Written by: Nigel Ong
Ahh… Malaysia, that special gem of biodiversity, history and culture. It’s warm tropical climate hosts amazing experience for many types of travelers, be it a cultural enthusiast, nature lover or history buffs.
If you are to visit Malaysia, consider these list of life changing experiences to try out, and rest assured they are pretty much only available nowhere else in the world but Malaysia!
1. Roll it like a hustler high up the mountains
When Malaysians are free for a weekend and itches for some poker table action, Genting Highlands is where they go. Located in the Titiwangsa mountain range just outside of Kuala Lumpur, the Genting Highlands is a giant leisure and entertainment complex – with casinos, amusement park, cable cars, and many hotels to relax in.
2. Learn how to ‘Mash Up’ languages, Malaysian style
On average, Malaysians speak at least two languages, and some are able to even speak up to six. As a result, there is a tendency to combine these languages in a single sentence or a conversation. Spend some time hanging out with Malaysians and you will pick up this ability yourself.
3. Base Jump off one of the tallest buildings in the world
At 1483 feet and with 88 floors, the Petronas Twin Towers is a major feature of the Kuala Lumpur skyline and one of the world’s tallest buildings. The best part however, is that it offers base jumping as well, making it one of the best places to give base jumping a try. Jump off from right below the antenna (the highest possible point for humans to stand on), and enjoy the amazing Kuala Lumpur skyline as you surrender yourself to the force of gravity.
4. Stand Next To a Giant Goddess of Mercy
In the Kek Lok Si temple complex in George Town, Penang stands a 120-feet high bronze statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The complex also boasts the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas as well. One of the biggest temple complex in Malaysia, and is a testament of the tenacity, faith and prosperity of 19th century Penang.
5. Watch the sunrise on the tallest peak in South East Asia
Mount Kinabalu is a UNESCO Hritage site, the highest peak in Malaysia, and of South East Asia as well. Hiking and nature enthusiasts cannot miss out on this. The climbing trails are closed in on all sides by the dense and diverse flora that make up the Crocker mountain range that hosted the mountain itself. The ascend will take 2 days, the first to reach the hill station for a night rest, and to wake up early to make it to the peak. Once at the peak, enjoy the amazing sunrise!
6. Fend of curious monkeys at a Hindu Temple
Malaysia hosts one of the largest Hindu temple outside of India, at the Batu Caves Temple Complex. A popular tourist spot, Batu Caves are carved right into the limestone cliffs, and stepping inside it leaves visitors in religious awe. Take a good look at the golden statue of Lord Murugan, and then as you walk around the complex, ‘enjoy’ yourself fighting off the monkeys, as they are known to be a little attracted to shiny things and snacks.
7. Feast of colourful local fruits
Although Durian seems to be the most well-known of Malaysian fruits, it also has a plethora of other local fruits growing as well. There is the hairy Rambutan, the purple Mangosteen, bright yellow Nangkas, sunny yellow Starfruit to start with. Once you have gotten enough of these, move instead into Duku, Langsat, Ciku, Salak, Pulutan… the list goes on!
8. Ride through history in a trishaw
A trishaw is one of the best ways to take in historical cities such as Penang and Malacca. The trishaw cyclist would be able to cut through traffic, and at the same time keep a steady, slower pace that allows you to take and and appreciate all the amazing buildings, sights, as well as UNESCO heritage sites as well. Plus, local knowledge helps when it comes to hunting for the best food and souvenir shops!
9. Embark on a gastronomic adventure of a lifetime
Malaysia has a sizeable population of ethnic Chinese and Indians, as well as many other groups as well. This amalgamation over the years have produced some of the most amazing food around, creating a nation blessed with plenty of food choices. For travelers, it’s an gastronomic adventure! As a start, visit Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur where you can choose between hundreds of hawker stalls serving cuisines of a wide array of choices – Here’s a tip, wear loose clothing as you will need to have some space for the bulging tummy!
10. Stay in a longhouse
Longhouses are the traditional dwellings of the local tribes in Sarawak, such as the Iban and the Bidayuh. These structures are long, and are build high off the ground to keep floodwaters away. Visiting a long house opens opportunities for to experience and explore the way of life of hunter-gatherer tribes of Sarawak. Go on a trek with the locals and enjoy the sights, as well as hear them explain the various herbs and plants that have medicinal value. At the end of the day, enjoy a good feast and hopefully a sip or two of Tuak, the local rice wine!
Nigel Ong is a Malaysian that enjoys mountain hiking, long walks, and jungle trekking.He is also the co-founder of FlyMe360 Travel & Lifestyle Magazine.
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