Places to Visit in Malaysia

13th Jan 2014
Photo of Places to Visit in Malaysia 1/6 by Shweta Apte
On the way to Gunung Nuang
Photo of Places to Visit in Malaysia 2/6 by Shweta Apte
Adventures in Taman Negara National Park
Photo of Places to Visit in Malaysia 3/6 by Shweta Apte
Riding around Cherating village
Photo of Places to Visit in Malaysia 4/6 by Shweta Apte
Calm waters at Tioman Island
Photo of Places to Visit in Malaysia 5/6 by Shweta Apte
Deep inside the Deer Cave
Photo of Places to Visit in Malaysia 6/6 by Shweta Apte
Performance at Sarawak Cultural village

Malaysia is an amazing country waiting to be discovered. From dense ancient rainforests to the rich union of cultures to modern infrastructure to being every diver’s paradise, Malaysia has so many places to suit every personality. These contrasting landscapes further prove the place's diversity. This vacation can either be for indulging in the best bargains or spending the trip entirely by the crystal white sand, or for exploring the luxuriant flora. Whatever option you choose, I can assure you, you won’t be let down. This place is home to many festivals due to the numerous ethnic groups residing in this single country.

Situated in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is partly on the Asian mainland peninsula and partly on an island. We had two major areas to cover in this trip: Pahang and Sarawak. Pahang’s state capital, Kuantan, moves from mountainous terrain in the west to one of the longest coastline in the eastern peninsula of Malaysia. Sarawak has only one thing to offer: vast wilderness. And this is exactly why I decided to travel here to discover the diversity of plant and animal life that it shelters.

Our itinerary involved a lot of trekking, caving, visiting beach villages on foot, snorkeling, diving, outdoor adventures and reveling in the vibrant culture this overshadowed country had to offer. It could qualify as a beach vacation as well as wilderness travel.

Gunung Nuang or Mount Nuang is situated in Janda Baik, a village town in Pahang. This 1493m high mountain is the highest in the state of Selangor. Being a novice trekker, this was challenging for me. It is said to be a good practice for those planning to trek Mount Tahan in Pahang and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. This trek did test my stamina. You can make a quick stop at Chemperoh Waterfall that is a concealed pearl. Once you overcome the jungles, at the peak you’ll see exotic dense vegetation. The trek was worth every tropical flora and fauna that I got to see in their most natural forms. Keep at least half a day for exploring this mountain while planning your itinerary. Travel Tip - If you are a newbie, it is going to be taxing. Don’t underestimate this trek and plan accordingly.

Photo of Gunung Nuang Malaysia by Shweta Apte

Taman Negara National Park is the largest national park here and estimated to be 130 million years old, making it the oldest rainforest in the world. It is roughly 106 miles away from Mount Nuang. It is said to be originally named King George V National Park in 1938, but was renamed as Taman Negara in 1957. We opted for a river cruise and jungle trekking to expose ourselves to the prodigious miscellany of flora and fauna and natural landscapes. Canopy walk is a great way to observe the wild. Walking across the longest suspension bridge was the most adventurous part of this trip. An overnight stay will help you survey the animals in their natural habitat, which is a rare opportunity for many travelers.

Photo of National Park (Taman Negara) Malaysia by Shweta Apte

Cherating village is a small fishing village in Pahang. This coastal settlement has a plethora of local attractions and activities for you to indulge in. It is located 75.1 miles away from Taman Negara (30 km north of Kuantan on Peninsular Malaysia's East Coast). It won’t be a perfect afternoon without yachting or surfing or a long swim at the beach. Don’t forget to visit the nearby turtle sanctuary to see the turtles laying their eggs (between July and August). On a clear, sunny day, flying kites on the beach was more fun than I have ever imagined.

Photo of Cherating Beach Balok Terengganu Malaysia by Shweta Apte

We were looking for a picnic spot outside the village and Pulau Ular (Island of Snakes) was a good option. It is suitable for relaxing, fishing and swimming. A small trek to the highest point on the island just took us 10 minutes. We rested on the rocks to take in the beautiful view. This place will just take 20 min via a speedboat from the Cherating village. Once here, you can spend 2-3 hours. Travel Tip - Be cautious of the Jellyfish.

107 miles away from Cherating is the best beach getaway that I have experienced in my life (located off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia). If you are looking for snorkeling and diving, then this is the spot. Along with that, a wide range of tropical fish and abundant coral reefs add to the magnificence of this island. The scenic view of volcanic peaks and waterfalls alongside lush rainforests will take your breath away.

Photo of Tioman Island Mersing Johor Malaysia by Shweta Apte

To unravel the multi-ethnicity of Malaysia, we decided to visit Sarwak Cultural Village. Situated at the foothills of Mount Santubong, this 'living museum' displays handicrafts, lifestyles, costumes and traditional houses of the ethnic communities surviving there. Two cultural performances take place daily where they put on dance shows and showcase daily activities of the tribes. This museum covers 17 acres of land and is located 430 miles away from Tioman Island. If you want information on various traditional cultures and lifestyle, make sure you list this place in your itinerary.

Photo of Sarawak Cultural Village Kuching Malaysia by Shweta Apte

This isolated park is situated near Miri, Sarawak and has the world’s largest limestone cave system. We also saw clusters of tall limestone pinnacles. Make sure you don’t miss out on the caving and the pinnacle trekking experience. Otherwise, there's no point in travelling all the way to this UNESCO World heritage site. We visited the Clearwater Cave, resting over some underwater river system. This is the perfect place if you are in search of solitude. Deer Cave is a magical and astounding place. It is the largest cave passage in the world. An unbelievable masterpiece formed by the stunning limestone stalactites. It houses 3 million bats high up the ceiling. Once out of the cave, you can see spectacular formations made by the bats in the sky that are hungry and in search of food. This is one sight which left me in awe.

Photo of Gunung Mulu National Park Nansha Islands Malaysia by Shweta Apte

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