Top 5 best cities to visit in Malaysia
Malaysia lies at the very end of Southeast Asia and is composed of two non-contiguous regions: Peninsular Malaysia or West Malaysia; the British colonial stronghold that’s now buzzing with electric Kuala Lumpur and multicultural UNESCO towns in Penang and Malay Peninsula or East Malaysia; Island of Borneo where orangutans swing in the 130-million-year old jungle, ancient volcanic domes loom overhead, beaches full of turtles, and rustic fishing towns spill into the South China Sea.
The crowning jewel of the country is its diverse culture and traditions that are a result of the amalgam of multitudes of Asian ethnicities who have settled in the country. Malaysia has a lot to offer from its beautiful coral reefs to its excellent infrastructure that makes getting around easy here are the top 5 destinations when visiting Malaysia.
1. Kuala Lumpur
A multicultural metropolis filled with culinary exploits from frying Chinese chow mien, sizzling Portuguese fish barbecues to Indian curry kitchens. Have fun in the energy throbbing entertainment region of Bukit Bintang, shop in the many markets and spicy hawker bazaars down Petaling Street, explore the mysterious 400-million-year-old Batu caves and admire the famous two great spires of Petronas Towers in the city center.
Officially known as the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur abbreviated as KL is the national capital of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur means “muddy confluence” in Malay as the city is located at the confluence of the Klang River and the Gombak River. It is prone to flood during heavy rains. The biggest city in Malaysia dates back to 1857. The city was founded out of necessity by Chinese tin miners as a mining town.
Dubbed “The Historic State” Malacca radiates with history and culture hence its slogan, “Visiting Malacca Means Visiting Malaysia”. The city is full of maritime museums, that were built to preserve the many historic places and buildings, that assist in unraveling the regions and country’s past. There are also night markets along Jonker Walk in Chinatown and Puteri Beach in Tanjung Kling. Malacca has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 7th July 2008.
Located in the southern region of Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca. Originally the city was a fishing village of the Orang Laut people. Iskandar Shah founded the city around 1403 as it was a good port that was accessible in all seasons.15th-century Malacca Sultanate is widely considered to be the ‘Golden Age’ for Malay culture. The city faced colonial rule by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and then the British and this is well illustrated on its architecture, traditions and customs.
Penang is located in the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Malacca Straits. It consists of two part: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula. Connecting the two is Malaysia’s two longest road bridges, the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge. The big island was named after the pinang tree, looks like a palm tree. Around the 1970s Penang’s economy was directed towards hi-tech manufacturing as a result today it is commonly referred to as the Silicon Valley of the East.
George Town is an open museum with a wide selection of British buildings, churches and Fort Cornwallis. Stroll along the streets where numerous artists have left their marks in form of murals, partake in sampling the diverse street food comprising local Malay, Chinese and Indian eateries and sunbath at the sea front. Now you can understand why Georgetown was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. The Perhentian Islands, Terengganu
The small archipelago called the Perhentians is home to the most beautiful palm-fringed white coral sand beaches stretching around sparsely populated areas with turquoise crystal clear shallow water lapping against the shore. The calm Blue sea is great for scuba diving, snorkeling, banana boat riding, fishing of cuttlefish and parrotfish, and canoeing. There are dense jungles where you can explore the regions tropical flora and untamed rare fauna.
Perhentians islands are located in the South China Sea off the coast of Terengganu. The name Perhentian means “Stopping point” in Malay referring to the islands’ traditional role as a waypoint for trades between Bangkok and Malaysia. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. The smaller uninhabited islands in the archipelago are Susu Dara, Serengeh, Tokong, Burung and Rawa islands.
5. Danum Valley, Sabah
Get a chance to see nature at its finest in this non-human settlement jungle located deep inside the 130 million-year-old lowland dipterocarp forest. It is the only place where mysterious spectacled flowerpecker has been recorded, rare Bornean pygmy elephant have been seen, at least 61 species of land snails have been recorded and many more animal species unique to the region. The forest is predominated by the greatest diversity of dipterocarpus tree species. In 2019 the world’s tallest tropical tree was discovered in the valley.
Danum Valley is a 438 km2 conservation area meaning there is no human settlement, hunting, logging or any other form of destructive human interference. The valley is bowl-shaped with a maximum land height of 1093 m. It was established in 1980 and is managed by Yayasan Sabah for conservation, research, education, and habitat restoration training purposes.