A favourite getaway for a long weekend is Kinabalu Park and its surrounding attractions. Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, Kinabalu Park, is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers. Hike along the many trails found within the park or visit the nearby Poring Hot Springs for a canopy walk and a dip in a natural hot spring.
Further down is the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm (their ice-creams a must-try!) History buffs should take the time to visit the Kundasang War Memorial and, if you have time to spare, how about teeing off at Mount Kinabalu Golf Club?
If scaling Mount Kinabalu is your main agenda, dedicate your trip solely for this – climbers have to spend a night midway up the mountain at the Panalaban Base Camp before continuing the ascent to the peak at the break of dawn.
2. Culture up north
The north beckons! A leisurely 3-hour drive from KK city is the district of Kudat. The main attraction is none other than the northern-most tip of Borneo, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau (popularly referred to as Tip of Borneo).
Greetings from Kuala Lumpur! When I’m in KL it usually means I’m on the way to somewhere else. In this case, back to Australia. Here’s where I’ve been for the last month.
Where I’ve Been
After returning to Saigon from a month of solid travel I kicked my bag under the bed and spent most of the month catching up on work. I had planned some side trips but I needed a solid few weeks of not moving around.
During the month I relaunched an old domain, Living In Asia. The site originally covered location independent / digital nomad lifestyle tips in Asia. I’ve found though that this topic is already well covered, and I will continue to post such articles on Nomadic Notes. Instead, I’ve repurposed the livinginasia.co domain to cover urban design, heritage, infrastructure, and transport in Asia. I’ve already been covering such topics on Nomadic Notes, though some topics I’m researching is straying far from the travel/nomad lifestyle theme of this site. Read more about the new site here.
Vibrant street art, delicious food, and more – this is why you should give Penang, Malaysia a chance
An island north of Malaysia, Penang is not an overseas destination that comes top of mind. With streets vibrant with heritage structures and street art, and its world-famous street food, among others, Penang can be a refreshing surprise, if you give it a chance.
Walking around the capital is like walking back in time, and through different, colorful cultures.
George Town, Penang’s capital, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with streets upon streets of charming ancient houses designed with a mix of British, Malay, and Chinese architecture, and ornate British colonial buildings. Penang is a melting pot of cultures given its rich history as a trading post and its past as a British colony. A colorful illustration of this is Harmony Street, where different religions flourish, and where church, mosque, and temple alike can be found.
Outside the capital, other heritage structures can be explored too, like the Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple with its massive complex.
Malaysia is a gem of biodiversity, history, and culture. Sitting near the equatorial line has given the country a warm, tropical climate, fostering the perfect environment for plenty of exotic flora and fauna. And while it’s a relatively young country, it is a storied one. To ensure that you experience that uniqueness on your next trip to Malaysia, here is a list of things you can try.
Pick up several languages at the same time
The average Malaysian speaks three languages and whenever possible would combine all three in a single conversation or sentence. And they would be more than happy to teach bits of it to anyone who wants to know. Engage enough with Malaysians and you may come out knowing a mixed bag of Cantonese, Malay, Hindi and/or a dialect or two. It would not make much sense anywhere else, but it would allow you to order food like a local in Malaysia.
Play with elephants in the river
The elephant sanctuary in Kuala Gandah, Pahang invites guests to bathe and feed the elephants.
Day 31, 9 March – we left Bukit Lawang the way we arrived, by shared taxi, same route out as in, through rough one-street villages that still turn out immaculatly uniformed school children. Past locals, 90% of whom seem to be sat doing nothing other than staring at their phones, the 10% being women listlessly sweeping dirt and leaves from their property only for it to be immediately blown back onto by the heavy truck transport and dozens of mopeds. Past smokers, so many smokers, all men. It seems most of the men smoke, constantly, but we cannot recall seeing any women with a ciggy. Worryingly for the country though we also saw lots of schoolboys smoking too.
Just as much palm oil traffic as before. Forest clearance around here is supposedly banned yet 22,000 ha have been cleared from Jan 2015 to April 2017. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer and consumer of palm oil and supplies half the world’s supply. 6m hectares of palm plantations – 2 Belgiums worth!
Are you looking to explore a unique and diverse Southeast Asian country? If you are seeking breathtaking beaches, multicultural cities with extraordinary architecture, and the greenest highlands and rainforests on the planet, then you need to head to Malaysia!
When we say a country has it all, Malaysia offers destinations such as the unique city of Kuala Lumpur, the incredible greenery of the Cameron Highlands, the crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches on Tioman Island, as well as the delicious street food of Penang.
Let’s take a look at 10 wondrous places you should visit during your exploration of Malaysia.
When traveling to Malaysia, one place that is a definite must is its capital and largest city, Kuala Lumpur. KL is such a unique city that you should make sure you dedicate a couple of days if you are to get any sense of what makes it so unique.
Two of the top attractions in Kuala Lumpur are Petronas Twin Towers and the adjacent KLCC Park, which has fun nightly water fountain shows at Lake Symphony. The Twin Towers are actually the city’s icon.
George Town has been selected by Unesco as a pilot site for a disaster risk reduction project due to its commendable heritage city management efforts.
GEORGE TOWN: George Town has been picked by the Jakarta and Apia Unesco offices as a pilot site for a disaster risk reduction project due to its commendable heritage city management efforts.
Cultural unit head of the Unesco Office in Jakarta, Moe Chiba, said if there are any good examples or practices of heritage city management, it has often happened in George Town.
She said when she was based in the Unesco office in India previously, whenever there was a problem with disaster management, disaster risk reduction, increasing population and uncontrolled urban development, they would look to George Town for good practices, solutions and techniques.
“I am hoping that in terms of disaster risk reduction of a historical city, George Town will again set another example,” she said at a press conference here today.
One of Malaysia’s most popular destinations, Penang has always beguiled travelers with its age-old shophouses, fantastic street cuisine as well as enviable beaches. I have been to Penang quite a number of times over the years and there is always something new to check out with each visit. Whether you are a history buff or a foodie, this island off the Andaman Sea will always have something to offer. For a mix of all that Penang is known for (food, history, new attractions, etc), here is a well-balanced itinerary that you can easily do over a weekend in Penang.
DAY 1 – GEORGETOWN
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown is an excellent place to start in the island. Choc-full of colonial buildings, charming shophouses, temples, mosques and fantastic places to eat. People come here to do two things – to see the heritage buildings and street art or to eat some of Penang’s specialties – so the amount of time you spend here will depend on your interest level in the two activities.
What do you get when you mix Malay, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Indian, Japanese and Chinese? You get Melaka – a particularly diverse Malaysian town of about 500,000 inhabitants. And though the population is mostly Malay now, you’ll quickly notice the diversity in architecture, languages, people and foods. No wonder the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For anyone with an interest in history or culture, the city center of Melaka offers a stimulating and interesting day-long experience.
Melaka’s diversity can be readily explained by one quick peek at the map. Ever since its founding in the 14thcentury, it has held a vital geopolitical role due to its critical location on the edge of the Strait of Malacca. The narrow channel of water between Malaysia and Indonesia was then, and still is today, a natural bottleneck and the only (reasonable) water passageway between China and India. Owing to this strategic location, Melaka became the home of the Malay sultanate and was said to be among the largest trading ports in the pre-colonial world.