There you are, in the middle of paradise, and it’s everything you’ve imagined it to be. It’s beautiful, magical and something you’ve only dreamt of before. And then, it hits you.
You can’t be in paradise, can you? You remember getting on a plane, breezing through customs, reaching your hotel. So where are you exactly?
You’re in Malaysia.
Yup, Malaysia does that to you. You come to the country, expecting to be on just another holiday, and BOOM! You’re transported to paradise.
It’s weird and surreal, because you didn’t think Malaysia would have these near-perfect vacation spots, but it does. You just need a bit of help in finding them. That’s what this post is for. Now, what kind of paradise are you interested in?
The Beach Paradise
Pristine water, glistening golden beaches, the white sands… You hear the soft hum of waves and all you can think of is…relaxation. Aah, beaches. Beaches everywhere. Yes, there are many options here in Malaysia, be it at the mainland or on a secluded island.
But if you’re looking to experience as many beaches as possible, island hopping is the way to go.
One of the best spots to island hop, is around the clusters of islands off the coast of Mersing in Johor. Located 136 kilometers (approximately 85 miles) from the state capital, Johor Bahru, the tranquil town of Mersing is your gateway to sandy paradise. From here, you can go to many islands including Pulau Aur, Pulau Dayang, Pulau Besar, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Tengah, Pulau Pemanggil,Pulau Sibu, Pulau Tinggi and the more well-known Pulau Tioman.
Each of the islands has their own unique charm and attraction but all of them offer stunning beaches, emerald waters and fascinating marine life. At these islands, you can soak up the sun, frolick in the sand, or go for a dip and even snorkel and scuba dive. Fun is guaranteed, but you might lose all memory of your worries.
Also try: The divers’ haven of Mabul; Pantai Bisikan Bayu for those who likes to surf, and the Similajau National Park with its unique coastline.
The Rainforest Paradise
When you talk about Malaysia, the topic of rainforests will come up. Hey, it’s a tropical country, after all. Dense with flora and fauna, the Malaysian rainforests date back to hundreds of millions of years and some has remained undisturbed for just as long. They’re almost like lands that time forgot. Some of them have been gazetted as national parks to preserve the rich bio-diversity, so when you step into these rainforests you can experience nature’s beauty, enhanced to the nth degree. You can hear symphonies, watch drama unfold, have an interactive experience, all in high definition and live in person.
At the East and West of Malaysia, there are vast rainforests to get your closer to Mother Nature. One of the clear favourites is the Kinabalu Park in Sabah but if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can try the Maliau Basin Conservation Park.
Almost circular in shape, the conservation park consists of almost 400km square feet of different forest types; rivers; the only true lake in Sabah; and multiple waterfalls including a renowned seven-tier waterfall, amongst others. Most of the park is yet to be explored so the true richness of Maliau Basin cannot be determined but it’s safe to say that it’s a paradise like no other.
Here you can observe the wildlife, trek through the jungle or swim in the waterfall. You have ample opportunities to enjoy the pristine rainforest, and maybe even imagine you’re on the set of a movie about Jurassic worlds.
Also try: Gunung Mulu National Park to include cave exploration in your adventure; Taman Negara to experience deep jungle river cruises; and Lambir Hills National Park if you’d like to see biodiversity in all its splendour.
The Mountain Paradise
If you’re not keen on going underwater or into the jungle, how about you climb the heights? You can go to the highest point in the country or you can explore the nation’s longest mountain range. It all depends on how much climbing you’re willing to do.
Of course, there isn’t quite a similar thrill than the one you have when you’ve conquered a World Heritage Site, the majestic Mount Kinabalu. Measuring to more than 13,000 feet above sea level, it is not only a challenging hike, it is also a beautiful one. The park is steep with flora and fauna, bound to take your breath away.
At the peak, the view, to say the least, is amazing. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world! But more than that, you’ll feel like you’ve worked for your paradise, and that feeling is priceless. A kind reminder, though. You might want to celebrate once you’ve reached the peak but do not take off your clothes. Please remain clothed at all times when enjoying the euphoria of having climbed the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago 😉
Also try: Gunung Tahan, the highest point in Peninsular Malaysia; Broga Hill, if you’re into casual hiking; or Cameron Highlands if you’re interested in a quiet, chilly getaway.
There are many more spots in Malaysia that are like paradise on earth. All you need to do is explore them. So, what are you waiting for?