Malaysia offers two very distinct experiences: the peninsula and Borneo (an island shared with Indonesia and Brunei). The peninsula is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors with an efficient and modern capital, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Borneo features some of the most interesting places in Malaysia with a wild jungle, orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes. Combined with some beautiful islands, luxury resorts and colonials towns, Malaysia, for most visitors, presents a happy mix.

Almost 2 million foreign tourists traveled to Malaysia in 2010. Most of them were citizens from neighboring countries such as Singapore and Indonesia but a growing number of other foreign tourists are discovering this country as well.

The top 10 Malaysia tourist attractions:

10Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations, first developed by the British in the 1920s. It has a population of more than 34,000 people consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups. The Cameron Highlands is renowned for its trails. They lead visitors through the forest to waterfalls and other tranquil spots. Apart from its jungle walks, the sanctuary is also known for its tea plantations and visitors can book several “tea factory” tours.

See Also: Where to Stay in Cameron Highlands

9Georgetown Inner City

Named after Britain’s King George III, Georgetown is located on the north-east corner of Penang Island. Most of George Town’s population is of Chinese origin. Due to strict controls, George Town retains many of its colonial-era shophouses to this day. It is officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in Southeast Asia. The town truly springs to life in the evenings, when most of the locals head to the nearby street hawkers to have their meals and drinks.

See Also: Where to Stay in Georgetown Inner City

8Taman Negara
Taman Negaraflickr/wazari

Taman Negara, which literally means “national park” in Malay, is one of the oldest tropical rain forest in the world. It features massive trees, waterfalls, jungle treks of various duration and the world’s longest canopy walkways. Several trails enable the visitor to explore the forest without a guide. Taman Negara is a haven for endangered species such as the Asian elephant, tigers, leopards and rhinos, but numbers are low and sightings are very rare. It’s unlikely that you will see anything more than birds, small deer, lizards, snakes and perhaps a tapir.

See Also: Where to Stay in Taman Negara

7Pulau Tioman

Tioman is a small island located off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. In the 1970s, Time Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Tourists have surged to the island ever since, seeking a taste of paradises. The island is surrounded by numerous white coral reefs, making it a haven for scuba divers while the interior is densely forested. Visitors outnumber villagers outside the monsoon (November to February), but Tioman can be virtually deserted at other times.

See Also: Where to Stay in Pulau Tioman

6Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabaluflickr/Eric in SF

With a summit height at 4,095 meters (13,435 ft), Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo. The mountain is known worldwide for its tremendous botanical and biological species biodiversity. Over 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species have been identified at Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding. The main peak of the mountain can be climbed easily by a person with a good physical condition, and requires no mountaineering equipment although climbers must be accompanied by guides at all times.

5Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings before being surpassed in 2004 by Taipei 101. However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings in the world. The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. The Petronas Twin Towers feature a sky bridge between the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors.

See Also: Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur

4Langkawi
Langkawiflickr/trekker308

Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of about 65,000, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Fringed with long, white beaches and with an interior of jungle covered hills and craggy mountain peaks, it’s easy to see why this is Malaysia’s most heavily promoted tourist destination. The most popular beaches can be found on the west coast with a wide choice of restaurants and eateries and some of the best resorts in Langkawi.

See Also: Where to Stay in Langkawi

3Perhentian Islands
Perhentian Islandsflickr/Adamina

Located off the coast of northeastern Malaysia not far from the Thai border. The Perhentian Islands are the must-go place in Malaysia for budget travelers. They have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and great diving with plenty of cheap accommodation. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil (“Small Perhentian”). Both the islands have palm-fringed white sandy beaches and turquoise blue sea.

See Also: Where to Stay in Perhentian Islands

2Sepilok Rehabilition Centre
Sepilok Rehabilition Centre

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation opened in 1964 for rescued orphaned baby orangutans from logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting. The orphaned orangutans are trained to survive again in the wild and are released as soon as they are ready. The Orang Utan sanctuary is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, much of which is virgin rainforest. About 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve. It is one of Sabah’s top tourist attractions and a great stopover on any Malaysia itinerary.

1Mulu Caves
#1 of Tourist Attractions In Malaysiaflickr/robdu91

The Mulu Caves are located in the Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysian Borneo. The park encompasses incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting. The Sarawak chamber found in one of the underground caves is the largest cave chamber in the world. It has been said that the chamber is so big that it could accommodate about 40 Boeing 747s, without overlapping their wings. The enormous colony of Wrinkle-lipped bats in the nearby Deer Cave exit almost every evening in search of food in a spectacular exodus.

Perhaps the ultimate luxury destination, the Maldives has become a synonym for paradise whether it is for honeymooners, sun worshipers or scuba divers. Aside from the capital Male, there are no hotels in the Maldives, only resorts. Most resorts take up their own island, so the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world.

This list presents the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, as rated by visitors. Resorts in the Maldives are not cheap even at the bottom end, and these luxury resorts definitely come at a price, but they do offer the best the Maldives has to offer.

10Soneva Gili Resort
Soneva Gili Resortflickr/juzblurbs

The Soneva Gili Resort offers 45 luxurious over-water villas, including several villas that can only be reached by boat. Every villa has been designed and built with the utmost attention to detail. Each has its own private water garden and sun decks. The bathrooms have a separate shower accessed along an open-air walkway. Guests have the option to dine on the villa deck under moonlight and enjoy the sunset.

9Lily Beach Resort & Spa
Lily Beach Resort & Spa

The Lily Beach Resort & Spa offers piece, serenity and beautiful natural surroundings combined with excellent resort facilities. After an extensive renovation the resort was reopened in 2009 as an all-inclusive 5 star luxury resort.

8Naladhu Resort
Naladhu Resort

Naladhu is a small Maldives Resort with just 19 villas. The villas feature lavish floor to ceiling glass sliding doors and a large living and bedroom area. Rooms are equipped with bathrooms that have their own outdoor area with both a rainshower and infinity edge terrazzo bathtub.

7Veligandu Island Resort
Veligandu Island Resortflickr/oder345nn

The Veligandu Island Resort is the only 4-star hotel on this list of luxury resorts in the Maldives. The designs of the resort’s architecture, right down to the final touches, are authentically Maldivian. The resort offers 76 rooms, including 54 Jacuzzi Water Villas, 10 Water Villas and 12 Jacuzzi Beach Villas.

6Mirihi Island Resort
Mirihi Island Resortflickr/KAZ2.0

Perhaps the most affordable on the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, The Mirihi Island Resort offers 36 villas that are equipped with the standard amenities of a 5 star-hotel. Blessed with white beaches, turquoise blue waters and one of the most amazing house-reefs, this is truly a great resort.

5Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa

The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa contains several thatch-roofed bungalows stretching over a pristine beach. The resort offers several swimming pools, water sports, restaurants, lounges, a library, and spa facilities. Many of the guest bungalows at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa offer glass floors for observation of the sea below. Each guest room boasts a balcony or terrace with views of the Indian Ocean.

4Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru offers 44 acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of the Baa Atoll, the only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Snorkel with turtles, manta rays and whale sharks in one of the Maldives’s largest natural lagoons. Guest accommodation is in thatched beach villas and over-water villas. Resort facilities include 3 dining options, an infinity pool and a serene spa located on its own island.

3Taj Exotica Resort And Spa
Taj Exotica Resort And Spaflickr/pyjama

Most of the Taj Exotica Resort And Spa’s luxurious villas are perched over the lagoon with nothing but blue ocean waters and glorious sunsets to block the view. All the villas are palm-thatched, and the interiors are designed in classic Maldivian style. The villas offer sun-decks, and some offer private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and verandas with day beds and private spa rooms.

2Baros Maldives
Baros Maldivesflickr/nattu

There are 75 wooden villas at the Baros Maldives Resort which are comfortably styled and all offer a variety of amenities. Guests of the hotel will have many amenities offered to them, including an on-site spa that offers Swedish massage, body wraps and tropical fruit facials, waterfall plunge pools, in-house restaurants and bars and scuba diving lessons.

1Cocoa Island Resort
#1 of Luxury Resorts In Maldives

Rated as the best luxury resort in the Maldives, Cocoa Island Resort is ideally located along crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and breath-taking sunsets. Most of the rooms are uniquely inspired by dhoni boats, the style of vessel used by local fishermen in the Maldives. They are adjoined by simple wooden walkways built above the shallow lagoon. The view from the wide platform bed is directly out to the ocean. The bathrooms share the horizon views.