Malaysia is one of our favorite destinations and one of the most complete we have ever visited! This country, the logistical heart of Southeast Asia, is perfect for any type of traveler: in Malaysia, among other things, you can enjoy beautiful islands, trekking in the jungle itself, visit a modern and avant-garde capital, immerse yourself in a cultural mix incredibly curious and fall in love with an immense and delicious gastronomy.
What to see in Malaysia?
Malaysia is made up of two very distinct parts: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. In this article, we will recommend visiting places in both areas… Follow the 10 tips for traveling to Malaysia
Traveling in Malaysia is safe, easy and cheap. There is a wide network of buses and trains, and here is the hub of AirAsia, the cheapest (and good) low-cost company in Asia.
You do not need to apply for a visa to enter Malaysia: on arrival, you will stamp your passport with a free 3-month visa (at least for Spaniards and Italians). For South Americans, it will depend on the country. You can check it on this map.
We recommend traveling to Malaysia (and in general to Asia) with travel insurance with health care. We never had problems of any kind but we do know people who got sick and had to be hospitalized. Take a look before leaving your house.
Malaysia is a melting pot of very different cultures and traditions: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, and Christians all live under the same sky. It will be like traveling through different parts of the world without crossing borders!
And as difficult as it may seem, they coexist in authentic peace and harmony. Malaysia is a safe country to which we recommend you to arrive with an open mind and a smile stamped on your face … people are among the most hospitable we have ever met (even when I traveled alone )!
We recommend a minimum of 15 days to visit Malaysia if you have less time you should rethink your wishlist and start the strikethrough process.
Now, let’s tell you What to see in Malaysia.
Knowing Kuala Lumpur
There are travelers who do not finish finding the point, although for us the capital of Malaysia seems to us one of the most complete of all the Southeast Asia: in the same day you can have breakfast in an Indian market, take a selfie in front of the Petronas towers ( and climb them , of course!), get lost in a tropical jungle and visit a mosque or a Chinese temple. We personally love it! Together with Bangkok and Tokyo is our favorite city in all of Asia, so we recommend you to spend here 2 or 3 days.
Search for street art in Georgetown
Georgetown (Penang) is the perfect place for lovers of urban art: its streets are full of murals, iron sculptures and street art that mix graffiti and everyday objects such as bikes, motorcycles or swings. Come on, a city of the most original, which has managed to transform art into its main attraction and identity.
Explore the Taman Negara
The Taman Negara National Park is one of the oldest jungles in the entire planet : with its 130 million years it does not have much competition! The most typical thing here is to hire a trek, one or several days, and thoroughly explore your ecosystem. These excursions usually include boat trips on the river to get into the jungle, hiking by hanging bridges (canopy), night in one of the shelters strategically placed to observe nocturnal animals, etc. Although if you are an adventurer there are options to visit this jungle for free, but think twice, could happen to you as Ruben and Lucy who had to spend 11 hours on a tree . (Do not miss his story, it has no waste!)
Climb Mount Kinabalu
Reaching the top of the highest point in all of Southeast Asia is a must on a trip to Malaysia. From its top, you can see one of those dawns that are never forgotten. Nor will it be easy to forget the shoelaces of the following days. The problem is not only in your physical condition, climbing Mount Kinabalu costs a lot: calculates about 500-600 ringgit, the change about 125-150 dollars for the package of accommodation, entrance to the park, permission to climb and guide. Using this fact as an excuse many travelers are left with the desire to ascend to the sky of Southeast Asia. However, if you are passionate about the mountain and do not mind disbursing this money … we highly recommend it.
Taste gastronomic specialties
From the famous satay (skewers of grilled meat bathed in peanut sauce) to the most exotic dishes like the hokkien mee (noodles prepared with soy sauce, meat, cabbage and pork rind) and the delicious rotis … mmm food of Malaysia is spectacular, the secret is that the 3 main ethnic groups (Malays, Chinese, and Indians) have been able to create unique and delicious flavors.
Know the orangutans in Borneo
Borneo is one of the best areas in the world to get to know more about the orangutants and their surroundings. These beautiful animals, in danger of extinction, are in a situation of constant danger due to the massive felling of forests in favor of palm plantations (to obtain palm oil). Luckily, not all is bad news and on a trip to Borneo you can visit several orangutan recovery centers, which do an excellent job. We introduce you to two of them: Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and Semenggoh Wildlife Center. Here, the injured orangutans, disoriented and sick, find a new home where they can recover and gradually reintegrate into the wildlife.
More info: Carme and Tony are an example of responsible tourism, take a tour of their blog and learn more about these two centers.
Jump from the beach to beach
If there is something that is not lacking in Malaysia, there are beaches, and what beaches! They are dreamy ones lapped by turquoise waters where you can chat for hours and hours and put on your snorkel goggles and go in search of thousands of colorful fish. Our favorite islands are on the east coast: Perenthian, Redang, and Tioman (we have a lot of desire for Pulau Kapas, an island near Redang which we have spoken very very well).
We cannot forget the part of Borneo, which has some of the best diving destinations in the world such as Sipadan, Mabul, and Kapalai.
Go into the Batu Caves
The Batu Caves, a short distance from Kuala Lumpur, are one of the most emblematic and culturally interesting corners of Malaysia. It is a complex of natural caves and Hindu temples that receive more than 1 million pilgrims each year. We will receive a 42-meter-high statue of the Hindu god Muruguan, son of Shiva and Parvati, to which the main cave is dedicated. To access it we will first have to climb the 272 steps carved on the side of the rock. But calm that you will be more aware that monkeys do not steal ice cream from dying of suffocation.
Stroll through the tea fields
The highlands of Malaysia (Cameron Highlands) are the perfect place to take a few days of total disconnection. Here, among tea plantations, fresh air, and trails, you can discover the greenest side of Malaysia.
Know the colonial past in Melaka
Melaka was one of the most important ports in Asia thanks to its strategic location in the Strait of Malacca (between Malaysia and Indonesia). Through it transited Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Europeans, and was a Portuguese, Dutch and British colony. From this colonial past is a very striking architectural trail: walking through Melaka is like transporting yourself to a different place, far from Malaysia. Another reason to get close to Melaka is to visit its famous weekend flea market, where you will end up buying a souvenir (and you may also end up on a stage singing karaoke!).
So far our recommendations. We hope that you have enjoyed the 10 places to see and do in Malaysia and especially that you are encouraged to travel to this beautiful country. You might also read: http://www.speakymagazine.com/where-to-stay-in-san-francisco/