Malaysia is the second most visited tourist place in South East Asia, the first being Singapore. In spite of bigger nations in this part of Asia such as the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, Malaysia attracts more number of visitors than the heavyweights mentioned above because Malaysia is a very tourist-friendly nation and the number of attractions is more than 20 which is very high considering the small size of it. Another advantage Malaysia has as an excellent holiday destination is its ultra-modern capital Kuala Lumpur, English friendly people, diverse but easy to embrace culture that is inclined more towards Western Countries than Asian.
Let us explore Malaysia’s top 10 tourist attractions.
Kek Lok Si Temple
Malaysia is home to various ethnic groups that include Malays, Chinese, and Indians. There are several temples in Malaysia satisfying every religion.
Buddhism is widely followed in Malaysia. The Kek Lok Si temple is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia that is more than 125 years old. This Buddhist temple attracts thousands of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Tibet, China, and Singapore. It is located on Penang Island and built facing the sea. The view of the sea is said to be impressive.
Gunung Gading National Park
Can you visualize a flower that measures 3 feet in diameter? Three feet in diameter, buddy, is BIG! Such a big flower can be seen in Gunung Gading National Park, many times a year. You need not ask anyone in the park about where you can find the Rafflesia (that’s the name of that huge flower). Its bad smell will disclose its location. The park is beautifully landscaped with forest, mountain, and waterfalls.
What a beautiful setting for an Indian God ’Murugan’! The statue of the God is made of gold. This is a very popular tourist destination in Malaysia, near Kuala Lumpur. The climb up to the statue is quite steep and you require some effort to go through 270 steps to reach up.
This Hindu temple is located in a hilly backdrop amidst the Batu Caves. The hill is densely covered by vegetation.
You might have seen the twin Petronas towers often in the films. It is a distinct landmark in the center of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The view of Malaysia is spectacular from this 88 story twin towers where there is quite a lot of shopping to do. In the evening, when the lights are on, it is worth seeing the fountain in the park. In addition, you can visit an aquarium near the twin towers. Hundreds of people walk around the Petronas Twin Towers during the night, enjoying the brilliantly lit surroundings, taking pictures and videos.
Similar to Little India in Singapore, here is one in Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia, near the Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station. It is frequented mostly by the Indians who are hungry for Indian cuisine.
The shopping area is full of Indian goods, chocolates and Indian home needs. It’s called as Brickfields here. While the Hindus visit the Kandasamy Koil, the Chinese visit the Mala Vihara and a Bhodi tree. Other attractions include are the butterfly park, a bird park, and the lake garden.
Semenggoh Nature Reserve
Can we call it as a rehabilitation center for abandoned orangutans because they are taught to live again in the wild? The forest area is full of orangutans. People throng this nature reserve especially during the afternoon when the mammals are fed.
Apart from orangutans, this park is also home to some beautiful birds that include yellow rumpled flowerpecker and the Bornean black magpie (image below)
Children would thank their parents for taking them to this small island where there are plenty of water sports such as snorkeling and scuba diving and safe beaches. Manukan Island is reached by ferry from Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.
North Borneo Railway
What can be a better way to see the Malaysian countryside than by traveling on a train that can take up to 80 passengers? I see there are several vacant seats on this train; I think they are the true travelers. They are treated to some excellent food by way of continental and Malaysian cuisine. The traveling distance is only 133 km starting from Tanjung Aru and ends at Papar.
Bukit Bintang shopping, Kuala Lumpur
For shopping lovers, this would be their first stop. As they say, you can have a ‘field day’ here because it is not just one shopping mall but several. It is a shopping district actually. Of the various shopping malls, the most important and the biggest is the Benaya Times Square, one of the largest malls in the world. Being an exclusive shopping area, there is no dearth of cafes and restaurants in the sidewalks.
Bako National Park
Tourists to Malaysia have two important places to cover; one is Pinang and the other is Borneo which is an island nearby. The Bako National Park is located in Sarawak state on Borneo.Nature lovers and wildlife buffs tend to stay for long here or stay overnight in one of the star hotels to spend more time in the rainforests, enjoy natural waterfalls surrounded by lush green forests, and spot proboscis monkey if lucky among various other birds and insects.
There is much to see in Penang and Borneo islands. I will cover them exclusively and publish it my ‘Ultimate Guide to Islands and Islets’ blog.