Territory

Wonders of Malaysia

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tianyake/2238044119/
Maliau Basin. / tian yake, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Malaysia is an unusual country that is divided by the South China Sea into two distinct parts. The eastern part of Borneo island could be characterized as the “great wilderness” while the west – Malay peninsula – is richer with amazing man-made landmarks. The most impressive landmarks in this spectacular country are:

  • World’s largest cave chambers – Malaysia has some of the most spectacular caves in the world, such as Gua Nasib Bagus with its Sarawak Chamber – cave chamber of unbelievable dimensions.
  • Unique ecosystems – in many locations of Malaysia are unique tropical forests and other ecosystems. Some of the most interesting ones are montane ecosystems around Mount Kinabalu – here are found some very unusual, unique organisms.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Malaysia

Geological wonders

Deer Cave (includes Lang Cave)

Sarawak

Enormous show cave, 4.1 km long. Cave has giant cave rooms, the largest one has a height of the ceiling of 125 m, width – 169 m. The main entrance is 146 m high. The cave contains a very interesting cave formation – a cave showerhead. This feature looks like a true showerhead in the ceiling of the cave with a waterfall coming from it. In the cave lives a giant colony of bats (Tadarida plicata).

Batu Caves

Selangor

Limestone hill with a group of caves and cave temples. Some caves contain remnants of prehistoric settlements, but in 1890 here started the development of Hindu temples. An impressive part of the temple is a majestic stairway with 272 steps. The site contains numerous amazing monuments of art and architecture, including a 42.7 m tall statue of Lord Murugan that was constructed in 2006. Below the temples is Dark Cave – a 2 m long network of caves with endemic species of animals.

Batu Caves, Malaysia
Garden of Eden on Sarawak

Sarawak

Possible world’s largest sinkhole that from three sides is surrounded by 150 – 300 m high vertical walls. This is a former giant cave chamber with two giant caves (Deer Cave and Green Cave) continuing on both sides of Garden of Eden. Volume – 150 million m³, size 1,200 x 1,000 m.

Garden of Eden as seen from Deer Cave, Sarawak
Gua Nasib Bagus with Sarawak Chamber

Sarawak

This cave contains the largest known underground chamber in the world. The chamber is some 700 meters long, 396 meters wide, and 70 meters high.

Niah Great Cave

Sarawak

Enormous cave with several giant chambers, cave rooms are up to 75 m high. The cave is located in the spectacular Gunung Subis massif – group of limestone blocks rising above the surrounding plain. The cave contains remains left by people who lived in it for more than 40,000 years. Here have been found such artifacts as axes, adzes, pottery, glass beads, but the most famous find is a fragment of 38,000 years old human skull.

Gua Air Jernih (The Clearwater System)

Sarawak

The second-longest cave in Asia and eighth longest in the world, total length: 227 km. The cave system contains one of the largest underground river systems. Most likely the largest cave in the world by volume.

Low’s Gully

Sabah

Some 10 km long and up to 1.8 km deep ravine, one of the most inhospitable and at the same time – spectacular places in Borneo.

Sendirian sinkhole (Solo sinkhole)

Sarawak

A very impressive sinkhole, up to 240 m deep. At surface level, the hole is up to 115 m wide, but the walls are overhanging. Below it is wider, with enormous stalactites hanging over the patch of the jungle below.

Mount Api pinnacles

Sarawak

Group of very impressive, 20 – 50 m tall limestone needles – pinnacles rising above the rainforest.

Mount Api pinnacles, Malaysia
Merit Pila lignite mine

Sarawak

In this lignite mine, the largest known pieces of amber are found. The largest extracted piece was 3.5 m long, 1.5 m wide and some decimeters thick, but layers of amber in the lignite are even 130 m long.

Polished amber from Merit Pila, Malaysia

Biological wonders

Mount Kinabalu montane ecosystem

Sabah

A very interesting ecosystem with multiple endemic species found only here. The ecosystem includes Kinabalu giant earthworm (Pheretima darnleiensis) that grows 70 cm long and Kinabalu giant red leech (Mimobdella buettikoferi) that grows up to 45 cm long and feeds on earthworms. Here grow some 5 – 6 thousand plant species including more than 800 species of orchids, more than 600 species of ferns. 50 of them are found only here.

Rafflesia keithii near Mount Kinabalu
Endau-Rompin National Park and Mawas

Johor

One of the oldest tropical rainforest complexes in the world that contains many rare plants and animals. Forest is 870 km² large. Indigenous people in this forest tell stories about encounters with Mawas – mythical, human-like creatures who are 3 – 4 m tall. There are also recent sightings of this creature.

Maliau Basin

Sabah

An enormous, rounded platform with a diameter of some 21 – 25 km, rising per some 200 – 1000 m above the surroundings. It can be accessed only through the gorges of the Maliau River. Covered with a largely unexplored tropical forest that has never been inhabited by people.

Sunrise over the Maliau Basin
Sunrise over the Maliau Basin. / Emma Doel, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Menara – the world’s tallest tropical tree, Danum Valley

Sabah

The tallest known tree in the tropics and the tallest flowering plant in the world, a 100.8 m tall Shorea faguetiana.

Gomantong Caves

Sabah

Well known due to swiftlet nests that are collected in 90-meter height for bird’s nest soups. Enormous colonies of bats, dung beetles, centipedes, and cockroaches.

Cocroaches in Gomantong Caves, Malaysia
Mount Api pitcher plants

Sarawak

Near the summit of Mount Api (1,750 m tall) is a montane forest with an especially high diversity of pitcher plants (Nepenthes). Here grow at least 8 species of pitcher plants.

Archaeological wonders

Cueva La Conga

Jinotega

Cave with Pre-Columbian paintings and carved speleothems, the southernmost Mesoamerican cave paintings.

Architecture wonders

Petronas Towers

Kuala Lumpur

Twin skyscrapers that were the world’s tallest buildings in 1998 – 2004. Towers are 451.9 m tall, each has 88 floors.

Petronas Towers and lightning, Malaysia
Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge

Penang

24 km long bridge, second bridge that connects Penang Island to the mainland. Length over the water is 16.9 km. The bridge has several curves to keep the attention of drivers while driving over the sea. The bridge was completed in 2014.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Penang

Large city mansion of a rich Chinese merchant, built in the 1880ies. The building has indigo-blue color and contains numerous art values.

Malacca City center

Malacca

The former capital of Malacca Sultanate, the center of the Malay world in the 15th – 16th century. Later it became a Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial city and now contains lots of Peranakan (Malaccan Chinese) and European colonial architecture.

Evening in Malacca City, Malaysia
Cheng Hoon Teng

Malacca

Oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, constructed in 1645. In the temple are practiced three doctrinal systems – Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Temple is very ornate, well maintained.

Stadhuis (Malacca)

Malacca

The former residence of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor. The oldest remaining Dutch building in this part of Asia, constructed in 1650.

St. Paul’s Church in Malacca

Malacca

Ruins of an old church that was constructed in 1521, extended later in the 16th century.

George Town center

Penang

This historical British colonial town was founded in 1786. Many historical buildings and street planning has been preserved.

Malacca Straits Mosque

Malacca

Large and ornate mosque on a man-made island, constructed in 2006. The mosque looks as if it is floating on water.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Wild Malaysia: The Wildlife and Scenery of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and Sabah


Wild Malaysia is a major new pictorial study of the natural history of southeast Asia’s southernmost peninsula and offshore islands, which are home to an enormous wealth of species. Produced in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature, it is illustrated with 400 superb full-color plates taken especially for this book, of plants, insects and other invertebrates, fish, reptiles, frogs, birds, and mammals, each in its natural habitat.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Malaysia & Singapore


Whether you want to discover the best places to spot colorful fish and jungle-dwelling animals like orangutans, or are looking to sample the incredible food in the ultra-modern metropolises of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, this region offers an astounding range of experiences.


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Judith Stephens
Judith Stephens
6 months ago

You need to recheck your facts. So far from what I notice with regards to Low’s Gully on Mount Kinabalu is in Sabah but this article says it is in Sarawak. Maliau Falls in the Maliau Basin is in Sabah and again in this article you have put it as one of the natural landmarks of Sarawak.

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