From towering skyscrapers to vast tropical wildernesses, Malaysia is a nation of extraordinary natural contrasts. The Southeast Asian country is renowned for its ecological and cultural diversity, and became independent from the United Kingdom in 1957. Many people book flights to Malaysia via the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, which is served by Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and dozens of other cities.
Visit the spectacular Aquaria KLCC, where you can see an extraordinary array of marine life in one of Asia's most visited aquariums. Whatever your plans are in Kuala Lumpur, don't forget to go the top of the Petronas Towers, a pair of skyscrapers that are 452 metres high and were, until 2004, the tallest buildings in the world. Other major cities of interest in the Malaysian capital include the Islamic Arts Museum, the stunning Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, and the vibrant Bukit Bintang cultural district.
The highest peak in Malaysia, 4,095-metre Mount Kinabalu is an awe-inspiring landmark, surrounded by lush meadows that are an important habitat hundreds of bird species. The landscape here is now officially known as Kinabalu Park, which contains thousands of plant species and is now protected with UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The Gunung Mulu National Park
Another breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Gunung Mulu National Park is overlooked by photogenic Mount Mulu and features terrific limestone rock formations and dramatic caves. The most notable cave is the Sarawak Chamber, which is 80 metres high and is probably the world's most famous cave chamber.
The Taman Negara
This attractive rainforest, now known as the King George V National Park, is especially popular with eco-tourists and is also known for its thriving wildlife and plant life. In fact, this rainforest is tens of millions of years old, and is possibly the oldest-surviving tropical rainforest in the world.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Stay at the exquisite Mandarin Oriental hotel, the very hospitable The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur, or the opulent Shangri-La Hotel. Other more affordable accommodation establishments include the conveniently located Geo Hotel, the comfortable Crossroads Hotel, and the elegant Hotel Maison Boutique.
Accommodation in other areas of Malaysia
If you're looking for instant access to the beach, consider the charming Minang Cove Resort in Pulau Tioman or the Sunset Beach Resort in Pantai Cenang. Other highly rated hotels include the magnificent Yeng Keng Hotel in George Town, the stylish Ranee Boutique Suites, and the serene Mutiara Taman Negara in Kuala Tahan.