Things to Do in Malaysia
Located within easy reach of Kota Kinabalu city center, the Sabah State Museum is a comprehensive museum exploring the heritage, art, culture, and daily life of Sabah and its people.
The museum is made up of the main building, along with galleries exhibiting the various themes, including the Science and Education Center, the Heritage Village, the Sabah Art Gallery and the Museum of Islamic Civilization. Natural history, ceramics, ethnography and archaeology are among the many displays, along with a centerpiece whale skeleton.
The Heritage Village features traditional tribal dwellings of the different indigenous groups of Sabah set on a lake, including Kadazan bamboo houses and a Chinese farmhouse, all set on a lake. The Science and Education Center next door has an interesting exhibition on the petroleum industry, while the the Sabah Art Gallery features exhibitions by local artists.
One of the finest museums on the island of Borneo, the Sarawak Museum is also the oldest, opened in 1891 by Charles Burke, the second Rajah of Sarawak. Set inside a massive, rectangular, Victorian-period edifice designed to resemble a Normandy townhouse, the inside still has the feel of a museum constructed in the late 20th century as punctuated by the wood and bamboo flooring.
The need for interior renovations aside, however, the Sarawak Museum is home to a fascinating array of ethnographic and ecological artifacts relating to traditional tribal and environmental life in the state of Sarawak. In addition to small scale replicas of Iban longhouses, original tribal weapons, and mounted exhibits of exotic mammals and reptiles, of particular interest to many visitors are the displays of shrunken heads and human skulls which adorn various parts of the museum interior.
More Things to Do in Malaysia
The Langkawi Cable Car will take you high above the Langkawi rainforest on Mount Mat Chinchang for the most spectacular views of the surrounding islands and sea. It’s an absolute must-do when you visit Langkawi and a great way to orientate yourself when you first arrive.
The cable car was built without constructing any roads through the forest and has the longest suspension between two stations in the world. The view changes throughout the day with some spectacular sights at sunset. From the pinnacle of Mount Mat Chinchang you will see 360-degree panoramic views of the Langkawi islands, mainland Malaysia and Southern Thailand.
There is plenty to explore on the mountain and it is possible to take jungle treks and birdwatching tours.
The Langkawi Crocodile Farm on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia houses one of the largest collections of crocodile and alligator species in the world. The reptiles range from newborns to fully grown and include some world record-holders and some that are handicapped. The crocodile farm covers an area of 20 acres.
Visitors come to Langkawi Crocodile Farm to see more than 1,000 crocodiles. The first section is where you'll find the baby crocodiles along with signs that provide facts about crocodiles. There is also a pond where both crocodiles and alligators are located, and signs explain the difference so you can try to tell them apart. At the feeding pond, you can watch crocodiles snap at and devour their meals. You can also walk on a bridge above another pond where crocodiles are lounging. For a more tame experience, there are animal shows with the trainers. There is also a gift shop where you can buy goods made out of crocodile leather as well as typical souvenirs.
Travelers in search of a true cultural exchange need look no further than Mari Mari, a cultural village situation in a remote forest on the island of Borneo. Here, visitors can learn about the indigenous Sabahan people, explore their traditional homes and witness fire-starting, blowpipe-making and tattoo-making demonstrations.
In addition to sharing their cultures and traditions, representatives from the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun people also cook ethnic delicacies for travelers with an adventurous palate to sample. While some visitors say the village can feel a bit too touristy, others argue it’s the perfect way to experience the vibrant cultures and traditions of Borneo in a single stop.
An overload of tropical fish awaits you at Palau Payer Marine Park. The park is a coral reef teeming with fish including feather starfish, rainbow runners, barracuda and ghost fish. It is one of the west coast’s most popular dive sites, there is the wreck of an old fishing boat and the wreck of a small boat carrying roof tiles to explore. It was the first marine park created in western Malaysia and is also used as a research center.
Snorkeling in the very warm waters is fantastic; get ready for the hungry little fish to nip at your toes as you explore their home. Aside from the colorful fish there are sea turtles, anemones, and friendly octopi. In the afternoon there are shark feeding exhibitions put on by the tour groups. The sharks are reef sharks which are exciting but won’t hurt humans.
The best time to visit is October to March, although any time of year is fine if the weather is good.
Situated 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Kuching, Annah Rais is a Bidayuh longhouse settlement in the foothills of the Borneo Highlands. While the 500 or so residents of Annah Rais make a living from tourism and the settlement has long been on the tourist map, they’ve done well to preserve the traditional longhouse architecture, and visitors get a sense of what life in such communal settlements is like.
Annah Rais comprises three separate longhouses, Kupo Terekan, Kupo Saba and Kupo Sijo, which travelers can visit solo or with a guide. Each longhouse has a covered bamboo verandah, called an awah, used for communal activities. Doorways spaced along the longhouse lead to each family’s private quarters. While some visit Annah Rais just for the day, some of the residents open their homes to visitors as part of a cultural homestay program. Visitors are paired with a local family who provide a traditional dinner and breakfast in addition to the enriching cultural exchange.
In the heart of the mangrove forests of Semawang in Sandakan, the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is a privately owned reserve where visitors can observe these rare and distinctive creatives that are indigenous to Borneo.
It’s estimated that approximately 300 wild monkeys live within this six square-kilometer sanctuary. There’s also plenty of other wildlife here besides the proboscis, with silverleaf monkeys and some fascinating birdlife, including hornbills, calling the reserve home. Many visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary on a day trip, although overnight stays are also possible, with night tours giving visitors a chance to see fireflies, wild boars, flying squirrels, and crocodiles. Booked in advance, it’s possible to combine the monkey’s feeding time with other activities, such as jungle treks or even a boat trip to a nearby fishing village.
Bako National Park is Sarawak’s oldest national park and, at 2,728 hectares (6,738 acres), is also one of its smallest. It packs a lot in for its size, however, containing almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo.
Sitting on a promontory at the mouths of the Sarawak and Bako rivers, Bako National Park contains no less than seven eco-systems – from cliff and coastal vegetation to mangrove, peat swamp and dipterocarp forest and grasslands.
But it is the wildlife most people come for - the rare proboscis monkey, macaques, monitor lizards and bearded pigs – that, and the amazing number of pitcher and canivorous plants that call the National Park home.
Things to do near Malaysia
- Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
- Things to do in Langkawi
- Things to do in Penang
- Things to do in Kota Kinabalu
- Things to do in Kuching
- Things to do in Petaling Jaya
- Things to do in Ipoh
- Things to do in Tanah Rata
- Things to do in Sandakan
- Things to do in Johor Bahru
- Things to do in Singapore
- Things to do in Cambodia
- Things to do in Pahang
- Things to do in Johor
- Things to do in Perak