Malaysia is a beautiful, tropical country with a sunny climate. It is hot and humid throughout the year with thunder showers almost every day. The small country comes very cutely packaged with hill stations , beaches , picnic spots , historical places , all within a short radius , easily accessible by road.
Almost every place is worth visiting here – but some of the best are listed below.
- Taman Negara – This rain forest is one of the oldest in the world- 130 million years old. It takes about 5 hours, by car from Kuala Lumpur, to reach the forest. One needs to stay there for at least 2 days to get a feel of the place. It’s simply exhilarating to trek through the thick jungle which has many well-marked paths. There is a long canopy walkway which requires some bit of tough climbing before reaching it, though worth every bit of the effort! Apart from this there are boat rides on the river that goes through the forest , rapids rides , night walks , camping etc.The best time to visit Taman Negara would be between April and September when it’s not raining .Suggested places to stay :Woodlands Resort , Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. It’s advisable to carry some ready to eat or packed foods that can last for a few days.Hotels here do not serve lunch during Hari Raya - only dinner.
- Perhentian Island -: Very beautiful, clean island surrounded by great hills- good for snorkeling and diving. The easiest way to get there would be by bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut where the resort people will then escort the visitors the rest of the way by their privately owned speed boats. The speed boat ride is most thrilling. The more popular resort here is the BuBu Resort and the food churned out by the chef is simply delicious . The only activities one can engage in, in Perhentian, are snorkeling , diving and trekking. The locals are excellent in these and are a very friendly bunch. It is possible to book accommodation in BuBu from its Kuala Lumpur office.
- Penang – This is an Island off the west coast of Malaysia. Visitors can reach Penang by one of the many Air-Asia flights or one can just drive down from Kuala Lumpur crossing the Penang Bridge over the sea. There are many good hotels to stay in and the island is known for the variety of food available. The steep tram ride up the Penang Hill is very exhilarating. The hill station built by the British has some pretty cottages that allow visitors to view them. Some other places to visit include -The Snake Temple , a Chinese Temple, the night markets , a museum of toys. The Kek Lok Si is a Temple in which there is a statue of a reclining Buddha. It is a lovely Temple to visit.Best time to visit is during Christmas and the Chinese New Year.
- Malacca – Malacca is "the city of history" and is a world heritage site. Malacca was founded by King Parameshwaran who named it after the "Melaka" tree he took shelter under.It was here in Malacca that the Declaration of Independance was proclaimed..There is a small roundabout where you can see the Christ's Church(more than 200 years old) , the small Dutch Clock Tower and Studthuy's(museum).It takes a whole day to see the Museum which has so much to showcase about Malaysia , its history and traditions .There is also a quaint Dutch Fortress which served as a Dutch graveyard. Anyone who visits Malacca cannot miss a ride in the beautifully decorated cycle-rickshaws blaring old Hindi songs !! Families with children must go to the A'famosa Water Park , the Maritime Museum and see the wonderful Light and Sound show at Bandar Hilir ."Nyona" food is famous in Malacca.It is said that the Chinese and Sigaporeans who came in easily to Malaysia via Malacca , settled down there first.Their inter-mingling with the local Malay people helped create new dishes- Nyona being one such. There are some good places to eat along Jonker Street and at the A'Famosa Resorts.Vegetarian food is hard to find , though , and vegetarians must carry a food basket! Malacca is an hour’s drive from the capital city.
- Cameron Highlands- Just 4-5 hours away, if going by car from Kuala Lumpur, there is a Hill Station called the Cameron Highlands named after William Cameron the person who discovered the place. It is famous for tea estates , mainly the Boh Tea Estate which is worth visiting. Apart from this there are two waterfalls which one can trek to. The trek to Parit Waterfall is easy and along a narrow path which opens suddenly to a clearing surrounded by hills with the waterfall in the centre. There is a bee park , a butterfly park, a strawberry farm ,a rose garden too , to visit. Suggested places to stay: the Century Pines Resort and Bala's Chalet. It’s necessary to carry some ready to eat foods as vegetarian restaurants are few and not too clean.Restoran Buga Suria perhaps is the cleanest of the lot serving, apart from Chinese , North Indian Food too.While nearing the top of Cameroon Hills , you come across a small tea estate , the Bharat Tea Estate.The tea and the scones served here are to die for.There is a good view of the entire Tea Estate with its small waterfall from the café and one can also walk through the estate.Again , the variety of tea and the baked goodies at the Boh Tea Cafe is simply great!!
- Genting Highlands – Anyone who visits Malaysia , has to visit this hill station , just about an hour’s drive from the capital city. There are many buses that ply to the Highlands starting at 9 am and the last bus leaves the Highlands at 8 pm. The outdoor theme park has many thrilling rides but it’s advisable to check the weather before visiting the place as a rainy day can hamper the outdoor fun. There are three hotels in the hill station and each of these have theme parks , malls and casinos which are all open till 11 in the night. One can go halfway up the hill by bus and do the rest by a cable car. There is a Chinese Temple with an enormous statue of a seated Buddha that’s a must see. The Theme Park Hotel or the First World Hotel are best places to stay.There are many restaurants to eat from and clean, good food is plenty here.You do not have to worry about carrying anything with you.Warm clothes , perhaps.
- Langkawi – an Island belonging to Malaysia , very close to the borders of Thailand. There are regular flights to the island and one can also go by train and then take a boat to the mainland. Langkawi is a popular tourist spot and as a result has many good Indian restaurants.There are many shops to buy things from to take back home.The chocolates and electronic goods are duty-free here. There are several hotels to select from and stay in some being Holiday Villa and the Awana Resort. There are daily trips to some of the best snorkelling places for fish and corals. Guided tours are also arranged to the bat caves , mangrove forests and the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden . One must not miss the cable car ride to the top of the hills. It’s advisable to check online if the cable car is working or closed for maintenance. Other places to see here are the Seven Wells Waterfall, The Black Sand Beach, and the Crocodile Farm
- Batu Caves – This beautiful limestone cave is in the heart of the capital city and has many buses and a train also plying to the place. The 140 ft golden statue of Murugan is eye-catching and has appeared in almost all Tamil movies !! There is a pretty steep climb of 272 steps to go up to view caves and a small temple within. Definitely worth visiting.
- The Sunway Pyramid Mall and Resort City – There are many Malls in Kuala Lumpur , each more awesome than the other. The Sunway Pyramid Mall is the prettiest. Its built like a pyramid and has a huge sphinx in the front that looks great when lit up in the nights. That apart ,there is a theme park associated with the mall which has a water-world , various rides / games and a family with children can spend a whole day very happily here. There is an ice-rink within the mall which too is worth checking out.
- The Suria KLCC and Twin Towers – The pride of Malaysia-the tallest existing twin towers in the world today. The whole structure is mesmerizing when seen completely lit in the evenings. There is a mall on the ground floor surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains..One can go up to the bridge connecting the towers and stay on it for 15 minutes. Entry is free , but a token number should be taken many hours before going to the viewing deck- queuing for this starts at 9 in the mornings. Aquaria KLCC , the large aquarium , is also in the mall. There is a tunnel which goes through a massive glass aquarium filled with all varieties of fishes , sharks and rays. Moving through the tunnel fitted with a travelator watching the fishes above, is wonderful experience . There is also a Science Museum called Petro Sains which children could see.