Malaysia is located in the Malay Peninsula and stretches to parts of Borneo where it shares a border with neighboring Indonesia, and as such visitors should not be confused by the terms Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, which comprises Sarawak and Sabah (also known as Malaysian Borneo).
With a total landmass of over 300,000 square kilometers, Malaysia is known for its capital city of Kuala Lumpur, a powerhouse financial and business hub in South East Asia, as well as its beautiful beaches, secluded islands, elevated hill stations, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There is also a strong commitment to diversity here, and as well as Malays and indigenous groups, there is also a sizeable Chinese and Indian population in Malaysia which is reflected in the architecture and cultural relics found in country. Visitors here can choose from a wide variety of activities from hiking, to diving, to shopping or sampling the local food. Here’s our list of the best things to do in Malaysia.
1. Visit the PETRONAS Towers in Kuala Lumpur
One of the most iconic sights in the world, the PETRONAS Towers, also known as the PETRONAS Twin Towers due to the fact that they come in a pair, are located in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and are the tallest twin towers in the world. The architecture is postmodern in style and also features motifs found in Islamic art to represent the Muslim majority in Malaysia. The main attraction is the sky walk over the sky bridge that joins them together and visitors can admire the views that stretch across Kuala Lumpur and KLCC Park at the base of the towers.
2. Sunbathe on Langkawi
If you fancy getting out of the city then head to Langkawi Island, actually an archipelago of over a hundred islands in the Andaman Sea, only two of which are inhabited and of which Langkawi is the largest with a population of over 60,000 inhabitants. Langkawi Island is popular with both backpackers and honeymooners alike and has something to suit all budgets. The island is also has duty-free status so visitors can stock up on souvenir items cheaply.
3. Sample some local flavor with Nasi Kandar
Nasi Kandar is a staple food in Malaysia and actually means ‘mixed rice’, as customers are given a plate with rice over which they can choose a variety of toppings and sauces. Nasi Kandar is based on Tamil dishes due to the high number of South Indian immigrants and the flavors reflect this with an emphasis on curry powder and chili. Common Nasi Kandar dishes include chicken, fish, or seafood such as prawns or squid in curry sauce as well as vegetables like okra and cabbage cooked in mustard seeds.
4. Get out of town at Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is actually a collection of five islands that are found off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia. The park is accessible by ferry and some of the islands such as Sulug Island are almost untouched, while others such as Gaya Island are busier and more crowded. Common pursuits on the islands include hiking and trekking, as well as swimming and scuba diving opportunities.
5. Enjoy the culture in Malacca
Malacca or Melaka is also known as ‘The Historic State’ and lies next to the Malacca Strait from which it gets its name. The state is said to have the most interesting architecture in all of Malaysia as it was formerly colonized by the Portuguese and features a number of red lacquer buildings from the period such as Christ Church. Malacca also has a high concentration of museums, galleries, and places of historic interest for visitors to explore.
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