Must see Malaysia – 12 places to visit

Must see Malaysia – 12 places to visit

In such a diverse a country as Malaysia, the top places to visit cover everything from striking cities to tropical islands. 

The country also has four UNESCO sites, all of which are covered below, and some of the biggest and tallest natural attractions in the world. Here’s an insight into the best of Malaysia’s caves, mountains, theme parks, wildlife hotspots, historical sights and more.

Cameron Highlands

Malaysia’s largest hill resort and biggest tea growing region, the Cameron Highlands lie around 20 kilometres east of Ipoh. The altitude here provides a cooler climate in which to explore attractions like the rose gardens, a Chinese temple and cactus valley. You can combine a visit to the BOH tea plantation with the Mossy Forest, otherwise known as the Cloud Forest due to its surreal, misty nature.

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

This well-respected sanctuary has been working hard for over 60 years to rehabilitate orangutans back into the wild. Around 75 orangutans live in the reserve and you can take pictures of them at feeding time – 1am and 3pm daily – and learn about the good work they do here.

Mount Kinabalu

For those of you who like a challenge there are few greater than Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, at 4095 metres high. It sits in Kinabalu Park, which was the first place in Malaysia to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its biodiversity. It’s best to consult a guide before you undertake the two-day hike, but the views are certainly worth it.

Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Marine Park

From high up a mountain to deep below the seas, one of the finest spots for diving and snorkelling in all of Malaysia is TAR Marine Park. It’s a cluster of five islands surrounded by beautiful corals, particularly near the largest, Gaya Island. One of the best parts is that this underwater world is only 20 minutes’ boat ride from Kota Kinabalu on the mainland.

Mulu National Park

A vast park in Sarawak, Mulu National Park is best known for its caves, one of which has the accolade of being the largest chamber in the world, and another the longest at a staggering 100 kilometres. If you don’t want to go inside, visit at between 5-6.30pm to see flocks of bats swarm out of the caves, and the occasional hawk catching one for its dinner. The park also has interesting limestone shard-like features at Mount Api.

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s capital has so much going on – for a start there are nine shopping malls, as well as the National Zoo, with big cats, giraffes, pandas, elephants and more. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Jalan Alor for street food and take it to eat in the blissful lake gardens.

Kuala Lumpur - Must see Malaysia – 12 places to visit

Langkawi Island

This 500-million-year-old island off the coast of Kedah is a UNESCO Global Geopark, which shows off its amazing geology at sights like Temurun and Seven Wells Waterfalls. You can have a go at pretty much any kind of watersport you fancy here, or visit Underwater World to see marine life without diving in the ocean. Another popular pastimes in Langkawi is taking the cable car up to Gunung Mat Chincang.


The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malacca is rich in colonial history with a maritime heritage that sings out. Its history is displayed in numerous museums throughout the town and eastern influences can be seen at places like Cheng Hoon Teng, Malaysia’s oldest Chinese temple. In contrast, Porta de Santiago gives a flavour of Portuguese influences.


Penang Island houses another of Malaysia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site – its Georgetown historic quarter, which contains important historic buildings such as Fort Cornwallis and City Hall. From here you can hop on a trishaw and travel to the Clan Jetties Floating Village. As the foodie capital of Malaysia, you won’t go short of something to eat either.

Penang - Must see Malaysia – 12 places to visit

Batu Caves

Close to Kuala Lumpur, Batu caves might not be as big as those in Sarawak, however the splendid Hindi temple and shrine at the cave entrance are what visitors come for. In fact throngs of Hindus descend here for the Thaipusam festival. The golden Hindu God statue at the entrance and resident monkeys make for good photos.

Genting Highlands

Looming on Ulu Kali Mountain above Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands has always been a playground of fair rides and casinos, but as of late 2018 it’s set to reopen as Twentieth Century Fox Theme Park. The much anticipated movie-themed attraction will include 25 rides across different film genres.

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

If you can’t wait for Twentieth Century Fox Theme Park to open, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, in Bandar Sunway, is Malaysia’s shining star of rollercoasters and waterparks all in one. It has zones from Wild West to African Waters so you can don your swimming gear or stay dry on thrilling rides.

These are my top places to visit in Malaysia; where do you want to go? Let me know if you’ve been to any of these Malaysian highlights yourself.