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Malaysia the truly hospitable land for a host of vacation ideas is one of the leading tourist attractions of the world. Its popularity lies in the fact that is a land of many mixes. The cultural cauldron of different ethnicities of Asia, Malaysia is where you find the towering offices and modern architectural dominance, at the same time the Malay Kampung (village) is neither shunned nor shunted away. The urban landscapes on one hand are pinnacles of development, whereas the untouched forests full of a rich biodiversity and wildlife are given their due.
West Malaysia is separated from East Malaysia by the South China Sea, with West Malaysia being touted as the more developed region, whereas its counterpart predominantly remains a haven for the lush forests.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital city as well as the largest city of Malaysia. A cultural melting pot, its skyline is defined by the towering Petronas Twin Towers, as much as its heart is defined by the urban bustle of infrastructure, administration, shopping, restaurants and some of the natural wonders just a couple of hours away. Sightseeing attractions of the city include the Old City Centre or Old Town which is home to the colonial centers, such as, the Merdeka Square and Selangor Club. The Golden Triangle which is the main business district of the city is where one finds the rush of restaurants, offices and shopping districts. Colorful shopping outlets in Brickfields also called Little India as well as in Chinatown are examples of the ethnic mix and merchandise that find their place in the city. For history lovers, the National Museum and Islamic Arts Museum are worth visiting. The Batu Caves, limestone wonderment is a delightful natural attraction located on the northern edge of the city.
Malacca City in southwest Malaysia has a rich cultural and historical influence of the Dutch, Portuguese and British. The Jonker Street in its center is known for its night market and antique shops, whereas the Chinese Cheng Hoon Teng temple near it is gloriously decorated. The Japanese styled Kampung Kling Mosque or the Dutch built Christ Church are some examples of the various different global influences that make this city a perfect historical keeper. Some other attractions include the Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum, St. Paul’s Hill, the History and Ethnography Museum and more.
Penang Island, one of the more popular islands in Malaysia is a cultural paradise as well as a beach destination, even within national parks, such as, Taman Negara Pulau Pinang, known for its throbbing wildlife and biodiversity.
George Town city on the Penang Island, is another shining example of Malaysia’s cultural and architectural mixes with the British colonial buildings, along with the Chinese shops and mosques, as well as, the blend of Indian, Malay, Thai foods on its streets and restaurants. The Old town is as endearing as the skyscrapers and malls are enthralling of the newer developed areas. Verdant Penang Hill known for its hiking, Khoo Kongsi a Chinese temple, Kapitan Keling a Mughal influenced mosque, Kek Lok Si the massive Buddhist pagoda temple are some of the other attractions of the city.
Johor Bahru the southern tip of Malaysia is where the causeway across the Strait of Johor connects the country to Singapore. On the city’s waterfront side stands the majestic Istana Besar a royal palace built in 1866. The city is popular for its electric night life, shopping malls and restaurants.
Kuching on the Borneo Island is an old city with colonial as well as modern influences. Its main attraction is The Astana the palace of the White Rajahs and Fort Margherita. The Boko National Park is one of the wildlife reserves in the Sarawak region that will warm the wildlife lovers with its rugged terrain, forests and beaches. The Santubong Peninsula is a resort favorite spot with its white sands and clear waters.
Kota Kinabalu, a part of the Borneo Island is a coastal city surrounded by the rainforest. Its beaches, as well as, natural biodiversity spots, such as, the Kinabalu National Park, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (made from five islands that boast of magnificent coral and marine wildlife), the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre and Lok Kawi Wildlife Park known for its orangutans are its main attractions.
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands, and this speaks volumes about its natural beauty and marvels. The Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls also called the Seven Wells is a surreal and breathtaking cascade of seven pools. Other spots that merit visit is the tallest mountain on the island the Gunung Raya, Laman Padi Rice Garden, Legend Garden and the popular Cable ride to view the Pantai Cenang.
The city of Ipoh is a gateway to the splendid Cameron Highlands, the Redang Island a hotspot for scuba divers, the Tioman Island often called the most beautiful island in the world and the yet to fully discover Perhentian Islands are some of the other bright jewels in Malaysia’s tourism crown.
However, it is the interaction with people, learning about their varied cultures and experimenting with the traditional cuisines that are as much a part of tourism as visiting destinations. And Malaysia does not disappoint in either of these. Try the char koay kak (rice cakes), Hokkien mee, otak otak (fish curry) to let the flavors and scents of Malaysian cooking take over your gluttonous desires. And of course, with such a varied cultural mix, one is sure to encounter the ethnic traditional food, culture, festivals and languages of each group, whether in Little India or Chinatown.
Visit Malaysia because very rarely does one find an array of cultures, varied colonial influences, long list of festivals and colorful cuisines. And then for its blissful islands, amazing wildlife, lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, as well as, for its modern monumental feats.