Do you know that Malaysia has plenty of beautiful places that remind you of different countries? From graceful valleys to underwater worlds, lovely beaches and inspired architecture, they remind us that Malaysia has her share of spectacular attractions that not even locals know about. Look at your own country with different eyes, and its beauty might surprise you!
Here are 20 Malaysian destination that look like they are from other countries.
1. Desa Cattle Dairy Farm, Kundasang, Sabah – New Zealand
Upon the gentle grasslands stretching towards the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, there is a cattle farm with Friesian cows imported from New Zealand. Desa Cattle Dairy Farm produces about 900,000 litres of milk a year. With the cooling breeze, it’s no wonder it is called “The Little New Zealand of Sabah”!
Some fun activities you can do here include feeding calves and goats, eating milky ice cream, and seeing how milk is processed. To complete your New Zealand adventure, you can also ride an ATV to the farm or go paragliding!
2. Colmar Tropicale, Bentong, Pahang – Colmar, France
Tucked amidst 80 acres of natural rainforest at 2,700 feet above sea level, Colmar Tropicale is a beautiful French-themed resort that reminds you of Southern France.
It is inspired by the 18th century town of Colmar in Alsace, with elements from other surrounding French villages. At the entrance, there is a drawbridge that brings you over a moat, onto cobblestone streets, a fountain and fantasy-like buildings.
3. Sasaran Beach, Selangor – Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The Sky Mirror of Sasaran Beach is becoming popular lately, known as the Salar de Uyuni of Malaysia. The phenomenon occurs at low tide, on certain days according to the Lunar Calendar. The sea becomes a flat sand land, which gives you the illusion of standing on the surface of the sea. It is a smaller version of Bolivia’s world-famous salt flat.
Be sure to wear colourful clothing and bring props like rainbow umbrellas and windmills, as you will be taking a lot of photos!
4. Cameron Highlands, Pahang – England
Founded in 1885, Cameron Highlands was where British colonists would escape the heat of Malaya, and enjoy the fresh air.
Today you will be greeted by Tudor-style buildings, tea plantations, strawberry farms, a butterfly farm, temples and a hiking trail that takes you through the Middle Earth-like Mossy Forest to Mount Brinchang. Imagine having tea and strawberries up in the highlands – it’s like having a piece of England here in Malaysia!
5. Kellie’s Castle, Perak – Castles in Europe
Kellie’s Castle was built by a Scottish planter called William Kellie Smith as a symbol of love for his wife, like the Taj Mahal of India. Unfortunately, the mansion was never completed, as many of his workers died from the Spanish Flu, while he later succumbed to pneumonia in Portugal. Influenced by European and Hindu influences, Kellie’s Castle is the only architecture of its kind in Malaysia.
6. Melaka River, Melaka – Venice, Italy
Once known as the “Venice of the East”, Melaka was a major port in the 16th century. The river that runs through the heritage city is said to be where Melaka was founded. Today you can enjoy a river cruise to admire the lovely sights, colourful shops and street art along the walkways. It may not be as prominent as Venice’s canals, but we think it comes close.
7. Pulau Sipadan, Sabah – Maldives
Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, and one of its most spectacular. This means that you can see more oceanic marine life in its blue waters, such as over 3,000 fish species, turtles and hundreds of coral species. Diving or snorkelling is a must-try experience when you are in Sipadan – you would not regret it!
8. Bako National Park, Sarawak – Krabi, Thailand
Bako National Park has been a lush oasis for Sarawak’s tropical rainforests and wildlife, including the proboscis monkey. There are many different kinds of landscapes here, including swamps, mangrove forests, cliffs and beaches. The little bays and coves may even remind you of the coastal beauty of Krabi!
9. Astaka Morocco, Putrajaya – Morocco
Inspired by Moorish architecture, the Astaka Morocco is a beautiful pavilion with three majestic courtyards, water fountains and walls with intricate terracotta tiles. For RM3 per adult, you can wander through all the rooms, but only certain parts of the pavilion allows photography.
10. Bukit Tinggi Japanese Village, Pahang – Japan
The Japanese Village is a must-see attraction for those in Colmar Tropicale, complete with a Japanese Tea House, Botanical Garden, Tatami Spa and restaurant. You can rent a kimono to take photos, and attend one of four tea ceremony sessions, which take place daily.
11. Clearwater Caves, Miri, Sarawak – Cave in Europe
Believed to be the largest interconnected natural cave system by volume, Clearwater Cave is not to be missed by adventurers at the Mulu National Park. After climbing 200 steps to the entrance, you have to walk further in to reach the subterranean river, framed by limestone formations.
While the grandeur of Clearwater Caves does resemble those in foreign countries, it truly is a wondrous cave on its own!
12. Kelabit Highlands, Bario Sarawak – Sapa, Vietnam
The remarkable paddy fields and friendly Kelabit tribe of the Kelabit Highlands in Bario easily lets you think of Sapa in Vietnam. The refreshing climate and relatively unspoilt landscapes make it a great place for hiking or cycling. You can also live in a longhouse, and stargaze at night.
13. Kuala Sepetang, Perak – Village in Europe
The Matang charcoal factory at Kuala Sepetang is situated at the heart of a mangrove forest. The mangrove wood is transported via boat and arrives to the factory along a manmade river. The picturesque setting reminds you of little villages in Europe, which makes a great spot for photography sessions!
14. Maliau Basin, Sabah – Amazon
The mysterious Amazon forest still holds many hidden natural gems to this day, and there is a place like this in East Malaysia. This is Maliau Basin, Sabah’s Lost World. There are 12 types of forest ecosystems here, including the lower montane forest, hill dipterocarp forest and rare montane heath forest.
The most amazing activity to do here would be to trek to the seven-tiered Maliau Falls and look out for wildlife along the way. Maliau Basin is still a remote area though, and you will need to request permission from Yayasan Sabah in order to enter.
15. Pulau Layang-Layang, Sabah – Bahamas
If you have been thinking of diving in Bahamas, you could give this island a look! Pulau Layang-Layang started out as a manmade base for the Malaysian Navy. It later become an island resort, isolated enough for beautiful reefs to flourish. Deep in the lagoon, you can find many fish species including stingrays, sharks and seahorses.
16. Klebang Beach, Melaka – Sahara
Did you ever think that there would be a desert in Malaysia? It’s not as largest or hot as the Sahara of course, but Klebang Beach is worth a visit! If the snap-worthy panorama of the dune-like beach is not enough to convince you, the sandboarding experience definitely will!
17. Taman Anggur Perlis, Perlis – Vineyard of France or Australia
While not as large-scale as the ones in French or Australian vineyards, Taman Anggur Perlis is a good place to get sweet and seedless organic grapes. It is located in the outskirts of Kangar town, so you’ll need a car to get there.
18. Kota Belud, Sabah – Bali
Kota Belud conjures the image of paddy fields, imposing hills and lively marketplaces. That’s pretty much what you would Each October, the Tamu Besar is held, where you can see Bajau horsemen on their steed, a vibrant procession, as well as a market selling tribal craft and other knick-knacks.
19. Taiping Lake Gardens, Perak – China
Taiping Lake Gardens is a tin-mining area turned into Malaya’s first public park. Some of the main attractions are the 130-year-old trees, a lotus lake, gardens and jogging trails. The centenarian trees that stretch towards the lake gives it an ancient China vibe.
20. Mabul Island, Sabah – Bora Bora
With its romantic resorts, azure sea and sea breeze, Mabul Island is the Bora Bora of Malaysia. It is also a great spot for scuba diving, as the island is home to the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, the largest marine park in Sabah.