Malaysia offers two very distinct experiences: the peninsula and Borneo (an island shared with Indonesia and Brunei). The peninsula is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors with the modern capital of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Borneo features a jungle with wild animals like orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes. About 2 million tourists visit the area each year. Most of them are citizens from neighboring countries like Singapore and Indonesia.
The Cameron Highlands was 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 known for its trails through the jungles. You can see waterfalls, tea plantations and tea factories.
Named after Britain’s King George III, Georgetown is located on the northeast corner of Penang Island. Most of the population is of Chinese origin. You can see the colonial style shops and unique architecture.
Taman Negara means “national park” in Malay. Taman Negara is one of the oldest tropical rain forests in the world. It is home to endangered species such as the Asian elephant, tigers, leopards and rhinos. You can see many birds, small deer, lizards, snakes and maybe even a tapir.
Tioman is a small island located off the east coast of Malaysia. The island is surrounded by many white coral reefs making it a great place for scuba diving. The island is forested and highly visited during November through February. At other times, the island has very few tourists.
With a summit height of 4,095 meters (13,435 feet), Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo. The mountain is known throughout the world for its different plants and animal species. Over 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and 100 different mammals have been identified here. The main peak of the mountain can be climbed easily by a person in “good” physical condition. It does not require any mountaineering equipment. However, climbers must be accompanied by a guide at all times.
The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings before being surpassed in 2004 by Taipei 101. However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings in the world. The 88-floor towers are constructed out of concrete with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art and Muslim religion. There is a sky bridge between the two towers.
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah which is adjacent to the Thai border. Pulau Langkawi is the largest of the islands with a population of about 65,000. The only other island with people living on it is the nearby island of Pulau Tuba. The islands have white beaches. Inland, there are jungle-covered hills and mountain peaks.
These islands are located off the coast of northeastern Malaysia not far from the Thai border. They have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, as well as the waters offer an assortment of places to dive. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil (“Small Perhentian”). Both of these islands have white sandy beaches and palm trees overlooking the turquoise sea.
The rehabilitation center opened in 1964 for helping the orphaned baby orangutans from logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting. These rescued orangutans are trained to survive again in the wild and are released when ready to do so into a reserve area. Today, there are about 60-80 orangutans living free.
The Mulu Caves are located in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Borneo. The park has caves and rock formations in a mountainous rainforest setting. The Sarawak chamber in one of the underground caves is the largest cave chamber in the world. It is so large that it is estimated that it can hold about 40 Boeing 747s without overlapping their wings! You can also see a huge colony of bats explore for food at night.