Tourism in Malaysia is increasing in popularity. It is known for its beaches, wildlife and beautiful scenery. It is divided by the South China Sea into West Malaysia and East Malaysia. East Malayisa houses Mount Kinabalu, which is the highest peak in Malaysia.
Malaysia is known for its humid, tropical climate, with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year. Monsoons are likely from April to October in the southwest region and from October to February in the northeast region.
For those who are looking for destination running trails, Malaysia is the place to go. From its rainforests to its ocean views, there is much beauty to be seen. Here are some of the must-see running trails:
1. The Cameron Highlands, Pahang
The hilly Cameron Highlands are located in West Malaysia. Temperatures hover around 25 C, and there is usually a good chance of rain. One popular running spot is the Mossy Forest boardwalk, occupying the top of Gunung (Mount) Brinchang, where you can view the thick moss and untouched trees of one of the rainforests of Malaysia. Another popular rainforest trail is in Wild Junction at Mount Yong Belar. Parit Waterfall and Robinson Waterfall are also spectacular sights.
Multiple trails are available around Brinchang and Tanah Rata, and these vary from easy (Trails 4, 5, 6 and 10) to challenging (Trails 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 14). Enjoy the many types of wildlife that are available, including butterflies and birds, and watch out for snakes.
- Highest elevation in Malaysia
- Roughly the same size as Singapore, at 712 km
2. Penang National Park
At the northwest tip of Penang Island is a structured web of trails leading through one of the dense jungles of Malaysia, making up Penang National Park. Wildlife such as turtles, boar and mouse deer can be viewed, as well as poisonous snakes. Some trails lead to remote Malaysian beaches. A few of the more popular trails within the park lead to Turtle Beach on the west side, and the lighthouse and Monkey beach on the east side. Trails range from 1.2km (Muka Head to Teluk Ketapang), 2.5km (Teluk Bahang to Muka Head), 3km (Teluk Bahang to Pantai Kerachut) and 7km (Teluk Bahang to Teluk Kampi).
- 25km northwest of Georgetown
- Declared a national park in 2003
3. Kinabalu Mesilau Trail
Mesilau Trail sits on the East Ridge of Mount Kinabalu and is another great way to see the mountain. One of the interesting sights is the rare Pitcher Plants that grow on the steep hillside. This is the only location where they are visible to trail runners. Expect cooler temperatures due to the higher elevation. Mesilau Cave is another nearby interesting location to run to.
- Meilau Trail is named after the Mesilau River
- This trail is 2,000m above sea level
4. Bako National Park
Bako National Park is a bit difficult to reach but well worth the trip for runners. The park is a haven for waterfalls, wildlife, unpopulated beaches, rock formation, streams and wildlife throughout the lush rainforest. Expect high temperatures and high humidity along with thunderstorms during the summer months. All trails in the national park are well-managed and marked and can be as simple as an easy jog or a full-out sprint. A considerable variety of vegetation is prevalent throughout the jungle trails. Wildlife is also abundant, with a high chance of seeing a proboscis monkey, silvered langur or long-tailed macaques.
- There are 16 trails at Bako National Park
- Many snakes are harmless, but watch out for the Wagler’s pit viper, recognizable by its flat triangular head
5. Langkawi Island, Kedah
Set in northern Malaysia, this forest-dense island is home to the Langkawi Sky Bridge above the thick jungle canopy at the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang. This unique bridge is an attraction to runners, tourists and locals alike. It is 125 meters long and is lifted 700 metres above sea level.
- Langkawi is named for a reddish-brown eagle in the Malay language
- Langkawi Island is a World Geopark
6. Kuala Lumpur City – KLCC Park
KLCC Park is located in the shadows of the Petronas Twin Towers and is home to trails, ponds, a playground and a mosque. The jogging trail is 1.3km long and is coated with a rubbery material for comfort. It also has multiple rest areas throughout. It is a calm and peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy, bustling city. Bio-diversity was a focus while designing the eco-friendly park.
- KLCC Park houses 66 species of palm trees and 1,900 indigenous trees
7. Kuala Lumpur City- Petronas Twin Towers Trail
Running in the metropolis of Kuala Lumpur is a thrill, and running the path around the beautiful Petronas Twin Towers is a breathtaking example of their artistry and design. Stretching 4.75 km long, the path runs the perimeter around the Towers, which are breathtaking to view from the ground up at multiple angles. With a good run in the early morning when the air is crisp and fresh, the glory of the towers really show, especially in the early morning light of the new day. However be aware of the hordes of pedestrians and cars. After all, you’re right in the heart of the city!
- The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world
- The connecting bridge is also the tallest bridge in the world
Share Your Trail
Malaysia has a vast number of trails to explore, and a running enthusiast will soon find other locations with a bit of presence, sharing tales with other runners, and repeat visits will become apparent and known over time as well. Test yourself while broadening your horizons and soaking up this rich culture. What’s your next trail? Share them with us in the comments below or in the RunSociety Forums.