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12 Hidden Gems In Malaysia You Might Not Have Heard About Yet

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Shahida  •  Jul 25, 2020

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[Updated 28 June 2021] After having to stay at home for months, you might be thinking of visiting some of the best attractions in Malaysia. But if you've already gone on a trip to your favourite beachside resorts or private pool villas, you might be looking for something different. Fret not because there are tons of hidden gems in Malaysia still left uncovered! Just scroll down our list and see which attraction in Malaysia that you're inspired to visit someday.

1. KL Forest Eco Park, Kuala Lumpur

Missing the fresh air that nature has to offer? You don’t have to leave the city to be surrounded by a lush green forest. Located in the heart of the city, KL Forest Eco Park is no stranger to KLites who wish to escape the bustling city for a quick trip to the greenwood. This natural rainforest, formerly known as Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, is one of the oldest permanent forest reserves in Malaysia. It’s actually the remnants of the original lowland dipterocarp forest. Amble down the iconic Canopy Walk which gives you an unbeatable backdrop of the KL skyline.  P.S. If you're looking for more nature spots, we've rounded up the best hiking trails in KL and Selangor for every fitness level!

2. Bukit Panorama, Kuantan, Pahang

Kuantan, a coastal town located about a 3.5-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, is often overlooked while planning for weekend getaways. But unbeknownst to many, there’s a lot of gems hidden here, including this breathtaking Bukit Panorama! If the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn to hike up a hill doesn’t sound that appealing to you, wait until you see the magnificent sunrise from the peak of Bukit Panorama. Located in Sungai Lembing, just 45km northwest of Kuantan, this hill is approximately 271m tall and takes less than an hour to reach the summit. Bukit Panorama is especially popular on the weekend among the locals who wish to catch the magical view of the sun rising from the horizon in between the layers of clouds. Some even use the trail as a jogging course! P.S. Interested in Sungai Lembing? Our reader went on the Bukit Panorama hike (and more!) and she shares her experience with us.

3. Antong Coffee Mill, Taiping, Perak

Did you know that the oldest coffee mill in Malaysia can be found in Perak?  Antong Coffee Mill  is currently run by the third generation since it began operations in 1933. To this day, they preserve the traditional way of roasting coffee beans using wood-fired ovens with firewood sourced from Kuala Sepetang. You can smell the aroma of coffee beans filling the air even before you step into the building! Antong Coffee Mill sources their beans from several plantations around Malaysia, and they also import beans upon request. Visitors can taste the different blends and purchase their coffee products. For those interested, the friendly staff are always ready to take you on a guided tour around the mill. P.S. Do note that the factory can be hot, humid, and smokey in the afternoon and may not be comfortable to enter while wearing masks.

4. Hauntu, Kuala Lumpur

Picture this: you’ve been transported into a horror flick, and your ultimate goal now is to survive. Now hear this: there’s a place that can make that a reality! If you’re a fan of horror, Hauntu (such a clever pun combining “haunt you” and “hantu ” (ghost)!) is here to make your dream (or nightmare) come true! Located in The LINC, Hauntu is as “a blend of live theatre performance, role play and storytelling” that provides a realistic and immersive haunted house experience.  So what can you expect from this place? Imagine a haunted house themed escape room where you’ll be navigating through an intricate maze of interconnecting storylines as a character while figuring out clues and interacting with real actors. There’s a maximum number of 10 players for every session and under RMCO social distancing guidelines players above 60 years old and under 12 years old are currently prohibited. Walk-ins are currently not allowed, and reservations are required.

5. Pantai Klebang Sand Dunes, Melaka

You might have heard about sand dunes in Sossusvlei, Namibia and Tottori, Japan, but did you know that we have our own beautiful sand dunes in Malacca? Situated 20 minutes away from Bandar Hilir and near Pantai Klebang’s famous coconut shakes stall, the history behind these picturesque white dunes is unfortunately not quite as pretty as the place.  The dunes were originally intended to create beaches for seaside developments but were halted due to environmental concerns. Thankfully, since the dunes have attracted many tourists and provided amazing photo opportunities for Instagrammers and wedding couples, there’s been a boost in local tourism. Come early in the morning for less crowd and more parking spots, and don’t forget to put on some sunscreen and bring water! 

6. Bukit Gambang Safari Park, Kuantan, Pahang

Credit: Bukit Gambang Safari Park on Facebook Home to over 300 species of animals—including some exotic ones—Bukit Gambang Safari Park is Malaysia’s largest safari park which takes only a 2.5 drive from Kuala Lumpur. The safari park is nestled within over 138 acres of a picturesque lush jungle, and this gives the animals a natural environment where they can roam around freely.
Credit: Bukit Gambang Safari Park on Facebook The best part of this place is by far getting close to the exotic animals like Malaysian white lions and brown bears! Hop on the ATVs for a fascinating drive through the Wild Savannah zone. And since the park is open till night, you’ll be able to glimpse the nocturnal animals’ life after the sunset.

7. Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm, Teluk Bahang, Penang

Would you like to be in a huge, beautiful garden surrounded by butterflies? Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm is a stunning giant glasshouse conservatory where butterflies and other insects can come out to play freely. This conservatory, which also features over 200 species of plants as well as waterfalls, ponds, caves and other artistic garden features, was officially opened in 2016 to replace the old Penang Butterfly Farm. It was redeveloped into the world’s first butterfly, dragonfly and firefly sanctuary.  Entopia is divided into two sections: the Natureland living outdoor gardens, where a variety of animal species including butterflies and small reptiles live together in their re-created natural habitat; and the Cocoon indoor discovery centre, which features two floors of learning exhibition and indoor activities.

8. Desaru Sky Mirror, Johor

Credit: Desaru Fruit Farm on Facebook You’ve probably heard of the Sky Mirror at Sasaran Beach, Selangor, but have you heard that Johor has their very own Sky Mirror now? Located just approximately an hour drive from Johor Bahru, Desaru Sky Mirror is a part of Desaru Fruit Farm in Kota Tinggi, and it’s Malaysia’s second Sky Mirror after Kuala Selangor!
Credit: Desaru Fruit Farm on Facebook If you’ve been to Selangor’s Sky Mirror or read about it before, then you know the drill: be as creative as you can! Plan your pose and bring props of your own if you want, and don’t forget to have fun! Remember to put on sunscreen as the sunlight can be strong. Wearing a hat and sunglasses might also be a good idea. Do note that the photo-taking session is subject to availability and tide condition. Contact Desaru Fruit Farm first for more details. 

9. Kopi Hutan Monkey Cup Cafe, Penang

How would you like to have a cup of coffee in the middle of a forest at the highest point in Penang? Kopi Hutan (literally Forest Coffee) by Monkey Cup Garden is situated about 730 meters above sea level in Penang Hill. Surrounded by a lush forest, it’s a great place to recharge your energy especially if you’re planning to tour the Monkey Cup Garden which celebrates periuk kera (pitcher plant) or Nepenthes. Enjoy the warm sun, cool climate and delightful songs of the birds, and breath in the clean, crisp air—all while you sip your aromatic Arabica coffee with some home-baked cakes! And since it’s located deep in the woods and up on the hill, there’s no telco line here. That means you can disconnect yourself from the rest of the world for a moment and enjoy a peaceful time 😊 #HHWT tip: There’s a free shuttle available if you want to skip the hike! 

10. Kuching Orchid Park, Sarawak

Home to around 82 species of orchids, including Sarawak’s state flower, the Normah Orchid, the Kuching Orchid Park is situated next to Astana Negeri and Sarawak State Assembly, and strategically opposite the Kuching Waterfront. There are two parts of the garden: the nursery and the display area where a total collection of 75,000 plants are on display for the visitors. Besides the Normah Orchid, the place also houses around 75,000 orchids which represent 65 species and hybrids. Some of them are famous Borneo orchids like the Lady’s Slipper (Paphiopedilum Sanderianum), and the green and black flowered orchid (Coelogyne Pandurata). One fun way to get to this garden is by crossing the Sarawak River on a traditional wooden boat, known locally as “penambang”!

11. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center, Sabah

Did you know the world’s smallest bear species can be found in Borneo? In Malaysia, you can visit the sun bears—which can be easily distinguished from the orange-yellow horseshoe-shaped patch on their chest—in their natural habitat at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) in Sandakan.  Since they opened in 2008, BSBCC has been rescuing orphaned and captured sun bears, providing care and rehabilitation, and creating awareness for sun bears internationally. As visitors, you will be able to learn more about the sun bears that are shy and reclusive by nature! The centre is located adjacent to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, so you can plan your trip if you wish to visit both! 

12. Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai, Johor

Just a 15-minute drive from Johor Premium Outlets, plan a morning hike to see Tasik Biru, Kangkar Pulai. Situated in Johor Bahru, this scenic lake is an abandoned mine filled with water that turned bright blue. While this lake is not safe for swimming, the locals can take a short hike to catch a glimpse of it. If you come on a clear day, you can capture the reflection of the surrounding limestone formation, adding a mirror-like depth to your Instagram photo. Before your trip, read more about Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai! Found a place to head to this weekend? Don’t forget to SHARE your experience with us!😊