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The cultural hub of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is visually defined by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which, at 88 stories high, are the tallest twin buildings in the world and a vision of modern architecture. On the flip side, the Sri Mahamariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, its façade a colorful totem pole of iconography. Shopping at the Central Market is a joyful experience that involves haggling, handicrafts, and happiness.
Langkawi is a serene archipelago of 140 islands – only a few of which are inhabited. The largest of these is the eponymous Langkawi Island, which has UNESCO World Geopark status because of its richly populated (by wildlife, that is) conservation areas. The best way to experience these ecological wonders is from high above, on the Langkawi Sky Bridge that stretches above the rainforest. Cheekily-named Pregnant Maiden freshwater lake is a great place to take a dip or play keep-away with the kleptomaniac monkeys.
Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo is the bustling gateway to acclaimed Kinabalu National Park. The park's high point is 13,400-foot Mount Kinabula, Malaysia's tallest peak, a mecca for climbers. Ninety miles away, thrilling jungle trekking and camping await in the Crocker Range National Park.
Johor Bahru is the second-largest city in Malaysia and, with the opening of two major amusement parks in 2012, it is poised to become a major tourist destination. TripAdvisor travelers also recommend visiting the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, a unique Hindu temple decorated with brilliant glass mosaics.
Kuching is a fine choice for an enriching vacation that's as packed with learning as it is leisure. Its many museums and impressive planetarium will enthrall even the tiniest travelers, and a quick climb to the top of the Kuching Civic Center will reward you with jaw-dropping 360-degree views. Grab a snack from a stall on the bustling waterfront, and don't miss the absolutely massive Sunday market, which is an electric experience for shoppers, vendors, and observers.
Nibble, slurp, and chow your way through Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur that offers up endless options for tourists hungry for a taste of local culture. The Wat Chetawan Thai Buddhist temple will offer you spiritual sustenance, while the thumping beats of hip nightlife spots will take you to a higher place.
The British colonial city of Ipoh had humble beginnings, but has blossomed into a beautiful cityscape that marries old-world charm with modern amenities. This is a foodie's city, offering endless street stalls and restaurants all eager to serve up a sample of mouthwatering local fare. Walk it all off on a jaunt through breathtaking limestone caves that seem carved by the capable hands of a higher power.