Popular Cultural Attractions

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Home to an ethnic mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians, as well as several indigenous groups who maintain age-old cultural traditions, Malaysia is a mosaic of cultures. Learn more about the country’s multi-cultural heritage at these popular cultural attractions.

Johor

Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque boasts Islamic and colonial English Victorian architectural styles and sits on top of a hill
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Kota Tinggi Museum (Kota Tinggi)
• Mawar Gallery (Johor Bahru)
• Pasir Gudang Kite Museum (Pasir Gudang)
• Royal Abu Bakar Museum (Johor Bahru)
• Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque (Johor Bahru)

Kedah

Once the site of the Srivijaya Empire, an ancient Malay kingdom dating back from the first few centuries to the 12th century, Bujang Valley is Malaysia’s richest archaeological area
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum (Merbok)
• Paddy Museum (Alor Setar)
• Zahir Mosque (Alor Setar)

Built in 1912, Zahir Mosque is one of Malaysia’s oldest mosques
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Kelantan

• Cultural Centre (Kota Bharu)
• Handicraft Village & Craft Museum (Kota Bharu)

Kuala Lumpur & Selangor

A centre for Malaysian culture, art and craft, Central Market houses over 300 shops that sell local handicrafts, textile, souvenirs, collectibles and food
Photo: f11photo/Shutterstock

• Batu Caves
• Central Market
• Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex
• Little India
• Mah Meri Cultural Village (Carey Island)
• Malay Heritage Museum
• National Mosque
• National Museum
• National Textiles Gallery
• National Theatre (Istana Budaya)
• Orang Asli Craft Museum, Petaling Street (Chinatown)
• Putra Mosque
• Sewing World Gallery
• Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque (Blue Mosque)
• Thean Hou Temple
• The Heritage Centre

Malacca

Built between 1641 and 1660 on the ruins of a Portuguese fort, the terracotta red Stadthuys is said to be the oldest Dutch building in the East
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum
• Kampung Hulu Mosque
• Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park
• The Stadthuys

Negeri Sembilan

The Negeri Sembilan State Museum is modelled after a traditional Minangkabau house
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Negeri Sembilan State Museum (Seremban)
• The Royal Museum of Seri Menanti (Seri Menanti)

Penang

Also known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss, Kek Lok Si is Malaysia’s largest Buddhist temple
Photo: aaabbbccc/Shutterstock

• Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion)
Kapitan Kling Mosque
• Kek Lok Si
• Khoo Kongsi
• Kuan Yin Temple
• Penang Museum & Art Gallery
• Pinang Peranakan Mansion
• Teochew Puppet & Opera House

Check out what a typical home of a rich Baba from a century ago looks like, as well as the opulent lifestyle and the many customs and traditions of the Peranakans at the Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Perak

Sam Poh Tong Temple
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Lenggong Archaeological Museum (Lenggong)
• Sam Poh Tong Temple (Ipoh)

Perlis

• Al Hussain Mosque (Kuala Perlis)
• Kota Kayang Museum (Kangar)

Sabah

Built on a man-made lagoon, the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque has a prayer hall which houses three madrasahs (Islamic school) and can accommodate between 9,000 to 12,000 people at a time
Photo: Laily Hassan/Sabah Tourism

• Borneo Cultural Village (Papar)
• Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Cultural Village (Penampang)
• Kota Kinabalu City Mosque (Kota Kinabalu)
• Linangkit Cultural Village (Tuaran)

Learn about the culture and lifestyle of the rice farmer Kadazan-Dusun, longhouse resident Rungus, hunters and fisherman Lundayeh, cowboy and sea gypsey Bajau, and headhunting Murut ethnic tribes at Mari Mari Cultural Village
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Mari Mari Cultural Village (Kota Kinabalu)
• Murut Cultural Centre (Tenom)
• Sabah State Museum & Heritage Village (Kota Kinabalu)

Sarawak

• Annah Rais Longhouse (Kuching)

Photo: Tourism Malaysia

This Bidayuh longhouse is located about 100km south of Kuching, at the foothill of Borneo Highlands near the mountains marking the border to Kalimantan. The Bidayuh village is centred around a centuries-old bamboo longhouse, one of the finest that is still in existence.

The Bidayuh make up about 8 percent of Sarawak’s population and were formerly known as Land Dayaks.

Other than the authentic longhouse experience, the area is also famous for its hot springs and jungle waterfall.

• Sarawak Cultural Village (Santubong)

Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Learn about Sarawak’s local cultures and lifestyles at this award-winning living museum. Nine authentic replica buildings represent every major ethnic group in Sarawak: Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu longhouses; a Penan jungle settlement; a Melanau tall-house; a Malay town house; a Chinese farmhouse and pagoda.

After touring the village, catch a multi-cultural dance performance at the Village’s theatre, or sign up for dance, music and craft lessons. For those who want to stay longer, there’s a village-stay programme with accommodation in the traditional houses.

• Sarawak Museum (Kuching)

Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Home to one of the best collections in Southeast Asia, the Museum’s old wing, opened in 1891, is designed in the style of a Normandy town-house. Under its roof is an exceptional ethnographic collection, some notable natural history displays and a section on Sarawak’s oil industry.

Be sure to check out the exhibition of traditional wood-carvings on the first floor. The new wing across the footbridge is used for events and exhibitions. Do make time to explore the aquarium, botanical gardens and Heroes’ Memorial on the Museum grounds.

• Tua Pek Kong Temple (Kuching)

Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Sitting on a foothill, offering a commanding view of Sarawak River and Main Bazaar, the ornately decorated Tua Pek Kong Temple was one of the few buildings that survived the 1884 Great Fire of Kuching. The Temple is said to have the best feng shui location in Kuching.

The temple is believed to date back to 1843 and has been on official records since 1876. Various traditional festivals are held there every year, including the famous Wang Kang Festival to commemorate the dead.

Info Source: Sarawak Tourism Board

Terengganu

Taman Tamadun Islam
Photo: Tourism Malaysia

• Taman Tamadun Islam/The Islamic Civilisation Park (Kuala Terengganu)
• Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (Kuala Terengganu)
• Terengganu State Museum (Kuala Terengganu)