Popular spots in Malaysia such as A Famosa in Melaka, Penang Hill in Penang, and Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur are to be found on many travel itineraries. There are many hidden gems to be discovered in Malaysia though, from natural reserves to an island with a fascinating history. Here are some amazing places that you didn’t know that existed in Malaysia.
Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the largest and most outstanding temples in Southeast Asia. The interior and exterior of temple halls, pagodas, and archways consist of detailed carvings, sculptures, and murals which represent Buddhist teachings and Chinese culture and rituals of daily life. The temple is one of the definitive heritage treasures of Mahayana Buddhism. Start by visiting the Tortoise Liberation Pond where you will see hundreds of tortoise swimming and relaxing in the pond by the temple entrance. Walk around the temple gardens and admire the three-tier Kek Lok Si Pagoda, with different architectural styles on each tier.
Together with Temenggor, Belum Rainforest has existed for more than 130 million years making this one of the world’s oldest rainforests. It is a protected rainforest next to Temenggor Lake, a home to a wide array of flora and fauna and indigenous people. Go on an adventure by hopping on the boat cruise across the Temenggor Lake or join the Belum Adventure Camp to take part in adrenaline activities such as high rope and zip line challenge. Catch sight of the beautiful birds while birdwatching at Royal Belum or go fishing on the lake. Stay for a few nights at the Belum Rainforest Resort to become at one with nature.
Located in Borneo, Semporna leads to Tun Sakaran Marine Park (an archipelago of eight islands) and Sipadan National Park where you go island-hopping and scuba diving in the beautiful coral reefs. Bajau Laut community, known as the Sea Gypsies, live their traditional lifestyle here, with their stilt houses built above the clear waters. Drop by to say hi to the sea creatures in the beautiful coral reefs while scuba diving – including Kapikan Reef and Church Reef. Hike along the Bohey Dulang Island trail to see the panoramic island views surrounded by turquoise waters, followed by a visit to the beautiful bird sanctuary. We recommend island hopping to discover all there is on offer here. You might also have an opportunity to chat with the locals.
Explore Terengganu’s Chemerong Forest Reserve which consists of crystal clear rivers and pools. Start taking a 1.5 hour hike through the forest, from the park entrance to the majestic waterfall. Explore the multiple tiers of waterfall where you will catch the stunning forest views and can relax by the pools. Camp out by the crystal clear rivers that pass through the forest and pools leading to the waterfall. Soak your feet in the pool and the little fishes will come by to tickle your feet. You’ll find various sandy and emerald pools including at Jeram Lesung and Bangan River.
Sasaran Sky Mirror
Sasaran Sky Mirror is the Malaysia’s ‘Salar de Uyunni’, located off the coast of Jeram Fishing Village. The perfect view at Sasaran Sky Mirror occurs twice a month (full moon and new moon). You are required to book a tour to visit this site. We suggest booking with Sky Mirror Tour & Travel Sdn Bhd, which costs RM80 per person (USD20). It takes about an hour from Jeram Fishing Village to get there including a 30 minute boat ride. Once you reach this amazing place, step on to the sandy bank island and look at the waters to see your whole reflection. A great photo opportunity for you and your friends.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Kundansang is a quaint little town found behind Mount Kinabalu. An ideal way to explore the beautiful valley along the winding roads is hiring a car from an rental agency in Kota Kinabalu. Visit the Desa Dairy Farm to meet the cattle, be amazed with the view of Mount Kinabalu with its green pastures, learn how dairy food and drinks are produced, and quench your thirst with local dairy products including yoghurt and ice cream. Learn about Kundasang history at the Kundasang War Memorial with beautiful gardens. Don’t miss sampling other local products, including tea, wine, and pizza, at the markets and towns in the area.
Take an hour’s drive to Sekinchan from Kuala Lumpur to enjoy the countryside and fishing village lifestyle. Soak in with the wide scenic views of paddy fields followed by making your wishes at the Wishing Tree. Visit the Paddy Processing Gallery to learn how the rice is produced with workers and technology. Stop by at N. 16 Café for your meals and coffee while enjoying the view of paddy fields. Drop by at the Bagan Fishing Village to learn about the fishermen’s daily lives. Don’t forget to savour delicious and affordable seafood dishes.
Kenyir Lake is the largest man-made lake, surrounding 340 islands, in Southeast Asia. There are 30 rivers connecting to the lake, 25 waterfalls, and it is home to about 25 fish species. The lake is near the luscious rainforests and limestone caves including Taman Negara. There are shuttle buses that take you to the lake from Terengganu’s Sultan Mahmud Airport. Explore the lake by boat or canoe and take in the breathtaking hilltops and highland views. Challenge yourself to some jungle trekking and visit the fish farm on the lake. Admire the wondrous multi-tiered Lasir Waterfall surrounded by rainforest canopy.
Hike through the forest to visit one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Malaysia. Catch glimpses of the mesmerising Rainbow Waterfall in the early morning as the sun seeps through the flowing waters. Follow the local tour guide – 4×4 pickup trucks will take you to the sandy hills to watch sunrise, going into the forest for 45 minutes, and walking through the trees and rocky paths for another 45 minutes. Reward your adventurous hike by dipping right beside the waterfall and soak in with the view of Rainbow Waterfall.
Reality TV series Survivor fans may know that the contestants were sent to Pulau Tiga, known as the Survivor Island. Take a 40 minute boat ride from Kuala Penyu jetty. The island has wondrous flora and fauna, beaches, and marine life which provide exciting recreational activities for travellers to enjoy. Hike through the rainforest with different levels of trails, walk along the sandy beaches, and go snorkelling in the beautiful coral reefs. You can also enjoy a therapeutic experience at the mud volcanoes.
Known as The Alcatraz of Malaysia, this used to be a prison and quarantine center for criminals, immigrants, and tuberculosis and leprosy patients back in the late 1700s until 1993. Now, it has become a place to take in rich history and nature. Take a 20 minutes ferry ride at the Jerejak Ferry Terminal, Bayan Lepas – round trip costs RM25 (USD 6.20) for adults and RM16 (USD 4) for children. Get you adrenaline fix by taking part in bold activities including rock climbing, jungle trekking, and mountain biking. Explore the ruins within the jungles to discover the island’s history. Make arrangements for your visit at the Batu Uban Fishermen Jetty.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.