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2 May, 2012

PATA Conference Highlights Malaysia’s Top 15 Cultural And Natural Attractions

The PATA annual conference held in Kuala Lumpur between 19-22 April 2012 allowed Malaysia to showcase some of its most important visitor attractions. The following is a compilation of 15 of the country’s top cultural and natural attractions – ranging from national parks to mosques and theme parks. One prominent attraction has been identified in each state, as well as one each in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Visitors to Malaysia should find time to check out each on of them, thus covering the entire country over repeat visits.



The Royal Museum of Seri Menanti, Seri Menanti: Malaysia’s largest timber palace. Witness the ingenuity and creativity of ancient craftsmen in this architectural masterpiece, which was built without the use of nails or screws. Constructed at the turn of the 20th century, it was the official residence of the royal family until 1931. This former palace has 99 pillars, each soaring 65 feet, representing the 99 warriors of various clans. In 1992, it was turned into a museum, which showcases the regalia of the Negeri Sembilan Royal Family as well as exhibits such as costumes, ceremonial weaponry, bed chambers and document on the Royal Lineage. Opening hours: 10.00am-6.00pm. Admission is free.



Taman Negara: Estimated to be 130 million years old, Taman Negara is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Malaysia’s premier national park, is a haven for a diversity of plants, animals, birds, butterflies, insects and fish. Unique attractions in this 434,350ha park are ancient trees with giant buttresses, limestone caves, waterfalls and jungle-clad mountains. Taman Negara straddles across all three states in the east coast region-Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. However, over half of its total area, including the park headquarters, is located in Pahang.

Visitors can enjoy a casual stroll along the world’s longest canopy walkway, go jungle trekking, try river cruising or canoeing, visit the Orang Asli Village (indigenous people), watch nocturnal animals from the observation hides, climb Gunung Tahan, Peninsular Malaysia’s highest mountain, or go birdwatching to see 350 species of birds

There are four entry points to Taman Negara; via Kuala Tahan or Sungai Relau in Pahang, Kuala Koh in Kelantan and Tanjung Mentong in Terengganu. Each enterway offers different activities and attractions. Permits and licences can be obtained from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Accommodation is available.  For further details, please visit www.wildlife.gov.my



Islamic Civilisation Park: “This is the first theme park in the world to showcase Islamic architecture.” Sprawling over 33 ha, the Islamic Civilisation Park is one of the state’s most distinguished attractions. Featuring impressive edifices and intricate craftsmanship, the park takes visitors on a spellbinding tour of the finest in Islamic architecture. The park’s icon is the glittering Crystal Mosque, a grand structure made of steel and glass. Take a stroll around the Monument park, where visitors can view the replicas of 22 historical Islamic monuments found around the world. Among them are the Al-Hambra Citadel in Spain, Masjidil Haram in Saudi Arabia, Dome of Rock in Palestine and Taj Mahal in India. For further details, please check out www.tti.com.my.



Kampung Laut Mosque, Nilam Puri: This mosque is acclaimed as the oldest in the state, and one of the oldest in the Malay archipelago. Originally situated in Kampung Laut, Tumpat, this mosque was moved to its present location in Nilam Puri after the site was flooded in 1968. This mosque was said to have been built by Islamic missionaries who travelled between Champa and Java, with the help of some locals. It is noted to have similarities to the Demak Mosque in Jawa, built in 1401. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately.




A’Famosa Resort, Alor Gajah: The largest safari and water theme park in Malaysia”. The star attraction in Alor Gajah, the A’Famosa Resort boasts several themed attractions, which include the A’Famosa Water World, A’Famosa Animal World Safari, A’Famosa Cowboy Town and a children’s theme park. This resort is situated just off the North-South Expressway.

Must do:

-Go for tube and raft rides as well as high speed slides

-Observe savannah animals from safari trucks

-Watch the Red Indian show and Animal Musical Parade

-Try exciting rides and games at the Children’s Theme Park

Further details, www.afamosa.com



Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque (Blue Mosque): Popularly known as ‘the Blue Mosque’, this is one of the largest mosques in South-east Asia, and has the capacity to accommodate up to 24,000 worshippers at any one time. It is also one of the most stunning structures in Malaysia. Decorative Islamic calligraphy dominates the edges surrounding the dome and main prayer hall, while the interior architecture exhibits ethnic Malay design elements. The four minarets which reach the height of 142m in the air are the tallest in the world, and the blue and silver dome 51.2m diameter wide and soars to a height of 106.7m above the ground is the largest religious dome. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately. Nearby, the Taman Seni Islam displays the wealth of Islamic arts, including craft, calligraphy and visual arts.



Legoland Malaysia: is the sixth Legoland to be built in the world and the very first in Asia. Targeted at families with children between the ages of two to twelve (12) years, Legoland Parks are based on the universally popular Lego construction toy range. Legoland Malaysia is a RM720 million theme park covering 76 acres (or 31 hectares) of adventure geared with family fun. On opening day, it will be packed full of more than 40 rides, shows and attractions. Nearly all of the rides are hands-on, so you can push, pull, pedal, programme, steer, squirt, splash, crawl, climb and yes – build your way through a full day and more, of non-stop fun. The park is divided up into seven themed areas. Each theme area is designed to ensure that heroes of all ages will find much to explore and enjoy at the LEGO experiment centers, roller coasters, water attractions and shows. The whole family can thus embark on a day-long voyage of discovery, adventure and fun!

For further details: www.legoland.com.my



Perlis State Park: The Park is situated on the longest continuous range of limestone hills in the country, called the Nakawan Range. The Nakawan Range has beautiful, heavily forested slopes, sheer cliff faces, streams and extensive cave systems. Some of the major attractions in Perlis State Park includes the various caves such as Gua Kelam and Gua Wang Burma which is located within the 500 year-old Setul limestone formation. The Park consists of Mata Ayer Forest Reserve and Wang Mu Forest Reserve with a total area of about 5000 hectares. The park is home to animals such as the Macaque and plants like ginger, ferns and balsams endemic to the state are found here. Visitor can stay in hostels and chalets or camp at the designated site. Those intending to visit are required to obtain permission from the Perlis State Park management and engage the services of a ranger or qualified guide.

For more information about Perlis State Park, kindly contact the Perlis State Park Visitor’s Centre at +604-977 7578/ 945 7898. Alternatively contact Tourism Malaysia Perlis Office at +604-978 1235/ 978 1213.



The Paddy Museum, Kedah: It is the first paddy museum in Malaysia, and the fourth to be opened in the world after Japan, Germany and the Philippines. The unique architecture of the Paddy Museum represents bushels of harvested rice stalks. The museum showcases the paddy cultivation process in Malaysia and displays all kinds of tools and equipment which have been used in the trade over the years. Through beautiful murals, the art work of 60 artists from North Korea, the history of paddy cultivation in Malaysia is revealed. It honours the history, culture and significance of paddy farming in Kedah and is dedicated to the hardworking and simple paddy farmers, whose blood, sweat and toil have contributed to the objective of achieving self sufficiency in the rice industry.

For more information, please contact the Paddy Museum at Tel: +604 735 1315 or Lembaga Muzium Negeri Kedah (Kedah Museum Board) at Tel: +604- 733 1162. Alternatively, you may also contact Tourism Malaysia Kedah Office at Tel: +604-731 2322 / 730 1322



Lake Gardens, Taiping, Perak: From its humble origins as an abandoned tin mine, the Lake Gardens is today one of the most scenic spots in the country. Donated by Mr. Chung Thye Phin who was a member of Perak State Council, the Lake Gardens was opened to the public in 1880. With Bukit La rut standing gracefully as its backdrop, surrounded by ten lakes and ponds, the Lake Gardens makes a picturesque sight, fitting its original concept of replicating the Lake District of England. Take a stroll back in time along the Taman Tasik Street previously known as the Residency Road, lined by hundred-year old rain trees. The turf grass Axonopus compress us, locally known as cow grass, covers most of the 62-hectare Taiping Lake Gardens making it the best-looking lawn in the country. The park is planted with various interesting tropical plants such as traveller’s palms, betel palm trees, coconuts, special bamboos, various rainforest trees, water lilies, etc. The lake itself serves as a popular venue for boat riding and rowing and has become a popular venue for photography, especially weddings.

Entrance Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: 7:00am – 7:00 pm

For further information, kindly contact:

E-mail: mpt@mptaiping.gov.my



 Sabah Agricultural Park, Tenom: Set against the lush greenery of the Crocker Range, this 202-hectare park is an ideal venue for knowledge-orientated and nature-based activities. Visitors can explore the elaborate gardens and educational centres for a deeper appreciation of Mother Nature. The Native Orchid Centre is recognised as one of the most important centres in the world for the conservation of native Bornean orchid species. Approximately 1,500 plants consisting of 400 species are housed here including endemic slipper orchids, elephant ear orchid, rat tail orchid, giant orchid and rose orchid. Over 400 species of plants are systematically cultivated in 15 different sections in an eight-acre Living Crops Museum. The crops are highlighted according to functions such as medicine, perfume, beverage, etc. A must-visit is the tropical fruits section which features over 200 species of local and wild fruits as well as introduced fruits that originate from as far as South America, Africa, India and Australia.

Opening Hours: 9:00am to 4:30pm from Tuesday to Sunday



Kuching North Orchid Garden, Sarawak: Situated next to Astana (the Official Residence of the State Governor), opposite the Waterfront, the Kuching Orchid Garden has become an icon for Kuching, the state capital of Sarawak. The 6.2-hectare garden overlooks the magnificent building which is the new Sarawak State Legislative Assembly house. The construction of the garden commenced in November 2007 and was completed in May 2009. It has a collection of 40,000 orchids from 65 epiphytic and terrestrial species and hybrids, grown in the open and shaded areas resembling their natural habitats. Among the famous Borneo orchids found in the garden are the lady’s slipper Paphiopedilum sanderianum, a unique green and black-flowered orchid Coelogyne pandurata, a species which releases an unfavourable smell Bulbophyllum beccari, a fragrant species Vanda dearei and the ‘Normah Orchid’ Phalaenopsis violacea which was declared the state flower of Sarawak on 28 August 1983. Normah Orchid – light green in colour and flushed with bright purple towards the base -has been used to produce many colourful star-shaped novelty hybrids.

Entrance Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: 9:30am – 6:00 pm. Tuesday- Sunday

For further information, e-mail: qrc@dbku.gov.my



Penang Botanic Gardens: Established in 1884, Penang Botanic Gardens is the country’s oldest garden. Converted from an old granite quarry site, the gardens offer programmes and knowledge enrichment to visitors on the historical and cultural heritage of the gardens, flora and fauna collections and natural landscape. For recreational purposes, the gardens is a popular venue among the locals and tourists for jogging, walking, jungle-trekking and aerobics exercises. The most conspicuous plants are the cannonball trees. As visitors move on inside the gardens, other interesting plants include the betel palm (pinang) the plant from which the name of Penang Island originated from, and the black lily with its unique purplish black coloured flowers. The garden is also renowned for its wildlife which includes the long-tailed macaque, dusky leaf monkey and black giant squirrel.

Entrance Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: 7:00am-7:00pm (Open all year round)

For further information, kindly contact E-mail: botanipenang@gov.my



Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque): Hailed as KL’s oldest surviving mosque, Masjid Jamek was built in 1909 and officially opened by the then Sultan of Selangor. Its design was inspired by Moghul architecture with cupolas, minarets and arched colonnades. Just minutes away is Masjid India, another mosque showcasing southern Indian architectural elements.





Putra Mosque: One of the most famous landmarks in Putrajaya, this mosque is distinguished by its magnificent pink dome. It is constructed with rose-tinted granite and inspired by some of the world’s most famous mosques. The basement wall resembles the King Hassan Mosque in Casablanca, Morroco while the minaret is designed after the Sheik Omar Mosque in Baghdad. Putra Mosque is made up of three main areas: the Sahn or courtyard, the prayer hall as well as the function room. Standing at 116m in height, the minaret of the Putra Mosque is the highest in the region. It has five tiers, representing the five pillars of Islam”. Visitors should be dressed appropriately.