While Malaysians continue to battle COVID-19, let's not stop ourselves from daydreaming about our future travels once we tide over the pandemic. If you're looking for a socially distant holiday minus the crowd, here are some underrated destinations in Malaysia that deserve a visit.
Hidden gems in Malaysia
1. Balik Pulau, Penang
When someone mentions Penang, places like Georgetown or Batu Feringghi typically come to mind. Jam-packed with tourists visiting Instagrammable spots nearby halal eateries, take a break from these usual destinations and make your way to Balik Pulau instead! Located in the west of Georgetown, this quiet corner of the island offers the suburban vibe we all need from time to time.
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2. Seremban, Negeri Sembilan
That's right, Seremban has more than there is to it. Travelling to the east nearing Jelebu, the few kilometres covering the outskirts of the rainforest is where all the stunning jungle resorts are situated. The likes of The Shorea and The Dusunare few of the resorts that are located barely 2 hours from Klang Valley. Blessed with the view of the Berembun Forest Reserves and the clean air sustaining this area, we can't think of a better way to take a break from the city.
3. Semporna, Sabah
Unlike Kundasang and Kota Kinabalu, Semporna is somewhat mentioned not as frequently by tourists. However, it holds beneath itself an underwater treasure, preserved and untouched. For those of you who couldn't resist a breathtaking getaway filled with vitamin 'sea', this is for you.
#HHWTTip: A short drive to the southeast of Semporna brings you to Bukit Tengkorak a.k.a. the Skull Hill, where archaeologists believed was Southeast Asia's largest pottery making factory of the neolithic age.
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4. Taman Negara, Pahang
If there's any grand geographical feature of Malaysia that should be appreciated more, it would be our national parks. That's right, we have several Taman Negara located all over East and West Malaysia i.e Penang, Negeri Sembilan-Johor, Sarawak. If your getaway involves friends and family, the escape gives a good reason to bond without the distraction of your gadgets. Whether it's trekking or taking a trip on the boat, the park gives you the sensible freedom to discover the ins-and-outs of our national treasure that is Taman Negara.
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5. Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak
Can't get enough of national parks? How about visiting the beautiful Gunung Mulu National Park! The fascination with Gunung Mulu National Park spans beyond what the age-old rainforest embodies. Named as one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites, the exceptional beautyof this park and the abundance of wildlife it houses make it a must-see for those who are curious of what Malaysia has to offer.
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6. Tasik Kenyir, Terengganu
Now, if you frequent travel articles about Malaysia, you're sure to come across this name. In a list of must-go places here in this country, Tasik Kenyir is an unassuming one. It is by far Southeast Asia'sbiggest man-made lake. Artificial or not, we love the fact that this lake is nature's rich reservoir, and how it's encapsulated by the stillness of the surrounding majestic rainforest. Since it was reserved as an eco-tourism destination, you can find plenty of chalets and boathouses to enjoy the charm of Kenyir beyond just a day.
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7. Sasaran, Kuala Selangor
While many of you might know Kuala Selangor for its firefly sanctuary, this is another attraction that most travellers may miss when going through the checklist. The sky mirror is essentially surface reflection caused by the low tide (you might have heard of Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia?) located in Kuala Selangor beach. There's a catch: it's only accessible twice a month, during the full moon and new moon. In between, the tide submerges the sand bar below sea level and you'll have to wait a few weeks to get a cool reflective picture.
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8. Pulau Rawa, Johor
Tucked away off of Mersing shores in the South China Sea, this pristine nature's little paradise corner is dubbed as the Maldives of Johor. Compared to the rest of the gorgeous islands Malaysia has to offer, Pulau Rawa certainly takes the cake when it comes to offering its visitors the best of mother nature without the crowd and modern developments.
9. 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.
10. Bukit Panorama, 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.
With these underrated destinations, it is possible to travel around Malaysia and practice some level of social distancing ?