Malaysia is the crowning jewel that lies at the very end of Southeast Asia, jutting out with the Malaccan Straits to meet the islands of Indonesia and the Java Sea. It’s a nation distinctly divided in two. On the western side sits built-up Malaya; the old stronghold of British colonial power that’s now buzzing with electric Kuala Lumpur and multicultural UNESCO towns in Penang.
Kuala Lumpur comes spiked at the center by the two great spires of the Petronas Towers, packed with markets and heady hawker bazaars down Petaling Street, throbbing with the energy of Bukit Bintang – the entertainment city – and awash with the scents of everything from frying Chinese chow mien to sizzling Portuguese fish barbeques.
It’s one of the world’s great multicultural metropolises, with lantern-lit Chinatown butting up to districts of Nepalese curry houses and Indian thali kitchens. Apart from the breathtaking views of the cityscape from the countless sky bars, you can visit the mysterious Batu Caves and some acclaimed Islamic art institutions.