Malaysia’s tourism centres around food, shopping and biodiversity. But few appreciate the range of adventure activities in Malaysia available to those who know where to look. Here are nine of our favourites.
For an off-road adventure in Malaysia’s capital, check out the ATV tours. An ATV resembles a quad bike to drive on muddy trails. Tours take passengers along the river and through jungles for up to two hours. Few adventure activities in Malaysia rate as exciting as riding a 4×4 through the muddy jungle. Other parts of the country, such as Pangkor Island, offer ATV tours too.
Malaysia doesn’t have a reputation for bungee jumping in the same way as New Zealand. But those looking to take the plunge can find a 22 metres (72 feet) jump in Selangor’s Sunway Lagoon. While this isn’t a long drop by any standard, it is one of very few in Malaysia. Bungee jumpers first need to pay admission into the Sunway Lagoon theme park before paying an additional fee of RM138 (US$35) to jump. Selangor’s bungee jumping might not be one of the more extreme adventure activities in Malaysia, but it’s certainly worth checking out.
Here’s one of the more unusual adventure activities in Malaysia: Flyboarding. Flyboarders essentially stand on a board in the water with a high-pressured jetpack attached to their back. Streams of water fire down propelling the rider into the air. Located in Putrajaya near Kuala Lumpur at Maritime Putrajaya, this somewhat unique activity might be worth trying for the experience. Limited places are available, and it only operates on weekends and public holidays, making reservations essential. Expect a 20-minute session to cost approximately RM350 (US$90).
Paragliding grows as one of the favourite adventure activities in Malaysia. Those in West Malaysia staying in Kuala Lumpur can travel to the nearby state of Selangor and take part in tandem paragliding. Expect packages to cost at least RM220 (US$56). Different companies have various packages, and it pays to enquire with different companies in advance. In East Malaysia, head to Ranau near Sabah’s Kota Kinabalu where paragliders will fly high over the mountains and tea plantations.
Borneo has Mount Kinabalu, West Malaysia’s tallest peak is Gunung Tahan (Mount Tahan) in Pahang. The summit sits at 2187 metres (7175 feet) above sea level inside the Taman Negara Forest. But getting the chance to reach the top isn’t the reason it’s included as one of the best adventure activities in Malaysia. The trek itself takes approximately four to seven days and passes through mountains, primary forests and rivers before reaching the summit. A guide is essential, and it requires a level of fitness, endurance and a strong sense of adventure.
Perak, on the west side of Malaysia’s Peninsular, underwent a tourist campaign in 2017. With increased investment, it’s now easier to access some of the adventure activities found around the green and rugged state. The Kampar River contains a total of 14 rapids ranging in difficulty from Level One to Level Three. But the real thrill comes from rafting through the dense forest to the sights and sounds of the jungle, including several monkeys. Anyone looking for a chance to go white water rafting will find several opportunities in Perak. The region also has a reputation for its caves and cave related activities. Packages combining both rafting and caving start at around RM210 (US$54).
West Malaysia features few diving spots of the same magnitude as those found at Terengganu’s Redang Island. Located in northeast Malaysia, the small island in the South China Sea has more than 20 dive sites and two shipwrecks. Expect endless corals, tropical beaches and diving experiences similar to those in Sabah’s Sipadan. Beginners have the chance to take a PADI course at very affordable prices too. Regular ferries depart from Kuala Terengganu, the state capital, to Redang Island, taking approximately one-and-a-half hours.
One of Borneo’s most highly rated adventure activities is a 530 metres (1739 feet) zipline. But the distance isn’t the only thrill in this activity in Sabah. The line passes between Gaya and Sapi Island within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Those brave enough will fly over a stretch of the South China Sea between the two islands.
Langkawi, ‘the Jewel of Kedah’, attracts thousands of visitors each year for its beaches, relaxation and duty-free shopping. Stroll along the island’s most beautiful beach at Pantai Cenang and see people parasailing along the coast. Several tour operators sell a 20–minute package starting at RM120 (US$31). Langkawi has a variety of other adventure activities in Malaysia too, including jet skiing around the islands tours and skydiving.