While a lot of travellers skip Malaysia in favour of more famous Thailand or bustling Singapore, it’s definitely unwarranted! While lesser-known, this country is a true hidden gem that will not only make epic adventures in Malaysia but also won’t hurt your wallet as much as other destinations. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let us show you:
1. Trek through the world’s oldest rainforests
Spot wild animals — maybe even a tiger — and weird plants (like the largest flower Rafflesia) during your trip through the lushest forest on Earth. Discover Taman Negara, the oldest rainforest in the world and Genting Highlands, Pahang, for an insane hiking trail. If you’re a fan of jungle trekking, then check out these 8 easy jungle treks in Malaysia.
2. Snorkel and touch the turtles
Sipadan, one of the Malaysian diving spots, appears in any World’s Best Diving Places list. Don’t believe it? Check CNN, The Guardian or Google! And whilst you’re there, uncover the scenic Sipadan barrier reef.
3. Visit Aboriginal tribes
Meet the aboriginal tribes in Malaysia: get to know their history, traditions and arts. You can even learn how to shoot a blowpipe (not recommended at home!). Head to Sarawak to learn more about the indigenous people of Malaysia.
4. Observe orangutans
The Malay word ‘orangutan’ means “person of the forest.” Borneo is one of only two places in the world where you can meet our close relatives. Visit an orangutan sanctuary to get up close and personal with these endangered species.
5. Visit tea plantations
Escape the tropical heat and head to Malaysian highlands to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea. Instagram-perfect pictures come as a bonus! Discover lush vegetation, tea, strawberries, and a cooler climate.
6. Soak up the sun on white-sand beaches
Unwind on Malaysia’s numerous beaches, whether you prefer busier party places or something hidden and with no living soul in view. There are a number of islands on both coasts of Peninsular (or West) Malaysia: Redang, Tioman, Pangkor, and Langkawi.
7. Camp on a beach on an island
Want to experience something new? Try camping on Pulau Kapas’ Longsha beach for a once in a lifetime adventure. Although Kapas is not a well-known island in Malaysia, it serves some stunning scenery.
8. Climb Borneo highest mountain
After some rest, take up the challenge and climb the highest peak in the archipelago (4095m). The UNESCO listed mountain is also believed to be home to the spirits, according to animist villagers living in its vicinity.
9. Immerse yourself in a cultural pot
Explore diverse temples, festivals, languages and arts of Malay, Chinese Hokkien and Hakka, Indian and Peranakan who mixed and mingled for centuries. Make your way to Batu Caves for paintings and statues of Hindu Gods, Islamic Art museum for timeless and historical artefacts, as well as Thean Hou Temple, to discover one of the oldest temples in Southeast Asia.
10. Learn local dances
Aiming for a unique local cultural immersion? Try local dance classes: traditional Indian moves that you saw in Bollywood movies with all the mudras — hand/finger gestures, traditional Chinese dance with beautiful fans and exotic Malay dance routines, including Silat: part dance, part Malay art of self-defence. Check out Part 2 (Number 11-20) of Malaysian adventures here.