Malaysia is synonymous with lush tropical rainforest, white-sand beaches and crystal clear seas. The island of Borneo typifies these attractions and further adds superb flora and fauna, rocky mountain peaks, white-water rapids and indigenous jungle tribes to the wealth of possibilities for adventure holidays.
Malaysia is split into two parts, the mainland and Borneo. Mainland Malaysia, sometimes referred to as Peninsular Malaysia is a melting pot of culture. Thanks to the shifting trade winds, Malaysia is heavily influenced by both China and India. Ethnic groups in Malaysia are broken to ethnic Malays, Indians, Chinese, and the tribal groups of Borneo. This big mix not only gives way to a variety of religions and cultures, but it also culinary competition.
With so much diversity, there's a lot to see and do in Malaysia. For more info on this amazing place, read below our trips.
If it’s one thing Peninsular Malaysia is famous for it’s the food. Street food connoisseurs from all over flock to the streets of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. When the night falls and temperatures drop pasar malam or night markets, come to life. Be sure to check out the Petronas Towers. These twin towers are the tallest in the world. At night they light up like a brilliant chandelier. Kuala Lumpur is also home to one of the most holy sites in the Hindu religion, the Batu Caves. Every year devotees cover their body in hooks and carry around huge blocks of stone on their backs to honor their deities during the Thaipusam festival. The entrance to the caves climbs up many stairs before getting to the caves. You are greeted by a large gold statue of Lord Murgan. Just watch out for the mischievous monkeys!
North of Kuala Lumpur, near the border with Thailand lies the Chinese-influenced trading city of Penang. Many people argue that Penang is the true food-capital of Malaysia. With traditional colonial influences combined with traditional Chinese architecture, Penang is a wonderful place to stop after a rugged jungle adventure. Check out George Town for a dose of heritage and, of course, excellent eats. The Blue Mansion is an excellent example of Chinese colonial heritage. The building itself is beautiful with 38 rooms and 220 windows. A guide is included in the entry fee to the mansion. For eats, or makan as the Malaysians like to say, stroll through Lg Baru after the sun goes down. Eat yourself silly from one of the many vendors in this night time hawker center.
The culinary exploration doesn’t stop on the mainland the states of Sabah and Sarawak make their culinary claims as well. Laska, a fish soup, is one of the more well-known dishes that come to mind. However, nothing comes close to the home cooking at a traditional tribal long house. Malaysian Borneo consists of the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Sarawak, to the south, contains many national parks and is a great place to discover jungle and tribal life. The major tribal group of this region are the Iban people. They live in communal longhouses and have traditionally been a headhunting culture. However, no a days the practice has been deemed illegal. The Iban are a welcoming bunch.
From the capital of Kuching it is easy to get out an explore Sarawak’s jungle. A short ride away is the river port that leads to Bako National Park. The jungle meets the sea in a forest of mangroves in this stunning national park. Spend time wandering the trails, or opt for a hut trip deep into the jungle. Fly into Gunung Mulu National Park and explore the many caves and limestone pinnacles. No trip to Borneo is complete with a visit to a local tribal village. The area surrounding Mulu provides an excellent opportunity to stay deep in the jungle with an isolated tribe. The Penan Tribe Adventures gives you a glimpse into a day in the life of a remote jungle community. See what it takes to survive in the dense jungles of Borneo.
The state of Sabah, to the north, was predominately run by triable people until joining Malaysia in 1963. Since then Sabah has undergone a wealth of change. The logging industry has certainly had an impact in this area, however there is still large swaths of jungle to be explored.
Borneo is home of the Orangutan, which means forest people. Have in up-close encounter with these amazing forest creatures on the Borneo Wildlife Tour. Witness sea turtles nesting. Or look closely to spot proboscis monkey enjoying a fruity snack in a tree. Borneo is one of the most diverse ecologies on the planet. People find new species here regularly.
The adventure doesn’t stop with wildlife. Borneo is also home to some rocky peaks just begging to be climbed. Experience the thrill of climbing Mount Kinabalu, Borneo’s highest point. This mountain doesn’t require technical skill, but the view from the top is unbeatable. Enjoy the fauna and flora of the rainforest, then sore high above the clouds and experience the jungle from an angle few ever see.
After an exhilarating jungle excursion, why not relax at one of Malaysia's many islands? White sand beaches, pristine turquoise waters and plenty of sunshine await you at the Perhentian Islands. Located off of Malaysia's east coast, these islands are the perfect place to tune out and unwind.
There is so much more to Malaysia than what meets the eye. Relax on pristine white sand beaches. Explore the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur. Eat to your heart’s content in George Town. Explore the ancient jungles of Borneo. Climb Mount Kinabalu With so much to experience, Malaysia makes the perfect holiday destination.