Visit Malaysia 2016

Visit Malaysia Year 2016

In Visit Malaysia 2016, tourist coming here will be in for a surprise as apart from the general city tourism, there are a variety of new tourism products being offered for all visitors. As Malaysia is a multi racial and modern country, you will find a lot of traditional, cultural and ethnic tourism all over the country, both the peninsular and also in east Malaysia at the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. 

Most of you would already know Malaysia from the worldwide media as we have been featured many times in the last couple of years for the wrong reasons but then again, let me assure you that Malaysia is in fact one of the desired destinations to visit in Southeast Asia due to a number of interesting factors. English is our second language here so getting around is not a problem at all while in the recent year, our currency, the Ringgit Malaysia or RM has dropped tremendously versus many other currencies, resulting in fantastic exchange rates for foreigners coming here.

Types of Tourism in Malaysia

Overall, there are many types of tourism catering to all kinds of travelers in Malaysia, namely Ecotourism, Food and Shopping, Culture and Heritage, Adventure, Sports, Education, Islands and Beaches, Highlands and Mountains, Snorkeling and Diving, Medical and Healthcare just to name a few. Overall, all the these have been promoted throughout the years, but for 2016, we are looking at something new and interesting to highlight.

As for niche tourism, Malaysia also caters to Birdwatching, Yachting, Golfing, Edutourism, Wildlife Tourism, Dive Tourism and Food Tourism just to name a few, but in this article, I will focus mainly on the more common niche tourism for the general visitors, compared to the usual common tourism that everyone reads about. Coming from a travelers point of view, this list was created to showcase the lesser promoted side of Malaysia to the world.

Malaysia Eco Tourism 2016
One of the nature resorts found around Malaysia. This is the Tabin Wildlife Resort in Sabah, Borneo
Eco Tourism in Malaysia

Malaysia is located in the tropical climate and therefore it is warm, sunny and sometimes rainy, so this is perfect for all walks of life. Malaysia is also 65% covered in rainforest which equals to a lot of Eco Tourism for those seeking this kind of adventure. As we have over 34 national parks, you will be spoiled for choices and let me just point out that one week in Malaysia is definitely not enough to see it all.

Ecotourism in Malaysia comes in many forms, and you have the luxury of choosing which type suits you. In terms of types available, there are budget type Ecotourism for those traveling on a budget, while there are moderate general types and also luxury Ecotourism catered for the well-heeled.

Some of the most popular Eco Tourism in Malaysia are the river and mangrove cruises which can be found in Langkawi, Sabah or Sarawak. Others include trekking, hiking, climbing or simply living in the middle of nature. Multiple states around Malaysia offer these activities which offer some of the best amazing ranforest resorts.

Dive Tourism in Malaysia 2016
A diver observes a shark at Sipadan Island, Sabah
Diving Tourism in Malaysia

If you did not already know, Malaysia is surrounded by thousands of miles of coast line and this means there are plenty of beautiful beaches and islands available. Our tropical waters also provide ideal scuba diving conditions where temperatures range around 28-30 degrees Celsius and you can even dive with your shorts and t-shirts. Also a bonus for temperate waters are the abundance of marine life which can be found mainly in the South China Sea and also all around Borneo Malaysia.

Among the best islands to visit for diving are Perhentian Islands and Redang Island off Terengganu (March-October only), Sibuti Reef off Miri in Sarawak and Sipadan or Mabul Island on the east coast of Sabah Borneo. These places offer some of the best underwater marine life and visibility for any kind of diver, beginner or advanced and some of the dive centers even offer specialized diving like tri-mix, nitrox, rebreathers or even technical diving. My recommendations for diving in Malaysia for 2016 is to explore Sibuti Reef off Miri as this place has been untouched for a long time and recently opened up for dive tourism.

Birdwatching in Malaysia 2016
Birders in action at the Kinabalu Park in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
Bird Watching in Malaysia

While many think of Malaysia as a modern city with towering skyscrapers, we do have a lot of national parks which are rich in natural wildlife. The national parks are well spread in almost every state in Malaysia and over in Sabah and Sarawak, you can find the highest concentration of national parks there, some even UNESCO world heritage sites and bird watching in Malaysia is currently one of the growing niche markets for tourism.

Some of these national parks offer amazing opportunities to observe birds in their natural behaviour, namely in the state of Selangor, Pahang, Sarawak, Sabah and Langkawi Island. Visitors are advised to book ahead and seek the services of reputable tour companies and licensed bird guides for a full experience. As for my recommendations for 2016, I would say Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah is one of the best and convenient places to do some serious bird watching. Alternatively, a more higher end experience would be at Danum Valley in Sabah, especially when they have one of the best canopy walks in Malaysia.

Malaysia Wildlife Tours 2016
Wildlife watching along the Klias River, Sabah
Wildlife Watching in Malaysia

Just as above in bird watching, the many national parks also offer a unique experience not to be missed for any nature or wildlife lover. In total, there are about 34 national parks and 29 of them are located in Sabah and Sarawak. This clearly goes to say that the best chances of wildlife watching are done over in Malaysia Borneo. Also to add on, there are another 12 state parks and reserves in the many states. In total, Malaysia is offering 46 parks and reserves throughout the country for any wildlife lover.

My recommendation for wildlife watching in Malaysia for 2016 would be to explore Bako National Park in SarawakKinabatangan River in Sabah and once again, Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah. These places provide fascinating experiences for any visitors here and it is highly recommended that you look up the services of professional and well experienced wildlife guides for your wildlife experience here in Malaysia.

Pavilion Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur
Pavilion Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur
Shopping Tourism in Malaysia

Our major cities are very modern and updated therefore you can expect Five Star facilities in hotels and resorts, shopping and also entertainment. However, with the growing tourism arrivals in Malaysia, many corporations have started to build integrated shopping malls where you can stay, shop and be entertained all at one place. In Kuala Lumpur city itself, you can find over 20 shopping malls while at the outskirts, there are even more. Each major city around the country also boasts of their own shopping malls therefore apart from tourist, it has become a lifestyle culture for the locals as well.

High end luxury shopping is also available at selected shopping malls in the core of the Kuala Lumpur, namely Starhill Gallery, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and The Gardens Mall, where you can find top international designers and brands at these places. Price wise, some say that our weak Ringgit is a great bonus to shop here, especially when there is abundance of shoes, fashion, watches, perfumes, cameras, computers and gadgets.

For those seeking something different in their shopping, there are also notable flea markets, street markets and bazaars all over the country too. Some of these places offer antiques and curios, collectibles, crafts and even second hand goods. My recommendations for a fantastic and interesting flea market, is to check out the Amcorp Mall Flea Market in Petaling Jaya on the weekend. The mall is located along the main Kelana Jaya LRT train line from KL city and is the best in Malaysia.

Malaysia food tourism
The amazing food selections found all over Malaysia
Food Tourism in Malaysia

It is no doubt that food found all over Malaysia is an experience in its own category, mainly credited to the multi cultural societies that reside all over here. Off hand, you can easily find three different foods from the Chinese, Indians and Malaysia which make up the majority population of the country. The beauty about our Malaysian food is that you can find popular hawker dishes being sold from the street vendors, cafes, restaurants and even at five star hotels.

Lun Bawang Food
Lun Bawang food from Bakelalan, Sarawak
For the first timer to Malaysia, I humbly invite you to explore the unique dishes wherever you may be as each state in Malaysia offers their own speciality. And if you are Muslim, fear not as Halal food is available all over the country. While we are very proud of our local foods here, modernisation has brought in various food selections from around the world, making Malaysia a massive melting pot for foodies.

This means, you have the luxury of choosing what you feel like eating when you are here. however, you must try the local famous dishes as a start and KL Food Trails are a great place to do so.

Exploring deeper or or further out of the main cities will lead you to more exquisite and even acquired foods from the many sub ethnic people of Malaysia. We have over 10 main ethnic groups and over 40 sub ethnic groups and this is where the food starts to get really interesting for any foodie out there.

To achieve the best of this, you need to hire a very local guide who knows his or her food. My recommendations for 2016 is to try the Kelabit Food, an ethnic group found in the highlands of Sarawak, namely at Bario and Ba'Kelalan. Getting here is another experience all together, so it would be very worth it.

Borneo Medical Centre in Kuching, Sarawak
Borneo Medical Centre in Kuching, Sarawak - Image from Borneo Medical Centre
Healthcare and Medical Tourism in Malaysia

For the healthcare tourist, Malaysia is now one of the top Medical Tourism destinations in Asia, again with our weak currency against the US Dollar and other major currencies, medical tourist will be in for a huge bargain with five star service and facilities. Apart from that, we are a multi-lingual country, meaning we speak English, Bahasa and Chinese, therefore communication is very easy here. For the families, there are certain medical facilities which are in the vicinity of major shopping malls and even theme parks in Malaysia, so this provides a one-stop place for everyone including the patient which makes medical tourism in Malaysia very desirable.

In most developed cities around Malaysia like Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Penang, Melaka, Johor Baharu, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, medical tourism is available there as the facilities are now very modern, advanced and highly accredited with the United States prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) certification. You can simply ask your tour agent of visit the relevant websites of the medical facility. One of the up and coming states in Malaysia for medical tourism is no other than Sarawak, attracting their neighbours from Kalimantan, Brunei, Indonesia and also Singapore.

About the writer

Malaysia wildlife tour packages
Capturing moments of tourism in Sabah Borneo

David Hogan Jr Malaysia Asia
The above places to visit in Malaysia for 2016 is compiled by David Hogan Jr of Malaysia Asia and based purely on real life experiences, versus those who have not been to these places but still are able to write about it.

My work takes me around Malaysia throughout the year where I visit and perform product updates therefore, you can consider this first hand experiences shared with everyone. You can also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for live updates.

If you are visiting Malaysia in 2016, I do hope that some of the information here will provide you with a much more clearer picture and if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comment form below for this article on Visit Malaysia 2016. Hope to see you here!



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