Malaysia is an incredible country with diverse culture, great food and immense beauty. From thick jungles to white sand beaches Malaysia has some of the best SouthEast Asia can offer without being overrun with tourists. It is a great destination for any traveler that wants to get a little off the beaten path in Asia while still traveling on a tight budget.
Top Things To See and Do
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and an incredible mix of urban, colonial and Malaysian culture. You can see little pieces of each era of Malaysian history in the architecture, food and culture. One of the main attractions are the Petronas Towers which are a testament to the modern side of the city. My personal favorite attraction were the Batu Caves; a Hindu temple located inside of a cave. Finally, don’t miss the Islamic Arts Museum which is one of the best collections of Islamic architecture, textiles and art. The collection is very different from the typical western art museum and definitely worth checking out.
Other places worth checking out include the National Mosque
Cameroon Highlands were used by the British gentry for tea plantations and as an escape from the hot and humid climate in the rest of Malaysia. You can catch a bus from Kuala Lampur TBS to the Highlands for around USD $4 and be up in the highlands in 5 hours. There are two main towns where tourists can stay, Tanah Rata or Brinchang. There are many resort and guesthouses in both towns for travelers of all budgets. Most accommodations will also connect travelers with tours that will take you to visit tea plantations, the Mossy Forest and one of the many strawberry farms in the area. You can also check out some hiking trails and beautiful temples while you are in the area. Trail 4 to Parit Falls is one of the easier routes and starts in Tanah Rata close to the bus station.
Georgetown, the capitol of Penang became a Unesco World Heritage site in 2008 and ever since then tourism there has really taken off. This gorgeous colonial city is the perfect blend of colonial, Malaysian and Chinese cultures with its own unique charm. Take a tour of the Blue Mansion to learn more about some of the incredible restored buildings in the area. Visit the Penang National Park for hiking and beautiful beaches. Although the park is a little far out of the city it is accessible with a pretty cheap bus ticket. You can also take a stroll down Chew Jetty which has homes on stilts were the Chew Clan has lived for more than a century. Although the Jetty is now mostly a tourist attractions with souvenir shops, residents still live here and its still fascinating to see this different lifestyle. Finally, don’t forget to check out some of the unique street art that gives Georgetown its own unique charm.
Langkawi is a beautiful island with crystal blue waters and white sands. You can get to the island by plane, bus or ferry. But beware taking a ferry during the storms or monsoon season as the seas can get very rough.
The island has stunning waterfalls, great beaches and fascinating mangrove forests with more Eagles than I have ever seen! If you plan to spend a lot of time at the beach it may be worth staying at one of the many resorts on the island that have their own private beaches as the public beaches are often lower quality and very crowded. Other attractions worth checking out while you’re on the island include the Langkawi Sky Bridge, Seven Wells Waterfall, and take a Mangrove nature tour. However when finding a tour company make sure you select an ethical company as many of them over feed the eagles in order to attract them to their boats for tourists.
Other popular places to visit include Malaca, Borneo and the Perhentian Islands. If you plan to go snorkeling while you are in Malaysia make to go out of Monsoon season as the Eastern coast closes down during Monsoon season.