Malaysia has a growing reputation as one of Asia's most exciting travel destinations. From the bustling city life and business centres of Kuala Lumpur to the historic and architectural wonders of Penang to the white sand beaches and ecological diversity of Malaysian Borneo, Malaysia has everything one could wish for in a world-class tourist destination.
With two distinctive stretches of coastline – east and west – Malaysia offers a choice of berthing options. The island of Langkawi on the west coast is perhaps the country's best known sailing destination – an attractive duty free port with marina facilities. Yachties making landfall on the island have a choice of three main marinas. The 200-berth Royal Langkawi Yacht Club on the southeast corner of the island can accommodate vessels measuring up to 70 metres. Superyachts of up to 60 metres in length can also call in at Telaga Harbour Marina. Visitors to Rebak Island Marina can enjoy the adjacent resort facilities and 189 wet berths for vessels measuring 10 to 35 metres in length.
Kota Kinabalu on the east side also provides berths in an area famous for its diverse marine life and rich, forested hinterland. The 104-berth Sutera Harbour Marina is one of the main anchor tenants of the integrated Sutera Harbour resort complex alongside two five star hotels and a 27-hole championship golf course. There are also berthing options on the popular yachting layover destination of Penang, including Straits Quay, a dining-retail-marina complex on the northeastern coast of the island.
Most people start their journey in Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, the country's eclectic capital. A bustling metropolis and a financial powerhouse on one hand and cultural melting pot on the other, Kuala Lumpur is one of the most dynamic cities in Southeast Asia. The old city centre with the Merdeka Square Sultan Abdul Building and Selangor Club is the historic hub of the city and the administration centre of the former colonial powers. This area is also home to the city's Chinatown where you can find fantastic Chinese food from the many hawkers stalls and open air restaurants lining the streets.
Modern Kuala Lumpur concentrates around the Golden Triangle, the city's main central business district, home to the iconic Petronas Twin Tower – the tallest twin towers in the world – endless shopping malls, upscale hotels and the KLCC Park.
North of Kuala Lumpur, along the west coast lies Penang, a must on any cruising itinerary in this region. A trading hub for centuries and a strategically important player in the British activities in the region, Penang attracted people from all over the world who came to seek a better life. As such, the island is one of the most ethnically diverse in the region with an captivating mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian, British and Siamese influences. It is also home to a variety of hybrid communities such as Peranakan, Baba Nyonya and Eurasians. Most of the tourist attractions centres around the island capital, George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its eclectic mix of architecture, historic and religious monuments, vibrant cultural scene and world class food.
The northern coast of Penang is home to beautiful white sandy beaches and a number of high end resorts and townships that offers a host of recreational facilities such as golf and water sports.
North of Penang and closer to the border of Thailand lies Langkawi, the ultimate travellers' paradise complete with picture perfect white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, jungle-clad hills and mysterious caves.
Unsurprisingly, one of the main draw of the island is the beaches. The most popular is Pantai Cenang, located on the southwestern tip of the island, dotted with several upscale resorts, restaurants and bars. For a more laid back experience, head to some of Langkawi's many other beaches, such as Tanjung Rhu on the north tip of the island where limestone caves, mangroves and waterfalls make it a perfect choice for nature lovers.
Divers from all over the world also head to Langkawi for its crystal clear waters and diverse underwater life. There are several diving schools and tour operators on the island offering day trips or liveaboards where divers and snorkellers alike can experience some of the many dive sites that surround the island.
To the east of mainland Malaysia lies the island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world and home to the two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak as well as Brunei and several Indonesian states. Borneo is one of the most ecological diverse places in the world with the majority of the world's plants, trees, animals birds and fish found here.
The main city of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, a charming city with a rich history and a mix of peoples and influences. Most tourists use Kota Kinabalu as a gateway to Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, as well as trips and excursions inland or to the surrounding islands.
The cruising grounds off the coast of Sabah offer something for everyone. From west to east, the state is surrounded by idyllic islands one more picturesque than the next. On the west coast just off Kota Kinabalu lies Tangjung Aru, a small tranquil island with a few high end resorts and little to do other than relax on the beach.x
One of the main attractions in Sabah is the world class diving found off the state's east coast, namely Sipadan, which has gained world wide recognition due to its unique geographical features, incredibly diverse underwater ecosystems that extend several hundred metres into the deep and the almost year-around good conditions. The surroundings islands of Mabul and Kapalai also offer excellent diving conditions, countless tropical fish species and well conditioned soft and hard corals.