Malaysia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world attracting people from all over the world due to its wide array of attractions and activities. Most people like to visit Malaysiabecause of either its modern cosmopolitan city of Kuala Lumpur and its classic big-city appeal, or the immense natural beauty of its mountains, hills forests and tropical Islands. So what should you visit Malaysia for, its large diversity of scenic terrain or the loud and crazy cultural hub that is its capital city?
The Scenic Beauty of Malaysia
Malaysia is known to have some of the world’s most breathtaking views and natural reserves. These sites have unparalleled beauty, and for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors for some adventure, or likes to relax and unwind with nature, Malaysia is the place to go.
Malaysia is most known for its tropical Island getaways as these are the most advertised by the tourist industry. The best-known of these is the Langkawi Archipelago which contains 99 islands. Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Tuba are the only inhabited ones of these and are Island resorts perfect for a dream vacation of some peace and relaxation.
Another great choice are the Perhentian Islands, namely Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil located off the coast of North-Eastern Malaysia. These Islands with white sand beaches with crystal clear water and a majestic turquoise ocean are known as one of the most beautiful Islands in the world.
One of my favorite is the Tioman Island however, which is located off the coast of peninsular Malaysia and is a beautiful Island covered with dense vegetation. At times it can be overflowing with tourists, but at others it can be quite deserted, making for a nice secluded haven. The white coral reefs found here attract scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world.
Malaysia is home to various UNESCO National Parks, a lot of which are pure untouched rainforests rich with vegetation and wildlife. The Gunung Mulu National Park is one of these, and it’s unique in its famous limestone karst formations which are truly a sight to behold. It is also the location of the Mulu caves, which hold some of the largest and longest cave systems in the world. The Sarawak Chamber is the world’s largest cave chamber, and is said to have the capacity to house 40 Boeing 747 aircraft. The park is located in Malaysian Borneo in the Sarawak State.
Taman Negara is another great natural site to visit, which is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world spread across 3 states in the northern part of West Malaysia. It is a great chance for some trekking and adventure, and a chance to view some rare and exotic flora and fauna including the Malayan Tiger and Asian Elephant. You can also take jungle treks of many of its public trails and view majestic waterfalls and massive trees. The forest also houses the world’s longest canopy walkways.
These are one of Malaysia’s beautiful hill stations known for its emerald green tea plantations and various jungle walks. It has a tranquil and serene aura about it and you can take various nature trails and come across waterfalls, lakes, colorful flower farms and rolling views of lush green hills which refresh your senses. Located in the Titiwangsa Mountains, this scenic paradise has all you need for an ecological retreat, and is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and rejuvenate your mind and soul from the noise of the city and the stresses of everyday life.
Malaysia as a Modern Metropolis
Most of Malaysia’s modern tourist entertainment is centered in Kuala Lumpur. The city has grown quickly over the past century from a slow and sleepy village to the modern high rise cosmopolitan we see today. It gives a taste of big cities like New York in an Asian setting, and any tourist will not get bored easily with all the city has to offer.
The Petronas Towers are usually the first stop of any tourist. These are the tallest twin towers in the world, and one of the tallest buildings in the world. This skyscraper is a display of beautiful modern architecture, and houses an amazing mall and restaurants. Tourists can also take a trip to the top for a panoramic view of the city laid out in front of them, or walk on the sky bridge connecting the two towers.
The Kuala Lumpur Tower is another tall modern structure standing at the heart of the city and at a height of 421 m. This beautiful communications tower consists of a long shaft with stairs and an elevator topped by a round top which contains a revolving restaurant among other things. An annual race is held to determine who can reach the top first through the stairway.
Shopping and Entertainment
For shopaholics the city has various markets and large malls. The largest shopping area is Bukit Bintang, which is a long street which shops, shopping centers, restaurants and food vendors. Some of the city’s most prominent malls are located in Bukit, including Berjaya Times Square, Bukit Bintang Plaza and Imbi Plaza. Central Market is another district which has been revived as a gift emporium and an Art Deco wet market. These places not only offer some great shopping an entertainment, but give tourists a chance to experience the various cultural influences in the city through street performances and the intermingling of diverse people.
The city is also a great place to view man made, showcased nature, but in a good way. The Bird Park is one such place, which is the world’s largest walk-in aviary. It contains approx. 3000 birds of 200 species, and give you a chance to meet these feathery creature up close and personal, from peacocks to hornbill, in their natural habitat. Also worth a visit is the Aquaria KLCC underneath the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, which is an oceanarium housing 5,000 land and marine animals encompassing 250 different species.
The city is also abuzz with nightlife, and offers countless other tourists attractions, not to mention the spicy and delicious Malay food. Various mosques, temples, museums and arts and culture districts give the city its individual character and make it a complete tourist package on its own.
So what would you pick?
It is always possible to dedicate half your trip to the city and half to its tranquil natural beauty, but what any individual would plan really depends on personal preferences. I myself enjoy city life and feel it gives an authentic view of the local life in any country, but also love natural beauty and its uniqueness and serenity.
However, for a country like Malaysia, where the quality and abundance of natural scenery outweighs the modern metropolis feel, it is better to enjoy it as a ecological haven and all its unique characteristics unmatched elsewhere, for you can find a big city in most countries in the world, but where will you find the world’s largest cave or limestone karst formations?