Top 10 Places to Visit
Malaysia has a multitude of interesting places to visit. From heritage buildings providing multi-cultural experiences of a bygone era, bustling modern buildings projecting an unbounded spirit of progress to mystical sites shrouded in mystery, Malaysia is a blend of old world charms and a world of contemporary marvel. The fun is endless with multi-wonders of nature, island paradises, primeval rainforests and caves to explore. See it, feel it and experience it!
1. Petronas Twin Towers
The world’s tallest twin towers soaring 88-storey and 451.9 metres high is located right here in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Truly Malaysia’s crown jewel, the Petronas Twin Towers is majestic by day and dazzling by night. Inspired by Tun Mahathir Mohamad's vision for Malaysia to be a global player and designed by master architect Cesar Pelli, the international icon encapsulates the nation's ambitions and aspirations.
Begin your tour with interactive displays here that showcase its journey, from idea to completion. The Skybridge which connects the two towers is the world's highest bridge. Level 86, accessible by the public offers breathtaking views of Kuala Lumpur. Wrap up your visit by loading up on exquisite souvenirs at the gift shop.
2. The Archaeological Gallery of the Lenggong Valley
The Archaeological Gallery of the Lenggong Valley is located in Kota Tampan, near Lenggong and is recognised as one of the five UNESCO's World Heritage sites in Malaysia and the 954th in the world. The valley is a pre-historical site dating back 74,000 years ago and is located 100 km to the north of Ipoh.
The Archeological Gallery of Lenggong Valley houses the 'Perak Man', the oldest human skeleton found in Peninsular Malaysia. The skeleton is dated between 10,000 to 11,000 years from the Stone age, in the Palaeolithic era. There are three sections in the Gallery - the Kota Tampan Excavational Site Gallery, Lenggong Pre-Historic Gallery and the Human Civilisation Gallery. Besides the Perak Man, stone tools and other artefacts from the excavations in Lenggong Valley are also exhibited. As one of the oldest site of human activity in West Malaysia, Lenggong Valley is considered as the "archeologist’s dream valley".
3. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
A grand mansion conceived and constructed by a "Grand Man"; an eminent edifice which history calls Home; a peerless representation of the Paradigm Chinese Courtyard House – the Cheong Fatt Tze "Blue" Mansion has been perfectly poised for over a century on firm foundations of architectural, cultural and historic superlatives.
Essentially an 'heirloom with rooms', today, the mansion charms its visitors with exclusive heritage homestays, guided tours and tailored functions on its premises. Reputedly the favourite home of the "Last Mandarin and First Capitalist of China", the mansion is undoubtedly the favourite home of George Town, Penang.
Built in the 1880s, this famous indigo-blue Chinese Courtyard House was the residence of Cheong Fatt Tze, a prominent Chinese figure in the newly established Penang Straits Settlement during the 19th century. The mansion was built by master craftsmen brought in especially from China, who used their skills to fashion the mansion's 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows.
The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion possesses splendid Chinese timber carvings, Gothic louvre windows, russet brick walls and porcelain cut & paste decorative shard works, art nouveau stained glass panels, Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles and Scottish cast iron work. Its layout is based on feng-shui principles, and filled with rare a collection of sculptures, carvings, tapestries and other antiques.
In 2000, the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion received the inaugural UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award, selected as the 'Most Excellent Project' in the Asia Pacific Rim following its RM7.6 million restoration works.
4. Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (Floating Mosque)
Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (Floating Mosque) is built on a platform, located on the estuary of the Terengganu River.
The glistening white mosque combines modern and Moorish architecture, symbolizing a new modernisation in the state and creating it an Islamic icon for the country.
The design of the mosque reflects a subtle Islamic influence combined with local features, incorporating the use of marble, ceramics, mosaic works and bomanite paving. The construction of the mosque inspired by the late Sultan of Terengganu, Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah.
Named after his mother, Tuanku Intan Zaharah binti Almarhum Tengku Seri Setia Raja, the mosque is surrounded by a lake and look much like a place set in the tale of 1,001 Arabian Nights.
5. Sarawak Cultural Village
Known as the 'Living Museum', the Sarawak Cultural Village was set up to preserve and showcase Sarawak's cultural heritage. Located at Pantai Damai, Santubong, just 32 km from the state capital, Kuching, it is the perfect place to get introduced to local culture and lifestyle.
Sprawled across 17 acres, there are about 150 people living in the village, demonstrating traditional daily activities from Sarawak's diverse tribes like the processing of sago to the making of handicrafts.
Replicas of buildings that represent every major ethnic group in Sarawak from the longhouses of the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu to a Melanau tall-house and a Chinese farm houseare on display here.
The village also has a theatre for multicultural dance performances, a restaurant and a handicraft shop. One can even get married at the Sarawak Cultural Village garbed in traditional Iban, Malay, Bidayuh or Orang Ulu costumes.
The Iban longhouse with its long communal hall is often used for leisurely activities like wood carving and basket weaving.
Guests are invited to attend nightly ceremonies and partake a potent rice wine, "tuak". Comfortable guesthouses are available for visitors.
6. Langkawi Island
Langkawi is known as a legendary island. It is a cluster of 99 islands located off the coast of Kedah and offers the best of many worlds: beautiful beaches, world-class infrastructure, mangroves rich in flora and fauna, ultra-cheap duty-free shopping and fascinating legends.
Langkawi has a lingering legend woven into its history. Ask anyone on the island about the tragic story of a beautiful young maiden named Mahsuri, and you'll hear a tale of love, jealousy and a curse that was placed upon the island by her for seven generations.
Today, the seventh generation of Langkawi's inhabitants has long come and gone, but people here still believe that the prosperity and blessings the islands enjoy today and the passing of the curse is no mere coincidence. The mysticism of this legend can be felt in many parts of this island, especially at Makam Mahsuri (Mahsuri's Mausoleum), where Mahsuri is said to be buried.
Many of the islanders here are farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs. Come experience the beautiful countryside and peaceful landscape of paddy fields, best accomplished a leisurely drive around the island. Some of Langkawi's most rustic and memorable views are located along the road that encircles the island.
You'll pass small villages with wooden houses framed by palm trees, and children pedalling their old bicycles. Aside from experiencing the local lifestyle, there is no shortage of things to do in Langkawi. Head up the thrilling new cable car to the summit of Mount Mat Cincang - Langkawi's second highest mountain for an unrivalled view of the entire main island.
Other popular destinations include the Field of Burnt Rice, Hot Springs, Telaga Tujuh (The Seven Wells) and the Beach of Black Sand. Boat tours are organised to Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden), Gua Cerita (Cave of Stories) and Gua Langsir (Curtain Cave).
For a more intimate time with nature, go trekking through the pristine rainforest that covers most of Langkawi, hop on a boat tour of the mangroves. Go for a dive, or play a round of golf at one of the many 5-star resorts. Langkawi's Underwater World is also a must-visit.
7. A' Famosa
A’ Famosa, or "The Famous" in Portuguese, is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. Once part of a mighty fortress, this tiny gate (called the Porta de Santiago) is all that is left of the fortress. In 1511 a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Alfonso de Albequerque. His forces attacked and successfully defeated the armies of the native Sultanate and quickly built a fortress around a natural hill near the sea. Albequerque believed that Melaka would become an important port linking Portugal to the spice trade from China. At his time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as Macau, China and Goa, India in order to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to China and returning home to Portugal. The Portuguese colonised Melaka from 1511 to 1641. As Melaka was the centre of struggles between super powers of the time, it suffered constant threat of attack. Hence, the A'Famosa fort was critical for Portugal to maintain its colonial foothold in the Far East.
Within the fort walls were housing and food stores, a castle, a meeting room for the Portuguese Council and five churches. A seven-month attack by the Dutch just about destroyed the entire fortress, leaving only the entrance façade and the structure of a church at the top of the hill.
Go for a stroll up St. Paul's Hill on a cool late afternoon and wander among the majestic trees and historical remnants. Here, you can almost imagine the glories and miseries of the besieged lives the Portuguese would have led right here all those years ago.
8. Mount Mulu National Park
Mount Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Home to one of the richest biodiversity treasures in the world with endless rare wildlife, plants and flowers, it is also home to one of the longest networks of caves in the world.
Sarawak Chamber, the world’s largest underground chamber is approximately the size of 40 Boeing 747 aeroplanes. The Deer Cave, the world’s biggest cave passage has a capacity of five St. Paul’s Cathedral (London). The Clear Water Cave is the longest cave in Southeast Asia. The massive caves here are also home to millions of bats and swiftlets that swarm out into the jungle every evening.
Mount Mulu National Park also has some of the fine examples of tropical limestone weathering in the world, including enormous razor-sharp pinnacles and deep-cut canyons called The Pinnacles.
Legoland Malaysia theme park, the first in Asia, is situated in Nusajaya, Johor. Situated on 76 acres of land, the park is the sixth of such parks in the world. Others are located in Billund, Denmark (1968), Windsor, England (1996), California, USA (1999), Germany (2002) and Florida, USA (2005).
Legoland is built with over 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions. One of the main attractions here is the Miniland. More than 30 million lego bricks are used in the building of these monuments including the Petronas Twin Towers, The Merlion Statue, Taj Mahal and others.
These well-known buildings are built using lego bricks, an interactive world on a scale of 1:20 where people, trains and aeroplanes come to life at the touch of a button. Other attractions at the park include Lego City, Land of Adventure, Imagination, Lego Kingdom and Lego Technic.
In the theme park, there is also an Observation Tower which is the highest tower in Legoland Malaysia, aloft at 60 metres from the ground. This is also the third Legoland observation tower in the world after Denmark and Germany.
10. Batu Caves
Batu Caves is a must-visit place for culture-seekers and visitors that appreciate the colourful cultures of the Indian community in Malaysia. Today, Batu Caves is an iconic tourist landmark in Selangor. Every year especially during Thaipusam festival, Batu Caves attracts thousands of worshippers and tourists.
It has three main caves with temples and Hindu shrines. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance. A steep 272 steps climb up its steps to finally view the up the main cave offers a stunning view of Kuala Lumpur's skyline. Monkeys roam freely around the caves. Paintings and scenes of Hindu deities are vividly displayed.