Malaysia is more than just its twin towers and city highlights. Out in the rural areas, there are many traditional villages and New Villages, each with their own distinctive cultures, colours and characteristics.
New Villages, or Kampung Baru in Malay, are settlements established during the Malayan Emergency between 1948 and 1950. Inhabitants from surrounding rural areas were relocated into these villages, to control their communication with the guerrilla army and cut off their supply. Currently, there are 626 traditional New Villages, New Village clusters and fishing villages in Malaysia, of which 452 are traditional New Villages.
Here are several New Villages that are emerging as our local travel destinations – definitely a list to have if you want to explore some of these hidden rural gems in Malaysia!
1. Kampung Baru Sauk
Kampung Baru Sauk, or “The New Village of Longevity”, is a peaceful village far from the hurried pace of city life. If it’s the simple life you’re looking for, this is it.
Highlights: Kampung Jerlun, Chenderoh Lake (Tasik Chenderoh), Night Market
2. Kuala Sepetang, Larut, Matang and Selama
Kuala Sepetang is a coastal fishing town 30 minutes away from Taiping, famous for its charcoal kilns, mangrove swamps, seafood and more.
Highlights: Water cruises, Charcoal Factory, Fireflies and Dolphins, Eagle feeding and fish farming
3. Tanjung Piandang, Kerian
Tanjung Piandang is a fishing village northwest of Perak. You’ll know you are there when you see an assortment of salted fish being dried in the sun.
Highlights: Water activities, Hua Seng Keng Temple, Sheng Guo Yuan Temple, Ban Pecah Beach
4. Bekok, Labis
Tucked at the entrance of a national park, Bekok is a wonderful spot for nature lovers and small community charm. They also have a quirky art scene and century-old landmarks that have stood against the test of time!
Highlights: Bekok Waterfalls, Bekok festival, street murals, local food, Hakka Cultural Centre, traditional trades
5. Yong Peng, Batu Pahat
In the early days, Yong Peng was mainly occupied by the Hock Chew (FuZhou) Chinese, hence its nickname “Little Hock Chew”. Its most prominent landmark is a majestic fortune dragon.
Highlights: Largest Fortune Dragon in Southeast Asia, Fuzhou tradition and food, UK Farm
6. Kampung Nelayan Air Masin, Kukup
Entering Kampung Nelayan Air Masin is like being whisked into a different era. The 150-year-old fishing village is lined with houses, open-air restaurants, roads and alleys – all built on stilts!
Highlights: Pulau Kukup (a protected mangrove island), Tanjung Piai National Park, seafood
7. Kampung Baru Kulai
Most visitors come to Kampung Baru Kulai to take on Gunung Pulai, a famous hiking spot in Johor, as well as visit the grand Buddhist temple.
Highlights: Gunung Pulai, Putuo Village (Buddhist temple and sanctuary), Hakka tradition and food
8. Simpang Renggam, Kluang
The sleepy village of Simpang Renggam was marked on the map once more after the construction of the North-South Highway, and has many interesting features you cannot find elsewhere in Malaysia.
Highlights: Sea of pineapples, Huang Lu Zhou Liyuan Park, Mini World Theme Park
9. Paloh, Kluang
The name Paloh is derived from the Chinese word for “swamp”, as the area was once covered in swamps before its development. It has many traditional coffee shops that have been there for generations, popular for its authentic hawker delights.
Highlights: Paloh Well, historic buildings, unique places of worship, traditional coffee shops
10. Kampung Ayer Hitam, Batu Pahat
This village is well known for its fine ceramic craft, particularly during the 80s and 90s. You can find ceramic goods sold in shops along the main road or at the factory outlet, which are either reasonably priced or sold at a reduced rate!
Highlights: Ceramic Factory, Fuzhou tradition and food, Fuzhou noodle factory
11. Kampung Bukit Mor, Muar
Locals love to go for the outdoor recreational activities in this easily-missed village!
Highlights: Bukit Timah, Sungai Gersik Hot Springs, Xian Shi Gong Temple, Beach
12. Pulau Ketam, Port Klang
Book a getaway to Pulau KetamPulau Ketam is an island village with picturesque houses on stilts that seem to float on the water during high tide. To get here, you’ll need to ride a ferry.
Highlights: Local fishing trade, no traffic on the island, mangroves, seafood
13. Kampung Sungai Lima
Book a getaway to Kampung Sungai LimaThis quiet island village is situated on the “fifth river” (Malay for “Sungai Lima”) from Pulau Ketam, accessible by speedboat. The villagers here use traditional fishing methods to sustain their livelihood.
Highlights: Local fishing trade, no traffic on the island, street art, seafood
14. Batang Kali, Hulu Selangor
You’ll pass Batang Kali on your way to Genting Highlands, but this town in Hulu Selangor deserves more than a passing glance! You’ll be surprise by the unique farms, plantations and natural attractions it has.
Highlights: Hot springs, orchid farm, Hokkien culture and food, Gabai waterfalls
15. Kuala Kubu Bharu, Hulu Selangor
In 1883, the village where Kuala Kubu Bharu stands was flooded by a wrecked dam. According to legend, it was act of revenge by the River God, a white alligator shot dead by a British colonel. This is only one of the few stories that have added to the village’s mystery.
Highlights: Chiling Waterfalls, hot springs, kaya puff, traditional coffee shops
16. Kampung Sungai Klau, Raub
Book a getaway to Kampung Sungai Klau
Named after the kelah fish in Klau River, Kampung Sungai Klau is a traditional village with pristine natural attractions and relics of the Communist era.
Highlights: Communist-era monuments, durians, Lata Berembun Waterfall, Gua Kechil
17. Sungai Lembing, Kuantan
Catch the sunrise and magical sea of clouds drift across the landscape, or watch a rainbow form by the waterfalls. Sungai Lembing will enchant you with Nature’s divine wonders.
Highlights: Panorama Hill, Rainbow Waterfalls, outdoor activities and entertainment, Sungai Lembing Bridge
18. Kampung Bukit Tinggi, Bentong
Close to Genting Highlands, Colmare Tropicale and Japanese Village, the village is surrounded with hillside farms where you can buy fresh produce!
Highlights: Guang Xi traditions and food, eco-tourism, 22 restaurants near the village, agricultural products such as local ginger
19. Tanjung Tualang, Kinta Batu Gajah
Back in the early 1900s, Tanjung Tualang was one of the major tin-mining towns in Malaysia. After the collapse of the tin-mining industry, it became popular due to its gigantic freshwater prawns.
Highlights: Freshwater Prawn, Tin Dredge, Tin Dredge Museum, One Malaysia restaurant
20. Bertam Valley, Cameron Highlands
Located near Ringlet, Bertam Valley flourishes alongside its rich agricultural industry and it’s a great place to get fruits and vegetables – it’s as fresh as it gets!
Highlights: Bertam Valley Hill, Ulu Jerai Dam, Grape orchard, Pressed Flower Workshop, Fruits and vegetables
21. Machap Baru Village, Alor Gajah
There are seventeen Chinese New Villages in Malacca. Machap Baru is the largest one in Malacca with at least 400 families. It is also called Hakka Village since 80% of the population are Hakka Chinese.
Highlights: Machap Walk, Bread factory, Malacca heritage buildings, Dragon fruit orchard, Bee farming
22. Kampung Baru Broga, Seremban
Once rich with tin ore, the village’s name came from the Malay word, “berharga” meaning “precious”. Bordering Negeri Sembilan and Selangor, it is frequented by outdoor enthusiasts.
Highlights: Outdoor activities, Sek Na Tuk Temple, suspension bridge, Durian and Freshwater Fish
23. Kampung Baru Titi, Jelebu
There is a certain old world charm at Kampung Titi, with its pre-war shophouses, kopitiams and street murals.
Highlights: Eco-tourism, Hakka tradition and food, memorial hall
24. Bukit Pelanduk, Port Dickson
Bukit Pelanduk is nicknamed “dog’s head” (狗头) by locals but it actually refers to “ditch” (沟头), which sounds similar in Chinese. Historically, Sepang River was used by early inhabitants to transport supplies.
Highlights: River and outdoor activities, Fuzhou tradition and food, Fuzhou desserts
25. Kampung Bagan Samak, Bandar Baru
Kampung Bagan Samak rests at the border of Kedah and Penang. Most visitors stop by here for its seafood but there are other village attractions too!
Highlights: Bagan Samak River, Arowana, San Wang Fu Temple, poultry farming, salted egg and bean curd skin production