Saturday, October 27, 2012

Truly Malaysian - UNESCO World Heritage revisited

If one has heard of Malaysia, he/she can associate Her with its diverse culture and ethnicity blending together, and an enriched history that goes along with it. Old cultural buildings are preserved for future generations with it values. Malaysia is also bestowed with its natural resources, marine wonders and lush rainforests, adventures and discovery awaits to those who would want to venture them. Topping the list of what Malaysia has to offer, are the variety of food that is available here.

It was not my intention to visit UNESCO world heritage locations in Malaysia because they are world heritage, but rather a hungry, gastronomical journey (particularly Malacca and Penang) and I've yearned to visit Sabah since my university years in UNIMAS, Sarawak. This year, I managed to visit 2/4 of the suggested World Heritage in Malaysia, pretty happy about it.

Malacca and Penang, the two gems of Malaysia, rich with its historical values situated along the Straits of Malacca are known for its trading and cultural crossroads between both worlds from the East and West, dating as far as half a millennium ago.

The Dutch and Portuguese architectural influence in Malacca is prominently seen in the government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications in Malacca, whereas British colonial influence can be seen in Georgetown, Penang. Both towns portrays a succession of historical and cultural influences arising from their former function as trading ports linking East and West, alongside with their multi-cultural living heritage originating from the trade routes from Great Britain and Europe through the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Archipelago to China. Of course, as what Malaysia is all about, the culture, landscape and architecture from its three major races - Malay, Chinese and Indian blended in these historical towns.

Notable buildings that you may want to visit (or revisit) are Stadthuys, A Famosa Fort and St.Paul's Hill in Malacca. In Penang however, feast your eyes on the artistic graffiti in Armenian Street and Cheong Fatt Tze's Mansion.

One of Malaysia's nature heritage includes the Kinabalu Park, rich with floras and faunas. The range of habitats available here is exceptional, from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations. Development of new species are made possible here from the ideal conditions provided by the altitude and climatic gradient from tropical forest to alpine conditions combine with precipitous topography, diverse geology and frequent climate oscillations.

Out of the 14 states of Malaysia, I've yet to step on Perlis, Terengganu, and Johore. But when I do, rest assured that there is always something new to discover everyday, and those states are not exceptional.

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