Discover Malaysia like never before: Blue waters, green jungles and a cultural rainbow

Discover Malaysia like never before: Blue waters, green jungles and a cultural rainbow
PHOTO: Pixabay

The vibrant social fabric's sewing circle is a congregation of cultures.

Yesterday's announcement Malaysia is waiving visas for Chinese tourists, effective immediately, will paint new ways by which Chinese visitors discover the colorful country's true hues.

It's a place where barracudas shimmer silver through the brilliant blue, and reddish primates perform Parkour across verdant canopies.

China Daily explores what awaits those who follow the turning tide of tourism over its 48,000 kilometers of coastlines and strands that trace its land to outline a picturesque peninsula that radiates from an archipelago flung among cyan seas.

Diving

Malaysia has tasked its first four dive marshals to act as “undersea policemen” to prevent divers from damaging the coral around Sipadan Island, which is located off Sabah. 
Photo: The Star

Malaysia's waters whirl with life.

It's divine for divers-from aspiring adventurers looking to dip their flippers into the water for the first time to pros who plunge to new depths.

Diving Magazine's Gold List Rodale's Scuba crowned Sabah state's Sipadan Island among the world's five best scuba sites. Oceanographer extraordinaire Jacques Cousteau proclaimed of the isle: "We have found an untouched piece of art."

Tourists arriving at a wooden jetty at Sipadan Island in Sabah.
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

The otherworld beneath its surface is a place where whale sharks, hammerheads and mantas wriggle over technicolored corals.

Its 13 main routes take such appellations as Hanging Gardens, Turtle Cavern and Barracuda Point.

Malaysia's only oceanicisl and is a bitty land dollop punching out of a massive marine habitat that coils with barracuda cyclones, punctuated by parrot-fish and hawksbill turtles.

Each of the five islands of Sabah's Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park are wreathed by distinctive marine ecosystems. Nearly 250,000 Chinese visited Sabah last year, an increase of more than 30 per cent over 2014, the state's tourism authority reports.

Another attraction is Terengganu's Redang Island, where thousands of marine animals and hundreds of coral varieties flourish and have even colonised a WWII shipwreck.

Scuba divers exploring the wonders of the undersea world at Redang Island. 
Photo: Saiyidah Fatimah

Forests

Malaysia sires the habitats of orangutans, proboscis monkeys and corpse flowers.

The ape's appellation translates as "forest person". The monkeys' monikers come from the species' teapot faces. And the world's biggest flower takes its nickname from its stench, which resembles a cadavers'. Pahang's Taman Negara is often misattributed as the world's oldest virgin forest.

It's not. But it's close.

The 130-million-year-old wilderness hasn't been disrupted since the days of the first known bird relative, Archaeornithura meemannae, an early Cretaceous creature discovered in China last year. Today, 400 avian species flutter through the foliage.

It claims the world's longest canopy walk, 45 meters above the ground-at its lowest.

It'd be the kind of trek where you'd say "don't look down" if tigers, gaur and crab-eating macaque didn't prowl below.

Sabah's Kabili-Sepilok Nature Reserve hosts an orangutan rehab facility, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and an institute where volunteers can tag and measure sea turtles.

Sabah's Kinabatangan sails river safaris through forests inhabited by wild elephants, Sumatran rhinos and monkeys.

Bako National Park, the oldest national park in Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Sarawak's Bako National Park's 16 hiking trails slice through 30-square-kilometers into seven distinct ecosystems, including beach, mangrove and peat swamp.

The reserve hosts nearly every flora found in Borneo. Monitor lizards, silver-leaf monkeys and bearded pigs rustle among bursts of leaves.

Theme parks

Fake oddities, ghouls and igloos won Resorts World Genting Asia's Leading Themed Resort at October's 22nd Annual World Travel Awards in Hong Kong last autumn.

The complex contains Ripley's Believe It or Not, Snow-World, Vision City Video Games Park and Haunted Adventure.

It hosts so many parks and events it offers a behind-the-scenes tour to show how the shows goon. (They must! Apparently.)

First World Plaza also contains an indoor park featuring such rides as the Reindeer Cruiser, Rio Float and Busy Bugs within a shopping centre that contains seven areas styled afterworld landmarks. Genting Sky Venture claims the continent's only free-fall skydiving simulator-arguably, the continent's safest way to jump from a plane-and a 15-meter climbing wall.

Johor claims Asia's first Legoland and the first Hello Kitty Town outside Japan.

Legoland Malaysia theme park in Johor.
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Legoland's rides and Miniland, where 30 million bricks shape Asia's major landmarks, rank among its five attractions

Legoland Malaysia theme park in Johor.
Photo: Sanrio Hello Kitty Town

The Hello Kitty park is replete with live performances by its protagonist and friends. Visitors can doll up with manicures, bake and make jewelry at Wishful Studio.

How intentionally adorable.

Shopping

Malaysia is a seller's market for those who buy into retail therapy.

It hosts hundreds of duty-free locations at airports and in Langkawi and Labuan islands. Tioman is duty-free and a hop across the border from Singapore.

Eight international airports offer goods and services tax refunds.

Still, the capital remains the mainstay for power purchasers looking to exercise purchasing power.

The Petronas Twin Towers are seen at night in Kuala Lumpur
Photo: Piaxabay

Downtown Kuala Lumpur clutches eight malls. Another 12 orbit the metropolis.

Chinatown and Little India are places for purchases as much as they are ethnic enclaves.

Pavilion KL is ostentatiousness,manifested.

The 127,1000-square-meter white-marble grounds, centred on a massive Zeus statue, serve less as a shrine to the Greek gods' king than to materialistic hedonism.

The 450 stores that emanate from Hellenism's supreme deity and crystal fountain are of the likes of Gucci, Rolex and Prada. Idols of our age-yet only some among those that make Malaysia a divine destination. Ancientapes, forests and reefs also offer spiritual sublimity.

Of a different kind. And with a lot more colour.

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