Almost 2 million foreign tourists traveled to Malaysia in 2010. Most of them were citizens from neighboring countries such as Singapore and Indonesia but a growing number of other foreign tourists are discovering this country as well.
The top Malaysia tourist attractions:
10- Manukan Island:
Water activities shine at Manukan Island, the second largest island in Tunku Abdul National Park, Malaysia’s first marine national park. Located in eastern Malaysia’s Sabah state, the park is known for its great beaches – the best beach is at the island’s eastern end. Travelers also will find coral reefs offshore that offer some pretty spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling. Manukan Island has the most developed tourist facilities of the five islands in the park, and is accessible by ferry from Kota Kinabalu.
Travelers who make their way to Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur will be rewarded with some pretty awesome Hindu art. The three main caves that make up Batu Caves make it the most popular Hindu shrine outside of India, and attract thousands of worshippers at Thaipusam, an annual Hindu festival. The highlight of the site is a giant statue of a Hindu god, reached by climbing 272 steps to the Cathedral Cave. Monkeys also enjoy the site and can be seen playing there.
8-Bukit Bintang (Kuala Lumpur):
Travelers who like to stop ‘til they drop will have a field day at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur’s main shopping district. Bukit Bintang has several malls, including Benaya Times Square, one of the largest malls in the world. This mall houses an indoor theme park. The district is filled with upscale malls and malls that specialize in electronics. After a day of shopping, visitors can unwind at a sidewalk café or nightclub, since Bukit Bintang also is Kuala Lumpur’s trendiest entertainment district.
Redang Island is made for beach lovers, with its white sand beaches and crystal clear ocean water, making it popular with snorkelers – great snorkeling is the island’s main attraction. Scuba divers love it here, too. Though it’s one of the largest islands off the eastern Malay Peninsula, it’s small enough that visitors can get around on foot, either on roads or trekking through the jungle. Redang Island is one of nine islands in a marine nature reserve. Accommodations are mostly resort style.
6-Bako National Park:
Bako National Park is a popular tourist attraction in Malaysia for travelers who enjoy the great outdoors. Located in Sarawak state on Borneo, it’s not very big but packs a wallop for its size. Travelers can see wildlife, rainforests, tumbling waterfalls, beaches and sea stacks. The biggest attraction in the park is the bizarre, obscene-nosed proboscis monkey, though they are rare and difficult to spot. It also has great nature trails, from easy strolls to full-day hikes through the jungle, so all visitors should be able to find one that suits them.
Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia, stretching nearly 550 km (350 miles) from the mountains to Sulu Sea. Located in Sabah state on Borneo, the Kinabatangan River is known for its diverse wildlife and vegetation. It’s a good place to see Asian elephants, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys and Bornean orangutans – it’s one of two places in the world to find 10 species of primates, as well as 200 bird species. It’s known, too, for rain- and limestone forests, and salt and freshwater swamps.
The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations, first developed by the British in the 1920s. It has a population of more than 34,000 people consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups. The Cameron Highlands is renowned for its trails. They lead visitors through the forest to waterfalls and other tranquil spots. Apart from its jungle walks, the sanctuary is also known for its tea plantations and visitors can book several “tea factory” tours.
Taman Negara, which literally means “national park” in Malay, is one of the oldest tropical rain forest in the world. It features massive trees, waterfalls, jungle treks of various duration and the world’s longest canopy walkways. Several trails enable the visitor to explore the forest without a guide. Taman Negara is a haven for endangered species such as the Asian elephant, tigers, leopards and rhinos, but numbers are low and sightings are very rare. It’s unlikely that you will see anything more than birds, small deer, lizards, snakes and perhaps a tapir.
With a summit height at 4,095 meters (13,435 ft), Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo. The mountain is known worldwide for its tremendous botanical and biological species biodiversity. Over 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species have been identified at Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding. The main peak of the mountain can be climbed easily by a person with a good physical condition, and requires no mountaineering equipment although climbers must be accompanied by guides at all times.
Located off the coast of northeastern Malaysia not far from the Thai border. The Perhentian Islands are the must-go place in Malaysia for budget travelers. They have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and great diving with plenty of cheap accommodation. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil (“Small Perhentian”). Both the islands have palm-fringed white sandy beaches and turquoise blue sea.