You can’t beat Malaysia as a destination that has it all: thriving, cosmopolitan cities, irresistible storeping, rich cultural heritage, lush jungles, pristine beaches, unique wildlife, and lip-smackingly delicious food.
AT A GLANCE
Malaysia is a country split in two by the South China Sea. While Borneo offers a wild jungle adventure with native tribes and hairy orangutans, the peninsula is a cultural mash-up of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavours – culturally and gastronomically speaking. Kuala Lumpur is completely bewitching in its chaotic amalgamation of urbane sky-rises and glossy shopping malls, which stand just a coconut’s throw from bustling street markets and romantic colonial architecture. Lush jungles carpet the interior, while beaches of clear blue water and powdery white sand await your arrival on the coast.
WHAT TO SEE
You might want to take an empty suitcase with you when you visit Kuala Lumpur. The shopping is excellent, with blissfully air-conditioned malls offering fantastic selections of clothes, shoes, electronics, jewellery and local treasures. The night markets are absolute bedlam, but in the very best way, with the friendly Malays willing to barter with you over their wares. Malaysia was a fixture on the old spice route, so get set for a smorgasbord of gourmet treats: banana leaf curries, Chino-Malay ‘nonya’ fare, Chinese noodles and spicy Malay cuisine… They’re all delicious and we can point you in the right direction to make sure all your meals are memorable.
On any Malaysian adventure, be sure to leave the city lights behind you and head into the jungle to the Taman Negara National Park, which claims to be the oldest tropical rainforest with the longest canopy walkway in the world. Get up close to nature’s botanical wonders, including a visit to the biggest flower on record. You’ll have to time this just right, though, because it doesn’t always smell so sweet. Make a date with the perfect cuppa, up in the Cameron Highlands. The lush sweeping tea plantations and strawberry fields flourish up here where the temperature lowers to a crisp 18 degrees. The landscape is verdantly green; enjoy high tea and scones on your terrace overlooking rolling pastures.
Along the coast, there are beaches that will make your mouth water and, further afield, tropical islands that define the meaning of paradise. Try Tioman Island for a stay at the eco-luxe Jam Mala resort, where you can dip your toes into the azure waters and indulge in a little snorkelling in between pamper sessions. It’s a hard life but someone’s got to do it.
WHY WE LIKE
Aside from the fact that we still daydream about Malaysian satays and the best curry we’ve ever tasted in the Cameron Highlands atop a banana leaf in true authentic style, we’re sure that you’ll be spellbound by the country’s natural beauty and the cultural melting pot that is today’s Malaysia.