From the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur to impenetrable jungles of Borneo, from world class shopping to amazing scuba diving, Malaysia has been a popular destination for a wide range of travellers, from adventurers to high society shoppers. With approximately 7 million visitors a year, Malaysia is the 9th most visited destination in the world, and as their slogan says, Malaysia is truly Asia. Get your passport ready, make sure you have up-to-date travel insurance for Malaysia, and come visit this astounding location.
Peninsular Malaysia is usually referred to as the west coast, and is where you’ll find the nation's capital, Kuala Lumpur. The city is a joy to explore, just wander around at your leisure, that way you get to see out of the way places, tiny shops, and discover some excellent places to eat.
A must see in Kuala Lumpur are definitely the world-famous Petronas Towers, which have featured in more than one Hollywood blockbuster.
If you’re into architecture you’ll find an interesting mix between old, colonial style buildings, hyper modern architecture, and everything in between.
Make sure to also have a look at the small busy streets of Chinatown while you’re in the area. The street food in this area is very good, just make sure to have Malaysia travel insurance and choose busy food vendors!
The city is also home to some excellent museums dealing with Malay history and Arabic art. Head to the National Museum located in the city center to learn about Malaysia's rich history, or visit the amazing collection of the Islamic Arts Museum. Theatres are also gaining in popularity, and if you have the time, the National Theatre has some good performances. However, most travellers really come here to shop! With more than 66 shopping malls scattered all over town, there truly is a mall for everything, whether fashion, electronics, or jewelry.
In the north of the peninsula lies the charming island of Penang with its capital George Town. This island does offer beaches, but is really famous for its stunning cultural heritage and food.
George Town is probably one of the top tourist destinations in the country, and offers a spectacular mix of European, Chinese, Indian and Malay influences that can be seen on every street corner. The whole city forms part of one UNESCO World Heritage Site and is well worth the trip. For the best views, go up Penang Hill, especially around evening time when the lights come on
The Tropical Spice Garden is another fantastic place to visit. Not only are there beautifully landscaped gardens, the site also boasts a tropical plant collection from all over the world, as well as over 100 varieties of herb plants and tropical spices. The colors and smells in this place are intense, but definitely worth exploring. There’s also a nice Tropical Fruit Farm close by where you can pick some of the produce.
Penang is also home to many different festivals. Chinese New Year is celebrated here, as are the Hindu festival of Thaipusam and the Buddhist festival of Wesak. The most spectacular to see though is the famous Penang Dragon Boat Festival, which usually happens in June. Teams from all over the world come to compete in this race, making for a stunning site and great party.
The east coast of the Peninsula is generally less busy in tourism terms. Here you’ll find amazing unspoilt beaches, beautiful islands, and some of the world's best scuba diving.
Redang Island is famous as a destination for divers, and if you have a couple of days it’s well worth it to come here and do a full certification course.
You’ll also find the famous Jungle Railway in this area, which is a scenic railway through the hinterlands of Malaysia.
Malaysia is a safe place for travelling around, however, as a general precaution take out a travel insurance policy for peace of mind. Also, avoid any demonstrations, and be aware that drug offences here lead to hefty prison or death sentences.
With wonderful food, great attractions, fabulous shopping and access to some of the most pristine islands on the planet, Malaysia is a tourism destination of note in Southeast Asia, and one everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
For more information on Malaysia, visit the Malaysia Tourism Website.