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Malaysia Travel Guide

flights to Malaysia

Home to the world's tallest tower, longest mural and biggest flower plus several other world records, Malaysia strives to outshine any other Asian countries. And being one of the friendliest, most beautiful and interesting countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has certainly achieved its goals. Geographically, Malaysia is split into two distinct parts separated by 403miles of South China Sea. Peninsular Malaysia accounts for 40% of the landmass and has several mountain ranges running north to south, with a wide fertile plain on the west coast and narrow coastal plain to the east. East Malaysia consists of the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak in North Borneo and is covered with dense jungles and huge river systems. Sabah's highest peak is Mt Kinabalu at 13,450ft. Over 60% of the country is still rainforest although plans are afoot to clear a 69,000acre area to make way for a hydroelectric facility. Peninsular Malaysia has over 8000 species of flowering plants including some 2000 species of trees and the wildlife includes elephants, tigers, sun bears and orang-utans. Whether you are seeking eco-adventures, nature-loving activities, beach bumming or city slumming, the whole of Malaysia has much to offer for even the most discerning traveller.

Malaysians are very friendly by nature; they will kill you at the drop of a hat if you have a bit of cannabis on you, but friendly nonetheless. With drug trafficking, cultivation and abuse running rampant throughout Southeast Asia, Malaysia resolved to seriously crack down on the problem. Malaysia's answer to the war on drugs is her famous nemesis, the zero-tolerance drug-policy; you get caught, you die, it's as simple as that.

For a taste of the city you must visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital. Largely viewed as purely an economic centre, Kuala Lumpur is slowly becoming recognized for much more than it's skyscrapers and IT genius. With an impressive cultural mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and many European cultures, Kuala Lumpur is something of a melting pot, offering the visitor a vast variety of food, entertainment and shopping. When visiting the city there are a couple of must-sees including the Tasek Lake Gardens, the city's national landmark; the outstanding beauty of the Friday Mosque and the impressive Batu Caves just north of the city centre.

Another impressive city to visit is the cultural Mecca of Malacca Just two hours from Kuala Lumpur, Malacca is a bit of a living museum of the days of Portuguese rule. Around the city many original buildings and monuments from this era remain the focal point as well as other European influenced architecture and folklore, which includes a strong Dutch presence. While in Malacca don't miss the Cheng Hoon Temple, Tranquerah mosque and the Dutch Christ Church, Stadthurys.

Beyond the cities, Malaysia boasts thousands of beautiful beaches and over a hundred tropical islands offering endless heavenly locales. Varying from the powdery stretches of sand that characterise the eastern coastline of Peninsular Malaysia to the black sand beach of Pantai Pasir Hitam and the smooth pebble beach of Pantai Batu Kerikil, Malaysia's beaches can provide the setting for any form of tropical vacation.

Located on the north-western coast of Peninsular Malaysia is Penang Island, known as the 'Pearl of the Orient'. It claims to have more to offer in one square mile than any other place in the world. It is a multi-cultural Mecca with colourful heritage pulsating through it's streets, customs, markets and festivals. Georgetown, Penang's only town, is an interesting mix of history and industry. Visit the many historical buildings, intricate temples and mosques. Wander through Chinatown, get your fortune told, buy some obscure herbal remedies and stroll through the night markets. Malaysian poetry, puppetry and shadow plays are also among Penang's attractions. For a taste of 'real' Penang, venture beyond Georgetown and into the 'kampungs', or traditional villages that are scattered along the island. And don't forget to eat, Penang cannot be mentioned without reference to it's amazing food which blends all South East Asian cuisines and spices.

Fine white beaches and the shimmering sea outline this popular destination. Although hawker stalls offering a diverse selection of local fare are a common and welcoming site, many full service restaurants and bars can be found throughout the island. Sharing the same shoreline as other beaches, including Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang, is Batu Ferringhi, Penang's main beach. This stretch of coastline is peppered with full service accommodation complexes, so you can roll out of bed onto the beach! Along the north-western coastline, on the opposite side of the island from Georgetown, lie some of the finest and least known beaches on the island. If you don't mind a trek through the jungle, there are also many other secluded beaches left to be discovered. Beyond the beach, Penang is home to a spectacular butterfly farm, bird park and other wildlife reserves.

Other popular Malaysian destinations include Langkawai, another stunning island formation with breathtaking beaches, unique rock formations and an enchanting heritage. Or, for some of the best diving and snorkelling in South East Asia, head to the Pulau Redang Islands, a designated marine park.

Whether you are seeking non-stop action or pure tranquillity, Malaysia really is the place to be.

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Malaysia Travel Guide, Attractions and Highlights
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