When most people think of Malaysia, they tend to think of fantastical cityscapes, thanks in no small part to the distinctive and imposing skyline of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. But the country is home to much more than just high-energy cities. Leave the urban limits behind to discover charming colonial towns, tropical islands and sun-soaked beaches.
Buzzing Kuala Lumpur’s most recognizable landmarks are probably the Petronas Towers, a pair of majestic twin towers that soar to a height of 1,483 feet (452 meters). Ascend to the viewing platform to admire breathtaking city views.
The more manageably sized colonial city of Melaka is another much-loved tourist hotspot. Haggle at Jonker Walk Night Market and wander around the UNESCO-listed historic center.
For a break among nature, head for Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia. Embark on a 2-day hike and enjoy a picture-perfect sunrise on the second morning.
Other must-try outdoor pursuits include a walk across Langkawi Sky Bridge. One of the longest curved suspension bridges in the world, it offers unrivalled views of Langkawi’s lush jungle canopy.
Marvel at apes in the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, which has a conservation center dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating orphaned or previously captive orangutans. A wide variety of feathered species also reside here, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching.
Malaysian cuisine, which fuses Indian, Chinese and homegrown flavours, has earned global renown. Slurp bowls of laksa (spicy noodle soup) and try nasi lemak (coconut milk rice).
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the largest Malaysian airport, although many domestic and international flights also arrive and depart in Penang International Airport.
The many public transportation options in Malaysia means you can travel comfortably by bus or train between towns and cities. In Kuala Lumpur, make use of the efficient monorail system. Visit Malaysia between March and June, when local children are not on vacation and humidity levels are low, for the most pleasant sightseeing experience.
Shining cities and tropical rainforests sit side-by-side in this fascinating Southeast Asian country.