While Malaysia has always been a favorite tourist spot in Asia, there are a lot of hidden gems in this country which the world is still unaware of. From the rich history to multiple cultures and races, from world-class cuisines to its world-class infrastructures, there is just too much that this country has to offer. Let us take you down a small tour of this beautiful country. We’re pretty sure you’d be already planning a long vacation to Malaysia before you could even finish reading the complete article.
If there is one place in the world where you’d be entitled to the same rights as a person regardless of your religion, it is this country. Due to its rich and diverse history, Malaysia is home to almost all the existing religions of the world and treats each one of them with equality. Here are a few of the many existing monuments and places of worships, belonging to different religions, which Malaysia proudly owns:
- For Muslims:
- National Mosques of Malaysia
- Putra Mosque
- Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque
- Crystal Mosque
- Jamek Mosque
- Zahir Mosque
- Malacca Straits Mosque
- Blue Mosque
- Sultan Sulaiman Mosque
- Floating Mosque
- Sabah State Mosque
- Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
- Iron Mosque, Putrajaya
- Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
- Kapitan Kling Mosque
- Al-Bukhari Mosque
- JertehHadhari Mosque
- Al-Hussain Mosque
- Ubudiah Mosque
- Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque
- Puchong Perdana Mosque
- Federal Territory Mosque
- Crystal Mosque
- For Buddhists:
- The Thai Chetawan Temple ( Wat Chetawan)
- Kek Lok Si Temple
- Dhammikarama Burmese Temple
- Wat Photivihan
- Sam Poh Tong
- Xiang Lin Si Temple
- For Taoists:
- Sin Sze Si Ya Temple
- Goddess of Mercy Temple
- Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple
- For Hindus:
- Batu Caves
- Sri PoyyathaVinayagarMoorthi Temple
- Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, Johor Bahru
- Sri PoyathaMoorthi Temple
- Sri SundararajaPerumal Temple
- Sri KandaswamyKovil
- For Christians:
- Peter’s Church, Melaka
- Christ Church, Melaka
- George’s Anglican Church, Penang
- Francis Xavier’s Church, Melaka
- Church of the Assumption, Penang
- All Saints’ Church, Perak
- Anne’s Church, Penang
- Michael and All Angels’ Church, Sabah
These are just a few examples of the different religious presence in Malaysia. Harmony Street is another proud example of religious diversity in the country where the places of worship of the three major religions of Malaysia exist in complete harmony, a mosque, a Hindu temple and a Chinese temple all of them built between 17th and 19th century.
Malaysia is home to diverse cultural groups all across the country. The Indigenous Tribes and Malays were the first few inhabitants of the country. The Malays occupy the major percentage of the population followed by Chinese, indigenous Bumiputra groups, and Indians. Other cultural groups include Dayak, Iban, Kadazan, British, Persian, Japanese and Arabs.
Malaysia is home to numerous ethnicity, cultures, and races. While the history is the proof of settlements of this vast variety of groups in the country, its authentic foods from all around the world take a lot of credit for the current boom in its tourism. You know how they say “to each his own”? They mean it here in Malaysia. You are entitled to choose your own favorite cuisine; all you have to do it is, search for the right place.
While you’re here don’t forget to try its world-famous cuisine Peranakan or Nyonya, which basically has Chinese, Malay and Indonesian influence. If you’re a coffee lover, Kopi Tiam is a must visit place for you which is a traditional coffee shop based in different parts of the country. Kopi Tiam is basically a cafe or restaurant with a buffet style cuisine with usually a few stalls on site. The kitchen is right in front of you to verify the level of hygiene of the place yourself.
If you are a vegetarian, worry not, you also have a variety of options in Malaysia since the country is vegetarian-friendly, unlike in a lot of other countries. There is special care taken for Muslims eating Halal food. Apart from all this Malaysia is known for its Indian cuisines and blend of Malaysian and Indian cuisines. You can also find Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Western, Thai, Indonesian and Arabic cuisines, to name a few. For a true experience of the food culture diversity in Malaysia, visit its food capital Penang.
Also, don’t forget to try its national fruit Durian as well as other fruits like Engkala, Mangosteen, and Rambutan Fruit.
Being home to some of the oldest tropical jungles in the world, Malaysia provides several remarkable jungle treks. If you love exploring the jungles and is a trekking and hiking enthusiast, Malaysia has a lot in store for you, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert. Here are a few must-experience treks and hikes of Malaysia:
- Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, KL
- Templer’s Park or Taman Rimba Templer, Selangor
- Genting Highlands, Pahang
- Taman Negara Malaysia, Kuala Tahan
- Penang National Park, Penang
- Danum Valley, Lahad Datu, Sabah
- Endau Rompin National Park, Johor
- Ulu Bendul, Negeri Sembilan
Due to its historical and traditional influence from many countries, Malaysia experienced automatic multilingualism. Since the country has a past with British colonization, English is very widely spoken here. Other major languages spoken in Malaysia include Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, Telugu, Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, Hainanese, Punjabi, Hindi and a lot more. In the present day Malaysia, most of the foreign language influence is brought due to the increase in trade and relationships between the countries and immigration of foreigners in the country. Hence, a lot of foreign languages automatically became a part of the country without making much of an effort.
In 2012, CNN Travel voted Kuala Lumpur as the fourth best shopping city in the world. The facilities range from deluxe shopping centers and complexes to bazaars and night markets that offer a numbing yet irresistible choice of local collectibles as well as international labels. Here are a few places to shop in Malaysia:
- Petaling Street, KL- Street Shopping
- Central Market, KL- famous for traditional gifts and souvenirs
- Kasturi Walk- Open Air Market
- Suria KLCC, Petronas Towers- Shopping mall
- Pavilian, KL- famous for international as well as local brands
- Berjaya Times Square Mall
Apart from these, there are a lot of other places you won’t regret spending a little fortune at, including Langkawi Parade, Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall, the Zon Shopping Paradise, and Cameron Squares.
The Mother Nature has been very kind to Malaysia by giving the country a huge number of wildlife species and tropical forests, which makes the country unique in itself. A lot of nature lovers come to Malaysia just for this purpose itself and get to explore the enormous treasure of wildlife. Here are a few you must not miss while you’re here:
- – Malayan tiger
- – Asian elephant
- – Sumatran rhinoceros
- – Malayan tapir
- – Lesser mousedeer
- – Malayan pangolin
- – Malayan flying lemur
- – Gaur
- – Leatherback sea turtle
- – Bornean orangutan
- – Probosci’s monkey
- – Crab-eating macaque
- – Siamang
- – Malayan peacock-pheasant
- – Rhinoceros hornbill
- – Malayan flying frog
- – Rafflesia
- – Large-leaved pitcher plant
- – Bamboo orchid
- – Ridleyandrachuana
UNESCO World Heritage sites
UNESCO has protected a few of the many natural and culturally important sites of Malaysia as World Heritage Sites. Malaysia has a huge history with Portuguese, British, Japanese and a few others since as early as the 16th Century. The history of the country is quite evident in the architecture and buildings which exist to date. A few other heritage sites are natural heritage sites which hold a great value in biodiversity.
Here are all the World Heritage sites of Malaysia till date:
- – Gunung Mulu National Park
- – Kinabalu Park
- – Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of Straits of Malacca
- – Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley
- Fashionable beach sarongs and pewter products- from the Royal Selangor Company
- Batik- from the east coast states of Terengganu and Kelantan
- Palumbo- Sarawak
- LabuSayong- KampungSayong in Perak
- WayangKulitor shadow puppet- Kelantan
- Wau Bulan ( the Malaysian Kite)- traditionally started in Kelantan
Apart from the traditional art forms Malaysia is now even welcoming performance arts. If you want to witness them live, check out Istana Budaya, KL Performing Arts (KLPAC) and The Annexe Gallery.
Festivals for every season
People from different background, culture, country, and ethnicity, who now call Malaysia their home have brought in many culturally important values with them. Due to this blend, Malaysia proudly celebrates most of the festivals of almost its entire population, be it Chinese, Malay, Indian. A few of the noteworthy celebrations include:
- Hari Raya Aidilfitri/ Eid al-Fitr
- Chinese New Year (must eat- Yee Sang)
- Thaipusam (mainly in Batu Caves)
- Hari Raya AidilAdha
- Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
- Sabah Ka’amatan Festival (Harvest Festival)
- Sarawak Gawai Festival (Harvest Festival)
- Hungry Ghost and Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival
- Ramadan Month (Fasting Month)- must visit Ramadan Bazaar
Several areas are decorated in the colors of festivity during the season. A lot of them call for a national holiday as well.
The affordable lifestyle
When we talk about affordable lifestyle, we don’t always mean budget. Some people have an extravagant style of living while a lot of us are extremely laid back. Well, Malaysia is a perfect place for you, no matter which of the above are you. If you want a luxurious lifestyle, you’ve got big shopping malls, branded items, world-class infrastructure in your favor. A fifth of the Malaysian population stays in Kuala Lumpur due to its developed setup. There is almost nothing in the world which you can’t get in Malaysia.
However, if city life is just not your thing and you’d rather stay somewhere in the outskirts, away from the race of the world, worry not! Malaysia is a natural paradise with most of its states uninterrupted by the competitive world. With beautiful islands like Mabul, Langkawi, Penang and a lot more, the country calls for the all the nature lovers of the world. Most of the Malaysians are laid-back people in nature who enjoy life as it comes. This is a great advantage to the people who want to just enjoy and appreciate everything life has in offer. You can make some really good friends and explore the rest of the country at your own pace.
Apart from all this, living in Malaysia can be quite affordable, but be warned that nothing in this world comes free and you need to earn enough fortune for at least yourself. The healthcare is available everywhere in the country and is almost free.
Malaysia is heaven’s gift to the backpackers of the world. It’s home to diverse landscapes which is what makes it so different from other countries. Every single city, every landscape is so different from others that covering the entire country could take you ages. In short, Malaysia is a world in itself.
Although due to its equator setting, the temperature is quite hot almost throughout the year in all the parts of the country, but the monsoon season hits different places at different time. You get to witness the beautiful islands,which account to more than 300 in numbers, each offering its own charm.The mainland in Malaysia is very well developed serving the world-class facilities. KL, Johor Bahru, and Ipoh are just a few to be named.
From paddy fields to rainforest hills, beautiful islands to its sandy beaches, breezy highlands to city valleys, palm oil and rubber plantations to rural Kampong villages, strawberry greenhouses to limestone formations,Malaysia speaks for itself and tops the list of every traveler’s bucket list of southeast Asian countries.