Weekend getaways never looked so good

Weekend getaways never looked so good


By KAVITHA SUBRAMANIAM

WE ARE blessed to live in a country that boasts internationally-renowned tourist destinations such as George Town, Malacca, Sipadan, Langkawi and many more. Most of us would have visited these places at some point.

As fantastic as these destinations are, it is always a good idea to try out a new place once in a while. Malaysia has so many interesting, quaint towns and villages, that it would be a shame to give them a miss.

Here are some places that you might consider visiting:

Bidor

Located between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, this small town in Perak is a haven for food lovers. What may seem like a stopover town is filled with charming kopitiams (coffeeshops) and restaurants harking back to years gone by.

The most famous of which is Pun Chun Restaurant which serves up its famous duck thigh noodles and wantan mee. There is also Ah Pu’s coffeeshop, famous for its “Kopi Kau Special”. Try it out if you don’t mind a whiskey-like aftertaste!

Don’t forget to take a walk along the main street, which is lined with shops selling everything under the sun. This is a wonderful town to head to for a feel of authenticity and nostalgia.

Tampin

Located along the Negri Sembilan-Malacca border, Tampin would be easy to dismiss as lacking in tourist attractions. However, it makes up for it with a lovely, laidback atmosphere in a place looking to exist on its own terms.

Spend some time out in nature in spots such as Bukit Tampin (located in a forest reserve), Tampin Recreational Park and Tampin Lake Gardens. These are quite impressive locations for a small town.

For a bit of history, head out to the Pulau Sebang/Tampin Railway Station that was built under the British rule in 1922. It may have been badly damaged during World War II, but this train station is very much an active one, servicing trains heading to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur.

Ayer Keroh

It is very easy to miss this town when heading to Malacca. Ayer Keroh, which is on the way to Malacca city, can hold its own in terms of tourist attractions.

This is the town to be in if you are keen to check out the Malacca Zoo, Bird Park and the Botanical Gardens. There is also a Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary as well as the famous Mini Malaysia Cultural Park, which boasts replicas of traditional Malaysian houses from every state.

Mersing

This Johor town is usually a popular stop for tourists heading to Tioman Island and Rawa Island. Besides these islands, you can also head out to other beaches not too far from town such as Air Papan and Bubble Bay Beach (Teluk Buih), which is said to be just as beautiful as the famous islands.

Bentong

Bentong is a district famous for its local delicacies, such as the homemade ice-cream at Kow Po Coffee Shop. Easy to get to from Kuala Lumpur and a nice stopover on the way to Fraser’s Hill or Genting Highlands, this town in Pahang serves up the nostalgic feel in spades amidst a luscious natural backdrop.

Add to that, a famous waterfall (Chamang) and great local food. Sounds like a very enjoyable weekend getaway in the making.

Janda Baik

This lovely town is a favourite among city dwellers when it comes to weekend getaways and nature retreats. A town located in Bentong, it offers the quintessential kampung atmosphere that we hold dear to our hearts.

Nature lovers and adventurers would enjoy the waterfalls, rivers and jungles. It doesn’t hurt that this lovely town is filled with a great choice of chalets, resorts and bungalows, all set up for a comfortable stay.

Kota Baru

The capital of Kelantan holds a lot of history with mosques, palaces, batik factories and historical museums. It is mostly famous for the Siti Khadijah Wet Market, where the majority of traders are local women selling everything from vegetables and dried fish to scarves and woven products.

Wander around the city and you are bound to find excellent local food and lots of friendly smiles.

Kuala Terengganu

Terengganu is famous for its picturesque islands and beaches, but not many think about venturing to its capital city, Kuala Terengganu.

Excellent seafood aside, you will be spoilt for choice in terms of delicious local fare such as nasi dagang, lemang and keropok lekor. There are also batik factories and craft markets for those keen on some shopping – Pasar Payang is a good place to start.

This city is unlike the ones we are used to as it is more laidback. Being a seaside city definitely has its perks!

Miri

Another famous coastal city is Miri in Sarawak. Located near the border of Brunei, it’s not surprising to see people travelling via bus to and from these two places. Malaysia’s petroleum industry owes a lot to this city of rich natural resources where the first oil well was founded by Shell in 1910.

Most people visit Miri before heading off to the Gunung Mulu National Park and Niah National Park. However, this charming city has its own beautiful nature spots like Canada Hill, Flower Park and Miri City Fan, which is a public area with gardens and walkways perfect for walking and jogging.

Sandakan

Sandakan is the second largest town in Sabah, after the capital city, Kota Kinabalu. Being a coastal town, it’s no surprise that it is now a major trading port for the state.

International tourists come here for the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary and the Gomantong Caves. The Turtle Islands National Park nearby is also a favourite among tourists looking to catch a glimpse of turtles laying their eggs on the beaches of Selingan Island.

Malaysia offers many alternatives for travel spots. It is humbling to know that our country can serve up some great destinations, local food and magnificent landscapes in pretty much all the states.

Photo: Mersing.

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