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After hosting the 1998 Commonwealth Games, for which Malaysia invested over £300 million, sports facilities have been greatly improved throughout the country and the recent construction of a new £44-million Formula One racing circuit in Sepang (located adjacent to Kuala Lumpur International Airport). However, it is Malaysia's beaches and rainforests which endure as the main attraction for activity holidays.
Games like Wall Climbing, Parachuting, skateboarding, rollerblading, Mountain Biking, Paragliding, Rock climbing, Scuba Diving, deep water diving, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, Trail running and sailing can be found in Malaysia.
The tropical waters off peninsular Malaysia and Borneo offer ideal conditions for scuba diving. Water visibility is often greater than 30m (100ft). The selection below gives a brief overview of some of Malaysia's best dive sites:
Recommended Dive Operator link,
Malaysia Nature Specialist- Offer nature, offbeaten and diving tour
Dive The World Malaysia Ė scuba diving Sipadan Island
Malaysia resort diving and Borneo adventures in Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, Layang Layang and Lankayan island and PADI dive courses.
PADI IDC Malaysia - PADI Instructor Development Courses and Scuba Diving in amazing Malaysia
online Diving resource center. Where chat online, speak on forum and find best deals and courses
Diving in Bali - Diving in Bali and Indonesia with Bali's premier PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center.
http://www.portdouglasreefcharters.com/ - Complete directory of charter boats in Port Douglas and tour bookings at no extra charge
Located northwest of Kota Kinabulu, off the coast of Sabah and accessible by air, this coral atoll consists of 13 coral reefs linked together. Underwater sights include an amazing array of corals and marine life and cliffs that plunge 2000m to the ocean bed.
Located off the north eastern coast of Borneo, Pulau Sipadan is Malaysia's only oceanic island. It is renowned for its wide range of rare marine species.
Sipadan Diving Vacation - Experience the wonders of the underwater realm at the bio-diversity hotspot of Southeast Asia.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Very close to Kota Kinabulu (15 minutes by boat). One of the most popular sites in this area is Mamutik and Sapi.Located in Borneo, easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu. Local marine life includes manta rays, lion fish and whale sharks (from December to April).
About 1 hourís boat ride from kinabalu jetty.
One of the Survival TV series where shooting here, great place for marine life.
Located north of Kuching, off the coast of Sarawak, Borneo. Popular dive sites include 'Sea Fan Garden', 'Atago Maru', a Japanese World War II shipwreck and 'Scubasa Reef', a swallow reef which provides refuge for migrating turtles during August, each year.
Popular wreck-diving destination. Two wrecks from ships sunk in World War II, and one recent Malaysian wreck.
Located within the Pahang Marine Parks, consisting of eight islands. One of the best dive sites is Tiger Reef, which has a particularly high number of sea fans; divers should note that currents can be very strong.
Home to Malaysia's first protected marine park, the Terengganu Marine Park, located north of Kuala Terengganu. The Pulau Redang archipelago contains nine islands. Popular sites include the 'Mini Mount' (good for both day and night dives), the 'Picture Wall' (dotted with sea fans and corals) and 'Cathedral Arches' (canyon network with huge arches). 'Turtle Bay', known for its sea turtles, is at the northern end of the island.
Popular weekend getaway for Malaysians, located south of Terengganu, accessible by air. The waters are protected by marine park status.
Pulau Paya Marine Park
Located on peninsular Malaysia, in the south of Langkawi Island (a busy tourist resort) in the north of the Malacca Straits.
Eastern Malaysia's northernmost island group consisting of Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, located in the South China Sea, off the coast of Kelantan. Can be reached on a fishing-boat trip from Kuala Besut, a small fishing village on the mainland. A fairly isolated region, praised by divers for the giant soft corals, large schools of pelagic fish and nocturnal shellfish.
Trekking and caving
More than 70% of Malaysia is covered in forests, of which the rainforest is reputedly the world's oldest (130 million years). There are many national parks and lotís of wildlife reserves and protected areas. Many of the parks offer excellent trails for jungle-trekking, particularly at Taman Negara National Park (peninsular Malaysia). In East Malaysia, the best treks are in Sarawak, Borneo and Gunung Mulu National Park, which is renowned amongst caving enthusiasts. The recently discovered Sarawak Chamber and the 107km-longest Clearwater Cave (accessible by boat only) are favourite destinations. Permits for Gunung Mulu National Park must be obtained in Miri (please before arrival), reached either by a short flight or a couple of 3-hour boat trips.
Adventurous trekkers may wish to explore the Kelabit Highlands around nearby Bario, but these are quite demanding and should only be undertaken in the company of a local guide. Another famous trekking destination is the Kinabalu National Park, located in the state of Sabah, whose centrepiece, Mount Kinabulu (4101m/13,452ft), is South-East Asia's highest peak. Despite its size, Kinabulu is very easy to climb. No skills are required, but a guide and a climbing permit (which can be bought on location) are still compulsory. The climb involves an overnight stay in one of the rest houses along the route. Due to the altitude, people with high blood pressure or heart problems should not attempt the climb.
Please refer to the main page for more details about National Park and forest reserve (www.endemicguides.com).
Malaysia has more than 100 golf courses. The locations vary from coast to tropical rainforest or the mountainous highlands. The Malaysian Open Golf Championships and international tournaments are help in Malaysia, attracts many top professionals.
Malaysia has many unusual sports, including Gasing-top spinning (called Main Gasing), which uses tops fashioned from hardwood and delicately balanced with lead. Wau-kite flying is a traditional pastime. Sepak Takraw is a game like volleyball, played with a ball made of rattan strips. Players may use their heads, knees and feet only but not their hands.
Malaysia's central railway travels largely through areas of dense jungle. It commences near Kota Bahru and continues via Kuala Krai, Gua Musang, Kuala Lipis and Jerantut to meet the Singapore-KL railway line at Gemas. Owing to extensive road building, this itinerary may change, and travellers are advised to check with Tourism Malaysia (see address section).
Malaysian 'longhouses', which are common along the rivers in Sarawak and Sabah, are really entire villages housed under one single roof, inhabited by native communities.
Lot's of reputation karate training centres offer regular training sessions under black-belt instructors. Visitors are welcome to receive free karate training for one week in any of the centres. A list can be obtained from the Chief Instructor, Karate Budokan International, Jalan Jubilee, Kuala Lumpur.