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Malaysia - the ideal destination for romance and adventure

From teeming rainforests, rare creatures and ancient tribes to beautiful beaches, bustling towns and sleepy hill stations, Malaysia offers an exotic cocktail of experiences and destinations for adventurous couples.

Malaysia for couples

This green and exotic land in the humid tropics of south-east Asia is perfect for a couples' holiday full of romantic vistas and unique experiences to share together.

Cleaved in half by the South China Sea, the Malay Peninsula and Malaysian Borneo make up an exciting and diverse country to explore. Dip into a rich culture that includes indigenous Malay, European, Chinese and Indian influences, exemplified by temples, churches and mosques old and new that can be seen throughout the country.

If you are seeking romantic sunsets, unspoilt beaches, sunshine and fine dining, then Malaysia's idyllic islands, dotted with luxury resorts, are a spectacular sun, sea and sand option.

Rainforests and rare wildlife also feature high on the list of visitor attractions, with great green swathes of national park offering adventurous couples the chance to spot orang-utans, revel in jaw-dropping landscapes and spend atmospheric nights in forest eco retreats.

From beautiful beaches and exotic wildlife to richly-layered towns and unique tribal traditions, Malaysia offers a wonderful mix of cultural and natural attractions - ideal for curious couples who prefer the path a little less travelled. And with romantic luxury resorts and idyllic tropical retreats aplenty, there's a wealth of wonderful places for couples to stay too.

Beautiful backdrops

Sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore, in Peninsular Malaysia you'll find tradition and modernity in equal measure, and sharply-contrasting horizons from the dreamlike tropical vistas of Langkawi and Pangkor to the country's forward-looking capital Kuala Lumpur. Couples staying in Kuala Lumpur will find no shortage of luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, shops and attractions. Outside the city, the Batu limestone cave temple complex, accessed via 272 steps up an escarpment, makes for an unforgettable day trip.

Couples exploring Malaysia might like to consider a journey aboard the Eastern Oriental Express to enjoy the romance of old rail travel. The vintage train spirits passengers north in style passing through stunning landscapes between Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth, near the border with Thailand. The old colonial train has a silver service dining car and luxury double berth cabins for couples.

For cultural pairs, the 600-year-old city of Malacca in the south-west is among the Peninsula's best destinations. Further north, the enchanting former colonial enclave of Penang provides for romantic strolls and delicious local cuisine, while the cool hill station settlements of the Cameron Highlands are particularly atmospheric.

Couples seeking the romance of palm-tufted beaches and tropical sunsets should head to the string of serene tropical islands that form the Langkawi archipelago. Skimming the Peninsula's western coast, they are just as beautiful yet less trammelled than the Thai islands further north. You'd be hard pressed to find a more romantic resort than the Datai Langkawi - a beautiful boutique on a lush slope overlooking a huge slice of paradise beach.

To the east of the Peninsula, yet more tropical islands - Tioman and Redang - tempt those in search of the perfect beach and sit between protected coral reefs ripe for underwater exploration.

Wild locations

You can have an unforgettable adventure together in the wilds of Malaysian Borneo. Lush, boundless tracts of rainforest blanket the island, with reef-encrusted islands offshore. Its two provinces of Sabah and Sarawak are home to iconic wildlife such as orangutans and proboscis monkeys that you can view at sanctuaries and on guided hikes through the rainforest. Hidden in the thick jungles of Sarawak, you can also visit traditional longhouse villages and meet colourful local tribes.

The lush Mulu National Park, near Miri in Sarawak, harbours a treasure trove of natural wonders perfect for outdoorsy couples who will love hiking to the world's biggest cave, strange pinnacle rock formations and hidden ravines.

Many couples visiting Malaysian Borneo choose to stay in the Kota Kinabalu area of Sabah province, where there's a smattering of idyllic beach resorts in close proximity to Malaysia's highest peak. Mount Kinabalu has become an eco-tourism hotspot surrounded by a verdant national park crisscrossed by rushing rivers, waterfalls and hiking trails. If you don't fancy climbing a mountain together, you can relax instead in the local natural hot springs after a wander in the lush lowlands.

Offshore, Sabah's protected marine parks and volcanic islets bristling with life have become popular for turtle-spotting and world-class diving. Gaya Island Resort is the perfect base for couples, with magnificent villas built into the trees, free massages for every couple staying at the hotel, and a resident marine biologist on hand to help guests immerse themselves in the aquatic world.

But wild experiences are not just confined to the Borneo side of Malaysia. Nature lovers staying in Peninsula Malaysia can find one of the world's oldest rainforests at its centre. The ancient Taman Negara Rainforest is part of a national park and has become an outdoor adventure hub with caves, waterfalls, rivers and an eco-resort for overnight stays.

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