Top 10 Places to Visit in Malaysia for VMY2014

Malaysia Top 10 Places To Visit

Top 10 Places to Visit in Malaysia for VMY2014 is a list created in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014. The list is in a random order and based on the frequency of promotions done by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and also Tourism Malaysia.

As Visit Malaysia Year 2014 has been launched worldwide, there has been an increase in inquiries on where to go in Malaysia for 2014. Though there are different types of tourism genres in Malaysia, the most popular ones would be general sightseeing at popular places in the country.

However, other popular genres like shopping, Ecotourism, Sports and Luxury tourism has been steadily on the rise in many of the states around Malaysia. This list gives would be travelers a basic understanding to the many types of tourism found throughout Malaysia for Visit Malaysia Year 2014. 

Top 10 Places to Visit in Malaysia

  1. Sabah
  2. Sarawak
  3. Langkawi Island
  4. Penang
  5. Melaka 
  6. Johor
  7. Kuala Lumpur
  8. Perhentian Islands
  9. Royal Belum Rainforest
  10. Selangor

The above are the top ten places to visit in Malaysia and the detailed information is below.

KK City in Sabah
Kota Kinabalu City in Sabah Borneo 
Sabah 

Located on the north of Borneo Island, Sabah is one of the highlights for Visit Malaysia Year 2014 due to the multiple choices of tourism offered here. Visitors can enjoy beautiful beaches, cooling mountains to adventurous rainforest experiences in one place.

For outdoor and nature lovers, there are endless choices to select and among them are scuba diving at one of the top dive sites in the world - Sipadan Island, climbing the highest mountain in Southeast Asia - Mount Kinabalu, exploring the beautiful rainforest of Danum Valley and wildlife watching along the Kinabatangan River.

For the quick traveler, the city of Kota Kinabalu offers some amazing short trips to islands with crystal clear waters of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park which is only a 15 minute boat ride from the city of KK. Day trips to snorkel or even dive is easily arranged too. Further away at Klias, there are eco tourism tours to cruise the river and do some wildlife spotting finishing with a fireflies tour.

This takes only about 4-5 hours in total. If you are not up to climbing the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, simply visit the Kinabalu Park at the foot which is only a two hour drive from KK city.The main gateway into KK is via the Kota Kinabalu International Airport which is only 15 minutes from the city.

Sarawak Ethnic People
Various ethnic people of Sarawak
Sarawak

The Eco-tourism haven for Malaysia and the largest state which is located on the island of Borneo, this is a mecca for wildlife and nature lovers. Over 20 national parks are available here while jungle trekking is one of the popular activities. Exploring and visiting the ethnic people of Sarawak who stay in the interiors of the rainforest or highlands is another popular activity.

Sarawak is also home to some world-class music festivals like the Borneo International Jazz Festival 2014 which takes place in Miri in the month of May and the World Rainforest Music Festival 2014 which takes place at the 'Living Museum' of Sarawak Cultural Village in July.

Another popular must-do is exploring Kuching city on foot. There are numerous antique and craft dealers located along the Main Street Bazaar while other place offer fantastic local Sarawakian food to try. Visit some of the old coffee shops for a cup of coffee or tea while a number of interesting museums are dotted around the main town area.

The Kuching International Airport is the main gateway here while there are other smaller airports throughout the state. Overland transport can take long hours therefore if you are planning to go to Mulu, it is advised to take a flight.

GEO Park in Langkawi
Langkawi's beautiful GEO Park
Langkawi Island

This is one of the recommended islands to visit in Peninsular Malaysia as the infrastructure is modern yet laid back. Located just above Penang and part of the Kedah state, Langkawi offers beautiful beaches, plenty of resorts ranging from low to high end and even luxury resorts like The Datai and The Four Seasons for all types of travelers.

Apart for it being an island, there is also eco tourism adventures at the Langkawi Geo Park. Take a ride up the tallest mountain here via a cable car or self-drive yourself around the island.

Langkawi is also accessible via flights as there is an international airport there while for those coming from Penang or the mainland, there are ferry services to the island.

The most popular spot in Langkawi is at Pantai Cenang or Cenang Beach which is the main area. Kuah town is the capitol but this serves as a general town area. There are no beaches around the main town area too.

Penang Hill Photo
View of Penang Island from Bukit Bendera or Penang Hill
Penang

Pearl of the Orient, this bustling city with a UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town attracts all walks of life. Exploring the city on foot or bicycle is one of the main activities as there is much to see and experience here. Penang has one of the most complete heritage buildings in the entire Malaysia too.

The street art is one of the main attractions while there are many small independent museums worth exploring in George Town area. A trip to Penang would not be complete if you do not try the local Penang hawker food which can be found all over the island. Chulia Street is one of the popular places for backpackers too.

While over in the Batu Feringgi area, there are beaches, parks and even theme parks available for everyone. There are numerous hotels and resorts located at Batu Feringgi while the famous Hard Rock Hotel and Cafe is also here. To get here, it is a 30 minute drive from George Town.

Penang was also voted by Lonely Planet as the top destination in the world for food recently. Penang is accessible via flights and road. A flight from KL will take about 1 hour while overland, it will take 5 hours. Penang has two bridges connecting to the main land too. 

Jonker Street or Jonker Walk in Melaka
The main entrance to Jonker Street or Jonker Walk in Melaka
Melaka

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site where Malaysia's colourful history began in the early 1500s. From the Portuguese, Dutch to English, each had their time for rule and this evolved into a multi-cultural crossroad  for the trading world. Now, the heritage zone houses well kept colonial buildings from hundreds of years ago including Dutch, Portuguese and British influences.

Melaka is also best explored on foot so staying around the core heritage zone is a plus point. While here, don't forget to savor the local Baba and Peranakan cuisine plus the local Malacca hawker foods.

Around Melaka city, there are also some beautiful heritage hotels which are mostly in the boutique style. For a full Peranakan experience, it is recommended to stay at one of these hotels.

Outside the city area, there are various parks and attractions which include the crocodile, deer and butterfly farm, a mini Malaysia park and also the well known Melaka zoo. This requires you to take public transport or a taxi as it is not accessible by foot. There are no airports to Melaka.

Johor Legoland Malaysia Photo
A cruise ship made out of Lego at Legoland Malaysia in Johor
Johor

One of the new players in aggressive tourism as in the last few years, a number of tourist attractions have come up in Johor making this state one of the must-visit places in Malaysia. International attractions like Legoland Malaysia, Hello Kitty Town and the Red Box Entertainment Center of Puteri Harbor are a must if you are visiting with kids.

There is also the Johor Premium Outlet or JPO which caters to shopping tourism and offers loads of discounts for all kinds of items here. Other notable places in Johor include Desaru, a coastal beach area which stretches for miles and also some Ecotourism activities at the local national parks here.

Otherwise, Johor Baru is also the main gateway into Singapore with two causeways - one in the city of JB and one over at Senai. Johor has one airport at Senai while the main highway passes through the state.

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Twin Towers at the back of Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur

The capitol of Malaysia and a young city since 1957 which boasts of the tallest twin towers in the world, famous shopping areas like the BBKLCC area, Chinatown or Petaling Street and a massive lake gardens.

Museums, aquariums and art galleries dot various areas of Kuala Lumpur namely in Bukit Bintang, Chinatown and also Japan Ampang. Most tourist would always make a stop here in KL to experience what this multi-cultural city offers.

For the city lover, there are numerous heritage buildings and museums around town while the most photographed place in Malaysia, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a must-visit place near the confluence of the rivers where Kuala Lumpur was born.

For nightlife, head over to Changkat Bukit Bintang and also Jalan P.Ramlee where all kinds of restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes are located. Kuala Lumpur also serves as the main hub for trains and buses throughout the country. This is at Puduraya Bus Terminal, KL Sentral and Duta Bus Terminal. The main airport, KLIA and LCCT is located about 1 hour from KL.

Perhentian Island in Terengganu
A resort hidden in the lush greenery at Perhentian Island
Perhentian Islands

Located about 45 minutes from the coast of Terengganu state, this is one of the most visited islands in Malaysia. Perhentian is divided into two main islands, Perhentian Besar (Big) and Perhentian Kecil (Small) which caters to all types of travelers.

For the more active traveler, Perhentian Kecil is recommended while there are many types of resorts, hotels and guesthouses available here. Snorkeling and scuba diving in the crystal clear waters spotting turtles and sharks are among the highlights here.

Some of the resorts are also child-friendly like Bubbles Dive Resort on Perhentian Besar where you can bring toddlers of all ages. The resort owners have kids living there therefore they openly accept traveling parents with infants.

Other resorts include long-stay types, luxurious types and also budget resorts. Quite a number of dive schools are available on both islands for those wanting to take their scuba diving licenses. Perhentian is only accessible via boats from the main land.

There are no flights to the island. The off season is from October till March where it rains here during the monsoon season.

Royal Belum Rainforest in Perak
Royal Belum Rainforest - Image from WWF Malaysia
Royal Belum State Park

This is the newly crowned Ecotourism center for Malaysia in 2014 by the tourism minister of Malaysia at ITB Berlin 2014. This massive protected national park is home to many interesting flora and fauna found in Malaysia.

Trekking, hiking, wildlife spotting are the main highlights at the Royal Belum Rainforest located in the state of Perak which borders Pahang.

Royal Belum State Park is recommended for those who love nature and the outdoors and is one of the latest eco tourism attractions in Malaysia. As the country has many national parks, this is the latest to be officially opened to the public. To get to Belum, one needs to engage a tour company.

Batu Caves Photo VMY2014
The Batu Caves in Selangor, one of the most popular tourist spots
Selangor

The richest state in Malaysia where those entering the country will set foot here at the KLIA, LCCT or SkyPark Terminal Airports. Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory is actually in the middle of Selangor.

There are many places like the Batu Caves, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and many of the theme parks and water parks. Selangor boasts of outdoors, food and shopping with a number of popular shopping malls like One Utama and The Curve.

Other places in Selangor include Klang, a royal heritage town, Kuala Selangor for the fireflies watching and also Sepang Gold Coast for the beach and outdoors. Again, Selangor is best known for their theme parks, hiking and shopping malls.

Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is a country wide event where every individual state will have something for the traveler. TheVMY2014 will also continue to Malaysia Year of Festival 2015 where all the festivals and cultures will be celebrated throughout the year.

For those who have never been here, this was an article on Why Visit Malaysia 2014 done by me previously which showcases the many reasons to visiting Malaysia. If you have any questions on Malaysia, please do not hesitate to ask me here in the comment column and I will do my best in assisting you with your questions. I hope that you will find good information in my Top 10 Places to Visit in Malaysia for VMY2014.

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