Malaysia is the country to choose if you want to get a good overview of Asia. Malaysia is a microcosm of the continent, home to many different cultures, a kaleidoscope of landscapes, and a vibrant local culture. It offers everything you may want from a luxurious vacation.
Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant cultural mix, with Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures at its epicenter. Shimmering skyscrapers, megamalls, temples, and impressive colonial structures make up the city's global panorama.
The Borneo island embodies wildness and isolation for many people. The Malaysian part, with its dense jungle concealing an abundance of species, particularly its well-known orangutans and distinctive tribal life, meets up to travelers' expectations—and then some. There are many interesting sites to visit in Peninsular Malaysia, from the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands to the culture and cuisine of Penang.
If you need to unwind for a few days, Langkawi, which is located on Malaysia's west coast close to the Thai border, offers gorgeous beaches. Malaysia's east coast is a refuge for peace. The less-traveled Malaysia is frequently forgotten in favor of its neighboring tourist destinations, Thailand and Bali. However, if you're savvy enough to include all of its unique faces in your holiday trip plans, you'll be in for a treat.
One thing you think of when you imagine Borneo are its orangutans. Seeing one swinging through the rainforest canopy or hearing their calls reverberate through the treetops is a quintessential Bornean travel experience. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the state of Sabah is one of the best places to see them, an inspiring place where orphaned and injured orangutans are brought to be rehabilitated. Its nursery offers a chance to see young ones play and eat together, while the main feeding area brings you just feet from these lovable ginger primates right in the heart of the jungle. Next door lies the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, so you could see another endangered animal in the same day. Semenggoh Nature Reserve in Sarawak, near the main city of Kuching, is another place to spot semi-wild orangutans in a wild rainforest setting. It offers a potentially rawer setting to Sepilok, but without the added bonus of the sun bears.
Bobbing like a bright green pebble in the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, Tioman Island is a wild escape off Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast. Idyllic beaches surround an emerald interior seeping with waterfalls and speckled with vivid hibiscus blooms, making it the ideal destination for both adventure and relaxation. But its collection of dive sites are perhaps its greatest asset, boasting vivid forests of coral, rusting wrecks and reefs teeming with turtles, barracudas, reef sharks and a myriad of fish.
Deep in the virgin rainforest of central Sabah, Borneo, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is a secret patch of wild most people are unaware of. But the scope of wildlife that calls it home is huge – orangutans, tarsiers, proboscis monkeys, gibbons (whose dawn calls are often your morning alarm) and pygmy elephants, to name just a few. While you’d be lucky to see them all, the area is particularly famed for its big cats and you could be fortunate enough to spot a clouded leopard’s eyes glinting back at you while on night safari drives. Among all of this, the old-growth forest they call home is a playground for those after adventure experiences to make the most of its rawness, from river tubing to jungle trekking.
Malaysia’s other Bornean state is often forgotten about in favour of Sabah’s tropical island boltholes and jungle wonders but it shouldn’t be – there’s plenty here to see! Its charming capital, Kuching, is a tumble of sleepy shophouses and colonial architecture set on the banks of the pretty Sarawak River. It affords easy access to the orangutans at Semenggoh, while the proboscis monkeys of primeval Bako National Park and the longhouses of Sarawak’s jungle tribes are a short hop away, too. If you have time, the bats and colossal caves at Gunung Mulu National Park are only a short flight away and are a staggering natural spectacle that need to be seen to truly be believed.
Many don’t regard Malaysia as a beach holiday destination but that’s because they haven’t discovered Langkawi, an emerald isle floating near Thailand’s border. Its string of luxury resorts, lush scenery and beautiful beaches make it the perfect place to combine thrills with chills. As you journey through the island, you’ll be transfixed by its wildness, the roads snaking through dense jungle and local villages. Elsewhere, Pantai Cenang is a buzzing local night spot, mangrove cruises hide an array of wildlife and it even boasts the steepest cable car in the world. At the top, you’ll get incredible views of Langkawi in all its glory.
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccinations are currently recommended and Malaysia is deemed to have a risk of Malaria and the Zika virus. If you’re entering Malaysia from a Yellow Fever zone, possession of a valid Yellow Fever inoculation certificate is required but for any current travel health advice, you should seek guidance from your GP at least four to six weeks prior to travel. You would also need a Covid-19 vaccination card and a negative Covid-19 PCR test result not less than 72hours old.
The official currency of the country is Malaysian ringgit.
Malaysia has very specific requirements when it comes to who they allow to enter the country, and for how long. Some foreign nationals can visit Malaysia for short-term periods without having to obtain a visa, whereas others are required to apply for a Malaysia tourist visa before they can travel there. Speak with your agent on how to get a visa.
The official languages spoken in Malaysia is Malay,
Temperatures across Malaysia rarely deviate from around 30°C throughout the year. Depending on where you’re going in Malaysia, the weather can differ wildly.
Malaysia In Kuala Lumpur, it is hot and humid year-round and showers occur daily, intensifying during the rainy season from April to October. However, the rain helps clear the humidity, with the weather being more pleasant afterwards.
In the Cameron Highlands, temperatures are far cooler – around 23°C during the day and can dip below 15°C at night – and perfect for tea-growing. The rains are at their heaviest between September and December.
Penang and the island of Langkawi are typically tropical, hot and humid with occasional showers throughout the year. Even in September and October, when it’s meant to be wettest, you could easily go a week with sunshine and only a brief downpour.
Eastern Peninsular Malaysia
Places like Tioman Island and Tanjung Jara are hot and sunny for most of the year, with cooling breezes from the South China Sea tempering the humidity. The east coast can be tricky to visit between November and February, when the monsoon strikes, which is more powerful on the eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia than the west.
Temperatures in Borneo rarely fluctuate beyond 27-32°C across the year. In Sarawak, the rainy season runs from the end of October to February (peaking in January), while if you’re visiting the Iban tribes inland, you’re likely to see some rain whatever time of year you go. The dry season lasts from March to early October, with June and July seeing the least rainfall. While the wet and dry seasons are roughly the same, the weather in neighbouring Sabah is not as black and white as Sarawak. Rainfall is fairly unpredictable but there’s not as much as what Sarawak receives, with showers typically short and sharp in the afternoon.
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