In Malaysia’s accessible island of Borneo, the wilderness is within easy reach. Ride a river boat up the Kinabatangan River out of Sandakan in Sabah to encounter wild orangutans, or head west to Sarawak’s capital Kuching to eyeball rare proboscis monkeys on the limestone beaches of Bako National Park, and tackle jungle walks through Gunung Gading National Park where rafflesias -the world’s largest and most pungent flowers - bloom.
With straight-off-the-sand snorkelling, beachfront bungalows and unbeatable diving all a speedy boat ride off the coast, the tiny, coral fringed islands that pepper the turquoise seas off Sabah’s Kota Kinabalu tempt travellers to the country’s far east. Head here to learn to dive on some of Borneo’s wildest underwater landscapes, and if you’re feeling adventurous, swap five-star luxury for a campsite on the white sand shores of Sapi Island in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.
The cheeky macaques that tease as you tackle the 272 steps up and into this towering limestone hill make a day trip to the cool caves one of the best things you can do in Kuala Lumpur. The higher you climb above the glistening statue of Lord Murugan, the better the city vistas become, and if the stairs aren’t challenging enough, try tackling one of 160 rock climbing routes nearby. Free to visit, Batu Caves become particularly lively during the Thaipusam Festival in late January/early February.
Beneath the cloud forest that flanks the Forbidden Mountain, Malayan Tigers, elephants and Sumatran Rhinoceros roam a rugged, old growth wilderness.
As the country’s largest, first and most important conservation area, Taman Negara National Park is the place to tackle easy forest trails, ride river sampans, and spend a night spotlighting wildlife from a treetop animal hide. The ultimate adventure is a week-long trek to Gunung Tahan’s faraway summit.
Take a seat and retrace history on a rickshaw ride through Georgetown or Malacca, two of Malaysia’s most vibrant, ancient trading ports with resilient Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture. In Malacca, ride a rickshaw around the rosy red walls of the Portuguese fortress of A'Famosa, then head down famous Jonkers Street into the old town for sizzling, spicy satay served ‘fondue-style’ at your own table.
As the sun goes down, the swaying overhead lanterns along Chinatown’s Jalan Petaling begin to glow and travellers converge to shop, sip cold ales, soak up the atmosphere and work their way through irresistible Chinese banquet menus. Chinatown boasts some fascinating Buddhist and Hindu temples, too. Join the faithful burning bundles of incense sticks at distinctive, red-columned Guandi or marvel at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple’s impressive 5-tiered gopuram (tower), decorated with depictions of Hindu gods sculpted by artisans from southern India.
From Kota Kinabalu to Georgetown, and Malacca to Kota Bharu, Malaysian night markets materialise upon dusk, drawing out crowds to mingle over cheap eats and stroll the streets in search of bargains. In Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Alor, the spicy aromas straight from the wok are as intoxicating as the market stall prices, which you can haggle over long into the night.
Whether you're wanting to immerse yourself in culture, try local dishes or island hop to find pristine beaches, Malaysia is the perfect holiday playground for you. Find the best deals and book your next getaway with AirAsia.