Malaysia has 13 states and three federal territories. The territories are:
- Kuala Lumpur
- Labuan (Island off the coast of Borneo)
The states are:
- Negeri Sembilan
- Sabah (Borneo)
- Sarawak (Borneo)
The capital of Kuala Lumpur is a popular tourist destination. With a modern outlook, the city is known for its large shopping malls and the iconic gleaming beauties that are the Petronas Twin Towers. Other places of interest in the cosmopolitan city include the KL Tower, the Batu Caves, the National Mosque, Merdeka Square, the National Museum, Jamek Masjid, Sri Mariamman Temple, and Sunway Lagoon attraction park. There are plentiful art galleries and museums, scenic green spaces, theatres, and more. The Genting Highlands resort, with its casinos, restaurants, and varied leisure and entertainment options is within easy reach of KL.
Penang and Langkawi
In the north west, Penang and Langkawi also attract many visitors. Penang is known for its awesome street food scene and interesting public art. There are diverse religious buildings, historic architecture, traditional Chinese jetties, museums, beaches (though there are better ones elsewhere in the country), and more. Taman Negara Pulau Pinang includes ocean and land and is the smallest national park in the country. Nicknamed the Jewel of Kedah, the archipelago of Langkawi boasts beautiful sandy beaches and plentiful attractions and activities. Soak up the views from the top of Gunung Raya or with a ride on the cable car.
On the western coast, south of KL, Malacca is a pretty city with colonial heritage. The red buildings of Dutch Square are eye-catching and the “Floating Mosque” is attractive. Other highlights include the ruins of A Famosa fort and St. Paul’s Church, the Istana, various museums, and diverse religious buildings. The river adds a certain beauty to the city, and there is interesting street art to admire. The weekend Jonker Street Market is a terrific place to sample an array of street foods, purchase souvenirs, and get carried away in the crowds.
Close to the border with Singapore, Johor Bahru is home to a Legoland theme park and the quirky Sanrio Hello Kitty Town.
The capital of Sarawak, Kuching, is nicknamed the City of Cats. Pay a visit to the Cat Museum and see the large feline statues scattered around the city. Sarawak Cultural Village is a top place to learn more about different indigenous groups that live in the area. Other attractions in Sarawak include Gunung Mulu National Park with its incredible rock formations, the caves of Niah National Park, the Petroleum Museum in Miri, and Bako National Park.
Long the west coast of the peninsula, the laid-back Perhentian Islands are ideal for beach- and water-loving travellers. The sea is teeming with marine life, making it ideal for people who love underwater explorations, or you can laze in a hammock while listening to the sounds of the ocean. The islands of Tioman and Redang are lesser-visited alternatives.
The Cameron Highlands
Inland, the lush Cameron Highlands area is famous for its rolling green tea plantations. Strawberry farms, walking trails, and museums are other local attractions.
Highlights for Nature Lovers
Taman Negara Malaysia is the largest national park on the peninsula. Covering three states, it’s home to a plethora of flora and fauna. A canopy walkway offers a different view of the rainforest.
The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak combine outdoor adventures filled with nature-spotting opportunities and cultural experiences.
In Sabah, many visitors want to conquer the soaring Mount Kinabalu and visit Kota Kinabalu National Park. Look out for wild orangutans, the long-nosed proboscis monkeys, hornbills, and the giant rafflesia flower. Sandakan has a sad war history, and other places of interest around the state include the city of Kota Kinabalu, beaches, Poring Hot Springs, the Kinabatangan River, the Danum Valley Conservation Area, the Semporna Islands with their exceptional diving, the Sepilok Orang Utan Centre, and the Monsopiad Heritage Village where visitors can learn about fearsome headhunters of the past and tribal customs.
With so many things to see and do, it’s easy to see why Malaysia attracts so many visitors each year!