Malaysia (East Coast)

Kelantan

Kelantan is at northeastern part of Malaysia bordering Thailand with checkpoint at Rantau Panjang with road access connecting to Narathiwat at Thailand, is also very near to Tak Bai Thailand, which explains why you will see many Buddhist Temple in some parts of Kelantan. Wat Photivihan which house a 40m sleeping Buddha statue, is a Thai temple in Tumpat District and is the longest reclining Buddha of its kind in Southeast Asia. Although Kelantan is a majority Muslim state but there are almost 25 Buddhist temples in Tumpat alone. Wat Machimmaram is another impressive temple with a giant 30m sitting Buddha statue located in the Tumpat district of Kelantan, about 20 km from Kota Bharu. 

The Guan Yin statue craved from large stalagmite inside the cave

For nature lovers, the famous Princess Cave Pulai or known as Zhia Xia Dong, a limestone karst tower called Princess Hill at the village of Pulai, some 8 km from Gua Musang in Kelantan. Many international tourists come here to see the Guan Yin statue and the Chinese-style shrines and altars inside the cave but for you to reach the cave, you need to climb its 150 concrete steps. Another popular ecotourism is to go for a day trip in Taman Negara Park for a perfect experience to commune with nature and interact with the native tribe families living in the forest while doing some activities like canopy walking, jungle walking at night, rapid shooting, boat cruising, fish feeding at Kelah Sanctuary, spelunking, birdwatching, fishing, and cave exploration.

Jelawang Waterfall, claimed to be the tallest waterfall in South East Asia.

You can also visit the tallest waterfall,  the seven-tiered, 305 metre-high, Jelawang Waterfall which is located at Gunung Stong State Park in South East Asia. This mass of exposed rock is so prominent that you can see it from several kilometers away, most notably during the journey from Dabong to Jelawang village. Hikers and backpackers can hike up to the top of the waterfall, stay overnight in the campsite there by the river and then rise early in order to witness the first rays of the morning sunrise from the vantage point at the edge of the waterfall. 

For more nature activities head to Min House Camp which is about 6km away from Kota Bahru, a place where you can experience all outdoors from water sport activities such as fishing, kayaking, river bathing, clam digging, and even firefly watching at night. Not only is it located in lush tropical greenery, but anyone can you can also engage in many cultural activities, including handicraft-making, cooking lessons, traditional games, and watching cultural performances.

Malaysian designer, Fern Chua who hand paints batik set to present her batik to the world appear in a global British Council campaign.

Kota Bahru, the state capital is also home to highly skilled artisans and its diverse cottage industries, so it’s best to explore and shop at the local batik factory, the kite factory, and the silver craft center or pay a visit at Handicraft Village & Craft Museum like Kampung Kraftangan “Balai Getam Guri”which display traditional and regional crafts and local crafting techniques. For photographic location or other tourist attraction, there are Istana Jahar (Jahar palace) which dates from 1887, Istana Batu, dates from 1939, Muzeum Islam, a top spot if you want to learn more about the history of Islam. Bank Kerapu, built in 1912 as part of the Mercantile Bank of India is now a War Museum with colonial architecture in Kota Bharu and during the Second World War it would have been the home of the Kempai Tai who were the secret police force of the Japanese forces.  You can learn all about the Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation of Malaysia in World War Two

There are smaller Wau kites that you can buy as souvenir or as decoration for your home

You can also experience taking train that runs the Jungle Railway, the East Coast Line from Tumpat, near the Thai border, down to Gemas in Negeri Sembilan which was built in stages between 1910 and 1930. You get to enjoy the amazing view of the jungle and the scenic nature as it traverses to Kelantan.

Terengganu

Princess Hill Fort (Bukit Puteri) 200m high hill has a fort at its summit which was built in the 1830s

Terengganu have some of the most beautiful paradise island among all states in Malaysia like Perhentian, Redang and Kapas. To start with, we tour the capital city Kuala Terengganu, by walking, start with the dazzling white Abidin Mosque, original wooden mosque on this site was built by Sultan Zainal Abidin II and was completed in 1808. Since then it has been rebuilt in brick, next to it is Maziah Palace (Istana Maziah) which was built between around 1897 and 1903 as a residence and reception venue for the Terengganu royal family. Another recommended site is Princess Hill Fort (Bukit Puteri) was built in the 1830s and served as a defensive position during the civil wars between rival sultans vying for the Terengganu throne. If you looking for some local souvenirs or delicacy head to Central Market (Pasar Payang) where traditional items like batik and silk are sold as well as fruit, vegetables and local delicacy Keropok Lekor, made from fish and sago. There is also a Chinatown here where you find an old Ho Ann Kiong Temple built between years 1796-1821 by immigrants from the Hokkien Province of China.

Hoi Ann Kiong temple is located near Chinatown

Also don’t miss out the Terengganu State Museum (Muzium Negeri Terengganu) at Kampung Losong which is the largest museum in Malaysia with a floor area of over 75,000 square meters spread over 4 interconnected buildings consisting of 9 galleries namely, Natural History, Textile, Royal, Craft, Petroleum, Islamic, Historical, Fisheries & Marine and Seafaring & Trade Gallery. Just 1.2 km from this museum on an island is the Islamic Civilization Park (Taman Tamadun Islam) featuring miniature replicas of 22 famous monuments from the Islamic world starting fromNational Mosque, Malaysia, Kudus Al Minar, Indonesia, Pattani Mosque, Thailand, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Brunei, Taj Mahal, India, Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan, Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Grand Mosque of Samara, Iraq, Lutfallah Mosque, Iran, Mausoleum of Abu Nasr Parsa, Afghanistan, The Sacred Mosque, Saudi Arabia, Aleppo Citadel, Syria, Mohammad Ali Mosque, Egypt, The Prophet’s Mosque, Saudi Arabia, Suleyman Mosque, Turkey, Al Hambra Citadel, Spain, Kalyan Minaret, Uzbekistan, Agadez Grand Mosque, Niger, Kul Sharif Mosque, Russia, Minaret of Xian, China, Sultan Mosque, Singapore, Great Mosque of Qairawan, Tunisia. Entrance for Adults (RM25/$6), Children age 7-12 (RM15/$3.5) and free for children age 6 and below. Closed on Tuesday and Friday prayers time. Open 10am- 6pm

Next if you like explore some of the beaches in here, there are Rantau Abang where you can wait at night for leatherback turtles to lay their eggs from May to September, but nowadays the number have been dwindle. Penarik is a lovely beach with traditional fishing boats hauled up on the beach. Merang is where you can catch a boat to Redang Island, Other beaches include Pantai Air Tawar, Teluk Bidara, Kemasik, Teluk Mak Nik and Bukit Keluang.

Islands attraction at Terengganu

For island visitors, the 3 best ones are Perhentian , Redang and Kapas. For Perhentian, there are 2 islands, namely Perhentian Besar (BIG) and Perhentian Kecil (small) that are located some 20km off shore with crystal clear water, unspoiled pristine beaches, fringed with coral and they were a popular among backpackers here especially at the Kecil (small) island while the BIG island cater more for the scuba divers. To get to these 2 island, you can hop on a ferry/speed boat from Kuala Besut on the mainland. They usually charge around RM75/$18 return which take about 40 minutes for the journey. You can experience feeding exotic tropical fish here by just holding bread from your hand, they would just munch away your bread in seconds.

Redang Island, a popular destination for all beach lovers

Redang Island beaches are the top on the list for local as well as foreign tourist. This beautiful heart-shaped paradise island is situated about 30 km off the Terengganu coast. A popular island with snorkelers and scuba divers due to the crystal clear water with colorful fishes and beautiful coral reef. Much of the island’s coastline is rocky with jungle-clad hills dropping straight into the sea. This island is made Redang Island Marine Park, known for having a range of underwater delights which include some 500 different kinds of coral and over 3,000 species of fish. Several beautiful beaches here include Teluk Dalam Kecil, Teluk Dalam Besar, Pasir Panjang (Long Beach), and Pasir Kalong. There is also a turtles sanctuary for green turtles called Chagar Hutang and this beach doesn’t allow visitor as it’s houses the largest population of green turtle here.

Next is Pulau Kapas (Kapas island) a less visited island (compare to Redang and Perhentian) made it a tropical hideout that is just 6km from mainland. The Kapas name translate cotton because of the pure white sandy beaches here, that’s how the island gets it’s name. Although there are few beach chalets but many visitors go for a day trip for few hours. Being a small island of barely 3 km, this tiny island is a great spot for snorkeling, kayaking and relaxing by the beach.

Lake Kenyir Attractions

Lake Kenyir (Tasik Kenyir) is the largest man-made lake by damming the Kenyir River covering some 209,200 hectares. The dam produces hydro electric power beside helping to control flooding in Terengganu State. The water level fluctuate according to seasons and the best time is during March to April raining seasons. River fish has sprawled here attracting anglers flocking in to try their luck, especially when dry season around August.

Hop on a boat at Pengkalan Gawi jetty or join an organised boat tour to get around. A good way to experience is to stay on a Houseboat which provide accommodation while touring the lake. They are quite a number of Houseboat here cater for large group between 20-30 people, here is one of them that you can try. For water activities, you can try kayaking, canoeing and rafting. You can enjoy fishing and other activities like karaoke while staying on the Houseboat. The ferocious Giant Snakehead is the top predator in these waters.

Bewah Cave, is well known here, after the discovery of the oldest prehistoric skeletal remains in Malaysia (16 thousand years old, to be exact), popularly known as Bewah Man, which has now been placed in Terengganu State Museum – is believed to have belonged to a teenage girl instead. Travelers may learn about the skeleton’s history and excavation process at a mini gallery near its entrance. This is also the biggest cave in Kenyir Lake, and is known to have fascinating formations of stalactites and stalagmites. 

Another main attractions in Kenyir Lake is Pokok Melunak or Melunak tree, the one in Tanjung Bewah, Kenyir Lake is said to be the biggest of its kind in Malaysia, with diameter of more than 20 adult hugs circle combined. To see this 100 meters high tree which is more than 300 years old, travelers need to trek around 30 minutes from Tanjung Bewah Jetty.

There are also some 14 waterfalls here at the lake, Lasir Waterfall, 150 m high, located about 16 km or 30 minutes boat from Pengkalan Gawi, has an impressive drop and is a popular spot for boat tours to visit.  There is a suspension bridge with a good view of the falls and as an observation tower. Saok Waterfall is another attraction that you should not miss. On one part, the ground is flatter and well-shaded with trees, suitable for people to set up picnic  

Kenyir Elephant Conservation is an exceptional experience for those who want to ride on elephant, take photos, feed and bathe them as this area is actually a sanctuary for 18 native elephants. They are rescued and brought here due to various reasons such as being orphaned, threatened by habitat loss and ivory poaching, lost from their herd or caught by local villagers after raiding the crops and villages.

Bird Watching is another interesting activities here as this area is home to about 350 species of birds, including 9 out of 10 of Malaysia’s hornbill species.

Taman Negara/ National Park

For nature and rainforests lovers, Taman Negara or National Park is the ideal destination for you. It covers 4343 sq. km in 3 states of Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang and is one of the oldest known primary rainforest in the world, about 130 million years old with 15,000 plant species, 675 species bird, (Rhinoceros Hornbill, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, and many other rare species), 250 freshwater fishes and many more species of insects. It is also where you get to experience the world’s longest forest canopy walkway, being 530 meters long (half kilometers) and 40 meters above the ground level. The panoramic view from the canopy is breathtaking, and it almost feels like a dream.

If you coming her, don’t expect a day trip, as there are many activities here, one of it is the to climb the Gunung Tahan if you super fit for a 53 km distance, longest of the treks in Taman Negara, from the central park headquarters in Kuala Tahan. There is a shorter 32 km route which start from Sungai Relau, but you may encounter leeches, torrential rains, monkeys, poisonous snakes, tigers and more. For a much easier hike, you can trek Bukit Teresek, hike can be achieve in just 30 to 45 minutes with the peak height at 334 meters.

Cave exploration is another extravagant natural sites not to be missed at Taman Negara, one of the most popular ones is Gua Telinga which is 3 kilometres away from Wildlife Headquarters. Other interesting caves includes Gua Kepayang Kecil and Kepayang Besar where you crawl underground tunnel which is home to various amphibians like bats, frogs and all kind of insects here.

You can also join the night walking safari around the forest, dive into the wilderness at dark while listening to various animals making their presence felt. There is guide which will take you to the hiding spots where you can spot animals like deer, wild boars, tapirs, and many more. Experience them living in the night, searching for food through their day-to-day life as close as possible.

Kelah Sanctuary, located at Lubuk Tenor on the Sungai Tahan river is homes to the kelah fish, The Red Mahseer. Just throw a handful of pellets to feed the fishes and they would swim closer to you, so you get to enjoy the thrilling view to see them grabbing food.

Malaysia (West Coast)

Travel tips Malaysia, is a multi racial country located bordering Thailand on the north and Singapore on the south and including the island of Borneo in the east. This is the country which I was born and lived for 50 years, so which blogger is better to tell you about Malaysia if not me. The weather here is summer all year round average from 25 -35 °C, except few months of rainy season. Monsoon season at the south-west from May to September while November to March is wettest in the north-east. For beach goers head to the west coast between January and February, April in Sabah and June and July on the east coast and in Sarawak.

Malaysia consist of 13 states including 11 at peninsula and Sabah, Sarawak at the east

With an area of over 330,000 square kilometers, Malaysia is known for its capital city of Kuala Lumpur, a powerhouse financial and business hub in South East Asia, as well as its secluded islands with beautiful beaches, elevated hill stations, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Malaysia was once ranked 9th in the world for tourist arrivals and the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks Malaysia 25th out of 141 countries overall. In an effort to boast the economy, the government pushed to increase tourism in Malaysia by advertising abroad “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia”.

For traveling whole Malaysia if you have 2-4 person, I suggest you rent a car for 1- 2 weeks (if you have the time and money) daily cost is just Rm80 ($20) if share by 4 person, just $5 a day and petrol is cheap here at just around Rm2 ($0.50 cents) per liter, full tank just $25+.From south to north is just 800km and you can cover that with 2 full tanks (under $60). Furthermore there are GPS like Google Maps and Waze, so you can’t go missing, although there are public transport but many places especially travelling interstate or rural place is hard to go but you just need to follow speed limit of 110km/h on highways. If you have a group of 8-12 people, my friend have a 14 seater van that can take your group around and he can double as tourist guide. You can message him at his FB (Stevie Chan)-· Kuala Lumpur Tourist Guide Association (KLTGA). He can take all of you for a 1 whole circle of Peninsular Malaysia.

There race diversity here, include Malays (69.6%) and also a sizeable Chinese (22.6%) and Indian (6.8%) and others 1% population in Malaysia which is reflected in the cultural relics found in country. Visitors here can choose from a wide variety of activities from hiking to diving, to shopping or sampling the local food. Here’s my list of the best things to do in Malaysia.

Petronas Twin Towers, City Center

One of the hot destination and most photographed location in Kuala Lumpur

Almost every tourist that fly in, visit Kuala Lumpur and the most famous landmark, receiving thousand of tourist daily is Petronas Twin Towers (tallest tower from 1998-2004) and remain the tallest twin tower till today with 88 storey high. You can experience the sky bridge linking the two tower at level 41 (170 meters), you can spend 10 minutes here taking pictures and videos, then to Observation deck on level 86 where you can linger for another 15 minutes to see 360 degrees of KL skyline and then down to the gift shop at concourse level. Visiting the towers is a very organized event, ticket price at Rm80 ($20) for adult and Rm33 ($8) for children and of course the infamous gift shop. If you are orchestra lovers, Petronas Philharmonic Hall on level 2 hosted many of the world’s leading orchestras such as New York PhilharmonicPhiladelphia OrchestraBBC Symphony and Vienna Symphony has the capacity to accommodate for 920 seats which includes box seats, corporate suites and a royal suite.

Kl Tower at evening and night view, there is a revolving restaurant that you can have lunch, dinner or Hi-Tea

Next is KL Tower, The Kuala Lumpur Tower is a communications tower was completed on 1 March 1995. It features an antenna that increases its height to 421 metres and is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world and tallest in Southeast Asia. The roof of the pod is at 335 metres and we have the tallest revolving restaurant here at 282 meters up, named Atmosphere 360 , you can book table for lunch/dinner or Hi-tea (3.30-5.30pm) with prices ranging from Rm58 -150 ($14 – 36). You can enjoy your meal with ever changing skyline views as it revolving.

Upsidedown House

This Upside Down house is just 150 meters from the foothill of KL Tower

The Upside down house completed in 2016 featuring a traditional two-storey English cottage, complete with furniture and home décor including kitchen, living room, master bedroom and an attic, completely upside down.

The main entrance offers unique photo opportunities, as there’s a bright yellow upside down antique car hanging above its visitors and is also surrounded by an upside down garden, housing colourful artificial flowers, grass and trees, as well as gazebos overlooking KL City Centre. Entrance Rm20 ($5) adult and Rm15($3.80)

Chinatown/Petaling Street

My birthplace, I grew up here

China Town aka Petaling Street used to be tourist hot spot where you can find all kinds of imitation bargains from head to toes, designer handbag, branded attires, shoes, watches, belts. Also all kinds of local food available here, there are the famous since 60 over years charcoal Hokkien Fried Noodles (Hokkien Mee), Cantonese Fried Noodles (KwongFu Chau), Char Siu Wonton Noodles (also more than 60 years), Grilled Spicy Fish, Claypot Chicken Rice, Bak Kut Teh, Pork porridge, Beef Noodles, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai and a varieties of seafood dishes like prawns, crabs etc. You can also try another 60 years specialty, Oloiya barbecued dried meat (pork/chicken), roast Chestnut, roast duck have been selling here long time ago.. For drinks we have coconut, sugar cane, Lo Han Kuo, Soya bean, fruit juices etc. but unfortunate now all was empty due to Covid pandemic. Hope it can be restore to it’s former glory soon.

Batu Caves, Selangor

From Petaling Street the nearest attraction is Batu Caves, some 14km away, you can get a Grab/taxi cost you less than $10 for the 20 minutes journey. The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old and the staircase leading up consists of 272 steps. The caves and temples are Hindu shrines and here are a site of pilgrimage for the many Tamil residents of here where every year during Thaipusam celebration, more than 10,000 devotees gathered here. They carry the kavadi (a decorated structure bearing the image of several deities including Lord Murugan) on their shoulders and pal kodum (milk pots) carried above their heads up the stairs from ground. The Devotees prepare themselves for the occasion by purifying their bodies through fasting and abstinence, and observe a vegetarian diet for a certain period of time. Some devotees began in trance where the god came in their body during the festival and sharp needles are pierce all over their body where they feel painless. Beside from visiting the caves, travelers can also experience the local flora and fauna including wild monkeys that inhabit the area as well as bats that dwell in the caves. For the more adventurous visitors, there are also rock climbing opportunities with over 160 climbing routes in the area. This cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. ( the giant gold standing statue beside staircase)

Genting Highland, Pahang

Colorful First World Hotel, the biggest hotel in Asia with 7,300 rooms

From Batu Caves, your next nearest, travel destination, you can head on to Genting Highland which is about 42km away, an hour by taxi, would cost you roughly $50. It’s Malaysia’s ultimate holiday destination standing at 6000 feet above sea level where the weather is cooling below 20 degree by day and below 10 by night. Experience world-class hotels, you can stay here for 2 days or more to explore their newly constructed indoor and outdoor theme parks in 2020 plus there is few casinos here, the only license operator in Malaysia.

Fraser Hill, Pahang

Fraser’s Hill is a mountain village in Pahang, 100km north of Genting Highland known for its highland rainforest and extensive birdlife along with several nature paths, including Pine Tree Trail and Bishop Trail, cross jungle terrain sheltering migratory birds like the Siberian thrush. The area also harbors Malayan tigers and rare trig oak trees. Near the village is the Jeriau Waterfall. This is a quiet village for relaxing with nothing much to do, good for retreat.

Cameron Highland, Pahang

From Fraser Hill or Genting Highland you can shoot up to Cameron Highlands which is 190 km away. You can either take a bus down the KL city and take another bus to Cameron ($7) or rent/hire a car. Cameron is another high land nestled at elevations ranging from 800 metres (2,600 ft) to 1,603 metres (5,259 ft) above sea level. Here is a quiet,serene location with fresh air and tea plantation. You can also play golf here under the mild climate below 20 degrees and they are a lot hotels here. You can also rent the whole apartment where you can buy fresh vegetables grow here and cook yourself as all apartments are furnished with pots and cutlery.

Selangor

Pulau Ketam have no cars and road, just wooden planks and narrow concrete paths for bicycle or electric bike

Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) is a fishing village located 50km from KL City Center, you can come by KTM Commuter train from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station and get off at the final stop Port Klang. It costs RM 6.40 ($1.50) one way for adults and half price for children. Then catch a ferry boat cost Rm9 ($2.20) to this muddy island with wooden stilt houses, and mangroves forest which is an ideal habitat for the crabs, mud skipper, hermit crabs and other marine crustaceans. The island was first settled by a group of fishermen from Hainan in southern China in the 1870s and today it is numbered 8000. You can rent bicycles but children and inexperienced cyclists should be careful on the narrow paths or they may easily drop below the soft tidal mudflats as there are no fence or barriers. There are no beaches on this island, its dirty and dangerous to swim here, as there are plenty of fishing boats traffic off and on. There are some Chinese temples in the village and a couple of hotels if you miss the last ferry home plus you can also join their fishing tour, that takes you out for exciting experience.  For food try their spicy crabs, oyster omelette, prawns and fishes, as here you can get the fresh seafood with many restaurants. Also you can buy many dried seafood like salted fish, satey fish, dried squids, dried anchovies and more.

Kuala Selangor  is a town about 75km from city center in Selangor state. Most visitors come here to watch the synchronized flashing of thousands of fireflies (a type of insect from the beetle family) glowing spectacularly in the late evenings (after 8pm) along the banks of Selangor River. Touted as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, this exciting activity is one of the must-visit attractions here and the best way to enjoy this spectacle of nature is by travelling along the river in a traditional sampan to help reduce air and noise pollution and protect the fireflies’ natural habitat. Kampung Bukit Belimbing Firefly Park Resort in Kuala Selangor, is one of three places in this region where visitors can witness the brilliant sight of large groups of fireflies flashing in synchrony and you can overnight at their chalet later. Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park and Pasir Penambang is another 2 sites. I have seen it 3 times, you can see the Blue Tears together. Price start from Rm20 ($5) for adult and they operate from 7.45pm – 11pm daily.

Blue Tears magical light as the boat move forward

Blue Tears Kuala Selangor is another night attraction here cause by Dinoflagellates, an algae or marine plankton that emits blue-green light at night. “Blue tears” are normally found on shore but in Kuala Selangor, visitors get to catch the blue patches on a speedboat ride along the waters where the river meets the sea. The best time to go searching for “Blue Tears” is during the new moon 1st, 2nd and 3rd day of the month in the lunar calendar is the best time to visit due to high tide and darker sky, increasing chances of spotting them. It is recommended to go from 9.00pm onwards, as bioluminescent displays are best viewed at least two hours after sunset. The “Blue tears” can only be captured with good camera with night mode or higher ISO values to capture the bioluminescence in the darkness, usually normal phone won’t able to snap it as I had tried that.

Sky Mirror, this is a day time, morning activity at Sasaran, Kuala Selangor where you can snap superb, fantastic, amazing photos like above pictures, for your Instagram or Facebook. A new natural wonder that has become one of the latest tourist attractions in the area. You jump on a boat to middle of Straits of Malacca a sandbank on the ocean that emerges for 3-4 hours in the mornings when the sea water low tide, producing a mirror-like reflection on the water. What’s even more surprising is that this mysterious phenomenon only appears on the 1st, 2nd, 14th, 15th, 16th and 30th day of the month according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The sandbank itself is home to a great variety of marine life, where you’ll find plenty of hermit crabs, crabs, bamboo clams, sand dollars, sea anemones, snails, shells and more. Eagle Feeding is one another main attraction in Kuala Selangor. You will be able to experience 20-30 eagles flying in sky and waiting the foods from your tour boat Eagle Feeding will be your wonderful experience in Kuala Selangor. Contact me if you need this tour for Sky Mirror, Fireflies, Blue Tears and Eagle Feeding tour (my friend Stevie Chan runs a tour here) you can find his FB Stevie Chan of Kuala Lumpur Tourist Guide Association (KLTGA)

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan is 8 storey (25.5meter) built in 1885  by Leong Choon Chong, a Chinese contractor

If you have the time and interest, you can head to Teluk Intan to visit Leaning Tower of Malaysia, not to compare with Pisa, Italy. It looks like 8 storey but its only 3 when you go inside, it was originally used as a water tank to store portable water during dry season for the people living nearby and also used as a time keeper of the town as there is a huge clock on top of the tower. The clock was made by J.W. Benson of Ludgatehill London and the cost of building it was contributed by the local people. The reason for the leaning are because of the soft ground on the base of the tower and the weight of the water tank.

Pulau Pangkor (Pangkor Island) is an about 70 km from Teluk Intan, you need to head to the Lumut Jetty and take a boat for less than 20 minutes to Pangkor Jetty. There are buses from Kuala Lumpur’s TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan), Butterworth and Ipoh to Lumut before you hop on the boat to Pangkor island. To get around in the island, visitors need to either rent a motorbike (or bicycle) or rely on fixed-priced minivan taxis to circle around this 16 km road around the island perimeter. This is more laid-back as not much foreign tourist come here as nightlife is practically non-existent, mostly local tourist. There are numerous resort here where you can spend a night or two here and relax from having the beach to yourself and also can visit a 17th-century Dutch fortress. Like Pulau Ketam, here is also another island that you can buy dried seafood like squid, anchovies, salted fish, satey fish, dried shrimps and more.

Ipoh, Perak

The capital of Perak state is flanked by towering white cliffs, some with magnificent cave temples pocketed in the limestone. Famous food here are Ipoh Beansprout Chicken ( Ah Choy Kai in Chinese), Ipoh Shredded Chicken flat rice noodle (Kai Si Hor Fun) and Ipoh White Coffee, being named one of the top three coffee towns by Lonely Planet. The coffee beans are roasted with palm oil margarine, and the resulting coffee is served with condensed milk. a must try for first timer. Below are 10 attraction here

Entrance to Lost World of Tambun

Lost World of Tambun a theme park and resort and is said to be one of the city’s premier attractions. If you come with kids, this is a sure go park that features several ‘lost world’ rides and discovery adventures and also has a range of hotels and a large spa offering a variety of treatments for relaxing. There is also a water park, a zoo, and an aquarium.

Entrance to Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple

Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple is Ipoh’s 100 years crown and sprawls across a large complex that covers 12 acres of land use as an important place of worship in Ipoh. Inside you will find an amazing altar which is surrounded by Buddhist and Chinese deities and you will find some pretty trails that take you past two glassy lakes.

Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple, you will find a range of Buddha statues here as well as other famous deities associated with Chinese folklore, flanked by a delightful garden with a pond and you will find charming pagoda here which are speckled with ancient stone lanterns.

Birch Memorial Clock Tower

Birch Memorial Clock Tower is a famous building in Ipoh, built in tribute to J.W.W Birch in 1909 who was one of the first inhabitants of the city who was assassinated in 1875. The tower is an ode to British symbolism and at the top you will find four figures who are meant to depict the four virtues of the British government.

Ulu Geroh Rafflesia Trail only for trekkers who want to spot Rafflesia is known for being the largest flower in the world is located a little way outside of Ipoh in the village of Ulu Geroh in Gopeng. To trek along the trail you will need to get a Semai Orang Asil guide from the village.

Kellie’s Castle was an unfinished, ruined mansion built by William Kellie Smith in 1915 who was a colonialist who built the home to resemble his former house in his native Scotland. The building itself resembles a massive ancient castle and locals claim that it is haunted. Located at Batu Gajah, about 20km from Ipoh, it is also a place where legends abound and you’ll find a large statue of William Kellie Smith here dressed in a suit and hat as well as aristocratic furniture and intricate ceilings that were crafted in the 17th century.

Geological Museum have huge number of exhibits including over 600 minerals and 150 specimens of rocks along with 200 varieties of gemstones. There are also 200 fossils and large murals that shows that show how dinosaur fossils and geological structures are formed and also a gallery that tell the story of mining industry history in Ipoh

Gua Tempurung is a stretch of 4.5 km cave, making it the longest here with amazing stalactites and stalagmite along with underground streams and waterfalls and the huge natural domes in the roof of the caves

Enlightened Heart Tibetan Temple if you want to see a different kind of religious building to the myriad cave temples in the area. Built in 1976 on a 12 acres land it houses the largest Buddhist statue at a height of 13 stories with some 200 different statues here which differ from the usual Buddhist and Taoist temples in the area that give you an interesting insight into Tibetan art work.

Gunung Lang Recreational Park located just 7km out of Ipoh town, you can check out this gorgeous limestone scenery that span 30 hectares where half of this is a lake where you can take a scenery boat ride. There are gardens, a small zoo and observation tower plus a campsite here as well.

Penang Attraction

From Ipoh to Penang is 160km (2 hours journey), this city has plenty of must-see attractions that you should cover in your itinerary. Penang have lots of delicious food like Char Kway Teow , Assam Laksa, Prawn Noodles, Cendol, Nasi Kandar, Wonton Noodle, Curry Mee, just to name a few. As for attractions, I have handpicked some of the best ones

Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) that stands at 821 metres above sea level is one of Penang’s most popular attractions, a trip up by a funicular train is a must, as it provides visitors with spectacular views of the whole island at the summit. At the peak there are a Hindu temple, church and a mosque. On a clear day you can see the mountains of Langkawi but it is the night view sight of lit-up Georgetown that is especially rewarding. Most people simply come to enjoy the cool, unpolluted air and walk under 30m-high trees along the nature trails

Kek Lok Si Temple sit on top of hill is one of the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia. Founded more than a century ago, the complex is filled with beautiful landscaped gardens and a striking seven-tiered pagoda called The Pagoda of 1000 Buddhas which combines Thai, Chinese and Burmese styles in one structure. There are also statues of The Four Heavenly Kings, guarding the four points of the compass – North, South, West and East – with the statue of The Laughing Buddha in the middle.

Fort Cornwallis traces it history to 17th century, built in 1786 as a defensive structure against pirates, today is one of Penang’s most well known landmarks. You can see a 17th century chapel, some prison cells, ammunition storage area, and even some cool old bronze cannons, including a Dutch one. Named after Charles Cornwallis, the former Governor General of India.

Penang War Museum this site on top of Bukit Maung have been used as Japanese army base during WWII for torturing prisoners as a result, the hill itself has earned a reputation among locals as being haunted. Despite its sad history, it was turned into a museum (nearly three decades later), restoration works maintained its network of underground tunnels and ventilation shafts, making it exciting to explore. On top of that, you can also examine the base’s old ammunition bunkers, cannon firing bays, sleeping quarters and medical infirmary

Escape Adventureland if you are energetic, looking for some thrilling and adventure, then spent hours here to drain up your energy. All kinds of activities like flying foxes hurtling speedily through the open air, dozens of feet off the ground, is pretty exciting. A park specialising in zip-lining, there are other fun activities here including a free fall from a 20m jump platform, an inner-tube slide and tree rope swing.   Open: 09:00 – 18:00 Tuesday – Sunday.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is built in 1890 with Chinese feng shui architecture design belonging to an influential Chinese millionaire of those days, by a team of master craftsmen from China that took more than seven years to build. The mansion, have five granite courtyards, 38 rooms, seven staircases and 22 stained glass windows, it remains one of only three traditional Chinese mansions outside of China. In 1989, it was restored and converted into a 16-room boutique heritage hotel/museum combo best known for its indigo blue façade. Guided tours take place at 11:00, 13:30 and 15:00, with an entry fee of RM12 ($3)per visitor.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram a Thai temple that houses a giant Reclining Buddha statue measuring 33 metres long, which is said to be the third largest of its kind in the world. Besides the lounging Buddha statue you can also find smaller Buddha sculptures in various positions around the temple, as well as those of Thai deities.

Penang Butterfly Farm, Entopia is a place where you find over 15,000 butterflies live in a massive conservatory glass with waterfalls, lush tropical greenery and natural features. As you walk thru inside you feel as though you are in a butterfly world where you can interact with them up close and learn about the rare species.

Kedah Attraction

From Penang you travel further north 120km to Kedah which is nearer to Thailand 70km to border. Kedah is considered the “rice bowl” of Malaysia, where half of the country’s rice production produced here. It is also where one of the most popular island, Langkawi Island where you need just take a boat from Kuah jetty. If you are planning a travel to this state, here are the top 10 Kedah attractions that you should visit, mostly in Langkawi Island.

Langkawi island

SkyCab is the cable car that would take you 15 minutes uphill to Machincang mountain where you able to reach Langkawi Skybridge which stand at 2,300 feet above with 125m in length, this is one spectacular pedestrian bridge that you don’t wanna miss if you are on the island. The unique curve design of the bridge allows visitors to admire the beauty of the island from a bird’s eye view. The bridge is open daily from 9:30am – 7:00pm with price of Rm55 ($13) for adult and Rm40($10) for child. This ticket also include SkyDome is a ball shape cineplex equipped with 12 projectors, offered 360 degrees of 3D image projections which easily covered your field of view into next dimension and further enhanced with high definition. Also included in the ticket is SkyRex is where visitors sits on a tram styled simulator and are taken on a 5 minutes fun filled journey that assaults that senses-physical platform drops, dynamic motion, blasts of air, water spray, vibrations, dramatic lighting, surround sound and 3D film projected to the front and both sides of the tram, combines to give the most realistic experience possible.

Cenang Beach (Pantai Cenang) the happening beach of Langkawi Island where its lined up with best seafood restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops along the road selling swimsuit, swimming floats, goggles, t-shirts plus much more. There are also many activities like Jet Ski, Parasailing, Banana boat, snorkeling like the pictures above. Other less known beaches here include Tanjung Rhu Beach (Pantai Tanjung Rhu) and Murni Beach (Pantai Murni) Underwater World Langkawi is located here at Cenang Beach, is an enclosed giant aquarium that houses many types of freshwater and seawater fishes. There are also otters and penguins strutting their pose in their enclosure for the perfect picture. Open daily from 10:00am – 6:00pm Entrance for adult at Rm 40 ($10) and Child Rm30 ($7.3).

Crocodile Adventureland Langkawi said to be one of most collection of crocodile species in the world is another must-go attraction in Langkawi, the best time to see is the feeding sessions. There are open daily 9 – 6pm with entrance fee at Rm18 ($4.5) adult and child Rm12 ($3)

Langkawi Eagle Square, here you’ll see a huge eagle sculpture spreading its big wings as if ready to fly facing the sea at Kuah town, an iconic landmark in Langkawi Island. Standing at 12 metres tall, this is a perfect Instagram/Facebook picture that you must take while you are here.

Payar Island (Pulau Payar) is a government protected marine park in Kedah. Rich with its marine life and colourful reef, snorkelling and diving are some of the most popular activities to do here. There are also other facilities available in this Kedah attraction such as camping and barbeque sites to make your trip complete.

Lata Bayu is a famous waterfall that is visited by locals, especially on the weekends. This is an excellent place to unwind and relax as it is a well-kept park with many amenities for the comfort of the visitors. This attraction is also a good place to bring your kids for an evening splash as the ponds here are shallow. Junjong Waterfalls (Air Terjun Junjong) is another waterfall with magnificent view and enchanting natural surroundings. There are also fruit orchards in the same vicinity where you will be able to purchase seasonal fruits such as durian at a cheaper price

Kedah Royal Museum or Sultan Museum houses 2,000 artefacts, documentation and possessions of the former Sultan and his wife. See how the Sultan live their life here. They are open daily 10am – 6pm and entrance is free

Ulu Legong Hot Spring is top attraction with locals as well foreigners where you can experience natural hot spring which is good for health and destress, advice to go in the evening when climate is colder.

Tree Top Walk Sungai Sedim is the world’s longest rainforest canopy walk at 1.5km long and it is built 26 metres above ground, allows visitors an adventure like no other in this uncharted forest, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the beauty of what Mother Nature has to offer.

Melaka

I have covered the north, from KL if you travel south 160km is Melaka, another state with many attraction with historic buildings of Portuguese and Dutch occupation era. The most visited and outstanding one being the red building area, Christ Church built by the Dutch in 1753 when they took possession of Malacca from the Portuguese and today, it stands as one of Malacca’s most defining structures, flooded with tourist daily, especially weekend with local tourist, making it the most popular sightseeing attractions in the Stadthuys area, The Stadthuys are the official residence of Dutch governors and the oldest-surviving Dutch building in the East, built between 1641 and 1660.  There are lots of colorful decorated trishaws here which you can can pay to ride it and directly opposite is the Historical Museum and Ethnographical Museum.

A’Famosa Fort constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque, who led the Portuguese invasion on the Malacca Sultanate in 1511, the remains of the fort is now a preserved white washed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church,  one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia.

Jonker Street, best to visit during weekends as you would meet visitors from worldwide flock to this particular street in Malacca for its busy and vibrant night market with stalls selling all kinds of foods, drinks, souvenirs, live music performance and what not. Even you take just a bite of everything, you’ll be filled up before you reach half of the street but now because of the Covid pandemic, not open for almost a year, many business have literally close down. Hope it would be back to a lively street party-like atmosphere like before soon.

Malacca River Cruise is one of the best way to visit Malacca by their scenic river cruise, you may bump to see monitor lizard by the river banks. There are few spots to buy tickets and there are also nighttime river cruises which offer you the chance to take in the city illuminations and the journey usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour.

Melaka Sultanate Palace is a reconstruction of a wooden replica of Sultan Mansur Shah’s 15th-century palace in 1985 using traditional construction techniques and materials, based on accounts in the 16th century. The seven-tiered palace was built entirely without nails and supported with carved, wooden pillars and featured a copper and zinc roof. Open daily 09:00 – 17:30 pm except Tuesday closed

Menara Taming Sari is the first and only gyro tower in Malaysia so far, rises from the ground to the top of the tower, up to a height of 110 metres, its revolving glass cabin offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Malacca town, river and the Straits of Malacca for 7 minutes

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum is a collection of three beautifully restored houses arranged to resemble a conventional 19th-century Baba-Nyonya residence built in 1896. History dates back to 16th century Chinese traders were lured to Malacca due to stories of the city’s wealth and success. They settle down here and marry local Malay women and their marriages were known as Peranakan or “Straits-born Chinese”. This museum is examples of Chinese-Palladian style, connected by a common covered footway, the museum features hand-painted tiles, elaborately carved teakwood outer swing doors and a sturdier internal door which provides extra security.

Hang Li Po’s Well Situated at the foot of Bukit Cina (Chinese Hill), this well was created in 1459 by the followers of Hang Li Po, a Chinese princess and the fifth wife of Melaka’s Sultan Mansur Shah. It is said that if you throw coins into the well or drink water from it, you will visit Melaka again.

Johor

Further down south 200km from Malacca is Johor, the southern most state of Malaysia, also the border to cross Singapore, Johor is known for beaches and rainforest. Desaru Beach has a rows of resorts, while Endau Rompin National Park’s mountainous jungle shelters waterfalls and wildlife like elephants. It’s capital Johor Bahru’s diverse history is reflected in the Victorian-era Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, Old Chinese Temple dates from the 19th century venerated by the Chinese community and Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, a glittering Hindu shrine.

The Royal Palace build in 1886 for the Sultan of Johor is an impressive building with the mix of Malay and Western architecture include the Royal Abu Bakar Museum which has a collection of antiques and heirlooms that would have belonged to the Royal Family.

Kukup Fishing Village is a fishing community in the Pontian district of Johor. This quaint village is built on stilts above the muddy mangrove shoreline since a century ago. With a population 1400 including neighboring Air Masin town, mostly Chinese fisherman, they are flooded by local and Singapore tourist especially at weekends and holidays, who come to savour the fresh seafood.

Gunung Ledang National Park lies just inside Johor’s border with Melaka state, visit here only if you are a hiker, the highest peak is 1276m (4186 ft) Mount Ledang. Malaysia’s 6th most difficult to climb and the highest mountain in Johor state

Legoland Malaysia is a world-class family theme park in Johor. It opened in September 2012 and is Legoland’s first theme park in Asia occupying 76 acres and has over 70 interactive rides and activities.

Beaches here include Tioman island, I have scuba dive there, where I get my PADI License back in 2013, Rawa island, a rare gem that’s yet to be discovered by many, there are only 2 resorts here, Sibu island, sunbathing, snorkeling, scuba diving, jungle trekking, mangrove swamp exploring are some activities you can do here, Harimau (Tiger) island, suitable for a half-day trip where you enjoy swimming and floating around aimlessly, Tinggi (High) island, homes a turtle hatchery and also jungle trekking on offer, Tengah (Middle) island, Batu Batu Private Island Resort, the only resort available here offers villas ranging from jungle to ocean views  Dayang island clear waters and snorkeling opportunities as well as short hike to Letak Semalu which is a must-do and Besar (Big) island,  the island has been deemed as a marine park, attracting those who enjoy the underwater world more than ever.


Detailed Travel Advisory

Updated 12.08.2021
1. Passengers are not allowed to enter.
This does not apply to:
– nationals of Malaysia;
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– This does not apply to nationals and residents of Malaysia with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated. They are subject to self-isolation at home for 14 days. They must send an email to hso@moh.gov.my at least 3 days before departure to apply for the home isolation.
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