With a jump from 5.5 million tourists in 1998 to almost 25 million in 2010, it doesn’t take long to see that tourism in Malaysia has increased dramatically and steadily. The country that across the Malay Peninsula and the northern portion of Borneo attract every year visitors who want to discover its famous features and spend a dream holiday under the sun. While it may not be as popular as some Caribbean destinations for North American tourists – as a result of the long journey – there are many reasons why you should plan a trip to this fascinating and exciting southeast Asian country. Whether you want to explore the colonial past of Malaysia or you are a nature lover, there is something for everyone to see. From urban tourists to beach aficionados, discover the top 8 reasons why your next holiday has to be in Malaysia!
#1 A new meaning to the melting pot culture
North America has a history of being a cultural melting pot. It’s impossible to go in town without walking past European, Caribbean, Asian and African communities. Local shops, churches and restaurants remind locals that it takes more than one ethnic group and one tradition to build a great country. Malaysia is one of the best examples in the world of cultural diversity and successful assimilation. Visitors from everywhere can’t help but feel touched by the colourful heritage that stretches from people to buildings. As the country of large ethnic groups from Chinese, Indians, Malays and many others since generations, the mutual melting pot influence has always been part of the Malaysian culture. It’s never been a matter of assimilation or integration: The Malaysian culture is built on cultural diversity. From the Orang Asli, the original people in the Peninsula Malaysia, to the peace-loving Bidayuh, the smallest ethnic groups are recognized and valued, so much in fact that in 2016, MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai declared cultural diversity as a national strength. The Transport Minister is convinced that Malaysia can only achieve success through harmony and unity.
#2. The world cuisine in one place
Cultural diversity also means a variety of flavours and textures to taste. Chinese, Indian and European influences have moulded the Malaysian food culture in a unique way. In fact, you’ll come across street food everywhere in the country and with an incredible diversity of flavours. A lot of big towns like Penang have developed a street food only culture, where all food is served and consumed fast and directly in the street. If you want to try something typically Malaysian, try the rice noodles in fish soup, Assam Laksa, which is best-served on a busy waterfront.
#3 Amazing architecture
If you love beautiful buildings, a trip to Kuala Lumpur will not be wasted on you. The town has not only conserved a lot of natural greenest, but the skyline is also rich in history. The most famous landmark of the Malaysian urbanization are the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers. The base of the 12th tallest skyscrapers in the world is of Islamic influence and is shaped to be an eight-pointed star. If you’re looking for a holiday house for rent Malaysia offers ideal accommodations close to the most iconic monuments, around the colonialist Merdeka Square or the golden Lord Murugan statue. In short, enjoy the view!
#4. Rainforest trekking
If you love hiking and being outside, you need to try some of the best Malaysian jungle treks. The treks are targeted at beginners and take you through the middle of a world of lush green rainforest and unique wildlife. With different levels of difficulty, you can choose to spend as little as 30 minutes in the jungle up to 8 hours. You can easily spot some eagles and even a baby Sumatran Rhino if you know where to look!
#5. Day and night street markets
If you want a real street experience, you need to visit one of the day and night markets in Kuala Lumpur or Penang. Offering an array of jewels, clothing, fresh produce and even handcraft at a bargain price, these markets take visitors right through the heart of Malaysian culture. Wear your most comfortable shoes, as it can get hot and humid in these outdoor bazaars and dive in! One of the most popular markets in Kuala Lumpur is Petaling Street, which is part of Chinatown, and you can even buy local seafood too!
#6. A spiritual tour of awareness
Malaysia is a country of religious diversity. While the official religion is Islam, you will also come across Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity in an atmosphere of tolerance. If you visit Malaysia after the Ramadhan, you’ll discover the natural sense of hospitality and open houses of Malaysian Muslims, including the King and Queen’s. The Festival of Lights for Hindus is equally impressive with religious homes lit with lights and colourful rice-paintings.
#7. The equatorial climate
If you needed another reason to visit Malaysia, it should be its tropical climate, that, due to its equatorial location, has unique features. With average temperatures of 79F in the whole country, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the warm and humid weather! Avoid the monsoon seasons, which differ in the North and South of the country, and you’ll be fine. That’s why you need to plan wisely when you travel to make sure you’ve got what you need. Remember to downsize your packing list: You don’t need much to holiday in Malaysia!
#8. Natural curiosities
Finally, nature lovers won’t know where to look in this diverse landscape. From the Mount Kinabalu on the island of Borneo which attracts enthusiastic hikers to the magical display of pinnacles in Mulu National park, there’s enough to fill several photo albums. Whether you love mountains, forests, caves or a beach landscape, there is definitely a place for you in Malaysia. And if you’re in luck, you may even come across some of the most nomadic tribes in the country too.
Malaysia, a land of diversity, tolerance, flavours and beauty, has become an appealing holiday destination. Visit it now before it’s taken over by an army of tourists!