Special Supplements / Malaysia Special

From sight to taste, diverse wonders await discovery

Rich in cultural and natural beauty, Malaysia is a wonderland begging to be explored. Next year, the country will celebrate its sightseeing gems under the banner of “Visit Malaysia 2020,” a special campaign inviting visitors to experience captivating events across the country.

As part of the campaign, cultural celebrations and festivals will take place in various locations almost every month. The events range from international indigenous arts festivals and world music festivals to time-honored celebrations such as Regatta Lepa — a traditional water festival renowned for colorful lepa boats — and the Hindu festival Thaipusam, where throngs of devotees gather at the Batu Caves to express their devotion in mesmerizing ways. The variety of events is the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience Malaysia’s multifaceted cultural riches.

Reflecting Malaysia’s cultural diversity is its troves of culinary treasures. Signature dishes include curry laksa, a noodle dish based in coconut curry soup and packed with tofu, fish cake, shrimp and other rich ingredients, as well as the street snack satay — skewered barbecue served with peanut sauce. A fusion of flavors from across Southeast Asia, Malaysian cuisine will delight foodies throughout their stay.

Along their journey, travelers should make it a point to visit some of Malaysia’s many architectural wonders. One of the country’s most famous architectural gems is the Blue Mosque in Selangor. Characterized by its stunning blue and silver dome, it is the largest mosque in Malaysia, featuring a distinct design that merges Malay and modernist styles. Other notable sights include the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, a historical home-turned-hotel in Georgetown, the capital city of Penang, and Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, Perak state, an unfinished castle with a beautiful exterior and a number of secret tunnels.

Malaysia is brimming with nature. Whether it’s observing diverse wildlife, enjoying pleasant treks through nature parks or scuba diving among island marine biodiversity, Malaysia has something for all nature lovers. The Penang National Park is home to more than 1,000 species of flora, a diverse array of mammals — including flying lemurs, sea otters, dolphins and monkeys — and exquisite birds such as white-bellied sea eagles and stork-billed kingfishers. In addition, adventurers can participate in river cruises and treks through the rainforest of Taman Negara and stay overnight in huts from where they can observe wildlife in their natural habitat.

These examples of Malaysia’s cultural and natural wonders just scratch the surface of what the country has to offer. With “Visit Malaysia 2020” just around the corner, this is an excellent time to discover all the country has to offer.

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