To help tour operators and travel agents to start offering ‘Sporting Malaysia’ – and thereby increase their niche business – Tourism Malaysia has selected six of the most popular options from its wide variety of year-round sporting activities.
Due to its brilliant natural diversity, Malaysia offers innumerable year-round water-based adventures such as sailing, diving, white-water rafting, kayaking, windsurfing and surfing – as well as an array of terrestrial pursuits including golf, fishing, climbing, cycling, hiking and a range of competitive annual sporting events.
1. Dive Malaysia
Diving is an invigorating way to spend a couple of weeks or more: Pulau Sipadan in Sabah is an exceptional world-class diving destination with sightings of hundreds of turtles, reef sharks and clutches of exotic fish such as bumphead parrotfish.
Dive site Pulau Redang, off the coast of the Malaysian Peninsula, is known as the kingdom of coral, offering a huge variety of corals such as gorgonian sea fans and mushroom coral. Batfish, rabbitfish and white-eyed moray eels come swarming to the island for its underwater gardens.
World dive expert Patrick Shier said: “Warm tropical water and reefs teeming with colourful unique marine life make diving in Malaysia a treat for divers and photographers of all levels of experience. Malaysia is on the ‘must visit’ list for all divers.”
2. Malaysia for Golfers
Malaysia also boasts a huge variety of golf courses and is fast becoming Southeast Asia’s golfing capital. There are now over 200 golf courses in Malaysia, many of which have been constructed by world-renowned designers such as Jack Nicklaus.
Golfers can tee off in undulating, rainforest landscapes or nestled amid the sky scrapers in one of the 26 courses that are less than a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia will also host the first ever ‘IAGTO’ Asia Conference from 22nd – 25th April 2012.
One item of golfing equipment with a maximum weight of 15kg will be carried free with Malaysia Airlines and green fees range from €7 to €103, offering something for everyone.
3. Climbing in Malaysia
Hiking and rock climbing are hugely popular in Malaysia; many visitors climb Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia at 4,095 metres. For the more competitive mountaineer, there is an annual climbathon every October, where the record to beat is an incredible 2 hour 44 minute ascent.
4. Malaysia for Fishing
Endowed with the waters of a fisher’s paradise, anglers have the opportunity to explore one of the world’s top fishing destinations. Malaysia offers a plethora of marine and fresh water fish species, including the deliciously meaty black marlin, tuna and yellowfin.
5. Sailing around Malaysia
On Malaysia’s shores, there are an increasing number of marinas and yacht clubs, putting Malaysia firmly on the marina map. Visitors can easily explore the coastal inlets and emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, where the Langkawi sailing infrastructure is outstanding.
Every January, expert sailors race around the Andaman Sea in the hope of winning the Royal Langkawi International Regatta.
6. Cycle around Malaysia
When cyclists take to the street in Kuala Lumpur, it can only mean one thing – Le Tour de Langkawi. Asia’s premium cycling event races through seven states over 10 days covering close to 1,500km every February.
Novice cyclists can also bike to their hearts content year-round throughout Malaysia and enjoy the extreme diversity of landscape.