Julia Roberts may have pigged out in Italy, found her spiritual side in India, and fallen in love in Indonesia, but you can have all that fun and adventure when you travel to just one destination. Here are six great reasons why sun-kissed Malaysia could be your rainbow’s end.
1. Bask in paradise.
Just three degrees north of the Equator, Malaysia is blessed with seemingly never-ending miles of breathtaking coastline. With 878 islands — including some of the world’s most beautiful — you can choose to relax at a resort, explore some pristine beaches, or take the plunge with an underwater adventure.
For postcard-perfect landscapes, the Perhentian Islands in Terengganu are a must — not only because the name literally means “stopping point”, but because of all the fun activities, such as jungle trekking, sea kayaking, camping, and turtle-watching.
What makes these coral-ringed islands special is that they’re a designated marine park teeming with sea life, making them prime scuba-diving and snorkelling hot spots!
Travel tip! Whilst here, it’s easy to travel across the border to Thailand.
2. Make a date with a primate.
Instead of waiting for fate to bring your soulmate, travel to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah and get up close with a couple of cuties. Native to Borneo, orangutans are amongst the most intelligent primates, sharing 97% of human DNA.
Founded by an Englishwoman, the Centre is the world’s first that’s dedicated to caring for orphaned orangutans. For only £6, you can visit the successfully rehabilitated apes in the forest and see them getting fed at 10am and 3pm. Awww, bless!
Did you know? “Orang” means “person” and “hutan” is “forest” in Bahasa Malaysia, the official language.
3. Party like it’s 2099.
Well, sort of.
Parts of the capital look like they’re straight out of Blade Runner, especially the PETRONAS Twin Towers, another must-see attraction. Once the tallest buildings in the world and the filming location of Entrapment, these architectural wonders are a blend of post-modern innovation and Malaysian art.
Thanks to a favourable exchange rate, you can live like the rich and famous in Kuala Lumpur. Five-star accommodation can cost under £150, like at the very posh Mandarin Oriental or the trendy Traders Hotel, where its famous SkyBar on Level 33 offers stunning panoramic views of the city.
4. Tuck into a gastronomic adventure.
If you love Asian food, you’re in for a real treat. Malaysian cuisine is a smorgasbord of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai and European flavours. In fact, Malaysians love their food so much that they travel around the country just to eat. Visit the charming food havens of Penang, Ipoh and Melaka — incidentally all former British colonial cities!
5. Take a walk on the wild side.
Be one with nature at Sabah’s Kinabalu Park, Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s home to half of Borneo’s flora and fauna species. If your idea of fun is more climbing mountains than finding Zen, try scaling Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Borneo at 4,095m high.
Images used are borrowed from talented photographers at Flickr.