Fraser’s Hill and the Cameron Highlands offer a taste of colonial Malaysia, and there are good walks around the Cameron Highlands. There are many islands you can visit off both the west and east coasts of the Peninsula, although the east coast islands come closer to popular notions of palm-fringed island idylls. Penang has a wide selection of hotels and tourist facilities and a fantastic historical centre. Pulau Langkawi has developed rapidly and is more the haunt of upmarket resorts than budget-friendly guesthouses. Georgetown, the capital of Penang, is Malaysia’s second city of architectural and historical note, with probably the finest assembly of Sino-colonial architecture in the region. It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2008.
One of the main highlights of a visit is the food. Malaysians, like their neighbours in Singapore, love their food, and the dishes of the three main communities – Malay, Chinese and Indian – comprise a hugely varied national menu. Even within each ethnic cuisine, there is a vast choice; every state has its own special Malay dishes and the different Chinese provincial specialities are well represented. In addition there is North Indian food, South Indian food and Indian Muslim food. Nyonya cuisine is found in the old Straits Settlements of Penang and Melaka. Malaysia also has great seafood, which the Chinese do best, and in recent years a profusion of restaurants, representing other Asian and European cuisines, have set up, mainly in the big cities.