Malaysia is like two countries in one, cleaved in half by the South China Sea. While peninsula flaunts bustling cities, colonial architecture, misty tea plantations and chill-out islands, Malaysian Borneo hosts wild jungles of orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes, along with some pretty spectacular diving. Throughout these two regions is an impressive variety of microcosms ranging from the space-age high-rises of Kuala Lumpur to the traditional longhouse villages of Sarawak.
Populated by a blend of Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous groups, Malaysia boasts a rich cultural heritage, from a huge variety of annual festivals and wonderful cuisines to traditional architecture and rural crafts. There’s astonishing natural beauty to take in too, including gorgeous beaches and some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, much of which is surprisingly accessible. Malaysia’s national parks are superb for trekking and wildlife-watching, and sometimes for cave exploration and river rafting.