courses, there are numerous tea leaf plantations along the coast of the South China Sea. Apart of the spectacular view which the Malaysian golf courses provide, they’re also equipped with the best facilities possible.
Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang
A prominent cultural place for all religious people across Southeast Asia is the largest Buddhist temple in the country – Kek Lok Si, where many gather in order to profess their worship. The temple sits atop a hill in the province of Air Itam, Penang. Kek Lok Si is known as the crown jewel of heritage temples in Malaysia. The construction being finished 115 years ago in 1905, the temple comprises of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, gift shops and beautifully crafted gardens. The temple is particularly known for its seven-story Pagoda of Rama VI, it is a 30.2 m high bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, and its unparalleled view of the entire island. The main highlight of the Temple is the 10,000 Buddha carvings.
Sarawak Cultural Village
Sarawak Cultural Village is a good place to submerge yourself in the local culture even if only for a few hours, in order to experience customs different to your own. The village is actually a living museum where you can observe the local tribes in their authentic homes, learn their traditions and participate in a lot of different workshops. Visitors can also take part in ethnic dancing performances or perhaps be invited to drink a potent sip of tuak –rice wine. Guests can even be wed in a traditional ethnic ceremony.
There is a Chinese belief that white is associated with death and mourning, so Cheong decided to paint the walls of his house bright blue for a happier effect. The eye-catching blue paint was made with natural blue pigment from the indigo plant, mixed with limewash.
Penang’s Blue Mansion
‘Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion’, better known as the Blue Mansion because of its dazzling indigo-coloured façade, is a world known landmark in George Town, Penang which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Built in an architectural style known as ‘Straits Eclectic’, the mansion is currently a boutique hotel with a pool, a fine-dining restaurant and a bar. Before that it was known as the house of Cheong Fatt Tze – a Chinese businessman.
The Snake Temple, officially known as Hock Hin Keong or Cheng Hoon Giam, was built in the mid-19th century in honor of Chor Soo Kong. He was a Buddhist monk and a healer born in China during the Song Dynasty. According to the legend, during his lifetime, Chor Soo Kong sometimes offered shelter to close-by jungle snakes. After the temple was built in his honor, it’s said that snakes began showing up there of their own accord.
Langkawi is a 99 island archipelago, located on the Malaysian west coast. The islands are a part of the state Kedah. In 2008, the name of the archipelago was changed to ‘Langkawi Permata Kedah’, which in Malaysian literally means ‘Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah’.
The largest island, which also bears the name ‘Langkawi’, offers something for every traveler. It gives its guests the opportunity to experience the beautiful local nature, lively tourist attractions, traditional life and world-class resorts. The island can also fascinate you with its variety of birds, as it is home to over 226 bird species.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
If you are currently at Langkawi Island, one of the places you should visit is the ‘Langkawi Sky Bridge’. The attraction is 125 meters long and offers an exciting view toward the mountain of Mat Cincang, the Telaga Tujuh waterfall and several other islands. Also, it’s located approximately 700 meters above the sea level and is only accessible via the island’s final cable car station. The bridge can accommodate around 250 people at the same time.
Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise
Langkawi National Park is an amazing place for animal lovers, because it’s home to approximately 2500 exotic birds from 150 different species such as: canaries, gooses, parrots, owls, eagles, toucans and flamingos.
‘Pantai Cenang’ is a large beach with white sands and clear waters. It is the most popular beach on Langkawi and is also just one short drive away from the island’s international airport. ‘Pantai Cenang’ is a popular family-friendly holiday destination, thanks to its suitable for children attractions, such as the ‘Langkawi Underwater World’ and the Rice Garden Museum.
Telaga Tujuh Waterfall
The ‘Telaga Tujuh’ waterfall is located in the west part of Langkawi Island. The meaning of its name is ‘The seven wells’ which comes from the seven naturally formed pools in the region. This waterfall is the most visited place on the island. Interestingly, you can find some unexpected animals there – squirrels and even rhinos.
Kinabalu National Park
Kinabalu National Park is located on Borneo and is the first Malaysian site entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the 21st century. The park was found in 1964 and is located in the Sabah state – east coast of Malaysia. Its land is spread across 754 km². Kinabalu park has one of the richest biodiversity in the world, hosting over 4,500 animal and plant species, including 326 bird species, over 100 mammal species and over 110 species of terrestrial snails. One of the biggest attractions in the park is mount Kinabalu – the highest mountain in Malaysia.
Another attraction that brings thousands of tourists to the national park is the flower Rafflesia arnoldii. It is a type of parasitic plant that has a cabbage-like head and no root stem. Rafflesia is found only in Southeast Asia on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The interesting thing about the flower is that it blooms for only 5 days, and then it dies.
The colorful diversity of Malaysia is also reflected in the country’s cuisine. Malaysian food is very flavorful, combining the tastes of various herbs and spices. The cuisine is strongly influenced by India and China.
Although popular in other Southeast Asian countries, ‘Nasi Lemak’ is considered Malaysia’s national dish and can be found anywhere in the country. The main ingredient in it is rice, which is boiled in coconut milk and pandan leaves. The traditional Malaysian version of Nasi Lemak often contains anchovies, chili paste (sambal), peanuts and boiled eggs.
Mee Goreng Mamak
‘Mee Goreng’ literally translates to fried noodles. In Malaysia, the word ‘mamak’ is used for the Indian Muslims. This dish is made with Chinese cabbage, fried tofu, bean sprouts, potatoes, chili peppers, chicken or shrimps.
‘Satay’ is known as a very famous meat skewer in the whole Southeastern Asian region. It’s usually made from chicken, beef or lamb. In Malaysia, the dish is often served with onions, cucumbers and peanut sauce. Normally, Satay is accompanied with another dish called Ketupat, which is essentially rice dumplings rolled in palm leaves.
‘Asam Laksa’ is a spicy soup made with rice noodles. Curiously, this type of food is also common in other Asian cultures, such as the Chinese one. It was developed by the Peranakans who are in fact descendants of the Chinese immigrants, settled in some parts of Malaysia. They assimilated with the locals, thus they combined their traditions together. The soup contains fish, grated cucumber, onion, pineapple, red chili peppers, mint, lettuce and ginger. It is mostly served with rice noodles and shrimp paste.
‘Roti Canai’ is a dish that came with the Indian immigrants, settled in Malaysia. The dish offers a flatbread which is served with many types of curry. There is also a sweet version, sprinkled with sugar.
‘Ais Kacang’ is a popular Malaysian dessert. The main ingredients are shaved ice and red beans. Frequently, the dessert is served with sweet corn, grass jelly, agar agar cubes, peanuts and ice cream. Ais Kacang is poured with rose syrup and coconut or condensed milk.