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13 Scenic Places In Malaysia That Look Like They Are Overseas

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Cheng Sim  •  Aug 03, 2020

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[Updated 2 July 2021] During this period of uncertainty, we can't help but put our travel plans to these amazing Muslim-friendly destinations and romantic honeymoon spots on hold. While we're staying home in Malaysia, don't stop yourself from daydreaming about the many scenic places in Malaysia that remind you of your last overseas travel. Whether it's the breathtaking landscape of Kundasang that reminds us of New Zealand or the serene waters of Mabul Island that remind us of the Maldives, let's add these stunning places in Malaysia to our bucket list.
1. Kundasang, Sabah
Known as the New Zealand of Malaysia, enjoy a 2-hour scenic drive from Kota Kinabalu to Kundasang, a laid-back town located in Ranau. Famous for its mesmerising mountainous landscape, the main attraction is the Desa Dairy Farm where you can spot the Friesian cattle, a breed of dairy cattle, backed by the picturesque mountain view. You won’t find scenery like this anywhere else in Malaysia! Before you leave, don’t forget to buy the farm’s homemade fresh milk, yoghurt and gelato too! We’ve checked with the farm and all ingredients used are sourced from halal-certified suppliers.
2. Colmar Tropicale Berjaya Hills, Pahang
 Perfect for a weekend getaway, make your way to Bukit Tinggi and visit the colourful Colmar Tropicale Berjaya Hills. Situated amid the lush rainforest in Bentong, this French-inspired village is reminiscent of the 16th-century Colmar town in France and it's pretty fun to explore its surroundings. You can also spend the weekend at Colmar Tropicale, where there are many rooms and suites available.
3. Japanese Village at Colmar Tropicale, Pahang
If it's been a while since you last visited Japan, the Japanese Village at Colmar Tropicale will temporarily heal your travel blues. Besides taking photos near the soothing waterfall and strolling around the Zen-inspired gardens, you can also rent a kimono and join a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or immerse yourself in the overall experience that this village has to offer.
4. Mabul Island, Sabah
If you've been yearning to explore the islands in East Malaysia, start with Pulau Mabul, also known as the Maldives of Malaysia! The moment you step into your accommodation (you can consider staying at Mabul Water Bungalow), you'll be welcomed by swaying coconut trees, lapping waves, and friendly smiles. Besides Mabul Island, there are many other beautiful islands in Malaysia that share a resemblance with the Maldives thanks to the white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. We recommend planning a beach getaway to these islands to see a different side of this stunning country!   
5. Cameron Highlands, Pahang
There's something absolutely serene about the rolling tea plantations in Cameron Highlands, which looks like a postcard of serene tea plantations in Sri Lanka! Besides enjoying a cup of English Breakfast tea amid the relaxing view, there are other super fun things to do in Cameron Highlands that includes visiting the sheep sanctuary in Brinchang that's filled with cute merino sheeps similar to the sheep farms in New Zealand and Australia!
6. Astaka Morocco, Putrajaya
If you have ever thought of tricking other people into thinking that you are in Morocco, this is the perfect place to play the game! Located in Putrajaya, the Moroccan Pavilion (Astaka Morocco) will feed your love for beautiful Moorish designs. Designed by Moroccan artists themselves, the pavilion takes you into a traditional riad (Moroccan house) that's designed with grand pillars and detailed interior. Some of the highlights include the intricate details on the carved wooden doors and the countless arches of the pavilion.
7. Bohey Dulang Island, Sabah
What's more enchanting than climbing the hill to see this bird's eye view of Bohey Dulang Island ? Situated in Sabah, the blue waters do remind us of the beautiful Great Barrier Reef in Australia!  Since it's part of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, this island also shares the stunning crystal clear waters with the islands of Bodgaya, Salakan, and Sabangkat as well as the sand cays of Mantabuan, Sibuan and Maiga. Looking at the photos alone, you know it's a spectacular place for scuba diving, snorkelling, island-hopping and other watersports.
8. Kampung Agong, Penang
Surrounded by tall coconut trees and traditional wooden houses, make your way to Homestay Kampung Agong that's sprawled with Instagram-worthy swings similar to the ones in Bali! Situated in the mainland of Penang, the homestay is located at Kampung Bakar Kapor, which is 50 minutes drive from the Penang Bridge. Walk around Homestay Kampung Agong and you'll stumble upon hanging nests that were inspired by actual burung tempua nests (also known as the weaver bird) found around the village. Besides that, Homestay Kampung Agong has many swings that are made from discarded wood and nets. The crowd's favourite swing is the one that faces the vast paddy fields and village landscape! You can read more about Homestay Kampung Agong here!
9. BookXcess Sunway Big Box, Johor
You're not the only one who thinks BookXcess Sunway Big Box resembles the famous library in Seoul's Starfield COEX Mall! Situated in Nusajaya, Sunway Big Box is the first hybrid retail park that opened last February. Besides having a warehouse-style branded store, dining options and kid-friendly play area, it comes with a brand new bookstore too.  Known as one of the biggest bookstores in the southern region of Malaysia, it's packed with one million titles, ranging from self-help and autobiographies to non-fiction and children's book. Since the well-illuminated bookshelves are a sight to behold, it's hard to resist taking a photo for the 'gram. You can read more about BookXcess Sunway Big Box here!
10. Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai, Johor
Just a 15-minute drive from Johor Premium Outlets, plan a morning hike to see Tasik Biru, Kangkar Pulai , which looks like the stunning Blue Lake in southern Croatia! 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. Do note that the weather gets really hot and sunny in the afternoon, so it's best to come in the morning or evening. You can read more about Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai here!
11. Pantai Mak Mes, Kelantan
If your last memory of Australia is the Lancelin Sand Dunes in Perth, you're going to find something similar at Pantai Mek Mas in Kelantan! There are no tours available at this scenic attraction, and you can explore them at your own pace. Once you found the right spot, don't forget to take some awesome photos for the 'gram too!
12. Pantai Senok, Kelantan
Make your way to Pantai Senok to walk amid the tall Casuarina equisetifolia trees (also known as Pokok Rhu in Bahasa Malaysia) for a scenic escape. Soundtracked by the lapping waves that are not too far away, this picturesque spot will remind you of the trees found on Nami Island in South Korea! What a way to rekindle your last travel memories of Korea while your feet are firmly rested on Malaysian soil.
13. Maliau Basin, Sabah
Take a flight to Sabah for the majestic Maliau Basin  and surround yourself with century-old rainforest that will remind you of the Amazon rainforest! Also known as the Lost World of Sabah, one of the main highlights in Maliau Basin is the seven-tiered waterfall that takes several days of hiking to reach. With many sights and sounds to discover, it's not surprising to see many places in Malaysia that look like they are overseas! To inspire your next discovery, check out our recommended reads below.