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The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia is located just south of Thailand on the Malay Peninsula as well as on part of the island of Borneo. Visitors to Malaysia will find humid green rainforests and jungles full of monkeys, elephants, and tigers, but also sandy beaches where they can relax and swim amidst views of a glittering blue sea. Shrines and temples in the Batu Caves and Kek Lok Si as well as the prehistoric remains found at the Niah Caves will give tourists a taste of the past, while the markets, mosques, and skyscrapers of cities like Kuala Lumpur will allow tourists to see the lights and experience life in a modern, bustling city.
1.Bako National Park
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Bako National Park is located on the coast of the Muara Tebas peninsula on the island of Borneo, and although it is quite small – only about 16 square miles – it is an incredibly beautiful and diverse piece of land. In Bako National Park, there are swamps, forests, cliffs, and coastal lands like beaches and coves. Visitors can find a variety of hiking trails that range from short walks to long hikes that will take an entire day. Macaque monkeys and silver leaf monkeys are very common in this park, and most visitors will be able to spot these members of the ecosystem as well as the occasional wild boar, monitor lizard, or even a rare proboscis monkey, which dwells in the mangrove trees and is most often spotted early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
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Aquaria KLCC is located in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and offers over 5,000 exhibits for guests to enjoy and learn about ocean life from all over the world. Exhibits are organized by habitat and animal type, so visitors can see otters in the stream exhibit, sharks, eels, and stingrays in the Living Ocean exhibit, and catfish and alligator garfish in the freshwater exhibit. There is also a piranha tank, a walk through glass tunnel, and a touch tank where visitors can meet sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and more. The aquarium is open daily from 10:00am until 8:00pm.
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur City, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Phone: +6-03-23-33-18-88
3.Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Hindu Temple
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The Glass Temple of Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman is the only one of its kind in Malaysia. The temple is constructed mostly from a glass mosaic, which comprises over 300,000 pieces of glass tile and beads. The murals and mosaics depict scenes of kindness between followers of different religions. Inside the temple, there are statues of Mother Teresa, Gautama Buddha, and a number of deities. The temple was constructed in 1922, but it wasn’t until the creator’s son inherited the space in the 1990s that it became the wondrous and unique temple of glass that it is today.
Malaysia, Wadi Hana, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, Phone: +60-72-24-51-52
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These Hindu shrines, located in a series of caves near Kuala Lumpur, are the location of the annual Hindu celebration of Thaipusam. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people climb the stairs to the temple carrying heavy tributes, which they offer to the god Murugam. But at any time of year, the Batu Caves are certainly worth a visit. The main cave of the complex is about 300 feet high and 1,200 feet long, and is home to a troublemaking tribe of macaque monkeys, who have been known to pester and steal from tourists.
Gombak, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia, Phone: +60-13-00-88-50-50
5.Boh Tea Plantation and Factory
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The Boh Tea Plantation contains over 8,000 acres of growing land, making it the largest tea growing operation in Southeast Asia. It provides tea to countries all over the world, and even processes the tea harvest in a factory on the property to ensure freshness and the best possible quality of tea. Tourists can visit the Boh Tea Plantation and Factory to learn more about the production of tea and check out the cafe and gift shop, where they can sample and purchase some of the products made on site.
Cameron Highlands, 39000, Malaysia
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Bukit Cina translates to “Chinese Hill”, and refers to a massive (820,000 square feet) mound of land in the Malaysian city of Malacca. This hill is actually the largest Chinese cemetery outside of China itself, with more than 12,000 graves, some of which date all the way back to the Middle Ages. The hill’s history began when the daughter of a Chinese emperor married a Malaysian sultan and lived on the hill, and continued in the 16th century when a monastery was built on the property. It was officially declared to be a cemetery for the Chinese in the 17th century, and today it is a lovely park with paths for walking, and plenty of memorials and gravestones for history buffs to peruse.
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The Crystal Mosque, located in Kuala Terengganu on Malaysia’s Wan Man Island, is simply one of a kind. This steel and glass construction is built right on the edge of the water, and at night it is illuminated from the inside, lighting up the elaborate glass domes and reflecting them onto the water and surrounding areas in a spectacular display of light. The Crystal Mosque is part of the Islamic Heritage Park, which besides the Crystal Mosque also contains many replicas of famous mosques from all over the world, but without the massive crowds usually found at the real ones.
Pulau Wan Man, 21000 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia, Phone: +60-96-27-11-11
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8.Gunung Mulu National Park
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This beautiful park in Borneo is a protected rainforest, well known for its massive mountains, rock formations, and caves. Most famous of these is the Deer Cave, a giant cave filled with bats that leads to the Garden of Eden, a lovely enclosed oasis that is hidden from the rest of the park by tall cliffs and a beautiful waterfall. Guided tours are available to take visitors through any number of Mulu’s treasures, including the caves, waterfalls, summits of the peaks, and even a canopy walk, where it is possible to hike up in the trees via a system of bridges and platforms.
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9.Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
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Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, and the Islamic Arts Museum, located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, is the home of the largest display of Islamic art in Southeast Asia. There are over 10,000 pieces in the museum’s collection as well as an expansive library. Visitors to the museum will find a wide array of art on display, from giant murals down to miniscule pieces of jewelry. Many of these pieces are from all over the world, however the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia places a special emphasis on Islamic Art from China, India, and Southeast Asia.
Jalan Lembah Perdana, Tasik Perdana, Wilayah Persekutuan, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Phone: +6-03-20-92-70-70
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10.Kek Lok Si
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The Buddhist temple of Kek Lok Si is located on the Malaysian island of Penang and is said to be the largest of its kind in Malaysia. It was built in 1891, and inside and outside the temple there are millions of images of Buddha, everything from sculptures and carvings to paintings and murals. Kek Lok Si is situated on top of a large hill, and from the temple visitors can see the surrounding hills and countryside, a sight that emphasizes the peaceful atmosphere created by the ornate rooftops, colorful buildings, and tranquil ambience.
1000-L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, Phone: +60-48-28-33-17
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Kinabalu Park opened in 1964 and is one of the oldest established parks in Malaysia. It is also the oldest UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country, due to the incredibly diverse array numbering over 5,000 species of wildlife and plant life in the park. Visitors to Kinabalu Park can enjoy the beauty of Mount Kinabalu, which summits at over in 13,000 feet elevation. The mountain is accessible to hikers and climbers, but also by way of a via ferrata, which allows even amateurs to scale the peak with the help of an experienced guide and plenty of safety equipment.
88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, Phone: +60-88-48-74-66
12.Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
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The Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is a massive mosque that can hold up to 12,000 worshippers at one time. It was built in the year 2000 on the very edge of a man-made lagoon and was designed to resemble the final resting place of Mohammed. During the day it is reflected on the blue waters of the lagoon. At night, when the mosque is lit up with warm, golden light, it also reflects brightly on the water, lending it the illusion that the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque floats on the lagoon. The sight of this mosque lit up at night is considered one of the most beautiful views in Malaysia.
Jalan Teluk Likas, Kampung Likas, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, Phone: +60-88-43-58-91
13.Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
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Home to more than 200 species of birds, the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is an aviary located in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur. There are more than 3,000 birds in the park, both local and foreign, and they are divided into four zones based on type of bird and habitat. In Zones One and Two, visitors will find the free-flight zone, where the birds are able to fly where they wish within the park. These zones include birds such as pigeons, storks, and peacocks. Zone Three is reserved for hornbills, and gives visitors the feeling of being inside the rainforest habitat that is home to these species. In Zone Four, birds are divided into specific aviaries for flightless birds like ostriches and emus, waterfall birds like storks, and much more.
KL Bird Park, 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, Perdana Botanical Gardens, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Phone: +6-03-22-72-10-10
14.Kuala Lumpur Tower
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The Kuala Lumpur Tower is a distinctive part of the city’s skyline, and it rises up in a tall, thin spire topped with a bulbous upper deck that includes a restaurant, banquet hall, and observation deck. It is located in the center of the city, but also inside the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, making it the only tower in the entire world located in a forest. Visitors can take an elevator to the observation deck, where they will be rewarded with lovely views of the city. For those with more adventurous tastes, Kuala Lumpur Tower is also known as a World Base-jump Center, and offers opportunities for experienced guests to jump from the tower.
Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
15.Kundasang War Memorial
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In 1945, over 1,000 British and Australian prisoners of war died on the Sandakan Death Marches, which took Allied prisoners on a grueling 120 mile trek through Borneo. It’s considered the most atrocious event ever inflicted upon Australian soldiers. This memorial, built in 1962, remembers the lives of those who died during the marches, as well as the local people of North Borneo who risked their own lives to help or hide some of the prisoners. There are four sections to the gardens surrounding the memorial, each dedicated respectively to the Australians, the British, the Borneans, and to contemplation and peace.
90 Km, Jalan Kundasang Kauluan, Kundasang, 89300, Ranau, Sabah, 89308, Malaysia, Phone: +6-01-98-99-20-41
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16.Langkawi Cable Car
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The Langkawi Cable Car is also sometimes called the Langkawi Sky Cab, and it is a beautiful ride that takes visitors up the side of the Machinchang Mountain in a glass-sided gondola on the island of Langkawi. Halfway to the top, the car will allow visitors to get out at the Middle Station, where they will see beautiful views of Langkawi Island, the sea, and the surrounding islands as well. From Middle Station, they will ascend further to Top Station, which at over 2,300 feet elevation offers dramatic views of rock formations and peaks, cliffs, forests, and the sea. A ride in the SkyCab is a one of a kind experience that will show its guests some breathtaking views of some of the oldest land in Southeast Asia.
17.Langkawi Sky Bridge
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This curved suspension pedestrian bridge, located at the top of Mt. Machinchang on the island of Langkawi, is stunning to look at and exhilarating to cross. A single tall pylon suspends the bridge at over 2,000 feet above sea level. At first glance, the bridge looks incredibly dangerous, but if guests can get over this fear, a walk across the SkyBridge will offer some truly spectacular and breathtaking views. Near the bridge there are several hikes that visitors can go on, including to the amazing views on the summit of Gunung Mat Chinchang and to the lovely Seven Wells Waterfall.
18.National Mosque of Malaysia
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Located in Kuala Lumpur, the National Mosque of Malaysia is an iconic symbol of Islam, which is recognizable throughout the entire nation. The main prayer hall is decorated within with verses from the Koran on the walls, and from the outside it has a large blue roof, with 48 smaller domes that surround it. It was built to resemble the Grand Mosque in Mecca, with lots of geometric elements to its architecture and abstract shapes incorporated into it. The National Mosque of Malaysia is situated on 13 acres of beautiful land and is capable of holding up to 15,000 people.
Jalan Perdana, Tasik Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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These humongous caves, located on Borneo, are so big that the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris could fit inside the entrance several times over. The natural beauty of these caves is simply breathtaking, and modern humans are not the only ones to have thought so. In the 1950s and 60s, scientists discovered cave paintings in Niah Caves that date back over 1,200 years. This seemed impressive until they also found human remains in the caves, which were found to be approximately 40,000 years old. These are some of the earliest human remains to have been found in Malaysia.
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These twin skyscrapers, located in Kuala Lumpur, have 88 stories each. They stretch up into the sky as a distinctive part of the Kuala Lumpur skyline, and at one point they were the tallest buildings in the world. Today they are the tallest twin structures in the world, and they represent the Malaysian ambition to be a global player in business and innovation. On the 41st floor, visitors can get out and explore the Sky Bridge, which connects the two buildings in a grand, two-story glass bridge from which some great views of the city can be seen. From there, visitors can ascend further to the 86th floor, where they will find an observation deck and a gift shop.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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The beautiful and distinctive dome of the Putra Mosque is made of pink granite and embellished with detailed patterns. This modern mosque, built in 1997, is the largest mosque in Putrajaya, and can hold up to 15,000 worshippers at one time. The minaret, a tall tower from which Muslims are traditionally called to prayer, has five tiers, representing the Five Pillars of Islam. The mosque is located right at the edge of the water, making it a very scenic view from across the lake, especially at night when it is lit up and reflected by the water itself.
Persiaran Persekutuan, Presint 1, 62502 Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya, Malaysia
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Taman Negara translates literally as “National Park,” and it refers to the massive 130 million year old tropical rainforest on the Malay Peninsula. The park is accessible from four different pickup points, including Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Tahan, and Jerantut in the south, and Sg. Relau on the western border of the park. Visitors to Taman Negara will find the longest canopy walkway in the world, the tallest mountain on the Malay Peninsula, and plenty of other activities including hiking, camping, caving, and rafting. Inside the park there are elephants, tigers, monkeys, and some amazing plant life as well, including the massive parasitic flower, the rafflesia.
Kuala Tahan, 27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang, Malaysia, Phone: +6-03-21-49-92-35
23.Dining in the Dark
© Dining in the Dark
Dining in the Dark is a unique dark dining concept restaurant that opened to the public in December of 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, immersing diners in total darkness for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. The restaurant provides a unique employment opportunity for legally blind waiters, serving as guides for diners throughout the evening and aiding with food service and tastings. Its sensory deprivation concept allows for a heightened taste and smell experience, with surprise menu offerings changing every few months to ensure variety and mystery. Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and allergy-friendly fare may be accommodated with advance notice to the restaurant. Mocktail tastings are also offered, encouraging diners to guess cocktail ingredients without the aid of visual clues.
50A, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Phone: +60 3-2110 0431
24.Tua Pek Kong Temple
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Tua Pek Kong Temple is quite small, but its significance lies in that it is perhaps the oldest Taoist temple in Malaysia. Located on the banks of the muddy Rajang River, the temple has a colorful front facade, and is situated on a small foothill, from where it commands a great view of the surrounding river and town bazaar. The temple is home to the Kuan Yin Pagoda, a seven-story structure that was built in the 1980s. Climbing the stairs of this pagoda, especially around sunset, will offer visitors an amazing view like no other.
Jln Temple, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia, Phone: +60-84-31-80-05
25.Wat Chaiya Mangalaram
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Wat Chaiya Mangalaram is a Buddhist temple that is actually Thai in origin, and was built by a Thai monk during the mid-19th century. The reclining Buddha at Wat Chaiya Mangalaram is over 100 feet long, depicted wearing robes of gold and smiling slightly at worshippers. The statue represents the Buddhist ethos of enlightenment, in which worries drift away and nirvana is achieved. He is meant to inspire, and many past worshippers of this Buddhist temple, in George Town, have had their ashes placed behind the massive statue, hoping perhaps to feel some of the tranquility and enlightenment that he clearly feels.
George Town, 10350, Penang, Malaysia
25 Best Things to Do in Malaysia
- Bako National Park, Photo: Courtesy of ElenaMirage - Fotolia.com
- Aquaria KLCC, Photo: Courtesy of galitskaya - Fotolia.com
- Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Hindu Temple, Photo: Courtesy of chachanit - Fotolia.com
- Batu Caves, Photo: Courtesy of zhnger - Fotolia.com
- Boh Tea Plantation and Factory, Photo: Courtesy of jordanlye - Fotolia.com
- Bukit Cina, Photo: Courtesy of leisuretime70 - Fotolia.com
- Crystal Mosque, Photo: Courtesy of WONG SZE FEI - Fotolia.com
- Gunung Mulu National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Markus Loretto - Fotolia.com
- Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Photo: Courtesy of kikisora - Fotolia.com
- Kek Lok Si, Photo: Courtesy of lenisecalleja - Fotolia.com
- Kinabalu Park, Photo: Courtesy of quaddplusq - Fotolia.com
- Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Photo: Courtesy of koburu - Fotolia.com
- Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Photo: Courtesy of 5415161 - Fotolia.com
- Kuala Lumpur Tower, Photo: Courtesy of Dmitry V. Petrenko - Fotolia.com
- Kundasang War Memorial, Photo: Courtesy of meelin - Fotolia.com
- Langkawi Cable Car, Photo: Courtesy of wiiin - Fotolia.com
- Langkawi Sky Bridge, Photo: Courtesy of Marina Ignatova - Fotolia.com
- National Mosque of Malaysia, Photo: Courtesy of popovatetiana - Fotolia.com
- Niah Caves, Photo: Courtesy of Lillian - Fotolia.com
- Petronas Towers, Photo: Courtesy of TTstudio - Fotolia.com
- Putra Mosque, Photo: Courtesy of Noppasinw - Fotolia.com
- Taman Negara, Photo: Courtesy of oleandra - Fotolia.com
- Dining in the Dark, Photo: Dining in the Dark
- Tua Pek Kong Temple, Photo: Courtesy of ElenaMirage - Fotolia.com
- Wat Chaiya Mangalaram, Photo: Courtesy of nalidsa - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of TTstudio - Fotolia.com
The Pinnacles Of Gunung Mulu
Gunung Mulu, which appeared earlier on this list, is a national park in Borneo. Inside Gunung Mulu are the Pinnacles, tall, sharp rock formations made of limestone that has eroded away over the centuries, leaving these long spires of rock behind. These ancient formations are relatively untouched by humans and are accessible via a long hike. There are some ladders and railings along the way to make the trip a bit easier, but this is still a hike that should only be attempted by experts. The grueling and exhausting trek will reward those brave enough to attempt it with some amazing and breathtaking views from the top of the mountain.
Gunung Mulu National Park, Marudi, Malaysia