If Malaysia is not on your bucket list, it should be. Here are 12 attractions that will enthrall and excite you.
CLIMB A MOUNTAIN
Kota Kinabalu on the Malaysian island of Borneo is home to the tallest peak in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu. It’s one of the easiest peaks in the world to conquer and doesn’t demand previous climbing experience, though it does take around two days to ascend and descend. Watching the sun rise from the summit is nothing short of incredible.
HANG WITH AN ORANGUTAN
Sepilok is home to the orangutans. These beautiful, critically endangered creatures are native to Malaysia. The orangutan rehabilitation centre in Sabah occupies around 43 square kilometres of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. It’s home to around 25 young orphaned orangutans which are housed in the nurseries, as well as those free in the reserve.
WATCH BABY TURTLES HATCH
The elegant white beaches of Lankayan, a tiny island in the Sulu Sea, are the perfect place to unwind. But the island, about one and a half hours north of Sandakan by boat, is also a turtle spotting destination with its own turtle hatchery. The green turtle and hawksbill turtle make regular appearances as the new hatchlings are released to the sea from June to September.
SEE PYGMY ELEPHANTS PLAY
Many adventurous travellers head to Sabah to get their fix of wildlife. The Kinabatangan River is home to pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, orangutans, sumatran rhinos and clouded leopards, along with countless rare birds such as the hornbill and the Oriental Darter. Crocs can also be spotted lazing along the riverbank.
DIVE WITH HAMMERHEAD SHARKS
Drop into crystal clear waters and be surrounded by hundreds of hammerhead sharks at Layang Layang, a resort island 300km off the north coast of Borneo. The clear waters have a visibility of up to 40m and pristine reefs. The island is actually an atoll of 13 linked coral reefs which drop down into sheer walls. As well as hammerheads you’ll also encounter turtles, giant clams, tuna, redtoothed triggerfish, pyramid butterflyfish and unicornfish.
ENJOY A COCKTAIL AT 300 METRES
It’s not often you can indulge in a cocktail at such dizzying heights, but Malaysia has you covered. Marini’s on 57 is the country’s highest rooftop bar, offering 360 degree panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur’s city skyline. The award-winning Skybar is also in KL and is located on level 33 of the Traders Hotel, overlooking the KLCC Park and the Petronas Twin Towers, where you can mix delicious cocktails and food with intoxicating views of the city.
EXPERIENCE THE THRILL OF FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX
The Malaysian Grand Prix takes place each March at the Sepang International Circuit just outside Kuala Lumpur. Rev heads can get their adrenaline pumping watching the exhilarating action at one of the most impressive tracks in the world, with its extreme hot and wet conditions proving a challenge for even the most experienced drivers in the world. The added bonus of it being one of the cheapest races on the circuit doesn’t hurt either, ensuring it’s an affordable option in terms of ticket prices.
WALK THE SKY BRIDGE
Above the rainforest in Langkawi the Sky Bridge offers visitors the chance to walk above the rainforest. The suspension bridge is perched in the mountains at around 100 metres above the ground. At 125 metres long, visitors are treated to spectacular views throughout the entire walk.
GO BACK IN TIME
The Muliau Basin in Sabah is one of Malaysia’s finest remaining wilderness spots. Bound by a formidable escarpment reaching over 1675 metres above sea level, the basin encompasses more than 390 square kilometres of forest. The remote site is perfect for jungle walks and bird watching, while the highlight for visitors is trekking the seven-tier Maliau Falls.
HAVE HIGH TEA IN A TEA PLANTATION
Located on the Titiwangsa Range some 1500m above sea level, the Cameron Highlands is home to a vast plantation producing tea, flowers, vegetable and strawberries. Visitors can relax among the tea plantation with a picturesque view across the rolling hills while enjoying all the trimmings of a high tea.
SEE A “CORPSE FLOWER”
The Rafflesia thrives in altitudes of between 500 and 700 metres in the forests of Borneo. This species has small, brownish, scale-like leaves and flowers that look and smell like rotting flesh (hence its nickname of “corpse flower”) varying in size between a few centimetres to a metre in diameter. Buds take up to 10 months to develop and blossom for just a few days.
PIMP YOURSELF OUT IN A PRESIDENTIAL SUITE
The Ritz-Carlton in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur offers guests a seriously luxe experience, just ask Barack Obama – the United States’ president recently called the hotel home for a weekend. The hotel is equipped with two spacious presidential suites, a private rooftop swimming pool and an elegant old English decor.