Denise Chen - Mar 29, 2012
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The southeast Asian country of Malaysia has been steadily growing as a top destination for tourists from abroad. With the same laid back lifestyle as Thailand and great food and sights to see, there are still places which have not yet been flooded with package tourism.

For anyone searching for quality low-cost holidays, Malaysia should be near the top of the list. Below are the top five destinations and activities in this beautiful country:

A British colony in its past, this thriving city is set on an island off the coast of Malaysia. A melting pot of cultures and cuisines, the old town area of Georgetown is bursting at the seams with culinary delights from all around Asia and the world. It’s cheap too, with large portions of flavorful dishes at restaurants for the same price as street vendors elsewhere. Lodging is inexpensive as well, with many family-run hotels tucked away in small alleyways in the old town.

A jumping point between Malaysia and Thailand, this island is home to one of the biggest annual cycling races in Asia. Friendly locals, jagged mountain peaks and plenty of hiking, swimming and cycling options make it a place worth spending some time at. The entire island is duty-free, so the price of everyday things tends to be cheaper than anywhere else in Malaysia.

Tioman Island
This jewel of an island has been named one of the best islands in the world by Time Magazine. Set off the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula, this island is reachable by boats from several cities on the coast such as Kuantan and Mersing. Cheap but high quality private beach houses, thriving biodiversity and wildlife and some of the best fresh seafood available can be found here.
Perhaps the best reason to go to Tioman Island is the scuba diving though. Because of its relatively unknown status the prices have stayed low and the quality of the diving to be found here is comparable to the best spots in Thailand and Indonesia.

Kota Kinabalu
The biggest city on the island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a budget traveler's paradise. Affordable guesthouses with private rooms and ocean views, a rich cultural history with museums and tours readily available and fresh fruit from markets and street vendors, it is worth a visit. Kota Kinabalu is a great launching point to other budget destinations in Borneo as well, with Mount Kinabalu and the jungles of the Borneo rainforest close by.

Malaysia's best destination for culture and history. Earning a place on the World Heritage Sites list by UNESCO in 2008, this city is rich with architectural and cultural diversity. Temples, churches and mosques dot the quiet streets and are surrounded by colonial architecture.
A true melting pot with a mixture of locals, Chinese and Indians, the city also features canals running and street vendors with the best cheap snacks you can imagine. With plenty of budget accommodations and cheap transportation, Melaka is truly a Malaysian paradise.

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