Historically renowned as “The Fabled Spice Islands of East”, Malaysia is made of two main regions- East Malaysia comprising of 2 states Sabah and Sarawak, and Peninsular Malaysia consisting of 11 states. Malaysian attractions offer a stunning natural and cultural experience that adds to the beauty to the islands and wistfulness to the colonial towns. All in all, the place offers a happy eclectic mix most tourists love to experience. Here is just a brief insight into some of the most popular Malaysian tourist attractions…
Mulu Caves: Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Gunung Mulu National Park, Mulu Caves encompass incredibly formed caves, rock pinnacles, gorges, cliffs and limestone karst formations. The park is located in an equatorial rainforest area and contains one of the largest known cave chambers of the world- the Sarawak Chamber. It is said that this chamber is so big that it can easily accommodate around 40 Boeing 747s without overlapping their wings. The place has been the subject of interest for many expeditions, the most famous being Royal Geographical Society Expedition of 1977-1978 which saw over 100 scientists working together in the field for a period of 15 months. The project then became famous as the ‘Mulu Caves Project’. One of the most memorable sights of the place is that of numerous wrinkle lipped bats searching for their food every evening in the nearby Deer Cave exit.
Sepilok Rehabilitation Center: Located near the Sandakan town, Sepilok rehabilitation center was opened in 1964 and is one of the only four places in the world established for preserving and rehabilitation of orphaned baby orangutans. These endearingly intelligent creatures with their orange hair are increasingly becoming a victim of the ongoing destruction of their homes caused in the name of progress and development. They are cared for and then released in the jungle as soon as they are independent and strong enough to be on their own. There is a raised wooden walkway that takes you to the observation deck where you can see these orange haired creatures as they emerge from the forest to be fed by the rangers.
Batu Caves: Said to be one of the most popular Hindu religious shrines outside of India, Batu Caves are dedicated to the revered Lord Murugan. There is even a 47 meter golden statue standing right beside the 272 stairs of the temple that you need to climb in order to enter the caves. Dotted with various Hindu god shrines and their intricately sculpted sculptures, the cave’s ceiling is over 100 meters high with the massive cave below illuminated by the holes in the rock. There is also a dark cave situated right below the temple cave which is not open to public without appropriate permission from Malaysian Nature Society. The society itself organizes spelunking tours where you get to see fascinating cave specific flora and fauna.
Langkawi: Famous as one of the most popular Malaysian tourist destinations, Langkawi is a 99 island archipelago located adjacent to the Thai border in the Andaman Sea. The place has been declared a duty free zone by the Malaysian government making it one of the premier holiday destinations of the country. There are luxury hotels sitting beside secluded bays and various high end shopping destinations in the main city. However, the most attractive aspect of Langkawi are its long white beaches along with a rugged jungle interior and craggy mountain peaks that make it for a fun and adventurous vacation spot.
Petronus Twin Towers: Visit to Kuala Lumpur is incomplete without a trip to the skybridge at the Petronus Twin Towers which offers amazing views both day and night. These towers are the tallest twin buildings of the world with 88 floors reaching a height of over 1483 ft in the air. There are 1700 passes distributed everyday for the skybridge on a first come first serve basis and need to be collected fast as they are sold out as soon as they go on sale. Based on the Islamic eight pointed star, the five sections of the building symbolize the five pillars of Islam. Right beside the tower is a large urban park complete with a playground, jogging tracks, wading pools and a huge KLCC Shopping mall with great dining and shopping options.
Mount Kinabulu: Standing at a height of 4095 meters, Mount Kinabulu is the highest mountain of Borneo. The place is biodiversity treasure trove of various biological and botanical species. There are over 600 fern species, 326 bird species, and over 100 species of mammals that have been spotted in the area. Anyone with a good climbing experience and a healthy physical condition can climb to the peak without any help of mountaineering equipment. However, a guide should accompany you at all times.
Georgetown: This colonial era town was founded in 1786 by the British East Indian Company as one of their most important trading posts. Named after King George III, the place reminds you of the bygone era with its old warehouses and colonial period buildings. The place has now been listed as a World Heritage site due to its unique cultural and architectural landscape that has no parallel anywhere in South East or East Asia.
Kuala Selangor Fireflies: Bask in the luminescent glow of thousands of fireflies in the Kuala Selangor Fireflies Resort Park where thousands of fireflies come together to do their mating dance around the Berembang Trees. Glide over the river in the park after sunset in one of their silent electric boats and you will see a sight you will never forget in your lifetime- an amazing light show produced and directed by these little lightening bugs. Each of these luminescent lovelies has a specific light pattern as they together swarm around tree branches creating a symphony of lights.
National Mosque: Masjid Negara or the majestic National Mosque, built in 1965, is often seen by the world and the locals alike as a symbol of Malaysia’s independence. One of the largest in South East Asia, the place is big enough to hold over 15000 people at one time. Surrounded by beautiful orchid and bird parks while being located right in the center of the city, the place was designed by three architects and represents Islam in its design. The eighteen pointed star dome of the mosque refers to the thirteen Malaysian states together with the five pillars of Islam. In addition to this, the main dome has been decorated with thousands of blue and green tiles along with 48 smaller domes that dot the courtyard, a design inspired by the holy Mecca mosque. The prayer call sounded by the minaret can be heard all the way across Chinatown.