Must see attractions in Malaysia

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sepilok

    Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

    Around 25km north of Sandakan, and covering 40 sq km of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, this inspiring, world-famous centre welcomes orphaned and injured orangutans for rehabilitation before returning them to forest life. There are around 200 living in the reserve, though only a few are regular visitors to the feeding platform. At the outdoor nursery, a short walk from the feeding platform, you can watch orphaned youngsters at play.

  • Top ChoiceSights in George Town

    Blue Mansion

    The most photographed building in George Town, this magnificent 38-room, 220-window mansion was built in the 1880s and rescued from ruin in the 1990s. Today a lavish, antique-filled hotel, its distinctive blue-hued exterior is the result of an indigo-based limewash. Slightly theatrical hour-long guided tours (included in the admission fee) explain the building's feng shui and unique features, and relate stories about Cheong Fatt Tze, the rags-to-riches Hakka merchant-trader who commissioned the mansion for his seventh (and favourite) wife.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Teluk Bahang

    Penang National Park

    At 23 sq km, this is Malaysia's smallest national park, but it's beach-fringed forests are home to silvered leaf monkeys, flying lemurs, leopard cats and abundant bird, amphibian and reptile species. You can easily fill a day with activities such as jungle walks and boat trips to serene golden-sand beaches. Bus 101 runs here from central George Town. From the park entrance, a return boat trip should cost RM100 to Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach), RM200 to Pantai Kerachut and RM220 to Teluk Kampi.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Eastern Sabah

    Tawau Hills Park

    This small reserve has forested hills rising dramatically from the surrounding plain. If getting into the Maliau Basin or Danum Valley feels like too much of an effort, consider Tawau Hills a user-friendly alternative. The forest here is impressively thick, there are trails for hikers of all abilities and the park is excellent for bird-watching and night walks. On a clear day the Tawau Hills Park's peaks make a fine sight. Avoid day-tripper-heavy weekends.

  • Sights in Western Sarawak

    Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

    One of the best places in the world to see semiwild orangutans in their natural rainforest habitat, swinging from trees and scurrying up vines, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is home to 28 orangutans who often (literally) swing by park HQ to dine on bananas and coconuts. There’s no guarantee that orangutans will show up, but even when there's plenty of fruit in the forest (November to February) the chances are excellent.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sungai Kinabatangan

    Agop Batu Tulug

    This hill, 2km north of the Batuh Putih bridge, features three caves housing the ancestors of local Orang Sungai (People of the River). Because the Kinabatangan has a habit of frequently flooding, the final resting place of the dead has traditionally been located in cave complexes. Nine-hundred-year-old ironwood coffins are interred in the Batu Tulug caves with spears, knives, gongs, bells and Chinese curios, making the hill one of the most important archaeological sites in Sabah.

  • Sights in Sungai Kinabatangan

    Gomantong Caves

    Imagine a cathedral-like inner chamber shot with splinters of sunlight and a cave floor swarming with cockroaches, and you have the Gomantong Caves. The smell has a presence of its own, thanks to the ubiquity of bird and bat guano (you'll want to wear covered shoes and a hat). The only cave open to visitors, Simud Hitam, is magnificent. The turn-off to Gomantong is well signposted en route to Sukau; most tours include a stop here.

  • Sights in Genting Highlands

    Resorts World Genting

    It's referred to as a hill station, but Genting is consumed by a heavily developed entertainment complex. Don't expect mountain walks and stone cottages; instead the main draw is the glitzy 24-hour First World Casino, where you can lose track of the days playing blackjack, roulette and slot machines. There's also a clutch of restaurants and bars, high-street fashion outlets spangled across various malls, amusement parks, a cinema and family-oriented activities aplenty.

  • Sights in Belum-Temenggor Rainforest

    Royal Belum State Park

    This 1175-sq-km park within Belum-Temenggor Rainforest was gazetted in 2007 to protect a rich menagerie of tigers, tapirs, panthers and the Sumatran rhino – though the latter is now believed to be extinct in Malaysia. The spears of submerged trees poking above the waterline of the largely dam-flooded lake are an eerie sight. A permit and guide are needed to explore; hotels can help with both. Book a fortnight ahead to secure tours and a permit (RM20); you'll need a scan of your passport.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Chinatown, Merdeka Square & Bukit Nanas

    Menara KL

    Although the Petronas Towers are taller, the 421m Menara KL, rising from the crest of Bukit Nanas, offers the best city views. The bulb at the top contains a revolving restaurant, an interior observation deck at 276m and, most thrilling of all, an open-air sky deck at 300m, access to which is weather dependent. Risk vertigo to take your photo in the sky box, which puts nothing but glass between you and the ground below.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Melaka City

    Stadthuys

    This former town hall and governor's residence dates to the 1650s and is believed to be the oldest Dutch building in the East. It functioned as State Government offices until 1979. Erected after the Dutch captured Melaka in 1641, it's a reproduction of the former Stadhuis (town hall) of the Frisian town of Hoorn in the Netherlands. Today it's the main building in a sprawling museum complex and houses the History & Ethnography Museum.

  • Sights in Selangor

    Mah Meri Cultural Village

    On Pulau Carey island, 40km southwest of Kuala Lumpur (reachable by road), this Orang Asli village is well worth a visit to learn about the distinct culture and traditions of the Mah Meri, a subgroup of the Senoi people who live along the coast of Selangor. The Mah Meri are renowned for masterful woodcarving and expressive masks worn during dance rituals to represent ancestral spirits. Call or email before making the journey, as the cultural village mostly caters to visiting groups.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Chinatown, Merdeka Square & Bukit Nanas

    Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad

    This graceful, onion-domed mosque, designed by British architect AB Hubback, borrows Mogul and Moorish styles with its brick-and-plaster banded minarets and three shapely domes. Located where the Gombak and Klang rivers meet, Masjid Jamek was the first brick mosque in Malaysia when completed in 1909. It remained the city's centre of Islamic worship until the opening of the National Mosque in 1965.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

    Thean Hou Temple

    Sitting atop leafy Robson Heights, this vividly decorated multistorey Chinese temple, dedicated to Thean Hou, the heavenly queen, affords wonderful views over Kuala Lumpur. Opened in 1989 by the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association, it serves as both a house of worship and a functional space for events such as weddings. In recent years it's also become a tourist attraction in its own right, especially during Chinese festival times and the birthdays of the various temple gods.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Pulau Langkawi

    Telaga Tujuh

    The series of freshwater rock pools at Telaga Tujuh, located at the top of a waterfall inland from Pantai Kok, makes a refreshing alternative to splashing about in the ocean. To get here, follow the road from Pantai Kok past Oriental Village (SkyCab is well signposted) until it ends at a car park. From here it’s a steady 10-minute climb through the rainforest (stay to the right) to the wells at the top of the falls.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Teluk Bahang

    Tropical Spice Garden

    Facing a beautiful white-sand beach on the 101 bus route, this beautifully landscaped oasis preserves 500 species of tropical flora, spread across 200 fragrant hectares. Armed with an audio guide (included with admission), you can wander independently among lily ponds and terraced gardens, learning about local spices, medicinal plants and deadly natural poisons. Alternatively, join one of three daily guided tours (9am, 11am and 1.30pm). The garden also offers well-regarded cooking courses and superior Thai restaurant Tree Monkey.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lake Gardens, Brickfields & Bangsar

    Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

    Inhabiting a building that's nearly as impressive as its collection, this museum showcases Islamic decorative arts from around the globe. Scale models of the important Islamic buildings, fabulous textiles, carpets, jewellery and ceramics all vie for attention; the relocated 19th-century Damascus Room interior is a gold-leaf-decorated delight. Don't forget to gaze up at the building's intricate domes and tile work.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kuching

    Chinese History Museum

    Housed in the century-old Chinese Court building, this museum provides an excellent introduction to the nine major Chinese communities – each with its own dialect, cuisine and temples – who began settling in Sarawak around 1830. Highlights include ceramics, musical instruments, historic photographs and some fearsome dragon- and lion-dance costumes. The entrance is on the river side of the building.

  • Sights in Kuching

    Astana

    Built by Charles Brooke in 1869, the Astana (a local word meaning 'palace’) – conveniently labelled in giant white letters – and its manicured gardens still serve as the home of the governor of Sarawak. The best views of the complex are actually from the south (city centre) bank of the river, so it’s not really worth taking a tambang across or using the Darul Hana Bridge.

  • Sights in Gunung Mulu National Park

    Deer Cave & Lang Cave

    A 3km walk through the rainforest takes you to these adjacent caverns. Deer Cave – over 2km long and 174m high – is the world’s largest cave passage open to the public, while Lang Cave – more understated in its proportions – contains interesting stalactites and stalagmites. Be sure to stay on for the 'bat exodus' at dusk.