from sandy beach resorts to chilly mountain stays and mod hotels, Malaysia’s travel scene has got you covered for all your amazing vacation plans! The Asian continent is blessed with an amazi… Sour…
Taking a step away from all the heat, haze and madness clouding the nation, we take a look at why most refer to Sabah as the jewel of Southeast Asia: book your hotel here Bodgaya Island, Sabah, Mal…
from sandy beach resorts to chilly mountain stays and mod hotels, Malaysia’s travel scene has got you covered for all your amazing vacation plans! The Asian continent is blessed with an amazi…
from sandy beach resorts to chilly mountain stays and mod hotels, Malaysia’s travel scene has got you covered for all your amazing vacation plans!
The Asian continent is blessed with an amazing selection of vacation spots and with countries like Thailand and Vietnam gaining popularity among Malaysians, it’s easy to forget how beautiful home truly is.
So, here’s our list of some of the most breathtaking places in Malaysia along with the best places to stay at, there:
1. Penang Island
It’s no surprise why Penang is referred to as the Pearl of Orient in Malaysia, with the island’s eclectic blend of old and new; think ancient Asian street meets Elizabethan intricacies and details. Penang remains as one of the very few places in Malaysia that has preserved all the history, architecture and beauty of past without forsaking modernity. If you’ve yet to step foot on this little paradise, we suggest a laid back vacation of just walking around the city, absorbing it all.
To unwind and re-energise in this haven, we suggest these great places:
The estate comprises a cluster of traditional Thai rice barns which have been carefully converted with modern comforts, while respecting traditional charms. Named after the rice barns that make up the retreat, Malihom means ‘village of the fragrant rice’. Each barn has its own unique name. Malihom offers 8 barns for rental. Each features individual character with ensuite and bathrooms on the deck level.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa
Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa has a sense of history, place and tradition. Its distinctive Minangkabau architecture houses artefacts of Malaysian culture. You feast your eyes on the artfully arranged traditional jewellery, batik-printing moulds, coral sculptures and signature items from the prolific Malaysian kitchen.
Macalister Mansion is designed around the idea of an old English mansion. Each space is designed to provide hospitaliy of an actual home – good food, fine drink, engaging conversation, soothing music, a good night’s sleep or simply lounging by the pool.
2. The caves and rainforests of Sarawak
If your idea of a vacation is to just plug off and immerse yourself into nature, then Sarawak would be just the thing for you. Home to some of the most diverse rainforests in the world and a major part of the third largest island (Borneo) in the world, Sarawak has an interesting selection of unique forms of wildlife and plants. Be it trekking through the national parks, seeing the Orang Utans, or just getting away from the concrete mess, Sarawak is truly one of the biggest hidden gems of Malaysia.
To best experience the nature in Sarawak, we think you should stay in one of these resorts:
Batang Ai Longhouse Resort
Situated at the edge of some of Malaysia’s most magnificent rainforest, Batang Ai Longhouse Resort Managed by Hilton on the island of Borneo is the perfect location for a relaxing break. The resort is only a two-hour boat ride away from the Batang Ai National Park, and is surrounded by its own expanse of jungle. Take a swim in our outdoor swimming pool or enjoy a friendly game on our asphalt tennis courts.
The Ranee is an exclusive 24-room boutique hotel strategically located in the heart of Kuching’s picturesque Old Town. Stylishly rebuilt from two traditional 19th century shophouses and ingeniously adapted to modern standards of plush comfort, The Ranee is unique in that every spacious room/suite is different – designed to express its own individuality, charm and character. Step into The Ranee and you will be enchanted by the magic of old and new – a fusion style inspired by Sarawak’s rich colonial heritage and mysterious ethnic cultures.
Sematan Palm Beach Resort
Just one-and-a-half hours (120 km) drive from Kuching, Sematan Palm Beach Resort is the perfect destination for a short and adventurous holiday. Sematan is a small fishing village located at the far west tip of Sarawak Facing the South China Sea and a short distance from the Sarawak-Kalimantan (Indonesia) border. Opened in 2004, the resort is well known for its long stretch of clean sandy beach. The view alone is breathtaking. Once you’ve set foot on the resort, you’ll know it’s time to relax and put your worries behind.
A visit to Ipoh would pretty much equate the feels of travelling back in time to the 1950s of Malaysia with its charming old buildings, rustic streets and relaxed pace of life there. Situated in between popular travel destinations, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, the city usually does not get much of an attention from travelers, which makes it a perfect place to go to if you are looking for some quiet time, friendly locals and explosive local cuisine.
Sleep in one of these chic and uniquely designed hotels after a long day of walking around the rustic streets of Ipoh:
M Boutique Hotel
Be pleasantly surprised by the smallest things! M Boutique Ipoh Hotel pays tribute to the Straits Eclectic Architecture synonymous with the Pre War Shop houses found littered across Ipoh, both inside out. Spotting small cozy rooms that is enveloped in our urban vintage interpretation, M Boutique Ipoh Hotel is a whimsical artistic experience in Ipoh.
Sekeping Kong Heng
Sekeping Kong Heng, in the charming old town of Ipoh, is the latest addition to the Sekeping family of retreats. It is located in a 3 storey neo-classical building which also houses a famous coffee shop of the same name on the ground floor that serves great coffee and the best local dishes in town. All effort has been made to preserve as much of the character of the existing building as possible in contrast to the surrounding new architectural interventions.
Ipoh Bali Hotel
The Ipoh Bali Hotel is located in the heart of Ipoh with Baliness stay experience.
The traditional bamboo cages, the antique rustic natural woods with luxurious furnishing used extensively in the decor at lobby creates a sophisticated contemporary design born from Baliness architecture and interior design.
4. Cameron Highlands
Deemed as Malaysia’s largest hill station, Cameron Highlands is every bit the beautiful remains from the English colonization. The Brits made the best out of the very few hill stations that our tropical country has by transforming it to their idea of the English plains then. With fragrant whiffs of mountain air, tea plantations and colorful, juicy strawberry plantations, and very Victorian looking cosy little cottages, Cameron Highlands is an irresistible travel destination.
A night in these beautiful English cottages might just take you back in time to Malaysia’s glorious English past:
This English Tudor boutique style hotel, built in 1939, is situated adjacent to a beautiful golf course. Guests will enjoy a prime location on a verdant hill that is just three hours from Kuala Lumpur and nestled upon the frontier that separates modernity from the untamed wild. Guests will find the hotel perfectly situated to explore both. The Smokehouse Hotel is the perfect venue for guests who want one of the best English style boutique hotels in the Cameron Highlands.
Be prepared to be charmed by this Tudor-style boutique resort, The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands, an exclusive getaway in the natural beauty of the Cameron Highlands. Set in an area dubbed “The Valley of Eternal Spring”, this idyllic country house sits atop a hill overlooking rolling hills and verdant woodlands. This refreshing 19-room destination boasts of amazing tea plantation views and the great outdoors.
Situated at Malaysia’s famous highland retreat and perched at 1,628 metres above sea level with a panoramic view of serene mountains and lush valleys. Copthorne Hotel Cameron Highlands is a 4-star hotel for corporate and leisure travelers offering stylish full-service accommodations with a choice of hotel rooms or apartments.
Langkawi is known to be one of the most visited places in Malaysia and with its sandy strip of beaches, blue-green waters and with a great selection of resorts its easy to see why it is a favourite travel spot. To top if off, the island also has an amazing selection of resorts and hotels to choose from, each place positioned to best enjoy the beauty of Langkawi.
Appreciate the true beauty of Langkawi from one of these breathtaking resorts:
Vivanta by Taj
The resort nests on the Rebak Island, named after the native Rebak tree, in one of the 99 isles that make up the legendary Langkawi. Take a short 20 min drive to Port Cenang from the Langkawi airport delighting in backseat surprises (we’re not revealing here). Imagine stepping into a speedboat which cuts through the water creating waves of excitement as you cover 2km in 7 short minutes and are welcomed by yachts from all over the world that are docked at the only fully equipped Marina in Malaysia. Yes, it’s the only resort to offer this service.
The Datai Langkawi
The Datai Langkawi offers the perfect escape and allows you to fully nurture the well-being of your mind, body and spirit. National Geographic has rated Datai Bay as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, while the resort’s jungle surrounds plays host to a wealth of wildlife, some of which are endemic to the area. Bask in the tranquility and reconnect with nature. You may well spot dusky leaf monkeys, tokay geckos or Sunda flying lemurs during your stay.
The Andaman, A Luxury Collection Resort
The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort located in an idyllic tropical setting on Malaysia’s Langkawi Island, is cosily tucked away between a 10 million year old rainforest and the tranquil Datai Bay and an 8,000 year old fringing coral reef. The resort has created a Coral Nursery, believed to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, with accolades in recognition of its commitment to environmental practices.
With the thick blanket of murky grey haze engulfing Malaysia, it’s easy to forget how beautiful this slice of haven on earth actually is.
So, we decided to compile a collection of photos so breathtaking, quaint and picturesque, to revel on while we wait for the ugly grey smoke to subside:
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- Most of these photos were taken by professional photographers, at various off-beat resorts, islands and states in Malaysia.
1. Malaysia’s very own Hamptons at The Datai, Langkawi
2. Look at the colour of the water!
Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, Kapalai Island(sabah,malaysia)
3. A resort fit to satisfy the inner Tarzan in all of us at Tadom Hill Resort in Banting
3. Bora Bora? No, it’s our very own ‘backyard’ Bohey Dulang in Sabah,Malaysia(East Malaysia)
4. This dairy farm in Kundasang looks straight out of a New Zealand postcard
5. A war memorial in Sabah that resembles the medieval castles in the Scotland highlands
6. Penang(Pulau Pinang,Malaysia) has sakura blossoms that could rival the springs in Japan
7. Colmar Tropicale in Pahang has artfully designed villages that even the French would be proud of
8. Painting or real-life? We could stare at this all day.
An aerial shot of a mangrove swamp in Johor photographed by Justin Guariglia,National Geographic.
9. Nature lovers’ paradise tucked away in a little corner in Sekinchan
Sekinchan is located in the Sabak Bernam district, Selangor,Malaysia
10. Imagine jumping into the pristine waters of sungai Bangang right now!
11. Penang’s very own intimate resort at Malihom, Air Itam
Malihom Retreat, Balik Pulau
12. This dreamy view is not from a Disney movie. It’s Danum Valley in Sabah.
Photograph by Chris Bray
13. A guesthouse that looks like a Chinese mansion from the 19th century at Kimberly House, Georgetown
14. A most eerie but jaw-dropping view of Gunung Kinabalu taken from the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa
15. An ancient Chinese architectural beauty in Georgetown, Penang
16. Who would have thought the concrete jungle that is Johor would have blue-tinged, crystal clear waters in Pulau Babi Tengah?
Wooden pier of Batu Batu on Tengah Island (Pulau Babi Tengah), South China sea, Malaysia
“Yup, Pulau Babi Tengah for real!”
17. More blue skies and stunning beaches!
Lankayan Island Dive Resort, Lankayan, Sabah
18. The National Park isn’t the only attraction Pahang is known for. Look at this clear, sandy strip of beach at Cherating!
Vibes from nature
19. Sunset by Batu Uban Jetty in Penang
20. A beautiful mosque with stained glass windows by the beach in Melaka
Masjid Selat Melaka
21. Islands that could give Maldives a run for its money at Semporna, Sabah,Malaysia.
22. Remnants of the colonial past at the Macalister Mansion in Penang
23. Majestic limestone pinnacles at the Mulu National Park
Malaysia is so beautiful, we bet nothing can stop you from wanting to visit these breathtaking places right away.
Taking a step away from all the heat, haze and madness clouding the nation, we take a look at why most refer to Sabah as the jewel of Southeast Asia:
Bodgaya Island, Sabah, Malaysia
1. Stunning, jaw-dropping islands!
- One of the first things that come to mind when one thinks of Sabah, would definitely be its breathtaking beach strips with blue-green crystal clear waters. With islands like Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai and more ‘virgin’ beaches, Sabah serves as the ideal destination to satisfy all your beach holiday cravings!
Bohey Dulang, Sabah
Mabul Water Bungalows, Mabul Island, Sabah
Maiga Island, Sabah
2. Locals there are probably the warmest and friendliest in the country
- If there’s anything that travellers most often worry about, it would most probably be language barrier. However, Malaysians or in this case, Sabahans are mostly multilingual, with many that can speak at least three languages including English, Bahasa Baku, Mandarin, and other indigenous dialects.
3. There’s lip-smacking CHEAP seafood and a delectable selection of local cuisine
- One of the most popular local fruit in Sabah, ‘Bambangan’ is a type of wild-mango fruit that is known for its durian-like distinct scent. The fruit is usually pickled, fried with onions and chillies to make sambal or tossed into a fresh salad. Bambangan fruits are easily available in wet markets around the state.Being a coastal state that is pretty much surrounded by the South China Sea, seafood is not only easily available but is also reasonable and rather cheap in Sabah, compared to other states in Malaysia. To top it off, the eclectic blend of cultures add an interesting twist to the local dishes!
Hinava’, a famous Kadazan-Dusun salad that is prepared with fresh raw mackerel fish, onions, shavings of ginger and chili with a splash of lime juice
4. There are even dairy farms that resemble quaint little Swiss villages
- Located at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, Desa Cattle Dairy Farm offers one of the most amazing scenery one could envision. Often chosen as a wedding photography destination, with the majestic Mount Kinabalu overlooking beautiful green pastures, the scenery is breathtaking, not forgetting the cool breeze that Kundasang has to offer.The real attraction here is the cattle farm, producing about 900,00 litres of milk per year. The farm is 199 hectares and most of the milking cows are Friesians, the highest milk producers of all cattle breeds.
Desa Dairy Farm, Sabah
Desa Dairy Farm
Kundasang War Memorial
5. Its lush rainforests could easily rival the Amazon
- Did you know that the Borneo tropical rainforest is about 130 million years old, making it one of the oldest in the world? While many parts of the country is covered in degraded jungles and secondary forests, Borneo’s forest remains the only undisturbed virgin forest in the country, with a dizzying number of exquisite flora and fauna.
Trus Madi Forest Reserve, Sabah
6. Did you know that just 10 square kilometres of the Sabah rainforest has more flora and fauna than that of North America and Europe, combined?!
- The rainforest of the Sabah is a kind of botanical paradise with one of the most rare combination of plant species and wildlife in the world. In 2000, the Kota Kinabalu Park was officially named as an UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its high biodiversity. Also, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilation Center in the first official orangutan sanctuary and rehabilitation center in the world!
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher at Kinabatangan River, Sabah
Proboscis monkey that is endemic to the southeast Asian island of Borneo
An orangutan in the wild, along the river on the way to Camp Leakey Tanjung Puting National Park
7. Home to more than 30 ethnic groups, Sabah is a melting pot of cultures
- The state’s population is made of about 33 indigenous groups, communicating in over 50 languages and 80 ethnic dialects. While the Kadazan-Dusun group make up almost 30% of the community, the largest immigrant ethnic group in Sabah is the Chinese. Other main ethnic groups include the people of Kwijau, Murut, Bajau, Ringus, Lotud and Kedayan.
The groom and his best men; This outfit is known as “Sinipak” and usually worn only during wedding ceremony for the indigenous Kadazandusun tribe in Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia
Ladies of Dusun Liwan ethnic, Sabah, Malaysia
People of the Kadazan Dusun tribe in Sabah
8. The eastern state’s turn-of-the-century North Borneo Railway would take you back to the glorious, English golden yesteryears
- Operated by the privately owned Sutera Harbor Resort, the historic North Borneo Railway is a tourism-only steam train service than runs between Tanjung Aru, near the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and the town of Papar, about 38.5 kilometers southbound. English breakfast is served on board before the train departs while authentic local style lunch is served upon reaching its final destination at Papar.(45 minutes from kota kinabalu)
North Borneo Railway
9. Sabah’s beautiful native cultures will draw you into a rich history of tribal rituals like blow-pipe making and tattooing
- With three-hour tours at 10am, 2pm or 6pm, Mari Mari showcases various traditional homes of Sabahan ethnic communities – the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun – all of which are built by descendants of the tribes they represent. Along the way you’ll get the chance to see blow-pipe making, tattooing, fire-starting, and an insight into the mystical belief systems of each of these groups, as well as a notable culinary nibble from each tribe!
Mari Mari Cultural Village
‘Sabah-born Carlos Benny Majakil is bringing his passion for tattoos back to his hometown for the Borneo state’s first tattoo convention’
Mari Mari Cultural Village
10. Sabah has one of the best diving spots in the world!
- Dubbed as the haven for divers, Sabah offers an exceptional marine-biodiversity with beautiful coral reefs and an array of critters that can be photographed during your diving sessions. Three of the most diverse and magnificient diving sites in Sabah are the Sipadan, Mabul and Layang Layang island with some of the most amazing coral reefs in the world.
Barracuda Point, Sipadan island
Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) at Eel Garden, Pulau Mabul(Mabul Island), Sabah,Malaysia(east Malaysia)
Tree Coral (Dendronephthya sp.) at Black Ray Channel, Pulau Kapalai(Kapalai Island), Sabah,Malaysia.
11. And the perfect view of the horizon from the peak of Mount Kinabalu(Best Part)
The peak of Mount Kinabalu
Low’s Peak, the summit of Mount Kinabalu. 4095m above sea level’
12. Last but certainly not the least, the beautiful resorts perched on slopes and beaches will give you a taste of paradise. We’ll let the photos speak for themselves…
- With resorts that look like the gardens of Eden, Sabah offers a great variety of places to stay for travellers. Want to dip your feet in crystal clear waters first thing in the morning? Try spending the night at one of the Mabul Water Bungalows or if you love the feeling of being surrounded by the nature, stay at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, quietly nestled by the Kinabatangan River.
Gaya Island Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Kapalai Water Village
Bunga Raya Island Resort Spa
Basically, the nation’s second largest state, Sabah, offers everything that Asia promises; nature, culture and cuisine, all wrapped in a majestic packaging that would definitely leave a lasting impression on your mind!
Bohey Dulang, Sabah, Malaysia