By now, most Malaysians would’ve visited Penang, Melaka and even Langkawi countless times. Yes, sometimes we’re not that adventurous when it comes to exploring our country, are we? If you’re itching to go on a local road trip but also getting fed-up with the typical tourist spots that are flocked by people every weekend, fret not ’cause we’ve compiled a list of underrated destinations you can bookmark for your next getaway. Now, get planning!
1. Pulau Kapas, Terengganu
Think Terengganu, think Perhentian islands? For an ‘off the beaten path’ option, consider spending a few nights on Pulau Kapas to completely disconnect from the bustling city life. After all, this equally gorgeous island is known for its scarce range of accommodations (and no ATMs, so make sure you withdraw money beforehand) to give you unparalleled privacy and isolation.
How to chillax on this island: explore the marine underwater life (spot Nemos if you can!), take a boat trip to Gem Island, go kayaking, play beach volleyball with friends or just bury your nose in a good book in a hammock!
2. Taiping, Perak
If serenity is what you have in mind (or the lack of it), then pack your bags and head over to Taiping as this small town plays host to the very charming Lake Garden, which offers a generous dose of greenery. One of the roads in Lake Garden is lined with beautiful trees that form a canopy as their branches lean out to touch the lake. Perfect romantic setting right there!
Plus, other gems in Taiping include the Taiping War Cemetery, Burmese Pool and delicious-yet-cheap hawker stalls! Can you even remember the last time you had Char Kuey Teow for RM3.50???
Source: Taiping Photo Gallery
Source: Malay Mail Online
3. Pulau Rawa, Johor
This secluded island is a paradise that’s perfect for those who want peace and privacy. Moreover, there are only two resorts available along the pristine seashore: Alang’s Rawa, a cosy back-to-basic chalet with no hot water or air-conditioning, and Rawa Island Resort, a more atas stay at a way pricier cost. Spending Saturday evening here is a must since it’s their signature BBQ night.
PS: there are two water slides around the island for a splashing good time! Other beach activities you can do include snorkelling, fishing, canoeing and even playing your own board games!
4. Semporna, Sabah
Love sun, sea and sand? Then Semporna is sempurna for your next beach getaway thanks to its superb surrounding islands – think Sipadan, Mabul and more – that offer one of the best diving spots in Malaysia. What’s even better is that this idyllic location is not congested with human traffic, so you can take your time basking in the tropical sanctuary.
Besides diving, you can also hike up Bukit Tengkorak (skull hill), go on a river cruise to explore its mangrove ecosystem where you can see monkeys and capture stunning views from the peak of Bohey Dulang in Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
5. Tasik Chini, Pahang
For a tranquil countryside scenery, don’t underestimate the sight at Malaysia’s second largest freshwater lake near the Pahang river. Besides being home to numerous flora and fauna species (take note, nature lovers!), there are various waterfalls and caves to explore within the vicinity. Tip: August and September are said to be the best months to visit since that’s when thousands of pretty-in-pink and white water lilies emerge from the calm lake!
A fan of birds? Come here between October and March when birds from Northern Asia flock over. Fancy fishing? Bookmark November to January, where rainfall is at its peak. Bonus: there’s a waterfall nearby too, called Terapai.
6. Poring Hot Spring, Sabah
For an alternative to Peninsular’s Banjaran hot spring in Perak, Poring will not be boring because the natural attraction will definitely soothe any tired soul in need of a good R&R. Thanks to its sulphuric minerals, backpackers climbing Mt Kinabalu usually make a pit stop here to relieve muscle aches mid-way up.
Plus, you can also trek the Poring Treetop Canopy Walk and check out Malaysia’s very own Rafflesia flower at the Poring Hot Spring Nature and Reserve park.
7. Sekinchan, Selangor
Instead of driving to Port Dickson, this wallpaper-worthy location is also about an hour’s drive away from Kuala Lumpur and makes an ideal escape for a day-trip or one-night stay. Think picturesque paddy fields and humble village landscapes that every photography junkie (or the Instagram-obsessed) will appreciate. Photo ops aplenty!
Devouring seafood here is a must too, since it’s fresher and cheaper compared to the city. On top of that, you can visit the paddy processing factory and numerous temples around, and even write down your wishes on a red ribbon and throw it onto the iconic Sekinchan Wishing Tree located at Pantai Redang. Mandatory mode of transport: the bicycle!