Two countries for the price of one, that’s what the visitor gets out of Malaysia. Rainforests and reefs, minarets and mountains, sampans and skyscrapers – all this in a land cleaved in two by the immense South China Sea. Indeed, Malaysia more than lives up to its official tourist slogan “Truly Asia”.
One of the greatest cultural melting pots in the world, Malaysia is also a rare example of different races living in almost perfect harmony, with Hindu temples, Chinese joss-houses and gold-domed Islamic mosques all jostling for space in its cities, amongst the towering skyscrapers, futuristic malls and bustling markets. Outside of the major urban areas, Malaysia throws up untamed nature in the form of lush green jungles dripping with exotic and rare wildlife, and coral reefs that teem with turtles, multi-colored fish and sharks.
The Malay Peninsula is where most visitors start out, and the capital Kuala Lumpur is often the first port of call. A lively city of colonial buildings and glittering skyscrapers, with a cityscape dominated by the immense Petronas Towers, KL is enjoying a growing reputation among travelers for its awesome sights.
For the best examples of Malaysia’s Islamic heritage, the Blue Mosque in Selangor is hard to beat, while Johor Bahru is the height of modernity, standing opposite the city-state of Singapore.
Outside the cities there is much to offer the traveler. For those looking to cool off from the oppressive tropical heat, the Cameron Highlands and its famous tea plantations offer a welcome respite. Then there’s the incredible forest trails of Taman Negara, a rainforest that is said to be more than 130 million years old.
For beach lovers, Malaysia has so many inspiring choices. See leatherback turtles on their annual pilgrimage to lay eggs at Rantau Abang, or explore the best of Malaysia’s coral reefs at Sipadan Island, off the coast of Sabah. For something altogether more relaxing, it’s hard to beat Pangkor Laut with lavish spa resorts and golden beaches.
A land of incredible diversity, with pockets of religions, landscapes and ethnicities spread across hundreds of miles of land and sea, the beauty of Malaysia isn’t just in its sights, but also its perfect fusion. Warm, welcoming and irresistibly charming, Malaysia is a true highlight of Southeast Asia.
Main attractions: Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang, Langkawi, Cameron Highlands, Selangor, Taman Negara, Rantau Abang, Sipadan Island, Ipoh, George Town, Kuching, Malacca, Miri
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
Budget for one week: €500
Taxes and gratuity: Tipping is recommended
Official language: Malaysian (English is widely spoken)
Area: 127,355 sq mi
- Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
- Primary Socket Type: British BS-1363
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter
- 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
- Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter