Malaysia: A Trip of Natural and Cultural Wonders
For the traveler eager to experience excitement and diversity, Malaysia is an ideal setting for its natural and cultural richness. Malaysia is home to the largest twin towers in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur. Tickets to the sky bridge are readily available, and give visitors a rush akin to flight while venturing to one of the world’s highest man-made peaks. The die-hard shopper will want to explore the nine shopping malls stretching from Bukit Bintang to KLCC, which provide many material treasures along with hours of splendid browsing.
Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur gives travelers an authentic taste of Malaysia with samples of street food in a bustling marketplace atmosphere. To further explore the cultural diversity of Malaysia, Chinatown and Little India in the Central Market provide a sampling of cuisine and traditional arts and crafts. Not far from Kuala Lumpur are the Genting Highlands, which are known for their colorful, lively theme parks, virtually non-stop live entertainment and casinos.
Nature enthusiasts venture to Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where they can view thousands of ancient and rare plants and animals and can scale the heights of Malaysia’s highest peak on Mount Kinabalu. The famous explorer, Jacques Cousteau, declared the waters surrounding Sipadan Island to contain “untouched art.” This area provides unparalleled visual treasures to scuba divers, and is an experience not to be missed. Sabah’s nature reserve is home to the striking Mangrove swamps and the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center. A safari on the Kinabatangan River gives travelers an intensive look at exotic wildlife while traveling on the longest river in Sabah.
The prehistoric rainforests in Taman Negara, Pahang provide breathtaking views of pristine nature. The world’s largest cave chamber is one of many fascinating reasons to visit the Mulu National Park in Sarawak. Malaysia provides experiences for a lifetime for the world traveler with its historic ports, glorious beaches, specialty theme parks and myriad cultural activities.
When dining in Malaysia’s many fine, traditional eating establishments, look for Char Kway Teow, one of the country’s best-loved entrees, consisting of rice cake strips stir fried with chili, prawns, sprouts and eggs in soy sauce. The many varieties of chicken rice are available in small Chinese shops and street stalls. Laksa is a popular noodle soup with a coconut curry base and a diverse combination of ingredients. Nasi Briyani is a rice dish inspired by Persian merchants and has many flavorful, highly-seasoned forms.
There are many times in the year that are ideal to visit Malaysia, depending on what the individual tourist is looking for. A glimpse into Malaysia’s cultural riches can be experienced in its many festivals. Through most of July, there is the Kuala Lumpur festival, and in June, the famous Penang Durian Fair features the “King of Fruits.” Also in June, the Gawai Dayak harvest festival is a time when indigenous peoples such as the Ibans and Bidayuhs engage in traditional rituals to give thanks for natural abundance.