Perhaps the most famous symbol of Malaysia is its glitzy twin towers. But once you look past the lights in the capital city, you’ll discover the hidden wonders that lie across the country, from rainbow waterfalls, to a famous vegetable market.
1. Rainbow Waterfall, Pahang
It’s hailed as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Malaysia. But to get there, you have to rent a car, cross a river, and take an hour-long hike through the forest at Sungai Lembing.
The Rainbow Waterfall is mesmerising to watch at sunrise, as sunlight filters through the flowing waters. Book a local guide, and treat yourself to some magnificent views of the Kuantan river, and the wonderful waterfall.
Besides the main attraction, you’ll find old tin-mines littered in the area. Early on, the town was made up of a tin-mining community. Today, there are plans to reopen the mines as a tourist attraction.
2. Jerejak Island, Penang
Jerejak Island, or Pulau Jerejak is known as The Alcatraz of Malaysia.
In the late 1700s until 1993, the area used to be a prison and quarantine centre for those suffering from tuberculosis and leprosy.
Now, its wild terrain and rainforest is a popular spot for hikers and nature-seekers.
A resort and spa have also settled there, and the island welcomes those who are keen to enjoy nature and explore its controversial past.
3. Sasaran Sky Mirror, Kuala Selangor
Called the Sasaran Sky Mirror, the sand flats in Malaysia’s Kuala Selangor region have been compared to Bolivia’s famous salt flats.
Located off the coast of Jeram Fishing Village, you can only catch it twice a month during the full moon and new moon period. To get there, you’re required to book a guide. The journey is about an hour from Jeram Fishing Village, including a 30 minute boat ride.
But once you get off the boat, get out your cameras. The clear waters reflect everything, allowing for a variety of ‘mirror-image’ photography.
Marine enthusiasts would also be able to study the variety of sea creatures such as shellfish and crabs that exist in the ecosystem.
Around the area, other attractions include local temples and fishing villages.
4. Belum-Temengor Rainforest
One of the world’s oldest rainforests, the Belum Rainforest has been in existence for over 130 million years, making it older than both the Amazon and the Congo.
At the centre of the rainforest is a manmade lake of Tasik Temenggor, which is dotted with many small islands.
Besides trekking through the largest rainforest in West Malaysia, you can also fish in the lake, or go bird-watching at bird observatories.
Belum-Temenggor’s untouched forest is also home to 14 of the world’s most threatened mammals, including the Malayan tiger, Asiatic elephant, and the Malaysian sun bear.
Over 3,000 species of flowering plants can also be found there, including the infamous Rafflesia flower– the world’s largest flower with a distinctive odour.
5. Kundasang, Sabah
This small quaint town behind Mount Kinabalu is the highest settlement in Malaysia – hovering at an elevation of almost 1,900m.
But what’s fascinating is its year-round vegetable market that see cross-strait crowds.
So famous is the market that bulk buyers come from various states of Sabah, Sarawak, and even Brunei pick up the fresh produce. All vegetables are grown locally from farms nearby the valley, and delivered straight to the market.
But even if you don’t buy in bulk, you’ll still get a good bargain.