It is said ‘out of sight out of mind’ but in travel, it’s usually the opposite. Even if a place tick marks all the boxes, we tend to ignore it in favor of more popular destinations. You know why? Because the grass is always greener on the other side. We tend to choose holiday places by the potential of likes and comments it can garner on Facebook. Far away places appear to be more exotic than nearby (less popular but equally good) places. Selangor, Malaysia has everything you would want in a perfect holiday destination but still, you should NEVER visit it. Intrigued?
Here are my 10 reasons why you should NEVER visit Selangor, Malaysia
1) The heart of Malaysia
Selangor is the biggest and the most developed part of Malaysia. It is located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west. Did you know the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya were once under Selangor’s territorial sovereignty until Selangor decided to give them away? You can make it your base and travel anywhere around Malaysia. Or for that matter even Singapore and Thailand. There’s a highway that connects the three countries. I am already dreaming about a multi country road trip.
2) Land of adventure
For an adventure buff, there can’t be a better way to start a trip than jumping off a cliff to get a bird’s eye view of the paradisiacal beauty of Malaysia. Before I paraglided I didn’t know that Kuala Kubu Bharu has received testimonials from some of the top paragliders in the world for having the best view-cum-facilities. Last year alone, three major paragliding competitions were hosted here: Malaysia Accuracy Open, Paragliding Accuracy World Cup and Malaysia Open Cross-Country. I met my paragliding team at the Stadium Millennium, from where we drove for 15 minutes in a 4WD to Bukit Batu Pahat. The take-off point at Bukit Batu Pahat, which is 1400-foot above sea level.
The wind conditions were good and we flew for 20 minutes. The lush green forests tightly hugged the mountains and blue water bodies, while the fluffy clouds added a bit more romance to the setting. It was Zen like to fly like a bird. The pleasant breeze kept caressing my tresses while I enjoyed listening to my pilot’s tales. He was cool to allow me to navigate the parachute for a while. We even tried some summersaults in the air.
Besides paragliding, Kuala Kubu Bharu is best known for whitewater rafting, hiking and waterfall chasing. Unfortunately, I was super tired and running low on time to experience those. But there’s always the next time.
It was a dream come true for a motorsport fan to watch the MotoGP Race at Sepang International Circuit.
3) Nature Retreat
It’s hard to imagine an industrialised state like Selangor can be a haven for nature lovers. But paradoxes do exist. Selangor is a living proof. Hulu Selangor is a very green state with plenty of parks and forest reserves and, along with its eastern fringe, there are still huge swathes of jungle covered hills to explore and enjoy. Many of the Tin mining excavations have been converted into lakes. Staying at Sticks Resort in the middle of a Jungle was ultimate digital detoxification.
A place, where you disconnect from the world to connect with nature and yourself. Where you can enjoy the musical gurgling of the river, chirping of birds, the fragrance of flowers and freshly barbecued food made by our lovely host Rubin and his beautiful wife. It was pure bliss. Albeit a few insects tried to get cozy with my co-traveler friend, Jo.
Another experience that I really loved was the Mangrove River Cruise, where I savored the sights and sounds of monkeys, mudskippers, eagles, exotic birds, and monitor lizards. Fortunately, the weather was clear and the cool sea salt breeze splashed us each time the boat accelerated. Too bad we didn’t get to see ‘Samundar mein naha kar’ performance by Sudipto 😛
4) Affordable Luxury
Have you ever dreamt of having a Maldives experience at 1/5th the price? Well, I didn’t but I experienced it first-hand. The first time I saw the picture of the Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort I wondered if Selangor Tourism Board was tricking us by flying to Maldives or Bora Bora instead of Selangor. But we were in for a pleasant surprise. With 392 water villas, the scale of the resort was mind-blowing. The huge water villas were so spread out that it took almost 15 minutes to walk from reception to the farthest water villas. Fortunately, there were large golf buggies and free bicycles to take us around.
Unlike the Maldives and Bora Bora, the water at Avani Resort wasn’t turquoise blue. But if you are interested in the amazing sunset views and the serene calm environ of a luxury villa over a calm bay at 1/5th the price, this resort is a fantastic option. Also, this is an ideal place for large group MICE conferences and destination weddings.
It wasn’t just the Avani Resort which enchanted me with its luxury living. The Palace of the Golden Horses, tagged as "Asia's Most Extraordinary Hotel", was a masterpiece in itself. A world-class, award-winning, palatial hotel that has hosted the who’s who of the world and where hit movies like Kabali were shot.
5) One stop holiday destination
If you are looking for a one-stop destination that is not too far from Kuala Lumpur and has all kinds of fun activities, the 7 million square feet Sunway City is your answer. A multi-award winning township located just 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur has Sunway Lagoon, Sunway Resorts, and Sunway Pyramid.
In Sunway Lagoon, you’ll find five different theme parks with more than 80 rides and attractions to choose from. “Dil toh bacha hai jee” crossed my mind as I hopped through the Water Park, Amusement Park, Wildlife Park, Extreme Park and Scream Park the whole day. The big daddy of amusement parks houses the world’s largest man-made sandy surf beach, world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, Asia’s highest slingshot ride, Malaysia’s first interactive zoo and one of Asia’s longest flying fox trails. There are plenty of activities like paintball war games, mountain biking, bungee jumping, go-karting, ATV rides among others to keep you busy.
After an action-packed day at the Sunway Lagoon, I dropped in at the Sunway Pyramid. With an Egyptian motif, the shopping mall is housed in a large pyramid, with a monumental Sphinx welcoming visitors at its entrance.
6) Rich culture and heritage
Selangor surprised me with its heritage towns of Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB) and Klang. After having Teh Tarik (milk tea with lots of sugar) and Chana Roti (bread with vegetable curry), I walked through the sleepy heritage town of KKB, which is a jump off point for several outdoor activities like rafting, hiking, and paragliding. Walking through the Instagrammable block of four parallel streets lined with well-preserved 1920s shophouses, I felt I had time traveled to the 1920s. An era when match-box sized compact towns were in vogue with tree-lined pathways, cobbled streets, graffiti-adorned walls and mountain views.
Baru in Malay language means new. The town you are standing in is not the original town. It was planned in 1925 after the original Kuala Kubu was washed away by disastrous floods in 1883.
Said the owner of a home appliances shop, who fascinatingly believed in equality - equal shop front space to a real and a me-too brand.
Another place that I loved exploring was Klang, established as a seat of power during the height of the tin-mining era. A place where all cultures and religions coexist harmoniously. The royal city of Selangor is home to the eclectic 19th-century Sultan Sulaiman Mosque, named after its reigning sultan when Klang was at its peak. After walking through the old quarters reminiscent of Royal Sultanate era, Colonial era, and Indian immigrant era; I reached the ‘Little India’. An area where I was greeted by the Bollywood music, the smell of South Indian spices and a sea of saris and Punjabi suits, over-the-top jewelry, and traditional knick-knacks. Did I say I missed India? Not really.
7) Shopping Haven
I am not a big fan of shopping but it’s impossible to visit Selangor and not shop. Even a reluctant shopper like me surrendered to the retail therapy. Any guesses what I shopped? Of course, shoes. My reason to purchase – good quality at unheard of prices. Though Malaysia is not as cheap as Thailand or Vietnam for shopping you get good quality stuff at great prices and there are malls all around to lure you.
8) Easy Connectivity
Selangor is the country’s primary port of entry and strategically located around the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. There are regular flights from across the world. I flew in with Malindo Air from Delhi to KL for the first time. The flight was on time and comfortable. Although food and service could be improved. While getting in Selangor is a cake walk, moving in and around Selangor is stress-free too. The public transportation makes it easy to move around from one place to another. You can either take a train, bus or Uber.
9) People first
For a solo traveler like me, the most important thing about a place is its people. And I must say Malaysians are very kind, extremely polite, soft-spoken, helpful, assiduous and punctual people. They would go out of their way to accommodate even your last-minute requests. And this I am speaking from my many visits.
10) No visa hassles
Last but not the least. It’s become super easy to travel to Malaysia, especially for Indians. Within five minutes you get e-visa at 20 USD fees. No need to take prints outs, set aside a day off to visit the embassy or employ an agent. Just visit the official Malaysian Visa Website, fill the application, submit the relevant documents, pay the processing fees and your e-visa is done. Yes, it’s as simple as 1…2…3.
So these were my 10 reasons on why you should NEVER visit Selangor, Malaysia. Confused about the title of the post? Hope you get the sarcasm. See you soon in the heart of Malaysia – Selangor!
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I was invited by Selangor Tourism Board and Malindo Air for a Media Trip. All the experiences shared above are based on my (Archana Singh’s) experience in Selangor. Most of the pictures posted above were clicked by me during my visit.