Everybody knows about Penang, Langkawi and good ol’ KL! But Malaysia has so much more to offer than just the most popular tourist traps.
Malaysia has it all. From jungle trekking to beautiful beaches, and from colonial history to modern entertainment, you can find everything you’re looking for here in Malaysia! Everybody seems to enter the country at Kuala Lumpur, and after exploring the capital they then head to the Andaman islands of Penang or Langkawi. Another option is to head over to Sabah and check out the natural wonders of Kota Kinabalu or Sandakan. However, Malaysia does also have some hidden treasures, which are not always quite as well-visited by tourists. Here is my pick of some of the best ‘secondary’ locations in Malaysia:
The area known as The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations. The size of Singapore, it occupies an area of 712sqkm. To the north, its boundary touches that of Kelantan; to the west, it shares part of its border with Perak. The highlands are an extensive part of Malaysia’s central mountain ranges, and because of the elevation, the weather is much cooler than in cities and on the coastline.
Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting. Most people visit Borneo to see the sights of Sabah, but fly instead to Kuching or Miri and make your way to Gunung Mulu to see some off the beaten path highlights and some weird and wonderful wildlife!
Taman Negara is located in the Titiwangsa Mountains, and it literally means “national park” in Malay. This is the home of crocodiles, and even tigers! There are many deep, muddy rivers in Taman Negara that can be explored on long boats, and it is even possible to camp overnight here.
Tioman Island is a small island located 32km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Pahang, and is some 20km long and 12km wide. It has eight main villages, the largest and most populous being Kampung Tekek in the north. Most people know about Malaysia’s western islands such as Penang and Langkawi, or even Pangkor, but in the east, you have splendours like Redang Island and the Perhentians. However, the jewel in the crown is certainly Tioman Island.
Melaka (or Malacca), dubbed “The Historic State”, is the third smallest Malaysian state after Perlis and Penang – but size isn’t always everything! Melaka is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Straits of Malacca. It makes for a great day trip from Kuala Lumpur where you can explore the colonial history of the city as well as enjoying its striking Chinese heritage.
What is your favourite place in Malaysia for some off-the-beaten-track exploration?