Beach at Langkawi

Our favourite places in Malaysia

Centuries-old trading ports, 130-million-year-old jungle, and beaches to rival the Maldives – all accompanied by hyper-modern megamalls, fabulous hotels, and some of the best food in the world: this is Asia dashing headlong into the future.

Connected to the Asian mainland by the long, thin spit of southern Thailand and separated from its Bornean territory by the South China Sea, Peninsular Malaysia has a fairly low profie on the world travel stage. Try to picture it. What do you see? The rocket-like profile of the Petronas Towers, perhaps, but probably not much else. And there’s, so, so much more.

For a start, it has some of the very best beaches in Asia. We mean it – Maldives eat your heart out. Its world-class culinary scene is an explosion of influences from across the continent, and its rainforests harbour tigers, leopards, bears and elephants. There are other countries with similar accolades, but there are perhaps none where you can do it all in English, on transport that runs like clockwork, while shopping in cutting-edge megamalls and enjoying super-fast 4G service. Malaysia is Southeast Asia made easy.

“Kuala Lumpur rises up out of steamy, equatorial, Southeast Asian jungle, Malaysia’s capital city — a chaotic, multiethnic, multicultural modern metropolis of Malay, Chinese, and Indian.” Anthony Bourdain

Malaysia

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MALAYSIA KUALA LUMPUR IPOH PENANG CAMERON HIGHLANDS MALACCA PANGKOR LANGKAWI REDANG ISLAND TIOMAN ISLAND TAMAN NEGARA NP PERHENTIAN ISLANDS BANDING ISLAND KUALA KANGSAR
Malaysia

In the middle of Lake Temenggor, Banding Island is the starting point for expeditions into ancient rainforest filled with over 3,000 types of flowering plant and more hornbill species than anywhere else in the world.

Malaysia

With green, rolling hills and cool mountain air, the Cameron Highlands are your chance to escape the heat for a day and picnic among strawberry farms, wander colonial-era tea plantations or search for medicinal herbs in mist-cloaked moss forests.

Malaysia

Once a tin-mining boom town known for its seedy nightlife, Ipoh has remade itself. Stellar street-art, Western-Malay fusion cuisine, and a clutch of elegantly dilapidated galleries and cafes make this one of Malaysia’s trendiest cities.

Malaysia

Kuala Kangsar may have an illustrious royal pedigree and an important colonial past, but we come here to soak up the simple life on the banks of Lake Chenderoh: sleeping in real Malay cottages, eating home-cooked rendang, and listening to stories about traditional kampung living.

Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is a true cultural melting pot, where jade-topped Chinese gates open out onto palm-lined squares, Indian restaurants serve banana leaf curries in marigold-scented alleyways, and old-fashioned Malay villages lie squeezed between the skyscrapers.

Malaysia

Langkawi is a jungle-clad island paradise amid the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea. The best way to round off a day of snorkelling, trekking or mangrove kayaking? Satay skewers and an ice-cold beer on its white, sandy beaches.