There are places you’ve always dreamed of going.
And then there are those already in front of you, just when you were about to start dreaming about it… Malaysia is one of them.
Malaysia is a HUGE country composed of two regions known as Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and Malaysian Borneo (East Malaysia). Respectively, they are located in the Southeast Asian mainland and Borneo. It’s one of those environmentally rich countries that serves as a melting pot of different ethnicy, cultures, and beliefs. With its size, let’s try to explore each region one at a time.
Without further ado, let me share with you my Top 5 Favorites to Explore in… Peninsular (West) Malaysia:
#5 Cameron Highlands and its Tea Plantations
Close to the heart of West Malaysia lies the Cameron Highlands, where the breathtaking view of rolling hills carpeted with perfectly cut greenery of tea plantations are located.
Beautiful scenery, laid back vibe, and a cooler temperature is the norm. And for those who are into trekking, there are a few jungle trails around too.
Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands
#4 Tioman Island: the Juara Beach and the Amazing Diving
This is huge, mountainous island at the eastern part of the Peninsular Malaysia that offers a lot of good beaches, snorkeling spots, amazing diving sites, surfing (during monsoon season) and some of nature’s friendliest monkeys and monitor lizards.
The diving is pretty A-MA-ZING.
When it comes to the beaches though, the true gem is actually on the other side of the island: a village called Juara. Farther, less accessible, less tourist, but more than beautiful!
Just picture yourself staying at a cozy hut with a hammok, a balcony, and even an open room. Or just find yourself somewhere by the beach laying by the sand or swimming.
Beach Shack, Juara, Tioman
#3 Langkawi Island
This supposedly “commercialized” island is actually quite pleasant. There’s a beach to enjoy, a town to stroll, and of course, the whole island to explore.
The Pantai Cenang, the more popular beach, is surprisingly not crowded even during high season. Somewhere in this long stretch is where you could enjoy your swim and later on, peacefully watch the sunset while having a place for yourself, undisturbed.
That long beach of Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
If there’s one island that has it all, it’s probably Penang.
There’s Georgetown, where there are lots of interesting street art, gastronomic delights, and a hip night life. Then, just a few kilometers outside is a buzzling-but-not-so-busy city that allows you to escape farther. Temples, views from the hill, and even beaches around, you name it.
I love how Penang has all these places that suit what every person needs. Yes, the balance. A fusion of people and all of its needs.
#1 Perhentian Kecil (small island), the Perhentian Islands
Very clear water, fine white sand, lots of beaches, great snorkeling spots, good dive sites, and an awesome vibe. This is what a real holiday is all about. (How? Why? Read about it here.)
Staying at Perhentian Kecil, you get your peace when you need it and you get your nightlife when you want it. You get your crowd and you get your serenity. You can lay by the beach or you can trek around the island.
(Read the Travel Guide to Perhentian Island – Kecil here)
Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil Island
I could be biased.
But, even for a lame swimmer, the Perhentian gave this laidback-diver’s vibe that inspired me to spontaneously go diving as well. And, for a non-partygirl, I actually enjoyed the island even when I was alone.
To say the least, this island somehow felt so inviting, you’d be comfortable to just let yourself be and enjoy what a true holiday has to offer.
Overall, I love Malaysia!