From exotic, tropical coral beaches to snowy mountains and orang utan sanctuaries: read which places to visit in Malaysia if you have only one week to spare.
Start your holiday arriving in Kota Kinabalu in the western Island of Malaysia, also known as Borneo. After a long flight the easy pace of KK is ideal to stroll around the evening markets, restaurants, outdoor food stalls or chill out at the ferry port.
The next day enjoy both some snorkeling as well as a hike through the oldest rainforest in the world and come eye to eye with exotic monkeys or monitar lizards. Go to the ferry and take a boat to one of the 5 islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. If you enjoy peace and quietness, head to the small Pulau Sapi or Cow Island for both swim and hike.
On your third day, enjoy a day at the foot of the highest mountain in Malaysia: Mount Kinabalu. Pay a visit to its National Park Day Three and wander through the its orchid gardens, the hot springs, or marvel the biggest flower in the world (yet not the most pleasant smelling) the rafflesia. You could also ask your hotel to get a trip organized higher up the mountain to breath in some fresh air enjoying the amazing scenery.
Spend your next day admiring Malaysia’s wildlife after flying to Sandakan. Get up and close to Orang Utans in Sepilok or the turtles of Turtle Island Park. If you are a true nature lover, do stay overnight on Turtle Island Park when the turtles lay their eggs on the beaches: it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Too late for that? Then do know that 60 days later, you can still enjoy helping the little baby turtle hatchlings being released back into the sea. However, if turtles are not your thing, don’t stay overnight, as the food and the accommodation is pretty basic.
If Animal Planet and wildlife is your passion, do visit the Orang Utan sanctuary as Sepilok. It’s actually as sad as beautiful: Orang Utans that where captured or brought here are rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. You can watch them at their daily feeding platforms or book way in advance to volunteer at Sepilok.
If you are into diving, then spend at least 2 days at Sipidan Island: one of the world’s best diving sites. Explorers should visit the caves of Mulu, Niah or Gomantong or experiences the original inhabitants of Malaysia: the orang asli in their traditional long houses.
Shoppers should take a plane and head to the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur to visit upscale places like Bangsar, 1 Utama or Pavilion and Bukit Bintang. And if you have a few more days to spend, take a plane and visit the Island of Penang, where you can experience more of a Chinese heritage amongst the overly dominating Muslim culture in the rest of East Malaysia.