By: Michele Koh Morollo
Additional notes by: Reta Lee
While Malaysia may not be as big or as well-known globally as China, India, Europe or the USA, it is a country that holds many world records. Here are some of Malaysia’s oldest, tallest, biggest and best-est.
Taman Negara – The World’s Oldest Rainforest
Transecting the states of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, Taman Negara, which was founded in 1938 as the King George the V National Park is the world’s oldest rainforest. It is more than 130 million years old, and because it lies on the equator, its ancient jungles were not destroyed by the ice ages. There are few places on earth with more wildlife and plant species than Taman Negara, and the park is home to more than 14,000 species of plants, 240 types of trees and 200 mammals, including Sumatran rhinoceros, Great Argus, Malayan Tiger, and Asian elephant.
The Sarawak Chamber – The World’s Largest Cave Chamber
In Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, you’ll find the world’s largest cave chamber in Gua Nasib Bagus, or Good Luck Cave. It was discovered by British cavers, Andy Eavis, Dave Checkley and Tony White in 1981, and named the Sarawak Chamber. This chamber is 700 metres long, 400 metres wide and at least 70 metres high, and large enough to comfortably fit 40 Boeing 747s. If you're visiting Gunung Mulu, it is also worth exploring Clearwater Cave which houses one of the world’s largest underground river systems, and Deer Cave, where you can see an awe-inspiring exodus of millions of bats in the evenings.
Warisan Merdeka Tower
At 678 metres, the Warisan Merdeka Tower in Kuala Lumpur is the tallest building in Southeast Asia and the second tallest building in the world. Also known as the Merdeka 118, it is the world's second-tallest structure, surpassing the Tokyo Skytree at 634 m. Upon its completion in 2023, the tower will have 100 storeys of rentable space, including some 400,000 square metres of residential, hotel, and commercial space which will be built in three parts. Luxury hotel Park Hyatt Hotel will take over the first top 17 floors of the tower, with a bevvy of suites and dining experiences to offer.
Barracuda Point, Sipadan – World’s Best Dive Site
While it’s not official, serious divers and marine life enthusiasts all say that Barracuda Point in the Sipadan Islands is the best dive site in the world. There are few places where you will see a constant stream of pelagic fish, hammerhead sharks and shoals of barracuda. The sheer variety and level of activity in Barracuda Point is a dream come true for underwater photographers
Mount Kinabalu – The Home of the World’s Largest Flower
At 4,095 meters above sea level, Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is the tallest mountain in Malaysia, and a favourite destination for hikers and nature lovers. It is recognized as one the most important biological sites in the world as it is home to more than 5,000 species of plants, over 100 mammals like the orang utan and Borneo ferret-badger, and more than 300 species of birds. Mount Kinabalu is also home to the largest flower in the world, the parasitic Rafflesia, which has flowers that grow up to 37 inches in diameter
Batu Caves – The World’s Tallest Statue of Murugan
Lord Murugan, the Hindu deity of youth, vitality and happiness is worshipped by many Hindus in Malaysia, and the tallest Murugan statue in the world can be found here in Batu Caves, a 400 million-year-old limestone hill with a series of caves situated about 15 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur. Constructed with 1,550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tons of steel and 300 litres of gold paint, the gilded 42.7 metre-long statue costs US$670,000 to build.
Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre – The World’s Largest Orang Utan Sanctuary
There are only about 30,000 orangutans left in the world, and they can be found in Borneo and Sumatra. The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in the town of Sandakan in Sabah was set up in 1964 to save orphaned baby orangutans. Today, it is the largest orangutan sanctuary in the world, with about 80 apes living freely on the 4,300-hectare reserve and about 25 babies living in the nurseries. The centre is open for public visits so you can observe the apes in their natural habitat.
Check airfare here: Skyscanner | Trip.com
Or support Singapore Airlines – a great way to fly
Book accommodations and activities here: Agoda | Booking.com | Klook | KKday | HotelsCombined
General info here: Tripadvisor
Affordable data plans here
And while you are at it, be sure to get your travel insurance!