ahh Malaysia! Not only a beautiful landscape, but called home to genuine and sweet local people that encourage a tourist to feel at home among theirs. Humble appreciations and curiosity can take you a long way in Malaysia. From big cities like Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu tailored to tourists with a big wallet for shopping or a stomach craving street food, to empty beaches in Langkawi or Sabah for the backpacker seeking peace, wild animals that can bring a tear to the eye (pygmy elephants,orang-utans, the sun bear, etc etc.), to adventure visiting longhouses along the riverside and climbing 4095 metres to the summit of Mount Kinabalu…Malaysia has it all….. travel Malaysia!
As mentioned in my first post about peninsular Malaysia the country is essentially divided into Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo Malaysia (which consists of Sabah and Sarawak states). I would suggest trying to spend a couple months to explore each. I am happy to share some of my favourite photos of Borneo, Malaysia for inspiration!
Niah National Park: home to a limestone cave system where 40,000 year old human remains were found. Very few tourists.
Katydid. A bug that looks like a leaf! Really amazing if you can find one!
Brooke’s bird winged butterfly. Very large and beautiful!
This local was collecting the swiftlet birds nest, to make and sell birds nest soup. Famous in Malaysia!
Very old paintings on walls in one of the Niah Caves
Spider. Not sure what kind. Huge!
Kuching, Sabah: a fun city close to Bako National Park, longhouses, Fairy Caves and the Semengoh Orangutan Sanctuary.
a semi-wild orangutan!!!! one of most memorable parts of the trip!
Bako National Park
The Fairy Cave. Beautiful. Small. Can be explored on your own, but you will need transportation from Kuching.
Bako National Park beach. You can watch the Bearded Pig roam the beach most of the day!
the Proboscis monkey. Much more “shy” and less aggressive than then Macaque monkey. Well known for its large nose!
Rajang River: travel up the river to small towns such as Kapit or Bintulu. Many longhouses of the native Iban people along the river.
The chief Iban of the longhouse pouring us some Tuok, which is a rice wine.
These are skulls that the Iban headhunters keep and hang in their house.
An empty bar in Kapit. A very small town along the Rajang River.
A very old longhouse. Only half of it is still inhabited by this Iban family.
Top of the boat is best for travelling the rivers in Borneo!
Literally drove to the end of the road!
A very large and modern longhouse along the Rajang River.
Playing in the water
More of our photos in Borneo.
The locals at this bus stop wanted to take photos with us. We took some photos and then had a beer!
View of Kuching from the plane.
Massages on the jetty in Kota Kinabalu, at midnight on New Years!
He was very interested in the game we were playing.
Enjoying each other
New Friend at Mulu National Park
Mulu National Park
More to come!
Perhaps having little idea of what to expect is the way to go. Less concerned with having a clear plan, or each day pre-determined (based off of TripAdvisor or Travel Blog suggestions) was not really an option for many parts of Malaysia. As such, each day was honestly lived through curiosity and exploration; and Malaysia has been an amazing companion to a wanderlust couple.
Although less travelled than some of the neighbouring SouthEast Asian countries, Malaysia is very welcoming to visitors (from the easy on arrival visa process to the culture, transportation options and people). A remarkable country that can accommodate many types of travellers; whether you are looking for beaches and luxury, a cultural trip and/or adventures through the jungle. My experiences tell me that you will find what you are looking for! You will be met with pleasant surprises, as well as smiling faces from locals. You will not be the only curious person on the street; you will be met with many people asking to take pictures with you (especially for white people), cheerful new friends introducing themselves and shaking your hand, and many people willing to help guide you around. Many locals I have met have this wonderful, almost child-like curiosity and humour that is so enjoyable and humbling, and I feel like these are traits that many westerners do not embody. Even in very remote places many people speak English, so be sure to let conversation and meeting locals be part of your travels.
Geographically, Malaysia is divided into the mainland or (Peninsular Malaysia between Thailand and Singapore), and Borneo Malaysia (island of Borneo). Often, you will find yourself on a beautiful beach completely alone or among a few locals. However, with all that Malaysia has to offer to tourists I cannot see this country not developing a large backpackers route soon. So, if you can make the time travel to Malaysia today before it is overrun (and for good reason). Interim to your travels, below I have shared many pictures of Peninsula Malaysia to give more of a sneak peek into this beautiful country. Please click the pictures for descriptions, and option to comment. My next blog will share more about Borneo Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur: the capital of Malaysia, a large and modern city, lots of shopping, great food, and near Batu Caves and Highlands
View of KL from Petronas Towers
Helping bring supplies up the stairs for construction in the Batu Caves
Two Macaque Monkeys
Entrance to Batu Caves. Consider paying for a tour of the Dark Cave.
Ipoh: large city overlooked by tourists, but much to offer
Visit Old Town to try white coffee, good eats and street art
Visit Lost World of Tambun and see tons of animals
Visit Funtasy House for some fun trick photos! (another great trick photo house is in Langkawi)
Visit Han Chin Pet Soo and learn about the Hakka Tin Miners
Locals that asked to take photos with us!
Langkawi: beautiful island, duty free (cheapest drinks in Malaysia) where many locals and mainland Chinese vacation
Rent scooters and head to Temurun Waterfall for a swim!
Relax on Pantai Cenang beach. Also, many options for water sports. As you can see, not many other people around in November, but Pantai Penang is probably the busiest area for tourists on the island.
Walk Pantai Tengah Beach
Splurge and tour the islands on a jet ski tour!
View from the SkyBridge
Splurge for the glass bottom at SkyBridge!
Crocodile Adventureland is not just for kids!
Penang, fantastic island with more tourism than most parts of Malaysia, amazing street food in George Town, fun night life, and the countries smallest National Park
George Town has an abundance of amazing street food. Try it all!
Get a map and find all the street art in George Town
Clan Jetties of Penang are full of history, and many of the houses on stilts are now converted to small shops.
Penang National Park is the smallest in Malaysia. It has some nice trails and a small rescue centre of Sea Turtles. As you can see, we had the beach to oursellves.
We were unable to make it everywhere, but everywhere we went we stayed longer than planned! As you can see, Malaysia is amazing!
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