The long weekend approaches, and what better way to celebrate than going on a trip to Malaysia and maybe rediscovering the country by visiting these heritage spots? By Najihah Rashid
From award-winning tropical escapes down south to heritage discoveries to be made up north, check out the top destinations to visit in Malaysia that will feed your wanderlust.
To top it off, we also highlight nearby experiences to dive into — particularly those that invite you to reinvigorate your love for Mother Nature as well as the rich heritage of the country.
From Penang to Johor, these are the top heritage spots to check in to and experience in Malaysia:
Where to stay
For your escapade out to town, we have two top suggestions. Else Kuala Lumpur is the latest hotel to join the iconic KL skyline, and it went from being one of the most treasured historical landmarks to the hippest place to be.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a true five-star hotel experience, then look no further than PARKROYAL Collection Kuala Lumpur. From its welcoming biophilic atmosphere to the decadent dining experiences across the hotel (and not to mention its proximity to some of the best malls in Malaysia), this spot will definitely be a refuge for your Malaysia Day celebration.
What to do
Experience true country living by making your way down to The Acre by Farm Fresh. Perfect for when you want to escape the brisk city life, the farm offers a petting zoo and an educational guided tour — perfect for the young ones. There is also a shoppable nursery where you can take home a seedling and start your own garden.
Once you’re done exploring the spot, check out its farm-to-table cuisine and signature soft-serve and gelato made from Farm Fresh’s delicious milk.
Where to stay
When in Johor, be sure to visit its landmark Desaru Coast. And while you’re at it, why not make it a stay at Desaru Coast? With phenomenal stays (with gorgeous sunset views) peppered across the strait, you won’t want anything more. First up is One&Only Desaru Coast — a divine, out-of-this-world haven that can cater for every member of the family. With world-class service and a wide variety of amenities, your long weekend is going to be filled with fun activities.
For the ultimate celebrity treatment, check into Anantara Desaru Coast. Here, holidaymakers can enjoy the breathtaking sights of the South China Sea. Nestled in lush tropical gardens, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas offers a serene escape, with stand-alone villas overlooking the gardens, lagoon, and ocean.
What to do
Of course, once you’ve booked into our suggested stays, you’re going to want to explore the heritage spots in Malaysia. However, once you’re done having all the fun in the sun, it’s time to journey outside the hotel domain. Just 20 minutes away from the two hotels is the Desaru Fruit Farm, where you can explore a sprawling 180-acres-big fruitland that boasts all sorts of fruits from jackfruit to guavas. If you have a hankering for anything fruity, then this is the spot to check out to complete your tropical getaway.
There, you can also book a Desaru Firefly Cruise. Take a slow cruise down the Sungai Lebam mangrove swamp and catch these majestic winged beauties in action. If you’re lucky, the fireflies might even land briefly on your hand.
Otherwise, you can check out Els Club and spend your long holiday swinging clubs while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Desaru Coast. Choose between the Ocean Course and the Valley Course — the latter is an award-winning golf course, so be sure to squeeze in some time to tee off here as well.
Where to stay
When in Penang, these are the quintessential stays that you must experience at least once in your lifetime. Eastern & Oriental Hotel, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown, is a wonderful stay that will give you easy connection to some of the top tourist spots of Penang. With its 19th-century charm (but complete with five-star-worthy amenities and accommodation), this is a must-stay destination for everyone.
Alternatively, head over to Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Penang for an equally stunning stay with a beachfront view. Complete with a renowned spa and two swimming pools, this hotel will make your long weekend all the more relaxing.
What to do
Once you’re done sinking your teeth into all the delicacies that the island has to offer, make your way to Hin Bus Depot, a structure that has stood the test of time and has become a vibrant cultural hub for the locals. With 60,000 sq. ft. of ample space, the building welcomes fledgling businesses as well as artists to showcase their artworks.
Dubbed Malaysia’s hidden Eden, Tropical Spice Garden is the one and only award-winning spice garden that has a treasure trove of more than 500 living specimens of lush and exotic flora from across the globe. Considered to be a living, breathing museum here is where nature meets culture.
Hero image credit: Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Penang; Featured image credit: The Acre by Farm Fresh
This story first appeared on Prestige Malaysia