During eight months spent travelling around Southeast Asia, I met a lot of fellow backpackers who had decided to pass through Malaysia quickly in favour of the likes of neighbouring Thailand.
I can't help but feel they missed a huge chunk of Southeast Asia's character and identity when bypassing its most affluent country.
There are countless factors that make Malaysia a desirable and rewarding place to travel, from its incredible street food and impressive architecture to its diverse culture and stunning natural landscapes.
Here are ten top reasons for paying a visit to Malaysia...
1. The temples:
Whether it's a Chinese Clan temple, a Hindu complex or a Buddhist shrine, Malaysia is home to countless temples spanning a number of religions. Among the most impressive are the Kuan Yin Temple in George Town and Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur.
2. The food:
A visit to Malaysia isn't complete until you've sampled its rich and diverse cuisine. In fact, the city of George Town on the island of Penang is famed as one of the street food capitals of the world, serving up incredible dishes like Laksa and Wan Tan Mee.
3. The shopping:
You may be surprised to hear it, but Kuala Lumpur is home to some of the most flamboyant and expansive shopping malls in the world. Sitting in the shadow of the Petronas Towers, the KLCC is spread across six floors, showcasing everything from fashion labels to high street brands.
4. The modern architecture:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital, is a complex juxtaposition of eras. It is the modern era that is arguably the most impressive in the city, primarily in the form of the breath-taking Petronas Towers; the tallest twin towers in the world.
5. The outdoor pursuits:
The central highlands of Malaysia are fantastic for those that fancy a dose of action and adventure during their time in the country. A trip to the Cameron Highlands will present the opportunity of trekking through dense jungle and beside verdant tea plantations.
6. The beaches and islands:
Move aside Thailand, Malaysia is the true king of the island and beach paradise. Whether it's the backpacker hangout of the Perhentian Islands with their incredible snorkelling opportunities or the laid-back beach hub of Langkawi, this is the place to come for the sun, sand and sea.
7. The wildlife of Borneo:
The island of Borneo, located to the north-east of Peninsula Malaysia, is home to diverse and exotic flora and fauna. A trek in the rainforests of Borneo could see you encounter elephants, orangutans and even rhinos.
8. The mountain:
Mount Kinabalu is Malaysia's highest mountain and presents one of the most challenging adventures in the country. Locted on the island of Borneo, climbing to the summit of the mountain is a thrilling and somewhat spiritual experience for those who've packed their hiking boots.
9. The diversity:
Chinese, Indian, British, Hindu, Islam and Buddhist; these are just a few of the influences attributed to Malaysia's unique character. In Kuala Lumpur alone you can walk from one neighbourhood to the next, firstly encountering old colonial architecture, before stumbling across a magnificent Hindu temple.
10. The transport links:
Kuala Lumpur is the hub of Air Asia, an airline providing cheap and frequent transport across the whole of Asia. Using Kuala Lumpur as your base, you can easily and cheaply explore the rest of Southeast Asia farther and quicker.
Intrigued by a visit to Malaysia? Read more about George Town, for more info on Malaysia's food capital.
Have I missed out any top reasons for paying a visit to Malaysia? Let me know by sharing your tips below.
Travel tip shared by A Long Day Off