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Beautiful valley of Kundasang with luscious mountain views © .zaim./Flickr
Beautiful valley of Kundasang with luscious mountain views © .zaim./Flickr
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11 Incredible Places You Didn't Know Existed in Malaysia

Picture of Lu Yin Wai
Updated: 7 October 2017
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.
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Kek Lok Si Temple

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.

1000-L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4-828 3317

Kek Lok Si Temple © Jorge Cancela/Flickr

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Belum Rainforest

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.

Belum Rainforest Resort: Pulau Banding, 33200 Gerik, Perak, Malaysia, +60 5-791 6800

Belum Rainforest © BlackCat Imaging/Shutterstock

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Semporna

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.

Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia

Stilt houses above turquoise waters in Semporna © johnjodeery/Flickr

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Chemorong Forest Reserve

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.

Forest Chemerong, Terengganu, Malaysia

Chemerong Waterfall © Aizul Manan/Flickr

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.

Sasaran Sky Mirror
Sasaran Sky Mirror | © Alexlky/Shutterstock
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Kundasang

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.

Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia

Beautiful sky, mountains, and green pastures at Desa Dairy Farm © hkhtt hj/Shutterstock

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Sekinchan

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.

Sekinchan, 45400, Selangor, Malaysia

Wishing Tree in Sekinchan © Jnzl’s Photo/Flickr

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Kenyir Lake

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.

Kenyir Lake, Terengganu, Malaysia

Rainforest surrounding Kenyir Lake © Lexe-I/Flickr

Rainbow Waterfall

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.

Rainbow Waterfall, Pahang, Malaysia

Rainbow Waterfall near Lembing River
Rainbow Waterfall near Lembing River | © John Ragal/Shutterstock
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Tiga Island (Pulau Tiga)

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.

Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Malaysia

Reality TV series ‘Survivor’ was filmed at Tiga Island © travelling_louise/Flickr

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Jerejak Island (Pulau Jerejak)

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.

Pulau Jerejak, Penang, Malaysia

Sunset at Jerejak Island © Terence Wong/Shutterstock