The country of Malaysia, located in Southeast Asia, is an incredible mixing pot of cultures. Bordering everything from Thailand and the South China Sea to Brunei and Indonesia, Malaysia has a central location that shouldn’t be skipped when exploring Southeast Asia. What makes Malaysia so fascinating is its diversity. In the same country, you can explore thriving, modern cities, explore colonial architecture, relax on some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet and hike through lush green jungles. Here are just some of the top reasons to visit Malaysia on your next trip to Asia.
10. Modern Architecture
The city of Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic place to admire the more modern architecture found in Malaysia, and in particular the contemporary skyscrapers that create one of Asia’s most iconic skylines. If possible, take time to see the Petronas Twin Towers in the district known as the Golden Triangle. Once the tallest buildings in the world, and now connected by a skybridge, the Petronas Twin Towers are just a short walk from other incredible structures like the KL Tower and its viewing deck.
Malaysia has been influenced and colonized by cultures from around the globe. Proximity to China means that Malaysia is home to excellent Chinese cuisine and a vibrant heritage. You can experience this influence first hand by exploring one of the Chinatowns in Malaysia, the largest of which is in George Town. In this Chinatown, you can see a 200-year-old Kuan Yin Teng Temple or indulge in the local street fare. Don’t miss dining at one of the local dim sum restaurants or trying the hot egg waffles sold from vendors right on the street.
8. Tea Plantations
The tea industry has long been a part of development and trade in Malaysia, particularly in areas like the Cameron Highlands. There, near the highest point of the country, temperatures are cool enough for tea plantations. In the Cameron Highlands, you can take a guided tour of the nation’s largest tea company, hike through the plantation itself or sip local teas at some of the smaller plantations in the vicinity.
Hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Malaysia, but the country actually boasts a number of excellent hiking spots. None, however, can compare to Mount Kinabalu. In the state of Sabah, Mount Kinabalu boasts miles of hiking trails that pass through six distinct vegetation zones at varying elevations. To climb the entire summit, expect to spend two days hiking with a night of camping in between.
6. Colonial Architecture
With Malaysia’s long colonial history, it boasts an array of colonial architecture. If you’re interested in this blast from the past, there can be no better spot to visit than Melaka. The city has been ruled by the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese, and its architecture reflects that. Just some of the buildings you can explore include the ruins of a 16th century Portuguese fortress, the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia and the Stadthuys Town Hall, which still stands as the oldest as well as the largest Dutch colonial building in the region.