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Malaysia: Southeast Asia's Next Great Foodie Destination


Malaysian food mixes in so many cultures—Arabic, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and more—that you could never appreciate them all in one sitting. So bring your appetite.

British, Dutch, Portuguese, Thai, Indian, Javanese, Arabic, Chinese, Sumatran. Is it any wonder that Malaysian chefs produce some of the most hard-to-resist meals on the planet? Just look at all the cultures thrown into their proverbial pot. Within the country, the culinary landscape changes dramatically from one region to the next, which is why any traveler worth her salted duck egg won't want to stop at just one. To take in the full scope of Malaysian flavors, it's essential to explore (at least) these three top towns.

Travel in Malaysia

Most first-time travellers to Malaysia stick to the peninsula, but if you have the time and are after a greater understanding of the country, a visit to Sabah and Sarawak is equally worthwhile. East Malaysia contains many of the country's most beautiful national parks.

Penang: Malaysia's second largest island, Penang is also its most developed, with the eastern coast dotted with high-rises and crammed with holiday resorts. Travellers who have experienced beaches elsewhere in Asia will probably be unimpressed with the most popular beach spots, but the island's real attraction lies in its culture, history and cuisine—the food really is something.

Taman Negara: The superlatives come easy when it comes to Taman Negara National Park. The old-growth forest here, mostly untouched by humans, is believed to be more than 130 million years old, making it the oldest primary forest in the world.

Langkawi: Nearly the size of Singapore, Langkawi is surrounded by beautiful beaches and towering limestone karsts. This beauty inspired their official 2012 tourism slogan, "Naturally Langkawi".

Melaka: Midway between the capital cities of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and at the mouth of the Strait of Melaka, a crucial shipping route connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans, Melaka has been a centre of trade and cultural exchange for more than 600 years.

Kuala Lumpur: The modern, bustling and lush-green capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a testament to the Southeast Asian nation clawing its way in recent decades out of the developing world and into the WiFi-enabled modern one.

Kinabalu Park: Borneo is known for its abundant natural wonders, but Kinabalu Park may just be the most spectacular. The main attraction is Mount Kinabalu, a 4,095-metre monster of granite that takes the title of the tallest mountain in Malaysia by a long shot.

Sipadan: When you’re diving at Sipadan it’s not a question of whether you’ll see large pelagic species like manta rays, sea turtles, barracuda and sharks, but how many.