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Things to Do in Malaysia - page 5

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Kuching Cat Statues
3 Tours and Activities

Among Kuching’s more unusual attractions are the series of kitschy cat statues scattered throughout the city. The Malay word for cat sounds similar to Kuching, and the city government took full advantage by nicknaming Kuching “Cat City.”

Perhaps the most famous of the statues is the Great Cat of Kuching. Erected in the 1990s as the first of the cat statues, this 5-foot (1.5-meter) white feline dominates city center and even gets dressed up during major festivals (think a Santa hat come Christmas).

One of the most photographed statues sits near the Kuching Esplanade and features a family of cats (parents and five kittens) lazing about in front of the Holiday Inn. At the center of the roundabout at the junction of Jln Padungan and Jln Chan Chin Ann stands the Cat Column, a Rafflesia flower-topped pillar flanked by four white cats.

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Jalan Masjid India Night Market
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12 Tours and Activities

Some of Kuala Lumpur’s best shopping—and eating—happens at night, at the city’spasar malam, or night markets. Many locals come to Jalan Masjid India Night Market for cheap clothing and accessories. Most foreigners visit to enjoy the excellent Malay, Chinese, and Indian street foods, washed down with a dose of people watching.

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Crocodile Adventureland Langkawi (Langkawi Crocodile Farm)
8 Tours and Activities

Crocodile Adventureland Langkawi, previously known as the Langkawi Crocodile Farm, houses one of the largest collections of crocodile and alligator species in the world. The reptiles range from newborns to fully grown, some world record-holders and some that are handicapped. The crocodile farm covers an area of 20 acres.

Visitors come to Crocodile Adventureland Langkkawi 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 these little guys. There is also a pond where both crocodiles and alligators are located, with 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. There is also a gift shop where you can buy fun croc-themed souvenirs.

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Stadthuys
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24 Tours and Activities

This 16th-century landmark in Melaka (Malacca)—believed to be the oldest Dutch building in Asia—was modeled after the Hoorn city hall in the Netherlands. It once served as the Melaka town hall and residence of the Dutch governor, and today houses several small museums, including the Museum of History and Ethnography.

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Penang War Museum
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5 Tours and Activities

Built by the British as a fortress in the 1930s, before then being used by the Japanese as a POW camp, the Penang War Museum is now open to the general public, serving as a memorial to its darker days.

The museum is strategically located on the hills above the fishing village of Batu Maung, on the road to Teluk Kumbar on Penang’s southern coast. Sprawled across some 20 acres of land, it’s billed as being the largest war museum in Southeast Asia. The fort was originally constructed in a bid to protect the island from foreign invasion, and today a walk around the site invokes a sense of what once was.

Visitors can take a sombre walk among various displays and historical items, and even venture into the old underground tunnels and ammunition bunkers, which are located nine meters underground. It’s also possible to explore the barracks, cookhouses, and gun emplacements, with plenty of signposts to guide the way.

A trip to the Penang War Museum can be combined with visiting Penang Island’s other major highlights, including the Snake Temple and Penang Bridge.

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Penang House of Music
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4 Tours and Activities

Part archive and part exhibition space, the Penang House of Music focuses on the diverse musical heritage of this historically and culturally rich city. Visitors to the museum, opened in 2017, can play radio announcer, view vintage films, and learn about puppet theater, Chinese opera, local dances, musical instruments, and Malaysian pop bands.

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Sabah Museum (Sabah State Museum)
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Located within easy reach of Kota Kinabalu city center, the Sabah Museum (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.

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Penang Armenian Street (Lebuh Armenian)
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14 Tours and Activities

Penang Armenian Street (Lebuh Armenian) is a narrow street located within the Unesco World Heritage Site and Penang capital, George Town. Surrounded by Chinese temples and clan houses, the street itself is lined with old shophouses, art galleries, cafes, and some of the most fascinating street art on the island.

A stroll along Penang's Armenian Street reveals countless shops selling everything from furniture and antiques to crafts and other souvenirs. There’s also a choice of quaint little cafes in which to stop for a coffee and take a break from the daytime heat. In addition, you’ll see an abundance of street art adorning the buildings here, with the most famous, Kids on Bicycle by Ernest Zacharevic, featuring a bike affixed to the wall with two children riding it. This mural attracts huge attention from tourists taking turns to have their photograph taken with it.

If you’re visiting Armenian Street on a Saturday evening, you’ll stumble across the Armenian Street Fair, where you’ll find stalls selling local arts and crafts as well as various music and dance performances.

Armenian Street is part of the itinerary on a Penang George Town heritage tour, which also includes a visit to the impressive Kapitan Keling Mosque nearby, a trip to Pinang Peranakan Mansion, plus a tour around Little India.

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Crab Island (Pulau Ketam)
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5 Tours and Activities

Crab Island (Pulau Ketam) is a small fishing community located off the coast of Klang in Malaysia. Divided into two villages, around 6000 people—mainly Chinese settlers—live here permanently, but you wouldn't be able to guess that from a glance on the street. There are no cars or motorcycles, and the only way to get around is by walking or cycling the narrow boardwalks that connect the island.

Visitors to Crab Island, also known as Ketam Island, will experience the unique lifestyle of this small corner of the world, from its 'floating houses' perched on long wooden stilts above the mangrove swamps, to its renowned seafood cuisine. True to its name, the island is know for delicious fresh crab, as well as prawns and fish.

To get an insight into the history and culture of Pulau Ketam, book a full-day trip to Crab Island from Kuala Lumpur, or join a Pulau Ketam village tour that also includes a visit to Thean Hou Temple. Because the island is something of a haven for seafood fans, most tours include lunch as part of the deal.

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Annah Rais
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3 Tours and Activities

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.

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More Things to Do in Malaysia

Sabah State Mosque (Masjid Negeri Sabah)

Sabah State Mosque (Masjid Negeri Sabah)

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One of the most recognizable buildings in all of Sabah, Sabah State Mosque (Masjid Negeri Sabah) combines contemporary architecture with traditional Islamic design. A gold, honeycombed main dome is reigned over by a 215-foot (65-meter) minaret, which was inspired by those found in the Saudi Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina.

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Singa Besar Island (Pulau Singa Besar)

Singa Besar Island (Pulau Singa Besar)

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Located at the southwest tip of Langkawi, Singa Besar Island (Pulau Singa Besar) is nestled between Beras Basah Island and Dayang Bunting Island. Singa Besar Island is home to over 1500 acres of dense rainforest, swaying palm trees, pure white sandy beaches, and some fascinating limestone formations.

Literally meaning "Big Lion Island", this undeveloped Langkawi island remains refreshingly untouched by humans and as such features no basic amenities or constructions whatsoever. Instead, Singa Besar Island is a natural haven for a variety of flora and a range of wildlife, from mouse deer and macaques to monkeys and eagles – the latter of which are a huge attraction on the island come their feeding time.

The gentle, clear waters surrounding Pulau Singa Besar are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, with some unique species of fish and coral making for a fascinating underwater experience. However, many visitors choose to spend their time on Singa Besar simply lazing on the island’s soft sandy beaches and gazing out to those craggy limestone formations in the distance.

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Tip of Borneo (Tanjung Sipang Mengayu)

Tip of Borneo (Tanjung Sipang Mengayu)

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The South China Sea and the Sulu Sea meet at the scenic Tip of Borneo (Tanjung Sipang Mengayu)—a picturesque destination that rests at the northern-most tip of the island. This remote spot offers incredible views of colorful rocks, white sandy beaches and impeccable ocean waves. And its spectacular sunsets go unrivaled on the island, making a trip along the bumpy road well worth the adventure.

Travelers looking for some local flavor can sample freshly caught seafood in the nearby town of Kudat, where seamen return from their day on the water and chef up delicious, straight-from-the-ocean meals.

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Langkawi Craft Complex (Kompleks Kraf Langkawi)

Langkawi Craft Complex (Kompleks Kraf Langkawi)

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Thanks to Langkawi’s status as a Duty Free Port, shopping in the city is popular and inexpensive. Established in 1966, the Langkawi Craft Complex (Kompleks Kraf Langkawi) specializes in traditional Malayan handcrafted items — things like hand-dyed batiks, silver jewelry, ceramics and woven tote bags.

The complex often hosts craft demonstrations and cultural performances. A series of on-site exhibitions cover topics like traditional wedding ceremonies, Islamic heritage and local legends.

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The Shore Sky Tower

The Shore Sky Tower

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The tallest building in Melaka, the Shore Sky Tower has a 43rd-floor observation deck that offers sweeping views that span up to 30 miles (50 kilometers) on a clear day. Whether you visit during the day or night, use the provided telescopes to take in the 360-degree vista of Melaka, the Straits of Melaka, and the Malay Peninsula.

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Taman Warisan Pertanian (Agriculture Heritage Park)

Taman Warisan Pertanian (Agriculture Heritage Park)

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The Taman Warisan Pertanian (Agriculture Heritage Park) is a leisure park that also serves as a living museum. It cultivates various crops that are native to Malaysia, such as cocoa, palm oil, rubber, and a variety of tropical fruits and herbs.

The park’s fruit trees include jackfruit, guava, mango, dragon fruit, star fruit, and many more. You’ll notice that some of the fruits have plastic bags wrapped around them to deter pests, and there are also signs with information on each fruit species, such as their health benefits. The herbs and spices at the park include things like lemongrass and black pepper, while the commercial crops, such as the rubber tree groves, have demonstrations on how they are transformed into their final products.

While you’re not allowed to pick the fruit as you wander around the park, the hilly pathways and abundance of trees and crops makes for a pleasant experience. The whole park is built on a hill, and there’s an observation platform with views across Putrajaya at the top.

A visit to the Taman Warisan Pertanian Agriculture Heritage Park is part of the itinerary of various Putrajaya day trips from Kuala Lumpur, including a private half-day tour of the city with a cruise on Putrajaya Lake.

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Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park

Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park

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Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, one of the largest butterfly gardens in the world, is home to more than 6,000 species. Its tropical rain forest setting provides a tranquil escape from the bustle of Kuala Lumpur and offers an engaging and educational experience for kids and adults alike.

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Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh Waterfall)

Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh Waterfall)

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One of Langkawi’s top natural attractions, Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh Waterfall) is a scenic series of rock pools set atop a towering waterfall in the middle of the jungle. The waterfall itself drops around 295 feet (90 meters) through the forest, while monkeys add local color even when water is short. Sweeping views stretch across the island.

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Mt. Machinchang (Gunung Mat Chinchang)

Mt. Machinchang (Gunung Mat Chinchang)

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Mt. Machinchang (Gunung Mat Chinchang) is the second highest peak on Langkawi and the oldest mountain in the whole of Southeast Asia. This majestic mountain range is covered in dense rainforest and features some incredibly old and impressive rock formations. Mt. Machinchang, also written Mt. Mat Cincang and Gunung Mat Cincang, is one of three UNESCO World Heritage Geoparks on Langkawi and is understandably one of the top tourist attractions on the island.

The rainforest within Mt. Machinchang is home to some ancient, gigantic trees, as well as a flurry of forest animals, including the macaque monkey and an array of birdlife, including the eagle – the symbol of Langkawi itself.

A cable car carries passengers 709 meters above sea-level to the top of Mt. Machinchang. One of the steepest cable car rides in the world, the journey offers breathtaking views of the rainforest and the Seven Wells Waterfall, along with Langkawi’s islands scattered in the Andaman Sea below. From the top of the peak on a clear day, Mt. Machinchang presents sweeping views all the way to the Malaysian mainland and even across to southern Thailand.

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Mari Mari Cultural Village

Mari Mari Cultural Village

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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.

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Zoo Melaka (Malacca Zoo and Night Safari)

Zoo Melaka (Malacca Zoo and Night Safari)

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Home to over 150 different species, Zoo Melaka and Night Safari is the city’s longest-established wildlife attraction and one of Malaysia’s largest zoos. It offers animal shows, food outlets, educational talks by keepers, and the chance to feed animals, as well as a night safari on weekend evenings.

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Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

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With more than 236,806 square feet (22,000 square meters) of function space, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre hosts events and conferences, as well as the aquarium Aquaria KLCC. Located at the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre, the convention center offers close proximity to accommodation, food, beverage, and entertainment options.

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Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

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The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur’s standout museum, home to over 9,000 Islamic artifacts from around the world. Collections span the gamut from Korans to tiles, carpets to jewelry, textiles to calligraphy, and architecture to ancient medical texts. To understand the role Islam played in world civilization, start here.

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Penang Botanical Gardens (Taman Botani Penang)

Penang Botanical Gardens (Taman Botani Penang)

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Set in a former quarry below Penang Hill, the 71-acre (29-hectare) Penang Botanic Gardens (Taman Botani Pulau Pinang) blend jungle with formal gardens to magical effect. Founded in 1884, and sometimes known as the Waterfall Gardens for the stream that tumbles through them, they’re crisscrossed with walking trails.

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