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Last updated : Nov 2009
Malaysia Sports
Malaysia Sports - TravelPuppy.com
Sports facilities have been hugely improved throughout Malaysia since it hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1998. The authorities’ initiative to showcase Malaysia as an international sports venue continued with an unusual bid for the 2008 Olympic Games and the construction of a £44-million Formula One racing circuit in Sepang close to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. However, they are the beaches and tropical rainforests, that remain as the major tourist attractions for activity holidays. A list of companies that arrange travel tours providing tailor-made holidays is available from Tourism Malaysia (see Contact Addresses section).

Adventure sports

Sabah, set in northern Borneo is Malaysia’s premier haven for outdoor adventure activities. A great selection of sporting and activity events are available all the year round.

For more details contact:
Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation
Telephone: (88) 212 121
Fax: (88) 212 075 or 219 311 or 222 666
Email: info@sabahtourism.com
Web site:www.sabahtourism.com

Scuba diving

The warm waters off peninsular Malaysia and Borneo provide great conditions for scuba diving. Visibility is normally more than 30 metres or 100 feet.
The choices below give a brief synopsis of some of Malaysia’s best dive spots:

Layang Layang: Northwest of Kota Kinabulu, off the coast of Sabah and is reached by air. This coral island has 13 coral reefs connected together. Sights include a wide variety of marine life, corals, and cliffs that plunge 2,000 metres to the seabed.

Miri: North of Kuching, off the coast of Sarawak, Borneo. The favoured dive spots are "Atago Maru" (where a Japanese World War II ship was wrecked and sunk), "Sea Fan Garden" and "Scubasa Reef" (a shallow reef that offers refuge for migrating turtles during August each year).

Pulau Redang: Malaysia’s first shielded marine park, the Terengganu Marine Park is situated north of Kuala Terengganu. The Pulau Redang archipelago has nine islands. Sights are the "Mini Mount" (good for dives at night and during the day), the "Picture Wall" (spotted with sea fans and corals) and "Cathedral Arches" (canyon network with massive arches). "Turtle Bay" at the northern edge of the island is famous for its sea turtles.

Pulau Sipadan: Off the northeastern part of Borneo, Pulau Sipadan is the country's only oceanic island and famous for its amazing array of rare marine species.

Pulau Tioman: Inside the Pahang Marine Parks comprising 8 islands. 1 of the best sights is Tiger Reef with a specially high variety of sea fans. Note that the waves can be powerful at high tide and can be very strong.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park: Located near Kota Kinabulu or about 15 minutes by boat. Mamutik is one of the most popular spots in this region.

Pulau Tenggol: This favoured weekend destination for Malaysians is situated south of Terengganu and is reached by air. This area is protected by marine park status.

Pulau Paya Marine Park: On Peninsular Malaysia in the south of Langkawi Island lies a bustling tourist resort.

Pulau Perhentian: Set in the South China Sea, off the coast of Kelantan Malaysia’s northernmost island group comprising Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. It is accessible by a fishing-boat trip from Kuala Besut, a small fishing village on the mainland. It contains a good range of marine life and coral and is possibly one of the finest tropical islands in the country. Its stunning beaches and a tropical interior, full of wildlife like butterflies, flying squirrels, lizards and monkeys. It is quite a peaceful area praised by divers for the giant soft corals, large schools of pelagic fish and nocturnal shellfish.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park: In Borneo and is easily reached from Kota Kinabalu. Marine life are manta rays, lionfish and whale sharks between December and April.

Labuan Island: A favoured wreck-diving site with two World War II shipwrecks and one recent Malaysian wreck.

Trekking and caving

Almost 75% of Malaysia consists of jungle and its rainforest is allegedly the world’s oldest (130 million years). There are 7 national parks and a number of wildlife reserves and protected sights. A variety of parks provide great trails for jungle trekking, especially Taman Negara National Park (Peninsular Malaysia). The ideal time to visit is dry season from February to September. Expert guides are available and should be hired from the Wildlife Department at the Taman Negara Resort at Kuala Tahan, the park’s headquarters. Kuala Tahan can be accessible from Kuala Tembeling by a 3-hour riverboat trip or by flights from Kuala Lumpur. Treks up to Gunung Tahan Mountain which is 2,187 metres or 7,174 feet high are also possible. A guide is required and one journey normally takes several days. In Eastern Malaysia, the best trails are in Borneo, Sarawak and Gunung Mulu National Park, which is well known among caving admirers. The currently discovered Sarawak Chamber and the 51 kilometre or 32 mile-long Clearwater Cave which are reached by boat are only the popular sits. Permits for Gunung Mulu National Park need to be obtained in Miri. It is accessible either by a short flight or a couple of 3-hour boat trips. Adventurers may want to try the Kelabit Highlands around close-by Bario. These are quite demanding and should only be explored in the company of a local guide. Another popular trekking site is the Kinabalu National Park, in the state of Sabah and its centerpiece is Mount Kinabulu at 4,101 metres or 13,452 feet which is South-East Asia’s highest summit. Despite its size it is very easy to climb. No skills are required, but a guide and permit which can be bought on location are compulsory. It involves an overnight stay in 1 of the rest houses along the route. People with heart problems or high blood pressure are inadvisable.

Golf

Malaysia boasts about 250 golf courses. They range from coast to tropical rainforest or the mountainous uplands. The Malaysian Open Golf Championships, held every March attracts top professionals. More details can be obtained from the Tourism Malaysia (see Contact Addresses section).

Karate

Over 150 karate centres provide frequent training sessions under black-belt instructors 6 days a week. Customers can receive a one week free karate training in any of the centres. A list is available at the Chief Instructor, Karate Budokan International, Jalan Jubilee, Kuala Lumpur.

Traditional sports

The country has many atypical sports such as Gasing-top spinning (called Main Gasing), that uses tops fashioned from hardwood and delicately balanced with lead. Wau-kite flying is popular and a traditional pastime. Sepak Takraw is similar to volleyball played with a ball made of rattan strips. Players can use their feet, knees and heads but not their hands.

Longhouse visits

Malaysian longhouse's are usual, located along the rivers in Sarawak and Sabah. They are entire villages kept under 1 single roof and inhabited by native communities. Tourism Malaysia has been promoting these characteristic habitations to tourists who are usually welcome to stay without any charges though small gifts as a sign of appreciation are recommended. A local guide can also take visitors on jungle walks.

Jungle railway

Malaysia’s central railway runs mainly through regions of dense jungle. It begins near Kota Bahru and goes further to Kuala Krai, Gua Musang, Kuala Lipis and Jerantut to meet the Singapore-KL railway line at Gemas. Due to extensive road building, itineraries may change so travellers should check with Tourism Malaysia (see Contact section).
Useful travel links
AdventureSportsMalaysia adventure sports in Malaysia
Scuba Spots online scuba diving directory in the world
SportsInMalaysia sports in Malaysia