Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia's most friendly and
accessible tourist destinations. Most Malaysians speak English well and there
are miles of pristine, deserted east coast beaches, delightful colonial cities
such as Melaka and Georgetown, cool hill resorts such as the Genting Highlands,
and exquisite islands such as Langkawi and Penang. There's also East Malaysia
comprising the lands of Sabah, Sarawak and parts of Borneo. The former preserves
of head-hunters, these areas offer fascinating glimpses into the past. Here's a
look at three of Malaysia's unique and wonderful places Melaka, Sarawak and the
vibrant capital Kuala Lumpur
Melaka (formerly Melacca) is a city on the west coast of Malaysia drenched in history. With its ancient monuments, picturesque streets, and Chinese shrines and temples, it's a wonderful place just to browse and identify the calling cards of the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
For shopping head to famed Jonker Street with its antique and handicraft shops and street cafes and then watch cultural performances at the Portuguese Square. There's also a zoo with a fine collection of tigers.
While most tourists to Malaysia stick to the peninsular, a trip to East Malaysia can be very rewarding. The region made up of the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak in North Borneo offers an unparalleled experience for nature lovers. The capital of Sarawak is Kuching, a modern city with a delightful waterfront, landscaped esplanade and in the background stands the great mountain of Gunung Matang.
For a quick introduction to Sarawak, visit the Sarawak Cultural Village, a living museum of the culture, arts and crafts of the region's ethnic groups. The 7-hectare site of the Cultural Village is just a 5-minute walk from the beach and houses models of traditional longhouses, roundhouses and huts, all built around a lake.
Each of the replica houses is inhabited by members of the relevant ethnic group, attired in traditional costume. They follow a traditional lifestyle keeping alive the traditions, arts and crafts of their tribe. A storyteller explains these traditions to visitors who are invited to join in the activities such as doing an Iban war dance, shooting darts from a blowpipe, drinking the local tipple called tuak, and listening to Orang Ulu legends or a performance on the sape.
No visit to Malaysia would be complete without a visit to the capital Kuala Lumpur. Known as the Garden City of Lights, KL has much to offer the traveller ranging from heritage buildings and monuments, gardens and parks, and scintillating shopping in Chinatown, Little India, and local Malay bazaars, as well as hyper-modern shopping malls.
But the pinnacle of a visit to KL is a sortie up to the Sky Bridge on the 41st floor of the Petronas Twin Towers. It's no longer the world's tallest building but it's still up there with the best of them. The climactic scenes of the movie Entrapment took place here, 175 metres above sea-level.
Malaysia is a welcoming, safe and orderly country. With its myriad attractions, it's a place for everyone.
About the Author: