Best destinations for going “off the beaten track” in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most travelled Asian countries, and for good reason. It’s extraordinarily diverse, and has an astonishing cultural history and presence. In a country that is home to a mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians, as well as several ancient culture practising indigenous groups, Malaysia’s diversity is easily discovered simply by travelling to the off the beaten track destinations below.

Batu Caves

A short journey 13 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur will take you to the sacred Batu Caves, which are a group of limestone caverns, to which some have been converted into Hindu temples. The cave is devoted to the Hindu god of war and victory (Lord Murugan) and his statue in gold stands at the entrance.


Sarawak (one of Malaysia’s Borneo states) is the largest and most rugged state in the country and thrives on its distinctive indigenous tribal cultures, a rich ecosystem and thick jungle terrain. The famous Borneo Long houses are an evident sign of the cultural diversity that has existed here for centuries.

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands retains many inspirations from its days as a retreat of the British colonial class and offers a captivating overview of the colonial heritage in Malaysia. It has been established as a popular luxury travel hot spot in recent years with many high end resorts joining the colonial Tudor mansions of the British. The area was developed as a tea plantation, and this crop remains today.

Kota Bharu

For visitors who are looking to indulge themselves in customary Malaysian arts and crafts, Kota Bharu in Malaysia’s north is the perfect place to begin. You can see a range of hut industries creating everything from wood carvings to batik decorated clothes and is the best place to see the age old dying art form of shadow puppetry.

Jungle Railway

The best off the beaten track experience in Malaysia would have to be the jungle railway, which takes you through a range of hidden gem regions of the country. Travelling on this train, you will experience everything from dense jungle coverage to spectacular places like Tumpat, near Kota Bharu, through the hinterland to the country’s chief line at Gemas, and allowing you to explore remote jungle villages along the way. It is an exceptional way to explore Malaysia and offers the perfect route into the heart of her rural landscape.

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