Touch down in Malaysia and you’re greeted by a unique and unorthodox skyline. Modern skyscrapers, sparkling minarets and hints of the city’s colonial past jostle for position, dwarfed by the towering Petronas Towers. Make your way to the dizzying sky bridge that connects the pair and see this hive of activity stretch out before you.
If you’re craving long sandy beaches, you might want to consider Langkawi. It’s one of only four inhabited islands in an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea and home to Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark. There’s plenty to see and do here. Mangrove safaris will bring you up close with eagles, monitor lizards, monkeys, walking fish, fiddler crabs, bats, vipers and otters. There are fabulous golf courses plus opportunities for water fall hikes, village tours, deep sea fishing, snorkelling and diving.
The island of Penang is drawing visitors for its fascinating mix of cultures. Penang’s historical capital George Town has an interesting fusion of architectural styles from Malay, Indian and Chinese influences. George Town is one of the best places to learn about Malaysia through its food. Street food culture is booming here, and it’s worth sampling from several different sizzling stalls to taste the huge array on offer from chilli to crab to Indian curry served on a banana leaf.
Wherever you visit, Malaysia’s personality is a huge draw, with its blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian, indigenous cultures and customs. Wander the vibrant streets of Malacca, a city that has changed hands many times in the past, its skyline a rich patchwork of juxtaposed buildings. One thing that has never changed is the sunset; turning the Malacca River gold before your eyes.
When to go
Malaysia stays hot and humid all year round, particularly in the capital and on the west coast. September and October bring more wet weather and you can expect intermittent showers in any season, though not enough to dampen your spirits. Between March and September you’ll find the drier and marginally less humid conditions.