Lockdown getting you down? Maybe it’s time to start looking ahead to post-pandemic travel. With its unique blend of cosmopolitan culture, amazing food and wonderful nature, Malaysia is a holiday destination that packs in all your favourite holiday features. When Covid-19 restrictions are finally lifted and we can all get back on the road again, this is the perfect place to make up for lost time. For a little travel inspiration, check out our top picks from Malaysia:
1. Climb the KL Tower for an epic view of the city
Standing 451 metres (1,483 ft) tall, the colossal Petronas Towers are the biggest twin towers in the world and a signature landmark in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. To get the best view of this iconic building, head to neighbouring KL Tower, which is the highest viewpoint in the city that’s open to the public. Up here you can walk around a 360-degree observation deck and even step out onto glass-bottom platforms suspended above 335 metres (1,099 ft) of empty space between your feet and the bustling city below. KL Tower is a favourite launch pad for base jumpers, who come from all over the world to leap from its summit. The tower also acts as the Islamic observatory, monitoring the crescent moon which marks the beginning of Ramadhan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah.
2. Discover the grandeur of Hindu heritage at Batu Caves
On the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, you’ll find the awe-inspiring Batu Caves. Combining natural wonders with spectacular feats of construction and religious devotion, the cave and its outlying temples form one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India and the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. Climb the 272 steps at the mouth of the cave, passing the gigantic golden statue of Sri Murugan Swami, to whom the temple is dedicated. Standing 42 metres (140 ft) high, the world’s tallest Murugan statue is made of 1,550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint. It reportedly cost around 24 million rupees; a suitably eye-watering price tag for such a lavish monument. Inside the caves you’ll find a vast natural cavern framed by stalactites where bats, swifts and pigeons come to roost. Several intricate shrines and secondary temples have also been built inside the cave.
3. Explore the mangrove forests of Langkawi
The island of Langkawi is famed for its unspoilt natural habitats, one of the finest being Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, spanning 100 square kilometres and home to mangrove swamps, white sandy beaches and dramatic 500 million-year-old karst hills, separating Malaysia from Thailand and jutting out of the Andaman Sea like a barrier of dragon’s teeth. The area is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including monitor lizards, snakes, kingfishers, eagles and a population of crab-eating macaques that have taken to swimming the murky waters in search of food. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic local guides can take you on a river cruise for some surprising animal encounters, including a floating fish farm where you can see a leopard shark, handle ancient horseshoe crabs, throw food to schools of ravenous trevally and hand-feed stingray.
4. Take a walk in the jungle canopy at Poring in Sabah
Scared of heights? Maybe you’d better give this one a miss. The Poring Canopy Walkway in Sabah is four rope bridges totalling 175 metres in length, suspended more than 40 metres up in the canopy of the jungle. This web of wooden planks, canvas netting and ropes is a swinging walkway that takes you into the upper reaches of the rainforest, for a perspective usually reserved for birds and monkeys. If the high life isn’t to your liking, you can enjoy the restorative and relaxing benefits of the Poring hot spring or explore the butterfly garden and trek through the forest to a secluded waterfall.
5. Search for street art in the winding lanes of George Town
George Town is the vibrant, charming capital on the island of Penang. Home to ornate Chinese temples, colonial British architecture and a thriving café culture, this former trading hub in the Straits of Malacca continues to draw visitors from far and wide. A big highlight would have to be the streets of the old town district, where antique architecture has been given a modern twist and a trendy facelift with the addition of some quirky street art. Rent a bicycle, grab a decorative local rickshaw or simply potter the lanes on foot to uncover some unique curiosities in this charismatic corner of the Malaysian peninsular.