Places In Malaysia That’ll Teleport You To A Foreign Land
France, Japan, Bolivia, and a sanctuary that looks like a place where action heroes go to train and heal before facing off their nemeses, are some of the destinations Malaysia offer. When it comes to fantasy-like places, our country has the best – it helps when we are a bunch of culturally diverse people that craves new experiences.
In these destinations, you do not have to perfectly angle and frame your pictures to sway Malaysians to believe that you’re overseas. The places speak for themselves. These 10 places will make you second guess on whether you’ve been on a flight and forgotten all about it.
1. Sasaran Beach – photograph yourself in Salar De Uyuni
Dubbed the Salar De Uyuni of Malaysia, Sasaran Beach possesses the same mirror effect as the famous location in Bolivia. When covered by a thin layer of seawater on its flat surface, the sea becomes a natural mirror for the sky, which offers fun and creative photography opportunity. This phenomenon occurs during the new moon and full moon every month when the water level is just right.
Tips for attractive shots: Wear brightly coloured clothes, bring some interesting props and take your time to find the right angle where the sea mirrors the sky perfectly.
How to get there: To access the beach, you’d have to book a 45-minute boat ride from Sasaran, Selangor.
2. Palace of the Golden Horses – pretend you’re in a James Bond movie
Movie buffs might be familiar with this scene: a spiffy gentleman clad in black suit and bowtie walking into a luxurious hotel lobby on a mission. That’s the vibe you’ll feel as you enter this 5-star hotel, which attracts the likes of Jackie Chan, Nelson Mandela and even Queen Elizabeth. Remember, we’re playing pretend so don’t attempt to scale the building!
This grand establishment stands by a 150-acre lake and features Moorish architectural designs with a blend of Persian and Islamic motifs. To match its palace-like exterior, the interior is equally majestic with high ceilings, columns, golden statues, paintings and all that jazz.
Price: From RM241 (Book here)
Address: Jalan Kuda Emas, Mines Wellness City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia
How to get there: It takes about 20 minutes (or more, depending on traffic) by car from KL Sentral to Mines Wellness City where the hotel is located.
3. Astaka Morocco – Take an OOTD in Morocco
If you can’t get enough of Moorish designs, you definitely want to visit Astaka Morocco (Moroccan Pavilion).
Crafted by Moroccan artisans, this showcase brings you into a Riad-inspired layout — a traditional Moroccan house — with key features like arches (many, many arches), terracotta tilework, and a fountain installed in the courtyard. The highlight for us would be the intricately carved wooden doors decorated with metalwork and colours.
While you’re there, check out Masjid Besi, which means iron mosque.
Look at how massive the Masjid Besi is! Source
Address: Presint 1, 62000 Putrajaya, Malaysia
How to get there: Astaka Morocco is in Taman Botani, Putrajaya, which takes about 50 minutes from KL Sentral by car.
4. Colmar Tropicale – Stroll in Alsace, France
Colmar Tropicale — located in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang — is a French-themed resort more commonly referred to as French Village. It is inspired by Colmar town, north east of Alsace in France with designs drawn from nearby archaic villages: Riquewihr, Turckheim and Kaysersberg.
We’re still in Malaysia! Source
A moat and a drawbridge greets you at the entrance in medieval European fashion. And staying true to Colmar, once inside, you will find cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, Alsatian style half-timbered walls and a fountain in the town square.
Price: From RM104 (Book here)
Address: KM 48 Persimpangan Bertingkat, Lebuhraya Karak, Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia
How to get there: Bukit Tinggi is only an hour from Kuala Lumpur and a shuttle service from Berjaya Times Square is provided by the resort. France is only an hour away!
5. Japanese Village – Drink tea in rural Japan
Just down the road in the resort, you will find Japanese Village. It was designed and built by a Japanese architect and a team of Japanese craftsmen — complete with Ishi-doros (Japanese stone lanterns).
Situated among lush rainforest, it contrasts the French Village with natural elements like a mini waterfall, brooks and a koi pond. Fully immerse yourself in the experience by renting a kimono to complete the look, learning the art of tea making in a tea ceremony and getting a massage in a Japanese-concept spa.
How to get there: The Japanese Village is only 5 minutes away from Colmar Tropicale – you can choose to drive over yourself, or ride the shuttle provided by the resort.
6. Clearwater Cave – European-looking cave in Sarawak
Clearwater measures about 215 km, making it the longest cave in Asia. The show cave area is easy to navigate with lighting, plank walks, paths and bridges. But if you’re feeling brave, go for adventure caving in Clearwater. The cave walls and odd shapes give it an European cave vibe.
Running through the cave is a clear subterranean river, we assume that’s where the cave got its name. As you explore, spot the rare species of orchids and pitcher plants and look out for the cave critters.
How to get there: To reach Mulu National Park, you’d have to fly MASwings from Miri, Kuching or Kota Kinabalu. From there, the cave can be accessed via a 4 km trek (if you want a workout) or a boat ride along Melinau River.
7. Desa Cattle Dairy Farm – Expansive pastures resembling New Zealand
Nestled in the foothill of a mountain, cool breeze blows over this vast green plain where dairy cows laze and graze. Sounds a lot like New Zealand, except this dairy farm is actually located in Kundasang, Sabah! The famous Mount Kota Kinabalu backdrops this pastoral scene.
Even Tiz was there! Source
On the farm, you get to see firsthand how a cow is milked and if you want to experience an overload in adorableness, bottle-feed the calves. We heard they also have some pretty yummy gelato up there.
Address: 89308 Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia
How to get there: The farm is located 5 km from Kundasang town and as there are no public transportation to the location, it is only accessible by car.
8. Crystal Mosque – A monument befitting a Studio Ghibli film
Meanwhile, in Kuala Terengganu, there’s a unique mosque named the Crystal Mosque, its exterior made of steel and glass, giving it a crystal-like look.
What’s more extraordinary is how its appearance changes according to the lighting — more tints of gold at certain times of the day, and more onyx during others. And when the mosque is illuminated by coloured lighting at night, its domes and minarets glow outlandishly in sapphire, yellow and pink.
You can certainly imagine a Studio Ghibli film emulating Crystal Mosque has one of its monuments, like Howl’s Moving Castle or Castle In The Sky!
Address: Pulau Wan Man, 21000 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
How to get there: The mosque is part of the Islamic Heritage Park situated on a man-made island, Pulau Wan Man, which is 25 minutes away from the Sultan Mahmud Airport by car.
9. Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple – Land of lanterns on psychedelics
The Dong Zen temple is a Buddhist religious, cultural and educational centre. Every Chinese New Year, they host a ‘Lantern and Flora Festival’ that commences on the eve of CNY and goes on for 17 to 18 days. The festival draws both Buddhists and non-Buddhists with massive and elaborate lantern displays, parades and performances across its 16-acre premise.
We aren’t kidding when we say massive and elaborate; the temple put up 50,000 lanterns in 2015! Not just plain ol’ paper lanterns, but larger-than-life animal lanterns, flora lanterns and other exciting figures in bursting neon colours. Among the lanterns, you should also keep your eyes peeled for 18 statues of Arhats and 33 statues of Bodhisattva.
Address: PT 2297, Jalan Sungai Buaya, Jenjarom, Selangor, Malaysia
How to get there: Jenjarom, Banting, is about an hour’s drive from KL Sentral. Bear in mind, the themed decor only goes up during CNY.
10. The Banjaran Hotsprings – Mystical mountainside healing haven
We’re not sure whether the hot-spring, limestone hill and rainforest possess healing properties that seep into our bodies, but it does appear and feel that way! The Banjaran is all about escaping your world to rejuvenate in this hideout.
Apart from over 40 Asian spa treatments, you will find other offerings strategically incorporated into the landscape like their Geothermal Hot Spring, Steam Cave, Ice Bath, Crystal Cave and Meditation Cave. The sanctuary looks like a typical kung fu film trope, where the hero comes over to heal and study under a sage!
Price: From RM561 (Book here!)
Address: 1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3, 31150 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
How to get there: The Banjaran is tucked away in Sunway City Ipoh and this haven is a mere 2-hour drive away from KL.
Cheat your friends into believing you’re overseas
Convincing your friends into believing that you’re out visiting faraway places isn’t difficult – these places are proof. We’ve always firmly believed that other countries offer exciting places, but within every nook and cranny of our borders, you can find stunning views and adventurous activities.
The next time you’re thinking of heading out for a getaway, look internally and see whether Malaysia has something similar to where you’re headed to.
Cover image adapted from AsianItinerary.com