Activities in Tropical Sunsets

Malaysians are enthusiastic sportsmen and many international sports are played in the country. The bright, tropical climate ensures that most sports. can be enjoyed Throughout the year. Popular national sports include soccer, badminton, hockey, tennis and squash. Other favourites are biking, cricket, bowling, rugby, table-tennis, softball and grand prix racing. Malaysia has a long coastline with several offshore islands Oki and sea sports are coming to the fore. There are plenty of opportunities to water-ski and wind-surf or snorkel and dive in the many islands and marine parks found throughout the country. The country's large river system has made canoeing and white-water rafting popular adventure sports. On a national level soccer is played at school right up to international level. Soccer matches and competitions such as the Semi-Pro League and the Malaysian Cup are two popular matches. Badminton is another favourite sport with international competitions held from time to time.

Malaysia also has a great variety of excellent golf courses scattered around the country. Golfing holidays are becoming trendy and combine splendid golf courses to play in with the country's many other attractions. Spectator sports are held all year round and the nation also plays hosts to international sporting events regularly. One international event was the 16th Commonwealth Games, the last games of this millennium which were held in 1998 at the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex, a sophisticated games village in Selangor. This comprehensive games village has large indoor and outdoor stadiums including a hockey stadium, swimming pools, and field and track circuits.

Motor sports are becoming increasingly popular and the country now has a challenging Formula I circuit just outside the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang. The Sepang Ft Circuit has a double-frontage main grandstand for 30,000 spectators and natural stands able to accommodate 100,000 spectators. The course is a 5542krn circuit which features 15 turns and 9 straights. The Malaysia Grand Prix Formula I in October 1999 brought the world's top drivers together on this latest Ft circuit.

  • Diving
    Located in the heart of the lndopacific Basin in the centre of the area famed for the greatest marine bio-diversity in the world, Malaysia's marine parks offer diving enthusiasts an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful marine sights in the world. Since Malaysia hosted the inaugural Asian DEMA (Diving and Equipment Manufacturing Association) Show in 1996 and 1997, more professional and recreational divers are discovering the enchantment of its waters. With sites catering to every level of expertise, Malaysia is a true divers paradise. Accredited dive operators offer packages for every need and budget. Premium packages include pickup at the airport, transfer to the dive sites, food, accommodation and dives. Alternatively, one can opt for a dive only package by making arrangements with a dive shop or operator. The holiday diver stays for an average of 12 days which allows for a week's worth of diving.

  • Whitewater Rafting
    Rivers have long been the life blood of the indigenous people of Malaysia. They have served as a means of transport, a source of food and now, a resource for eco-tourism. The native groups of Sabah have been using rafts for centuries but white water rafting has only been a recreational activity since the 1980s. The two main rivers for rafting in Sabah are the Padas and Kiulu rivers which are certified as Grade 3 and Grade 2 respectively in the international white water rafting grading system. Under normal weather conditions the two rivers are relatively constant in depth and speed. However, heavy rains can cause them to swell into Grade 4 rivers. During this time rafting activities may be called off temporarily. Peninsular Malaysia has its share of good rafting spots. These include the Grade 2 Sungai Sungkai in Perak and the Grade 3 Selangor River in Kuala Kubu Baru, which has its source in Frasers Hill. The Endau River, Jeram Besu and Lipis River in Pahang and the Tembeling River in Taman Negara are also popular rafting sites.

  • River Safaris and Cruises
    River safaris and cruises are becoming increasingly popular among visitors to Malaysia. Well organised  and with expert guides, they provide an interesting, exciting way to explore the country's interior. River safaris and cruises are available in Melaka, Kuala Berang in Terengganu and Taman Negara and Lake Chini in Pahang and Sarawak, also offer scenic river safaris and cruises

  • Cave Exploring
    There is a great network of caves in Malaysia for carving enthusiasts. it has been found that most caves date back to the Stone Age and some caves in Sarawak are 60 million years old. The majority of caves are limestone and are above ground level. These include Gua Kolam in Perlis, Gua Tempurung and Kundu in Perak, Batu Caves in Selangor and Gua ikan in Kuala Krai, Kelantan. The appearances of caves can change within months as the humid Malaysian weather affects stalagmite and stalactite formation. Underwater or river caves in the Kinta Valley make up less than ten per cent of local caves. There are also dolomite and sandstone caves scattered around the country. Malaysian caves can be divided into adventure and show caves. Adventure caves like Drunken Forest Cave and Loagan's Cave remain close to their natural state. Show caves such as Deer Lang and Clear Water Caves in Mulu National Park, Sarawak, are those which have been opened up for public viewing with guides, lights and walkways.

  • Mountain Climbing and Abseiling
    Mountain climbing is a wonderful way to discover the diversity and uniqueness of Malaysia's natural landscape ranging from the dense tropical rainforest in the lowlands to the montane vegetation in the highlands, From easy walks in the cool comfort of the Main Range of Peninsular Malaysia to the more challenging mountains of Sabah and Sarawak, there are mountains to tempt every class of climber. Abseiling is also offered in certain locations. Beginners can start with the well marked trials in Gunung Jerai in Kedah, Gunung Korbu'in Perak and Gunung Tangsi in Negeri Sembilan. For those wanting bigger challenges through rainforest, rivers and mountain ridges, there is Gunung Gagau in Taman Negara and Gunung Tahan, the highest point in Peninsular Malaysia. Then there is Gunung Kinabalu in Sabah, one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia at 4093metres.

  • Off Road Driving
    Malaysia's rugged terrain, dene rain forests, mountainous regions and the challenge of changing weather conditions attracts off-road driving enthusiasts. The three international off-road events held annually are the TYans-Borneo International Rally, the National Challenge and the Rainforest International Challenge of Malaysia. The Camel Trophy or the Rainforest Challenge are but two of the most competitive off-road driving events held here. The East Coast offers the best terrain in Peninsular Malaysia for off-road driving. Gua Musang in Kelantan and Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu, En'dau Rompin in Johor, Tasik Chini and Cameron Highlands in Pahang are the routes most often used for the sport. Kinabalu National Park in Sabah and Bintulu in Sarawak are places for off-road enthusiasts in East Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur and the Peninsula the most notable place is Pertak in Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor about two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.

    The Sungai Lernbing mines in Pahang are a safe although challenging route and anglers may attempt some fishing as well. The Endau Rompin area in johor is a more trying route and is recommended for group expeditions. Kenyir Lake, Kuala Berang, Sungai Loh and Sungai Kelamin in Terengganu are also great spots for off-road driving. Off-road driving is a year round activity, but the dry season from March to October is better for less seasoned drivers who prefer firmer terrain, less mud and better visibility. A number of companies offer safe off-road driving packages. These are designed to suit an individual visitor's time constraints. Enthusiasts can choose between day trips and a two-night short haul to Cameron Highlands. A six-day long haul trip flies a prospective adventurer from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu where a 4X4 whisks them of to a campsite in the Kenyir Lake before heading to a beach resort and returning to Kuala Lumpur.

  • Angling
    Malaysia, a prime tropical retreat, is also a relatively undiscovered fishing destination. Its sun drenched beaches, sparkling islands, profusion of flora and fauna and magnificent mountains provide a diverse array of activities for the holiday maker, diver, eco-tourist and angler. Malaysia is endowed with quality freshwater and marine game fishing. The Prime Malaysian freshwater sport fish include the ferocious Giant Snakehead, the fast running Malaysian Jungle Perch, the GiantFeather back and the elusive but powerful Malaysian Mahseer. The seas host the king of the gamefish, the Black Marlin. Yellowfin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna and Dogtooth Tuna can be found in the Malaysian seas along with Wahoo, Narrowbarred Mackerel, Sailfish, Giant Trevally, Barracuda and Rainbow Runner, to name a few.

  • Bird Watching
    For an adventure that is a little more refined and certainly less strenuous, try bird watching. Malaysia's vast expanses of rainforests are home to more than 700 species of exotic bird-life, including some extremely rare ones. Due to its location on the cross-migratory path of certain bird species, Malaysia has emerged as a bird watching haven. This avian extravaganza is one to behold. Scan the treetops, listen for the telltale calls. Look hard. You'll see them all, from the timid and tiny highland species to the bright and resplendent lowland varieties. Bird sanctuaries have been designated throughout the country. These include Taman Negara and the Kuala Selangor Nature Park in the Peninsular. In Sabah,Kinabalu Park and Pulau Layang-layang (Island of the Swallows) are the spots to seek out. One is certain to sight the likes of Silver-Eared Mesias, Mountain Bulbuls, and Collared Kingfishers. If you manage to see a Mountain Peacock Pheasant or a Malayan Whistling Thrush, you are one of the privileged few, as they are the rarest of birds to be found.

  • Paragliding
    The latest sport to take hold of enthusiasts is Paragliding with the use of Para motors. Para gliders can reach speed of up to 45kph and climb to heights of 150 to 200 meters. This sport is becoming popular in the wind swept states of the East Coast and along beach areas.

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  Information provided by Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.


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