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Malaysia travel guide

The rising star of South-East Asia - Malaysia is a vibrant mix of tropical island resorts, warm coral seas, lush rain-forest, majestic mosques and temples and wonderful wildlife

Mulitcultural, many-faceted, misunderstood – Malaysia is a country as spectacularly varied as its peoples and wildlife.

Peninsular Malaysia stretches south from Thailand to Singapore and Indonesia, and blends the best of all three: superb beaches and idyllic islands (try the Perhentians for diving and clean sand, Langkawi and Tioman for resorts); diverse cultures – Dutch-, Portuguese- and Chinese-influenced Melaka, colonial Georgetown and the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands, richly Muslim Kota Bharu, bustling Kuala Lumpur; and superb food.

Over the South China Sea, Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) boast mountains, rainforest, orang-utans, more great diving and fascinating tribal longhouse villages.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Meet the locals in a tribal longhouse – explore tribal Sarawak, Borneo
  2. Swim with turtles – explore the underwater world of Sipadan
  3. Hire a car for a self-drive adventure around Peninsular Malaysia
  4. Dive the reefs and relax on the beaches of the Perhentian Islands
  5. Try nonya cuisine and roam colonial streets in Penang
  6. Hike around the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands
  7. Climb Mt Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest peak

Wanderlust tips

Hawker markets offer opportunities to try a variety of dishes from the numerous stalls ranged around a central eating area; order enticing-looking treats from any stalls, take them to your table and tuck in.

Only eat with your right hand.

Especially outside urban areas, and more so in the conservative Muslim north, dress respectfully – cover shoulders and legs.

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