Stargazing has been part of our human experience since our early days as a species, and there are plenty of good reasons why. Apart from providing an opportunity for lifelong learning and discovering, it’s also a fun and free way to spend our free time while exploring the galaxy we call home.
However, as our population grows, so does light pollution, clouding the atmosphere and all that lies beyond it. Today, as few as 500 stars are visible from many urban areas.
However, did you know that Malaysia is one of the best places in the world to see stars? Although our country is well-known for its beautiful beaches, rich rainforests, mouthwatering food, and diverse cultures, but thanks to Malaysia’s position on the Equator, the nation is also an ideal place to watch the stars of both the Northern and Southern skies. Here are our picks of best spots for stargazing in Malaysia:
1. Kudat, Sabah
Located at the tip of Borneo and roughly 190km away from Kota Kinabalu, Kudat is known for its immaculate beaches and fresh seafood. As the coastal town has little to no light pollution, it offers stargazers the dazzling display of the crisp and clear Milky Way from mid-February to early October. This cloud-like stretch of stars across the sky will leave anyone fascinated and spellbound as it is visible to the naked eyes. So if you’re an amateur astronomer, stargazers or someone who’s into astrophotography, this would be the perfect place to start since you would not need any special gadget to observe the Milky Way, the home to some 400 billion stars including our Sun.
Finding the Milky Way is not difficult if you know where to look. To view the spectacular clear night skies, head to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau (Tip of Borneo), Kampung Marang Parang, Tindakon Dazang Beach, Terongkongan Beach, and Kulambu Beach.
2. Kuala Kubu Bharu
Kuala Kubu Bharu in Selangor, or fondly known as KKB to the locals, is a hilltop town with traditional appeal from the colonial area, with quaint shophouses, temples, and monuments which link the town back to its historical roots. Long ago, the original town was destroyed by a massive flood in 1883, hence why the place is now named Kuala Kubu Bharu (or Baru, which means ‘new’ in Malay). For those wanting a quick escape from the city, KKB is the ideal stress-free getaway location as it has a broken dam (which caused the 1883 flood), beautiful scenery, and of course, clear sky with minimum light pollution for a perfect stargazing outing. So, the next time you want to admire the starry artistry of the night sky and don’t wish to travel far from Kuala Lumpur, KKB is the place you should head to.
3. Pantai Jambu Bongkak, Terengganu
Pantai Jambu Bongkak is seen as an undiscovered gem in Malaysia as it’s an unfamiliar place, even to locals. Located in Marang, the beach is part of a quiet fishing village surrounded by coconut trees. Since it’s not a popular tourist destination (for now), the beach makes a good stargazing location as the area is fairly dark at night, making your stargazing experience extremely pleasant. If you’re into astrophotography, this place is also perfect because you’ll capture stunning pictures with coconut trees and parked or abandoned fishing boats posing as your background.
4. Pulau Gem, Terengganu
Located just off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Pulau Gem, or also known as Pulau Gemia, is a small secluded island that can be reached by boat from Marang Jetty in Dungun. Although getting to the island requires a bit of effort, it will be worthwhile as you can gaze at the sparkling sky while relaxing on the beach. Apart from stargazing, you can also opt to try other activities in the island such as snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, island excursion trips, kayaking, and many more.
5. Tawau Hill Park, Sabah
Another popular stargazing spot located in the East Malaysia is Tawau Hills Park, otherwise known as Taman Bukit Tawau or No. 4 Gudang. Barring camping sites and outdoor picnic areas, patrons can also choose to stay at the park’s well-managed chalets during their stargazing vacation. But for those who are looking for more than just observing starry sky, the retreat has a rugged volcanic landscape, a sulphur hot spring, as well as a few deepwater pools and waterfalls like Air Terjun Bukit Gelas or Table Waterfall.
6. Fraser’s Hill, Pahang
Dubbed ‘Little England’ among Malaysians, Fraser’s Hill is another spot in Peninsular Malaysia to add to your list of stargazing sites. With its breathtaking hiking trails and perfect spring weather, Fraser’s Hill is also seen as a famous venue for bird-watching since its located thousands of feet above sea level. Also, the area has a wide selection of resorts and hotels, allowing star enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way in the comfort of their cosy accommodations.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and make your way to these places and be prepared to be mesmerised by the beauty of Mother Earth.
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