5 great ways to unwind in Malaysia

By Lakshmi Sharath

SING with the birds or indulge in a spa – Malaysia is where you need to head for a relaxing holiday

Think Malaysia and the images that come to mind are varied and myriad. The skyline dotted with the tallest towers merges with the beautiful beaches and takes you into a world of tropical forests filled with exotic and rare birds and wildlife. You can get lost on a virgin island or in the multicultural melange of life here, or unwind in a luxurious spa . To me, Malaysia has always been a country where I can relax and unwind as I experience the diverse culture here. If you are looking for a holiday where you can put your feet up , then Malaysia is for you. Here are my suggestions on places you can unwind.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

There can be nothing more relaxing than waking up to the chirping of birds in a tropical rain forest. And this verdant wooded area has been recreated right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur in a luxuriant 20.9 acres of land, making it the largest free flight walk-in aviary in the world. Home to over 3,000 birds, rare and exotic, the park comes alive with the calls of the birds that fly around here. It took me barely 10 minutes to drive from the hustle and bustle of the city, but as I entered the lake gardens the lush greenery blinded me.  It is a perfect place to unwind, not just for avid bird watchers like me, but for anyone who wants to be cradled in nature’s lap.

Meet a stork, looking for its next meal – K L Bird Park. Pic: Balaji Dutt, FlickrCC.

Meet a stork, looking for its next meal – K L Bird Park. Pic: Balaji Dutt, FlickrCC.

Langkawi Island 

There are about 100 islands to choose from on the Langkawi Archipelago, situated a little off Malaysia’s west coast south of the Thailand border. The turquoise seas that surround these idyllic islands offer a choice of marine adventures, water sports and sightseeing options. Once you are done with the ride on the famous cable car and walk on the Skybridge, you can choose to visit the many monuments, theme parks and resorts that dot these islands. Beaches with pristine white sands, freshwater lakes, estuaries around rivers, lagoons and marine parks beckon you here.

While most of the islands to the south are touristy, you can go your own way to explore virgin beaches surrounded by dense tropical rainforests. Island tours are the best way to explore this archipelago. Watch wildlife, go bird watching or simply lose yourself in the crimson sunsets as you sway to the live music at the resorts – Langkawi will spoil you for choice.

Enjoy a cable car ride across Langkawi Island. Pic: Andrew Lawson, FlickrCC.

Enjoy a cable car ride across Langkawi Island. Pic: Andrew Lawson, FlickrCC.

Penang

A World UNESCO site , the Pearl of the Orient, as Penang is often referred to,  is a cultural mosaic of the east and west. Quaint and charming, Penang is the perfect place to unwind. My memories of Penang go back to the days when we took a colourful rickshaw decked with flowers and explored Georgetown. Here, heritage monuments blend in with contemporary upscale shops and restaurants. Hillocks, forests, parks and beaches compete for your attention along with temples, mosques, forts, mansions and museums. Soak in the rich cultural history of the place, visit gardens and butterfly farms, watch Batik artists at work or shop till you drop in any of the night markets – Penang is my favourite destination in Malaysia.

Head to the beach for an ideal evening in Penang. Pic: Ishak J, FlickrCC.

Head to the beach for an ideal evening in Penang. Pic: Ishak J, FlickrCC.

Teluk Chempedak , Kuantan

Walking along the white sandy stretches of this beach, locally referred to as “Jackfruit Bay,” you lose yourself looking at the endless coastline.  Everybody is soaking in the spirit of the sun and sea and participating in adventurous water sports activities here. The fishermen are at a distant horizon, sailing away to the fishing villages located close by. Stroll around and look for a quiet corner and as the waves ebb and flow, you may get a piece of the South China Sea all to yourself. Just find your space and bask in the sun and let the sea purge you of all your thoughts.

Spa Village, Pangkor Laut

A visit to Malaysia is never complete unless you get yourself pampered at a spa, especially if you are looking for a place to soothe your frayed nerves. Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort combines the healing powers of the entire region to rejuvenate you.  There is a choice of Ayurvedic, Chinese, Balinese or Malay treatments waiting for you as the fingers work magic on your body and the salts of the sea on your mind. A well-deserved break and a path to wellness begins right here. Indulge, I say.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website

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About the author…

Lakshmi Sharath
Lakshmi Sharath is a media professional, traveller, travel writer and blogger. After fifteen years of sitting beside a desk, she left her corporate life in media  to become a nomad . Her articles and photographs have been published in several publications, books, websites and blogs, both in India and abroad. Her award-winning blog,  A travel blog of an Indian Backpacker takes the reader to offbeat and well known destinations, far and wide.