At the Crossroads of Cultures: What to See in Malaysia
The tourist slogan of Malaysia is Truly Asia. You won't find such eclecticism, such a unique mixture of cultures, traditions and customs anywhere else in this part of the world. In Malaysia, China and India meet with Portugal and Britain, colonial houses coexist with wooden huts on stilts, mosques coexist with Christian cathedrals, and all this against the background of lush tropical vegetation. Holidays in this country can overshadow Thailand, Egypt and Turkey taken together by its brightness of impressions, and Travellizy Team will tell you, where exactly to go in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur: Skyscrapers and Parks
Everyone who travels a lot in Asia inevitably gets to Kuala Lumpur several times a year. One of the largest transport hubs in the world is perfect both for one-day visiting and for staying here for several weeks. In a huge metropolis, everyone will find something to their liking.
In the center of Lumpur, make sure to look at Merdeka Square with the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and take a stroll through the surrounding areas. You can do this on foot, or you can take a tourist bus that goes around the main attractions. Taste cupcakes made of the legendary durian in the City Gallery, look at the National Mosque. And if you are interested in the Islamic culture, you will find a stunning Museum of Islamic Art, where you can easily spend half a day looking at the ancient editions of the Koran, weapons and jewelry. Entrance to the museum costs 3 euros.
You can feel the color of China and India in the districts of Chinatown and Brickfields, respectively. A bird park is located in the Perdana Botanical Gardens, and one of the largest aquariums in the world is under the famous Petronas Towers. By the way, do not forget about the Petronas Towers themselves, this symbol of modern Malaysia. You can look at them from the park nearby, or you can climb the panoramic bridge between the towers. Not enough skyscrapers? You will find the Menara TV Tower or one of the many rooftop bars.
Malacca: The Modest Charm of a Chinese Shopping Town
When visiting Malacca, it’s easy to imagine that you are in China. Moreover, not in modern China, but at the beginning of the last century. Two-story clan mansions with wooden shutters are all painted with hieroglyphs, cafes serve dim sum dumplings and noodle soup. But once you turn around the corner, you will be transported from the Celestial Empire to Holland. St. Peter's Church, St. Xavier's Cathedral, a hill with fortifications and cannons are all evidence of the colonial past of the town.
The main attraction of Malacca is Malacca itself. Take a walk along the old streets, look at the clan houses and Chinese temples, which here, like throughout Malaysia, are adjacent to the Hindu ones. It is good to meet the dawn on a Chinese hill called Bukit China, and the sunset - near the mosque on the water. A cruise boat offers great views of the embankment of the Malacca River, and in the city center, you can ride on a jolly rickshaw cart, decorated with all kinds of soft toys.
There are a couple of interesting museums in Malacca, including the Kite Museum or the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum. Double-decker sightseeing buses and an unusual amphibious bus ply the city, which at some point drives off the road directly into the sea and rides tourists across the water.
It is most convenient to get to Malacca from Kuala Lumpur, the journey will take only a couple of hours, the ticket will cost from € 2.2.
Cameron Highlands: Cold, Tea and Strawberries
Are you tired of equatorial heat? Go to the Cameron Highlands, the high-mountain resort of Malaysia. Many small towns are hidden among the picturesque mountain slopes, smoothly turning into each other. The most popular of them is Tanah Rata, this is where most tourists stay and the most developed infrastructure is.
You can blissfully do absolutely nothing in Cameron. There are no architectural beauties or historical places here, only dense jungle and tea plantations. The latter, by the way, is no less picturesque than the famous plantations in Sri Lanka, and you can drink fresh fragrant tea right here, overlooking the neat square bushes.
On the slopes of the highlands area, there are many tracking trails. And the main quest for any tourist who finds himself in these parts is to find rafflesia. This is a huge flower, known for its disgusting smell. True, rafflesia blooms rarely and not for long, and finding it without an experienced guide is very difficult.
Penang: Malaysia's Cultural Heritage
According to statistics, the island of Penang is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Asia and the most popular destination for wintering people in Malaysia. Indeed, here you can spend several weeks or even months, and every day to discover new facets of the island. In its capital alone, the city of Georgetown, you can wander for hours between ancient mansions (yes, they are Chinese, as in Malacca) and look for hidden graffiti. Or you can go to the national park and find a beach with turtles. Or climb the hill to Kek Lok Temple, the largest Buddhist temple complex in Asia.
And Georgetown is considered to be one of the most delicious cities in the world. Street food is turned into a cult here, and if you are squeamish about buying noodles or juices from a trolley, you will find many establishments of Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Japanese and even Russian cuisine. In each hotel in Georgetown, you will be given a free map, which will mark the most interesting places for gastro-tourism.
Are you tired of paved streets and stone houses? Feed the monkeys (just be careful) in the Penang Botanic Gardens or climb Penang Hill, it offers breathtaking panoramas of the island. You can rent a car, scooter or bicycle to explore Penang. Please note that in Malaysia, unlike most other countries in Southeast Asia, you may not be able to rent a car without an international driver’s license.
Langkawi: Tropical Paradise
Langkawi is very similar to the resort islands of Thailand and is located next to the Thai border. People come here mainly for beach vacations, diving, snorkelling, waterfalls and palm trees. The infrastructure on the island is not very well developed, but there is everything necessary for life. And if you fly here to relax, take a break from work and turn off the Internet for a week, then this is it.
The most interesting sights of Langkawi are natural. Visit the Durian Perangin Waterfall, the Temurun Waterfall and the Seven Wells Waterfall, climb Mount Gunung Raya, or take a boat trip to bat caves.
Other Interesting Places
For shopping, you should go to Johor Bahru, a metropolis located in the easternmost point of the country. From here, by the way, you can take the bus over the bridge to Singapore. Just first make sure, that you have all the necessary documents for this.
Before the Cameron Highlands, there is the city of Ipoh, which is called the food capital of Malaysia. It is from here that white coffee comes from, where Ipoh shrimp soup is cooked as well as signature noodles and many more delicious dishes. In between meals, you can visit the surrounding caves and admire the steep cliffs.
For sparsely populated beaches and postcard views, go to the east coast of Malacca. Cities such as Kuantan or Kota Bharu are not as famous as Malacca or Georgetown, but there are far fewer tourists, and there is amazing nature around.
If all the previous places have not cooled your researcher's passion and you have enough time, then your choice is the city of Kota Kinabalu, located on the island of Kalimantan. As a bonus, you can visit the small but very interesting state of Brunei.
General Country Tips
As in most Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia has an excellent online taxi service, it's called Grab. You can buy bus tickets online, and through the Klook application, you can not only purchase tickets to popular attractions or buy a tour, but also get a very good discount.
Prices for food, housing and various services often do not include taxes and fees. Therefore, when booking a hotel or flipping through the menu in a cafe, make sure to check, if there are 10-16% of the allowance there. The daily housing tax is paid only in cash, even if the main cost is from the card.
Malaysia is a very multifaceted country, which opens to you differently each time. Someone will be attracted by its unique culture, someone by delicious food or snow-white beaches, but everyone will definitely find his own thing.