Malaysia is a country of remarkable beauty with far more than five sights that you’ll find amazing. This is a listing of some of the top places to visit and should provide an idea of what you can expect when visiting the country.
These two islands are both beautiful and fun, with activities to suit all kinds of travellers. Visits need to be scheduled outside of monsoon season, usually from June until late October. Other times of the year the waves are choppy and dangerous.
Perhentian Kecil is smaller and is the perfect spot to spend the day snorkeling around the coral reefs that surround the islands. Look for reef sharks and sea turtles as you tally up the number of tropical fish surrounding you.
Perhentian Besar is larger and better able to accommodate families. Both islands are only reachable by boat and transportation is mainly limited to walking. Fortunately walking is what you want to do here – the beaches are brilliant white sand flanked on one side by the deep blue ocean and on the other by lush, green forest. Trails take you to most places around the islands, or water taxis can take visitors from beach to beach, or across to the next island.
Malaysia’s oldest national park sits in the Titiwangsa Mountains and has been around since 1938. It’s also the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, dating back more than 130 million years. Several rare mammals live in the rainforest and there are some amazing geological features to be seen.
Gunung Tahan (Mount Tahan) is the highest point on the peninsula and can be ascended via three very difficult trails – and highly scenic – trails. A trek takes about seven days and includes traversing ridges, crossing rivers and a hard climb at the end.
A walkway has been constructed very high up in the trees to let visitors see a part of the jungle that is hidden from the ground. Crab-eating macaques and brightly colored birds use the canopy of the trees as their home and can only been seen from specially made constructs. Serious wildlife spotters can hire a local guide to help them identify even more creatures living in high the trees.
To see even more forest residents, hire a hide for a night and watch what comes out when the sun goes down. Night safaris are another option that take only an hour and don’t require a night in a jungle...alone...with all those noises...
This is a huge hill station developed by European colonial rulers as a place to escape the heat of the plains. Not only is it a great place for modern visitors to enjoy cooler weather, the tea estates are a remarkable sea of green that seems to wash over the rolling hills and fascinating to see.
Cameron’s retreat is the size of Singapore and despite all the fields cleared for farming, most of the region is still jungle. Trails lead through dense forest to hidden waterfalls, scenic views and aboriginal villages. This is also a sanctuary for the Orang Asli although many have left the villages to work in the towns.
The hills are also a mix of cultures and ethnicities with four languages commonly spoken and six main religions. Most of the residents work at farming and tourist operations including museums, golf courses and hotels. .
The island of the eagles is one of the most touristed islands in Southeast Asia and yet still retains its raw beauty. This is in part due to being a UNESCO World Geopark and promoting ecotourism to visitors. It’s only one of the 104 islands that make up an archipelago officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah of which only two are inhabited.
In addition to being a geologist’s playground, Langkawi has a wide variety of habitats including caves, tidal flats, coral reefs and mangrove forests. Fifty species of mangrove have been recorded here, representing 48% of all mangrove species. These habitats protect more than hundred different species including the crab-eating monkey.
One of the best ways to explore the island is by hiring a motorbike. Visit the more distant beaches to have a more private snorkeling experience and enjoy the jungle without being on a time schedule. Tours offer a faster way to see the highlights but not all are as ecofriendly as they could be. Do some research before deciding who to hand your money to and do your part to continue protecting this unique environment.