With just the right mix of tropical paradise and modern world development, Malaysia is rapidly becoming of Southeast Asia’s most sought-after tourist destinations. If you’re looking for an underwater adventure, good eats and culture intake, or just a place to kick back for a while, Malaysia affords visitors the opportunity to do almost anything they can think of. With more quality destinations than we could list, we have chosen the some of select best, guaranteed to satisfy even the choosiest of travelers.

Mount Kinabalu peeking out of the clouds

Mount Kinabalu peeking out of the clouds

Climb the highest mountain

Standing at more than 13,000 feet above sea-level, Mount Kinabalu is not just Borneo’s tallest mountain, but is an adventurer’s paradise. One of Malaysia’s most beautiful destinations, scaling the mountain provides climbers with a view of its ever-changing animal- , plant-life and not to mention unforgettable scenery.

Committed climbers typically take three days to complete the complete the climb and descent, soaking in the full range of atmospheres, from its lowland rainforest to alpine conditions, each area is a rich habitat and full of life.

Don’t really have the energy to be scaling mountains, but still want to experience Kinabalu? No problem. There are guided tours and nature trails inside the park, as well as the Botanical Garden, which showcases the area’s plethora of fauna.

Dive the deepest ocean

Well, maybe not the deepest ocean, but at an astounding 600 meters to the seabed, Sipadan Island, located smack at the heart of the majestic Indo-Pacific basin, provides Malaysia’s only oceanic ocean tour and is renowned as one of the world’s premiere scuba sites.

Spanning the Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu, Taman Negara National Park is home to more than 3,000 different species of coral, fish and other sea-life, including dolphins, hammerhead sharks, and majestic sea turtles.

Anyone who considers themselves to be a marine-life enthusiast cannot miss a trip to Sipadan. Even if diving is not an option for you, there are still white sandy beaches to romanticize and coral reefs to see, just be sure to pack your own lunch; there are no restaurants, bars, or hotels on the island.

Langkawi Cable Car

Langkawi Cable Car

99 Islands, but a beach ain’t one

As if visiting a single island isn’t enough to put a grin on any travelers face, Langkawi, known as the jewel of Kedah, is an archipelago that consists of an astounding 99 different islands. Residing on the Malaysian west coast, is surrounded by gorgeous beaches, paddy fields and tropical jungles. Unlike Sipadan Island, finding a place to eat or crash here will be no problem. There are a variety of resorts and places to eat that accommodate any budget.

Best known for its vast and beautiful sightseeing opportunities, Langkawi is a haven for anyone looking to unwind with resort quality. More energetic types can enjoy sea diving or shooting 18 rounds at the world-class beachfront Langkawi Golf Course.

Shake hands with the modern world

Malaysia’s biggest and most developed metropolis, Kuala Lumpur has quickly developed itself into a bustling and highly desirable city. A virtual tourist hub in SE Asia, Kuala Lumpur best accommodates tourists with a fancy for shopping and eating out, all while wandering throughout a modernizing culture.

With over 66 malls in the city alone, Kuala Lumpur is indeed a shopper’s haven, offering virtually anything you can think of. One of the city’s best options, make sure to have a visit to Suria KLCC shopping mall, concert hall, and movie theater; located within earshot of the Petrona’s Towers.

For cultural and history buffs looking for an in-depth understanding of Malaysia, take a visit to either the newly renovated National Museum or the architecturally stunning Islamic Arts Museum, where you can view over 7,000 artifacts, weapons and texts.

With so many islands, you’re sure to find something about Malaysia that you love. Just jump in and explore!

Philip Heijmans

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Malaysia tours & things to do in Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur.