Malaysia - Essential Visits
by: Mij Gnow
Located in South East Asia, bordering Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south, Malaysia achieved its independence from British rule on the 31st of August 1957. With a population of approximately 23.5 million (58% Malays, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians and 10% others), Malaysia is rich in differing cultures and traditions. The uniqueness of Malaysia is that all these differing religions live alongside each other in harmony and peace.
You may be asking "What's there to do in Malaysia?". Malaysia offers natural beauties in tropical rainforest, scuba diving; Shopping haven in all major cities; Friendly citizens across the country. Whatever you want to do, ranging from being a potatoe couch at the hotel to extreme adventures, Malaysia has it all.
Having said that, I will now point out to you the essential visits that you should take part in order to make your trip whole (in no particular order):
Petronas Twin Towers
Towering at a height of 452 metres (1483 feet), the Petronas Twin Towers is the highest twin towers in the world. Built to 88 storeys and 32000 windows, the towers are connected via a skybridge. You must book your time to access the skybridge for an excellent birds-eye view of the Kuala Lumpur city. The towers were featured in the movie Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Caterine Zeta Jones. When visiting the towers, take a stroll at the KLCC park (20 hectares or 50 acres) located adjacent to the towers and indulge yourself in shopping at the Suria KLCC located inside the towers.
Pulau Pinang (Penang Island)
Affectionately known as Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famous for its natural beauty and exotic heritage. Located at the northern part of Malaysia, Penang, a bustling island, has a large variety of culture, people and food within the 285 square kilometres enclave. So diversed, you will be able to find churches, Chinese temples, Indian temples and Muslim mosques all within a five minutes walk. Colonial buildings still exist and are constantly being restored to its former glory. When you are at the Pearl of the Orient, you must sample the hawker food found at abundance, take a ferry ride (especially at night) and stroll along the beaches of Batu Ferringi.
Located on the north-eastern part of Borneo Island, Sipadan is one of the world's best dive spots. White sandy beaches borders this 12ha island. The island was formed from a undersea volcano and is raised 650meters from the sea floor. Sipadan is famous for its reef wall, rare reef creatures and the regular appearance of sea turtles. If you are a diver, this is one place that you would not want to miss.
East Coast Islands
On the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, an abundance of idyllic white sandy beaches. To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, hop over to the east coast, put on a sarong, grab yourself a coconut, relax and enjoy the pounding of the waves. Out in the sea, islands such as Perhentian, Tioman and Redang are famous for their dive spots and family getaway.
This 1800 meters above sea level region is a popular getaway from the tropical heat for Malaysians and tourist alike. Cameron Highlands was discovered by a British surveyor named William Cameron in 1885. This highlands resembles England as old English inns, chalets and bungalows still exists today. Attraction in Cameron Highlands includes mountain and jungle hikings, tea plantations, fruits and vegetable farms, flower nurseries and its people. Cameron Highlands has two golf courses if you are game.
Living exclusively in Borneo island, proboscis monkeys have the largest nose amongst all primates. Reaching up to 17.5cm long, the reason for the elongated nose is unknown. Another distinctive feature of this unique creature is its pot belly. The proboscis monkey is an endangered species and is listed under the IUCN Red List. Visiting these creatures in its natural habitat is well worth the journey.
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