Amoung all the touristy southeast Asian countries, Malaysia might not be as popular as Thailand, Singapore or the Philippines. But it has always been a decent runner-up. In 2019, the number of tourists visiting Malaysia was around 25 million. This number has not been reached since then. Finally, 2023 has the potential turn the tables …
Malaysia is known for its beautiful beaches on its eastern side, for very old but shrinking rainforests, and for extremely delicious food. The country is made up of two main regions: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. In this article, we will explore the top tourist sites in Malaysia and why they are worth visiting.
Petronas Twin Towers in Malysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur | These iconic skyscrapers were once the tallest buildings in the world and are a must-see for any big-city-fan. Visitors can take a tour to the Skybridge, which connects the two towers and offers breathtaking views of the city. But hold your horses! There is a serious competitor growing nearby. After completion in early 2023, Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka 118 is now the second highest building in the world. A 118-storey, 678.9 m mega tall skyscraper with a VIP Lounges on its top floor. Fun fact: ‘Merdeka 118‘ was designed to resemble Tunku Abdul Rahman’s stature as he proclaimed Malaysian independence on August 31, 1957. On this day, he chanted “Merdeka!” seven times.
Batu Caves | We still stick to KL. The Batu Caves can be reached by KTM from Kuala Lumpur’s Central Station. These limestone caves are located just outside of the capital. They are home to several Hindu shrines. The main attraction is a 43 m high golden statue of Lord Murugan, which is the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in the world. The caves are also home to a large colony of long-tailed macaques, which are always a hit with visitors. In case you plan a visit: bring some bananas or some nuts. The monkeys will love it!
Langkawi Island | This island is located in the Andaman Sea. It can’t compete with Phuket or Krabi in neighboring Thailand. But if crossing the border is no option, Langkawi might do the job. The water is not crystal-clear waters but ok-ish. There are some sandy beaches, and luxury resorts. Visitors can take a cable car ride to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang, which offers spectacular views of the island. But this cable car is in high demand. You may try the early-bird-approach. Otherwise you will spend hours and hours in annoying queues.
Kinabalu Park | This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. Visitors can hike to the summit, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding rainforest. But you will need to prebook your trip. There is no self-organized easy way up. Kinabalu Park is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.
Bako National Park | This national park is located on the Sarawak coast and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, and lizards. Visitors can take a boat tour along the coast to see the wildlife, or hike through the jungle to explore the park’s natural beauty.
Perhentian Islands | They are located off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The smaller island is Perhentian Kecil and the bigger one is Perhentian Besar. They offer some of the best snorkeling and diving in the country. It is a reasonable destination for travelers looking to relax on the beach and escape the hustle and bustle of KL, Ipoh, Johor Bahru or Penang.
Malaysia truly Asia
In 2016, the Board of Tourism stated in their Malaysia-truly-Asia campaign: ‘We are also trying to focus on niche tourism products such as sports – including motoring, golfing – on bird watching, medical tourism and shopping.’ Shopping brings Malaysia the highest revenue share at 30 per cent of total tourism revenue. Still, shopping in Thailand will for sure be cheaper.
So there you have it. In conclusion we can say that Malaysia is a country that offers kind of something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking to relax. You’re sure to find something that suits your interests. So, pack your bags and head to Malaysia-truly-Asia :)