Malaysia is a multicultural country in south-east Asia and is a melting pot of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures. With such a rich cultural history, delicious food and lush tropical landscapes, the land is a treasure of wonders. Its rich biodiversity entices visitors to its natural attractions while astonishing feats of architecture, both modern and historical lead visitors into its cities.
Here are 20 incredible landmarks in Malaysia that you cannot miss.
- Landmarks in Malaysia
- Kuala Lumpur Landmarks
- Other Famous Landmarks in Malaysia
- Landmarks in Sabah
Landmarks in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Landmarks
1- Petronas Twin Towers
At 451.8 meters tall, the Petronas Twin Towers are the worlds tallest twin towers.
Designed by César Pelli, the identical towers took six years to build.
The design of the tower reflects the Islamic principles of unity, harmony, stability and rationality, as each floor is designed to replicate simple Islamic geometric forms of an eight-pointed star made from two overlaid squares.
Pelli added in a semi-circle between each point to enlarge the space.
Inside, the building has been designed to reflect Malaysia’s traditional crafts of weaving and hardwood carvings.
An observation deck is located on the 86th floor of each tower, offering visitors spectacular views over the city.
A sky bridge connects the two towers giving visitors another opportunity to view the skyline.
Petronas Tower is at Concourse Level, Lower Ground, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
2- Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park
Kuala Lumpur, like much of Malaysia, was covered in rainforest and jungle centuries ago.
Today, Kuala Lumpur is a bustling modern metropolis, which has retained its rainforest history through Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park, an important natural landmark.
Visitors to the park can walk through the foliage and trees on short nature walks, or head skyward, and walk across the 200-meter high canopy walk through the treetops.
Within the park is a campsite and a wooden gazebo that gives views over the Menara KL Tower.
Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park is at Lot 240, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Kewangan, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3- Batu Caves
Built into limestone mountains lies the Batu Caves, a feat of both natural and man-made design.
Named after the Batu River which runs through the area, the Batu Caves are an important pilgrimage site for Hindus as a temple lies within.
At the foot of the steps that lead visitors into the caves is a 140 feet high golden statue.
Inside the caves, visitors have the option of visiting the temple, a splendid carved temple decorated with bright reds and green as well as plenty of gold, or exploring the caves naturally formed labyrinths.
Look out for the cave’s resident monkeys as you explore.
Batu Caves is at Gombak, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
4- Thean Hou Temple
With views over Kuala Lumpur from its leafy location, Thean Hou Temple is a six-tiered Chinese temple dedicated to Thean Hou, the heavenly queen.
The temple was built in 1894, and despite its tourist attraction nature, still remains a functional house of worship.
Thean Hou is a multi-storey temple and is adorned with mosaics featuring phoenixes and dragons.
The temple sits atop intricately carved white pillars, and two towers in reds, greens and golds stand either side of the main chambers.
Inside the temple’s grounds is a Chinese medicinal herb garden and a pond for tortoises. The temple also houses a sacred Boddhi tree.
Thean Hou Temple is at 65, Persiaran Endah, Taman Persiaran Desa, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5- KL Tower
At 276 meters high, this Malaysian landmark offers some of the most spectacular views available over Kuala Lumpur.
The tall needle-like tower was completed in 1996 and is a telecommunications and broadcasting tower with an observation deck at the top for visitors to gain a birds-eye view of the city below.
KL Tower was designed to reflect Malaysia’s Islamic heritage and includes Islamic tiles, abstract motifs and Arabic scripts.
The tower sits atop Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill) and is reachable through a pleasant walk through the surrounding forest, or through a free local shuttle service.
KL Tower is at No. 2 Jalan Punchak Off Jalan P.Ramlee Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
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For more Landmarks in Asia read:
Other Famous Landmarks in Malaysia
6- BOH Tea Plantation
In the lush landscapes of the Cameron Highlands is BOH Tea Plantation, where 70% of the tea produced in Malaysia is grown.
The Cameron Highlands provide the perfect growing conditions for tea as the altitude is high, and temperatures are cool.
The landscape is filled with incredible shades of green as the plantations rise and fall over the hills.
The Sungei Palas Tea Garden within the plantation has incredible views over the plantations from the balcony and terrace.
Visitors are able to learn more about the tea produced at this plantation through factory tours, and an exhibition highlighting the history of the plantation within the Cameron Highlands.
BOH Tea Plantation is at Unnamed Road, Pahang, Malaysia
7- Melaka Sultanate Palace
Melaka Sultanate Palace in Malacca City is an impressive wooden replica of a 15th-century palace belonging to Sultan Mansur Shah.
The palace was built in 1985 and lies at the foot of St Paul’s Hill. To accurately replicate the palace, craftsmen used traditional construction techniques and materials using a 16th-century text to guide them.
The structure is built without nails and instead relies on interlocking wooden beams, carvings, pillars and a copper and zinc roof for stability.
The original palace was destroyed by a lightning strike shortly after Sultan Mansur Shah ascended to the throne.
Melaka Sultanate Palace is at Jalan Kota, Bandar Hilir, Melaka, Malaysia
8- Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Widely known as the Blue Mansion due to its bright blue facade, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is a heritage building in the UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town.
The mansion was built in the Straits Eclectic style in the 1840s for Cheong Fatt Tze, a Chinese businessman. Features such as Art Nouveau stained glass and cast-iron balustrades decorate the mansion, giving it a somewhat western feel.
The mansion was sadly abandoned following Cheong Fatt Tze’s death in 1916 but was restored over a 6 year period to its former glory.
The mansion currently serves as a hotel and restaurant, however, tours of the mansion’s public areas are available.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is at Lot 22, 14, Lebuh Leith, George Town, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
9- Kellie’s Castle
Built by William Kellie Smith, a Scottish man who moved to Malaysia to make his fortune, Kellie’s Castle is an abandoned and unfinished mansion in Ipoh.
The mansion is slowly being reclaimed by the jungles surrounding it.
The castle itself is an amalgamation of several design styles including Moorish and Roman.
The castle was sadly unfinished, as in 1926 Kellie died after contracting pneumonia.
The castle fell abandoned, forgotten for many decades and is filled with mysteries.
It is believed that the Japanese used the castle to torture prisoners, and some believe this is the reason behind rumours that the castle is haunted.
Kellie’s Castle is at Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia
10- Khoo Kongsi Clanhouse
Built 650 years ago, Khoo Kongsi clan house formed part of the goh tai seh (five big clans) of the area.
The house was where Chinese families of the same surname worshipped their ancestors.
Khoo Kongsi clan house is filled with intricate mosaics, sculptures of dragons and carp carvings adorning walls and roof ridges, and antique lanterns to illuminate the interior.
The decorations represent the link between the families, their ancestors and the outside communities.
Inside, there are many detailed friezes, including one depicting the 36 celestial guardians.
Khoo Kongsi Clanhouse is at 18, Cannon Square, George Town, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.
11- Pulau Tioman
An island haven for divers and surfers, Pulau Tioman was used to film ‘South Pacific’ in 1958.
There is however much more to the island than its water sports and pristine white sand beaches.
Trek through the jungle to Asah Waterfall, a beautiful waterfall that cascades down stepped rocks into a pool below.
The walk is filled with tropical plants and rainforest canopies.
Observe traditional life at Mukut, one of the prettiest villages on the island.
The village is quiet and offers golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and a slower pace of life.
Pulau Tioman is at Pahang, Malaysia.
12- Gunung Raya
The highest mountain on Langkawi is Gunung Raya, at 881 meters above sea level.
The mountain is covered by rainforest.
Visiting at night as part of a guided tour will allow you to see many nocturnal animals native to the island, including flying foxes.
Daytime visits reveal spectacular flora and fauna, as well as macaque monkeys, leaf monkeys and mountain hawk eagles.
The mountain is reachable by car, and tours run to the summit through the scenic surroundings.
At the mountain’s summit is a watchtower with an observation deck accessible by an elevator.
The views from the tower offer 360 views over Langkawi and mainland Thailand in the distance.
Gunung Raya is at Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia.
13- The Sky Bridge
After taking a car up Mount Mat Cinchang, head to the Langkawi Sky Bridge.
The bridge curves out away from the mountain and over the jungle ravine below, giving visitors one of the most spectacular views in Malaysia.
Views stretch out to the ocean, as well as over to other islands, and back across the jungles of Langkawi.
The bridge has two viewing platforms where visitors can pause to take in the views.
There is also an observatory deck accessible via a short forested walk, where Tarutao Island in Thailand can be seen on clear days.
The Sky Bridge is at Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia.
14- Taman Negara Canopy Walk
Often regarded as the worlds longest canopy walkway, Taman Negara is a 530-meter long suspension bridge suspended 40 meters above the ground.
The walkway stretches across a densely packed jungle ravine with spectacular views of Taman Negara. The walkway is accessible following a trek through the jungle with a local expert, or via a short boat ride.
Taman Negara Canopy Walk is at 27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang, Malaysia.
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Landmarks in Sabah
15- Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu in Borneo is 4095 meters above sea level and is popular with climbers.
The landscapes surrounding the mountain are filled with rare plants that are seldom found anywhere else on earth.
The jungles are also home to 326 species of tropical birds.
The climb to Mount Kinabalu’s summit takes walkers through deep hardwood rainforests filled with bamboos and giant tree ferns.
Within the canopies, look out for Müller’s Bornean gibbons and orang-utans who live within the protected forests.
The views from atop the mountain of the surrounding landscapes are spectacular, however many climbers refer only to the journey to the summit through the jungle as being the landmark moment of the trek.
Mount Kinabalu is at West Coast Division, Sabah, Malaysia
16- Kinabatangan River
The Kinabatangan River is Malaysia’s second-longest river at 560 kilometres long.
It winds through the forests of Eastern Sabah and is frequented by riverboat tours.
From the deck of a riverboat along the Kinabatangan River, you may be able to see Proboscis monkeys, a rare primate native to Borneo.
Along the riverbank animals including crocodiles and hornbills can also be seen.
Kinabatangan River is at Kinabatangan District into Sulu Sea, Northeastern Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia.
For more attractions in Sabah read:
- 12 Things To Do In Sabah
- Sepilok Orangutan Centre
- Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
- Gomantong Caves in Borneo
17- Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
A spectacular must-see man-made landmark of Malaysia is Kota Kinabalu City Mosque.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque appears to float on the man-made lagoon of Likas Bay on which it sits.
The unusual location makes for a wonderful site and adds to the overall beauty of its structure.
The mosque is illuminated at night and is often considered one of the most beautiful nighttime locations in Malaysia due to the reflections of the lights over the water.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque was designed to resemble the final resting place of Mohammed, in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is at Jalan Pasir, Jalan Teluk Likas, Kampung Likas, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
18- Semengohh Orang-utan Sanctuary
Within the Semengohh Nature Reserve is a sanctuary dedicated to rehabilitating orang-utans who were orphaned or rescued from captivity, and preparing them for life in the wild.
The sanctuary has been within the nature reserve for over 20 years and has filled the surrounding forests with a now thriving population of orang-utans which now breed in the wild.
Visitors to the sanctuary can walk through the nature reserve and will be able to spot these semi-wild creatures in their natural habitat.
Although the orang-utans are now rehabilitated and free to roam through the reserve, many return to the main centre for a free meal, which can be viewed by visitors.
Semengohh Orang-utan Sanctuary is at Siburan, Sarawak, Malaysia.
19- North Borneo Railway
The only railway in Borneo was built in the 1890s by an English engineer.
The railway now serves predominately as a tourist trail with a train running through the first section of the line.
The carriages are colonial in style, and allow visitors to take in the scenery passing them by in comfort and luxury.
Visitors will pass by rice fields, villages made from buildings resting on stilts and over bridges stretching across rainforest ravines.
North Borneo Railway is at Jalan Utama Sutera Harbour, Malaysia.
20- Gunung Mulu Caves
A World Heritage Site since 2000, and a must-visit landmark in Malaysia is the worlds largest cave; the Mulu Caves.
The Sarawak Chamber inside the cave is the most voluminous within the network, and Clearwater Cave is the eighth longest in the world.
Within the caves are sheer cliffs, a labyrinth of smaller caves and chambers, and towering stalactites and stalagmites.
The chambers were formed from limestone between 17 and 40 million years ago, as water carved out the caves.
The caves were first discovered in 1858 during an expedition to climb Gulung Mulu.
Gunung Mulu Caves is at Sarawak, Malaysia.