Malaysia may just be a little tail end on the huge continent of Asia, but this land has landscapes as diverse as its people. Cold winds that gently blanket the hilltops of Pahang resemble wet spring days, while fine white sand cover beaches rivaling even Boracay.
Save on an expensive round-the-world trip by visiting these beautiful places right here in Malaysia!
1. Macalister Mansion, Penang
This 100-year-old mansion was restored in honour of the first Governor of Penang, Sir Norman Macalister. It is also situated on the namesake road, making it easy to find among the numerous historical sites on the island. With art deco furnishing and the latest in boutique living, this mansion was the first of its kind to undergo luxurious upgrading alongside attempts to preserve Penang’s colonial buildings.
Stepping past its gates, you will be reminded of living in an England long past, yet still up to date in its crisp, clean presentation. Experience old world charm in a new way with their fine dining opportunities!
2. Bako National Park, Sarawak
The oldest of its kind in Malaysia, this beautiful reserve makes up for its small square area with some of the most fascinating flora and fauna you will ever see on the whole peninsular. Its cozy beaches are surrounded by lush jungles, offering uninterrupted views into a bay fully decorated by limestone and sandstone towers.
These towers resemble the monoliths decorating Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and are also covered in beautiful clumps of vegetation.
Sarawak, National Park
3. Taiping Lake Gardens, Perak
Another heritage site, this serene garden was also the first of its kind to be established during the British rule in old Malaya. Recovered from an old tin mining location, it was praised by many visitors for having a beautiful display of Southeast Asian flora. Now over 130 years old, the lakes are a popular site for wedding photography and family-friendly activities.
Taiping is a derivative of Tai-Peng, meaning ‘peace,’ and these gardens certainly live up to their serene name. The abundance of bamboo plants and humongous rain trees resemble Ancient China – full of tranquility.
4. The Lakehouse, Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Named after Sir William Cameron who discovered the range, the resort was a passion project of retired Colonel Stanley J. Foster, who envisioned his very own bed and breakfast. Operational since 1970, this hilltop housing became one of Cameron Highlands’ most iconic colonial buildings. The place has since functioned as a premier hotel, offering the best staycation away from the bustling city.
Bathe in the scent of fresh countryside greenery and revel in the semblance of elegant Tudor lifestyle. You will feel like you’re on a hillside in Essex, England.
5. Sasaran Beach, Selangor
If the Bolivia Salt Flats seem too much to plan for, check out Malaysia’s own Sky Mirror in Kuala Selangor! Located a little ways off the fishing village of Jeram, this flatland off the Straits of Malacca is accessible twice a month – during new moon and full moon periods, when the tide washes out.
Smooth waters and fine sand combine to form a natural mirror, reflecting the bright blue sky. Stick around for tours of the nearby islands and experience digging for many mud-dwelling crustaceans like oysters and crabs! A word of advice, tours offered are in Chinese, so prepare some Mandarin phrases should you have questions or comments.
6. Desa Dairy Farm, Kundasang, Sabah
This picturesque scene of dairy cows peacefully grazing on green pastures with sloping hills behind them might make you think of New Zealand. Think again! You’re looking at Kundasang, where Sabah gets supplies of fresh cows milk. The cold air of Sabah’s high ground makes visiting a farm sound like a spa day; and the gorgeous views make it popular for all kinds of photography.
Play with goats and calves for a fun-filled experience, or simply sample their many dairy-based produce such as ice cream and yoghurt.
89308 Kundasang, Sabah, Farm
7. Mataking Island, Sabah
Heading the line of islands in the Celebes Sea, the tiny island of Mataking is everything you could want for a seaside holiday. Tranquil in its remoteness, this island is popular among snorkeling and diving enthusiasts who love the many locations to submerge in crystal clear waters. It is also the home to Malaysia’s one and only underwater post office!
With the abundant tropical aquatic life including pygmy seahorses and turtles, the Mataking Island can be your private Maldives for vacations. Its singular resort offers luxury accommodation and tailors its itinerary to suit your leisure of diving and non-diving activities.
Pulau Mataking, Sabah, Beach Resort
8. Sedim River, Kedah
Eco-tourism never gets more exciting than when whitewater rafting is brought into the mix. Ranking in classes I-IV, the Sedim River contains at least 24 rapids in its 16km stretch across the northern state of Kedah. Thrill seekers can get a kick of adrenaline in the rushing rivers, or traverse treetops in the canopy walkway 50 meters off the ground.
The lush vegetation and glimpses of river wildlife will bring to life all those fantasies you had of exploring the jungles of Costa Rica!
Kulim, Malaysia, Recreational Park
9. Deer Cave, Sarawak
Named for the wild deer that visit the cave to lick salt rocks, the Deer Cave was the largest cavern in the world before the discovery of Hang Sơn Đoòng in Vietnam. Despite this, the cave still holds an abundance of wonders. Stretching over 2km, the singular Deer Cave is at least 90 meters hollow. If you aren’t already amazed by its sheer size, trek in deeper to find ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’, two underground springs watering what visitors call The Garden of Eden.
Be on the lookout for a familiar face! A part of the cave entrance has been likened to the side profile of Abraham Lincoln. If it weren’t for the humidity, you might think yourself in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, USA.
Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Forest Reservation