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Discover the Best Destinations in Malaysia

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Discover the Best Destinations in Malaysia

The peninsula of Malaysia was a major stop on the ancient spice route, attracting traders and explorers from east and west. Malaysia has absorbed influences of the indigenous Malays, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British traders to create a rich culture and culinary heritage. The current population consists of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous people all in one place. Breakfast in the UNESCO listed world heritage city of Georgetown, lunch in Kuala Lumpur and sleep in the Borneo rainforest by nightfall?

East and West Malaysia

Malaysia as a nation is split between two places. “Peninsular Malaysia” is also referred to as “West Malaysia” and includes the capital Kuala Lumpur, other places on the mainland, and the islands in the area.

“East Malaysia” refers to the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah along with the federal territory of Labuan located on Borneo, the third largest island in the world. This part of Malaysia is commonly referred to as “Malaysian Borneo.”

The top places to visit in Malaysia from multiculturalism to natural wonders:

1. Kuala Lumpur

Less than two centuries ago, tin miners were still hacking the tropical jungle in what eventually became Kuala Lumpur which has evolved into a modern metropolis. Its quirky charm lies in a contrast of historic temples, mosques and colonial buildings, mammoth shopping malls and soaring skyscrapers. There is no better place to start your discovery of Malaysia than from this capital city.

The tropical weather is pretty hot and humid throughout the year. However afternoon rain showers moderate the heat quickly. July is the driest month.

Kuala Lumpur Skyline

2. Penang

The city in Penang island is also known as Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts a unique mosaic of cultures. This former British Crown colony offers visitors a heady combination of world-class street food, colorful colonial architecture, multicultural temples and street art. Seaside resorts abound and the funicular railway up to Penang Hill offers panoramic view of the island. The best time to visit Penang is between the months of December and March. September and October are by far the wettest months in Penang.

Yap Kongsi Temple, a clan association of Hokkien Chinese in Penang

Penang Street Food

3. Borneo

Malaysia shares the world’s third largest island with Indonesia and Brunei. Malaysian Borneo consists of the states of Sarawak and Sabah. On Borneo, you’ll find a nature-lover’s dream with wild orangutans, sun bears and wildlife in the rainforest. Explore this ecosystem by jungle trekking and river cruise. It is also well known for activities such as island hopping and many water sports from diving, snorkeling to island hiking. You’ll find the freshest seafood everywhere you travel. June to August are the best time to visit Sarawak, where the wettest months are December to February. However, February and March are drier for Sabah.

Tarsier with its giant eyes

White Water Rafting, Borneo Malaysia

4. The West Malaysian Islands

Langkawi Island and Tioman Island are very popular islands for tourists, as are the two Perhentian Islands; each has their own distinct personality and plenty of perfect beaches. Langkawi offers idyllic resorts and spas as soothing retreats. Its Sky Bridge is the longest free span and curved bridge in the world and comes with magnificent views. The best time to visit Langkawi is during the dry months of December to February. The diving in the Perhentian Islands is inexpensive and excellent.

Sunrise on the Beach

5. Cameron Highlands

The largest hill station in Malaysia, named for the British surveyor William Cameron. Dotted with lush tea plantations and farms the region is renowned for its flowers and fresh produce. With temperatures rarely exceeding 72F (22C), the highland is a green, peaceful escape with great trekking through tea plantations and Tudor-themed architecture. At 6,663 ft, a light jacket will be wise!

Bharat Tea Plantation in Cameron Highlands

6. Malacca

With its colorful, colonial history, this small UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malacca (also known as Melaka) is a popular tourist destination. Its past rulers include the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. The cultural fusion can be seen in the local food and architecture of Portuguese Eurasians and Baba-Nyonya (descendants of Chinese merchants and local Malay women).

Malacca old town by the Malacca River.

Recommended Journeys To Malaysia

Need help planning your next vacation? Save time by choosing one of our curated tours and embark on a magical journey with your own private tour guide and driver. Our tours are fully customizable at no charge to you.

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi
10 Days from $3,190 per person
See the best of Malaysia from all corners; from historical heritage cities, lush highland, bustling capital Kuala Lumpur to its’ Langkawi island paradise.
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Borneo Wildlife
7 Days from $4,300 per person
An amazing family adventure for young and old. See wildlife on rain forest treks and river cruises. Island hopping in the South China Sea.
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