Alternative Tourist Destinations in Malaysia

Outsiders love Malaysia for its diversity, which is partly thanks to the country consisting of half tropical mainland and half island cluster. It’s no secret that tourism here is growing. But if you’re looking to get back to the real heart and soul of the country, a step removed from the crowds and capitalism, here are a few recommendations sure to inspire some adventures.

The Cameron Highlands

Named for a British explorer who saw potential in the region in the 1880s, the Cameron Highlands are perched up high to make the most of the tropical sun and cooling breezes. Colonial hotels and vast landscapes full of tea plantations dominate the scene. Yet despite all the available information for tourists, it’s still easy to get blissfully lost and find a place to be alone.

It’s not just tea plantations to see either, as the likes of Mossy Forest’s forgotten trails or Tanah Rata’s scenic cafes promise plenty of photogenic moments.

Muar in Johor

While the idyllic pace of life and down to Earth charm of Johor is well known, a community like Muar is worth your time for one simple reason: good food! Malaysia’s reputation among foodies is a positive one, but the real savants are giving Muar’s traditional flavours and no-frills good eats their love. The list of best places to grab a bite is pretty extensive, yet whatever your preferred flavour, Muar seems eager to please.

The rojak and mee they serve in Muar has its own earthy, wholesome flavour that makes it stand out against even the finest food the likes of Kuala Lumpur can offer. Definitely check it out during your visit.

Teluk Senangin, Perak

If it’s an idyllic beach retreat surrounded by tropical waves and fresh island seafood you’re after, look no further than Teluk Senangin. It’s popular with families for its wholesome appeal, but you won’t find it overrun with kids. Peace is the name of the game here, and the stunning sunsets and lonesome rocky outcrops give a sense of being as away from it all as it gets.

Luckily, the nearby community of Pantai Remis is 10 minutes away, dishing up fresh fish and noodle dishes and offering a few simple shops to keep you equipped with the essentials.

Balik Pulau, Penang

Penang’s obviously a pretty hot tourist destination, but you can still enjoy its alternative side at Balik Pulau. Translating as “the back of the island”, the southwest portion of Penang has kept its natural beauty and rustic ways of life intact. Luckily though, they still welcome visitors savvy enough to stay here.

The community is home to some incredible art murals on the walls of its buildings, and the cuisine is pretty authentic too. The durians here are a particular claim to fame, yet far less famous is Pasir Panjang Beach. It’s secluded, away from holidaymakers and a great place to hide on the coast. You can also negotiate a boat ride with the local fishermen.

Lake Kenyir

This big body of water in Terengganu is surrounded by lush forests and it enjoys plenty of heat all year round. Yet it’s the colourful boathouses that really make it charming, and the best part is that these can be rented to enjoy the water in style.

Sunrises and sunsets glisten on the lake’s surface, while local hospitality sees you well topped up with tea and fishcakes. Fishing is the local industry here, so expect to see boats out on the water any time of day or night.

Malaysia bristles with unseen places and awesome little hideaways that even natives may not have discovered yet. Getting off the beaten track is easier than you think, so don’t be shy in exploring.

Victoria Brewood
victoria@pommietravels.com

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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