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Top 7 Reasons to Visit Malaysia

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Top 7 Reasons to Visit Malaysia

With magnificent natural beauty and a unique cultural melting pot, Malaysia is a fascinating Southeast Asian destination. After traveling to Malaysia for many years, we’ve come across many great experiences in great food, lush jungles, scenic tea plantations and mosaic of cultures from many different ethnic groups — all in one place!

1. Temples and the Cultural Diversity

Visiting temples in Malaysia is never monotonous. The cultural diversity is reflected in the variety of religions and houses of worship here. Although Islam is the state religion, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity are practiced freely. Just as a sampler, famous places of worship include Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque) and Batu Cave Hindu shrine among limestone cliffs in Kuala Lumpur, Khoo Kongsi Temple (Chinese Hokkien Clan temple) and Kek Lok Si Temple (Buddhist) in Penang; and Christ Church in Melaka.

Mosaic of Temples in Malaysia: Batu Cave, Kek Lok Si Temple, Christ Church and Melaka Straits Mosque in Melaka

2. Fusion Food

Malaysians “live to eat” so it is not surprising that markets offer an abundance of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood. Countless vendors serve delicious dishes from mobile carts and shophouses. With recipes handed down through the generations reflecting Malaysia’s ethnic mosaic assimilating Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. Each state has its own version of a noodle soup like Assam laksa and prawn mee. Fragrant satay and rendang (meat curry) will satisfy any meat lover. Ice kacang is a vividly colored shaved ice with syrup, jellies, red beans and evaporated milk.

Gurney Drive Hawker Center, Penang

Malaysia Cuisine Sampler, courtesy of Tourism Malaysia

3. Wildlife In The Rain Forests- Including The Largest Flower In The World, The Rafflesia Arnoldii

Malaysia is one of just a handful of countries considered megadiverse with 20% of the world’s animal species in its rich ecosystems. This natural biodiversity puts it in the same league as Brazil. In fact, the Amazon rainforest is a baby at 55 million years old compared with Malaysia Peninsula’s Taman Negara, which has been around for 130 million years and is reputed to be the world’s oldest. Malaysian Borneo, located to the south-east of Peninsula Malaysia, is home to diverse and exotic flora and fauna. On a trek in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo, you could encounter orangutans, elephants and even rhinos. And the chance to see the largest flower in the world, the rare Rafflesia arnoldii (corpse flower).

Male proboscis monkeys with larger noses attract more females to their harem.

The waters around Sipadan are reputed to cover some of the best dive sites in the world, while the largest flower in the world, the rare Rafflesia arnoldii (corpse flower), can be found on Malaysian Borneo.

This largest individual flower on earth has an unpleasant odor of decaying flesh.

4. The Beaches And Islands

Malaysia is the king of the island and beach paradises. Whether it is the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park off the Malaysian Borneo coast, the laid-back yet fashionable beach hub of Langkawi, or the backpacker hangout of the Perhentian Islands. Malaysian islands are magnificent places for the sun, sand and sea.

Cenang Beach, Langkawi, Malaysia

5. Mountains and Highlands

For a cool escape from the tropical heat, a trip to the Cameron Highlands presents the opportunity for trekking through dense jungle and beside verdant tea plantations. For a thrilling challenge and somewhat spiritual experience, pack your hiking boots and climb to the summit of the tallest mountain in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu.

Thompson Falls, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

6. Handicraft and Shopping

Seek out colorful shirts, skirts or scarves made in traditional Batik by printing wax and dyes on silk or cotton fabric. Intricate floral or geometric patterns making an ideal gift for anyone who likes arts and crafts. Handcrafted pewter tableware or home décor make for beautiful trip memorabilia and gifts. Spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon sticks and more are on sale at very reasonable prices in markets or specialty shops around the country. The decoration of the traditional Malay kites is unique to each craftsman.

Making Malaysian Wau

7. Tourist Friendly

Malaysia does roll out the welcome mat to visitors from American, Canada and many countries who don’t need a visa to visit Malaysia. You will normally be given a 3 month tourist visa on arrival. Just make sure your passport valid for at least six months beyond your stay. Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states in Borneo, maintains its own immigration controls. Although also visa free, tourists receive a separate stamp for Sarawak that may be of a shorter duration.

English is widely spoken; communications rarely poses a problem in the top destinations around Malaysia.

The local currency is Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). ATMs on all the major networks are reliable and can be found throughout Malaysia. Major currencies can be exchanged in the cities and tourist destinations. Credit cards are accepted at large hotels and shopping malls.

Peranakan Mansion, Penang

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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