Guide to Malaysia & Borneo

| September 2, 2020

Things to do in Malaysia range from meeting orang utans in the wilds of Borneo to enjoying delectable Malaysian food in bustling markets, under the shade of colonial buildings and towering high-rises. We have put together this page to guide you through the top Malaysian experiences, in both Borneo and peninsular Malaysia.


Borneo is best known for its tropical rainforests, distinctive wildlife, isolated tribes, stunning islands and coastal cities. Visit the charming city of Kuching in the north-west and nearby Batang Ai, home to the Iban tribe and their traditional longhouses.

Kota Kinabalu is the main town in the north-east, and features colonial architecture set against modern high-rise buildings. Just off the coast is the pristine Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, full of idyllic and isolated islands, including the relaxing Gaya Island. Meanwhile, Sepilok is home to wild orang utans, as well as those orphaned and housed at the rehabilitation centre. Danum Valley supports wild orang utans as well as the Sumatran rhino, the Borneo pygmy elephant and more than 275 bird species. One major highlight is visiting Turtle Island, watching nesting turtles lay their eggs, and hatchlings being released into the sea. For those wanting to get off the beaten track, take to Mulu National Park

Note: Turtle Island is currently unavailable for sale due to FCO advice.

Peninsular Malaysia

Famous for its food, colonial history, beautiful beaches and mixture of influences, peninsular Malaysia has something for everyone. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, showcases the mixture of Chinese, Malaysian and Indian influences on the city, with a mishmash of mosques, Chinese temples, bustling food markets and high-rise buildings – including the famous Petronas Towers.

South of KL is Malacca – once the most powerful seaport in south-east Asia it is a city proud of its multicultural influences, and colonial influences can be seen on the street in the architecture and in restaurants serving Baba Nonya cuisine.

Meanwhile, north of the capital sits Penang, Ipoh and the Cameron Highlands, each of which were important areas in the colonial era. Penang is home to historic Georgetown with its vibrant night markets, and Ipoh is the gateway to the Cameron Highlands – tea country which was once a favoured holiday spot for the British. Langkawi is a favourite beach spot, while the Taman Negara rainforest is perfect for canopy walks and exploration.

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