If you're looking for a Southeast Asian destination with delicious cuisine, a fascinating history, and beautiful beaches - but also want to avoid the tourist crowds that Thailand or Bali can bring - consider a holiday to Malaysia. From the beaches to the bustling cities, we've rounded up the best places to go in Malaysia.
Where to Go in Malaysia
The capital city of Malaysia is packed with things to see and do, although your first stop will probably be the imposing Petronas Towers that loom over the city. There's enough here to keep you occupied for a few days, including a day trip to the stunning Batu Caves, so base yourself in a Kuala Lumpur hotel and start exploring.
If you're looking for paradise, you'll find it on the Perhentian Islands! Think long stretches of white sand, sparkling turquoise water, and a soft breeze rustling the palm trees overhead. Be warned: a few days here is not enough, as any beach bum could happily spend a week or two lazing about these laid-back islands.
The charming city of Malacca exudes culture and history, not to mention the fantastic cuisine and intriguing architecture. A blend of many cultures - from Dutch and Portuguese colonialism to Chinese influences - means that Malacca has a culture and style all its own. Spend a few days here to soak up the sights, including Jonker Street, the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum, and a river cruise.
Head to Malaysian Borneo for a different take on the country. This chilled out little city on the coast is the perfect start to an adventure on Borneo, including heading into the rainforest for wildlife spotting or climbing Mount Kinabalu. Also make sure to check out some of the lively markets in the city, including the Night Market and the Gaya Street Sunday Market.
Langkawi refers to an archipelago of 99 islands off the coast of northwestern Malaysia. There are excellent beaches here, and adrenaline-junkies can find plenty of water sports to keep them happy, including waterskiing, jetskiing, and snorkelling. There are also many tours you can take of the islands to learn more about the flora and fauna of Malaysia... or you can just relax on the beach with a good book. Either way, you'll be happy to spend a chunk of your holiday time in Langkawi.
One of Malaysian Borneo's top draws is that you have the chance to see orangutans in the wild. Highly endangered, these gentle creatures rely on help from conservationists who attempt to protect their homes in the jungle. If you're lucky enough, you may be able to spot orangutans for yourself in the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Stay for a few days and book a tour with an authorised company in order to observe these beautiful animals from a safe and respectful distance.
The Cameron Highlands
If you're not a beach person, or if you just want a break from the city life, head to the stunning Cameron Highlands. These verdant lands are known for their tea plantations and wonderful hiking options. While the area has certainly become more popular with tourists over the past few decades, there's still a chance to find some peace and quiet here. Our tip? Avoid the weekends, and aim to visit during the week. If you hike on one of the trails, always make sure to stick to the path and never pick any of the flowers or other plants nearby; together we can make sure that many people can enjoy this beautiful part of Malaysia for years to come!
Pulau Tioman, or Tioman Island, is renowned for its natural beauty. The entire island is actually a nature reserve surrounded by stunning beaches, and it's one of the top places for scuba diving in Malaysia. Head here for a chance to see some of the world's most beautiful coral and underwater life, and on land, try to spot some of the many monkeys, butterflies, and reptiles that call this island home. With plenty of relaxing hotels on Pulau Tioman to stay in, you're sure to want to extend your holiday.
The bustling city of George Town, found in the state of Penang, makes for a terrific addition to your Malaysian holiday. To learn more about George Town and its colourful past, head to some of the excellent museums in town, including the Colonial Penang Museum, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, and the Sun Yat Sen Museum. And with such a mix of cultures and cuisines, including both Chinese and Indian food, you know you'll eat well in George Town! Make sure to visit some of the local street food markets and vendors to sample the very best in traditional dishes.
What are you waiting for? Book your holiday to Malaysia today!