8 Up-and-Coming Cities in Malaysia to Discover in 2018

8 Up-and-Coming Cities in Malaysia to Discover in 2018

Malaysia is a rising destination for those who want to discover the undiscovered in 2018. Make room in your itinerary for the lesser-known cities in Malaysia!

As 2017 is coming to the end, it is time to look forward to 2018. Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Ipoh, Johor Bahru and Malacca are some of the well-known cities in Malaysia, but there are many lesserknown cities like Kuala Terengganu, Mersing, Sandakan and Kuching that have yet to be discovered by tourists from abroad. Therefore, set yourself a new resolution and explore the lesserknown cities on your next vacation in Malaysia! 

1. Mersing, Johor

Image credit: Todd Huffman

Aside from Johor Bahru, Mersing is another top destination in Johor and it is well-known for its beautiful islands and majestic beaches. Mersing has plenty of exciting outdoor activities, and there are many ferries and boats that bring tourists and locals to any of the islands near Mersing. Among the popular islands are Rawa Island, Besar Island, Sibu Island and also Tioman Island which boasts stunning coral reefs and dive sites. Islands and beaches are not the only main attractions of the coastal town; other places of interest include Gunung Arong Recreational Forest, Air Papan Village and Endau Rompin National Park.

2. Kuching, Sarawak

cities in malaysia

Image credit: JKT-c

Nicknamed the Cat City by locals, Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak and has numerous worldclass attractions such as the Bako National Park, The Borneo House Museum, Sarawak Cultural Village, and Kuching Cat Museum, to name a few. Kuching is also one of the two states in Malaysia where you can get to know the different ethnic groups of Sarawak such as the Iban, Melanau and Orang Ulu. While you’re there, you should also learn more about James Brooke, who was born in British India, and became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1842.

3. Taiping, Perak

cities in malaysia

Image credit: salehi hassan

Up next is Taiping, a town located northwest of Ipoh, Perak, which served as Perak’s capital city from 1876 to 1937. Aside from the renowned night time safari called Zoo Taiping, you can visit the Perak Museum. This is the oldest museum in Malaysia and is a one-stop centre to learn the history of Perak, as well as the history of other towns in the state. There are also other major points of interest like Dataran Warisan Taiping, Taiping Lake Gardens, Ngah Ibrahim Fort as well as Bukit Larut, which make the town an ideal destination for nature lovers, history buffs, and photographers.

4. Miri, Sarawak 

Image credit: Michael Elleray

Miri is one of those cities that is genuinely unexplored by foreign tourists. It is located on the northwest coast of Borneo island, and is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Niah National Park and Gunung Mulu National Park. The Niah National Park offers jungle walks, features the world’s largest cave entrance, and the Painted Cave, while the Gunung Mulu National Park is famous for its limestone karst formations in a rainforest environment. If you want to see even more nature, the Miri Public Park, Deer Cave and Mount Mulu should be in your bucket list.

5. Klang, Selangor

cities in malaysia

Image credit: zol latiff

You will be surprised with what the city of Klang has to offer. As a former capital of Selangor, it is a relatively busy and eventful city with palaces, temples, mosques and historical trails as its main attractions. From The Royal Gallery and Istana Alam Shah to Masjid India Klang and People’s Park Klang, you will learn Klang’s rich history and cultural identity, which makes this city quite educational and worth the visit.

6. Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Image credit: Slices of Light

Petaling Jaya is the biggest city in Selangor. This city is great for families with small children because they have a number of fun activity centres which families can enjoy for the whole day, such as Kidzania KL and Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. For shopaholics, there are countless shopping malls around Petaling Jaya to get souvenirs or purchase your latest fashion finds. The icon of the city is the arch called Kota Darul Ehsan and it is a good spot to take photos. The Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple is another important attraction in this city because of its authentic Thai designed structure. 

7. Sandakan, Sabah

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Forget about Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan is the upcoming destination in Sabah; sadly, it is often overlooked by foreign tourists. Sandakan is located in the east coast part of Sabah and is the second largest town after Kota Kinabalu. Immerse in the town’s historic past by visiting various historical sites. Start off with The Sandakan Memorial Park, then move on to the Gomantong Caves, Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center and Sandakan Crocodile Farm. You will get a combination of Sandakan’s nature, wildlife and history.

8. Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu

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Last is Kuala Terengganu, the capital city of Terengganu. Located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, this city is mostly visited by locals. It is high time foreign tourists get to know about this unique city. The Chinatown in this city is unique, with its colourful buildings that present art coming from different inspirations such as Chinese aesthetics and Art Deco sensibilities. The Floating Crystal Mosque, the State Museum and Islamic Heritage Park are also worth exploring, and food lovers can indulge in keropok lekor and nasi dagang. Despite its urban life, the main attraction of Kuala Terengganu is its easy access to Redang Island, where you can relax on the white sand beach and swim in the clear water.

The cities above are among the least explored cities by foreign tourists, so what are you waiting for? Make them your 2018 destinations! 

About Author

Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew

Adrian was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. He likes reading, watching TV, surfing the internet and travelling (if he has time and budget). His favourite destinations are Perth, Siem Reap, Cebu and Singapore. In regards to writing, he loves travel writing too as it helps to broaden his horizon on the different countries, culture, food etc. around the world.


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