Sports in Malaysia
Malaysia has excellent scuba diving. The most popular spots are the islands off the East Coast of peninsular Malaysia (Perhentian, Redang, Tioman and many more), although the dive season is limited to April to September. However, the most famous dive site — often ranked among the best in the world — is Sipadan, off the easternmost tip of Malaysian Borneo. At Sipadan you can see sharks, parrothead fish and a turtle tomb. There are many other less well known sites, like Layang Layang.
Malaysia has some of the oldest rainforests in the world, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia and generally lots of great hiking trails.
Kota Kinabalu – Even if you don’t climb Mt Kinabalu (which requires 2-3 days and booking of permits in advance), you can trek around the Kinabalu National Park, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Gunung Mulu National Park – Also a UNESCO Heritage Site, this hike up to Gunung Api is a harder climb than Kota Kinabalu but has a wonderful view of the Pinnacles at the top, which are tall, jagged limestone formations. This park is also home to the world’s largest cave chamber by surface area, as well as one of the largest cave passages on Earth.
Danum Valley – this is a 130- million-year-old rainforest where you can see orangutans and other rare Borneo fauna and wildlife in the wild. Although this is older than the Amazon rainforest (which is only 60 million years old), this is much less well known than its South American counterpart.
Maliau Basin Conservation Area – also known as Sabah’s lost world, this is a pristine basin and one of the few remaining relatively untouched wilderness areas in the world. This is under consideration as a world heritage site.
You can find tame Grade I to incredibly difficult and dangerous Grade V rapids in Malaysia’s many national parks:
- Jeram Besu – Grade I-III – Pahang
- Telom River – Grade V – Pahang
- Kuala Perahu – Pahang
- Lipis River – Pahang
- Anak Jelai River – Grade I-II – Pahang
- Tembeling River – Grade I-II – Pahang
- Sedim River – Grade III-IV – Kedah
- Sungai Selangor – Grade I-III – Selangor
- Kiulu River – Grade II – Sabah
- Padas River – Grade III-IV – Sabah
- Sungai Itek (Kampar River) – Grade I-III – Perak
- Sungkai River – Grade I-II – Perak
- Singoh River – Grade V – Perak
- Endau River – Johor
- Nenggiri River – Grade I-III Kelantan
- Kuala Kubu Bahru, Selangor
Malaysia has an abundant supply of world class golf courses such as the Mines Resort and Golf Club and Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, both which hosted the annual PGA sanctioned CIMB Classic. Other notable courses include Saujana Golf & Country Club, Clearwater Sanctuary, The Legends and many more.
Malaysians love their extreme sports, and this can be reflected by the rather large community of Paintball players. There are both woodsball and speedball fields throughout the country. The Paintball World Cup Asia has been held at Langkawi for the past few years, attracting top team and players from around the world. Speedball tournaments are held throughout the year, such as the Malaysian Paintball Official Circuit(MPOC). Occasionally, the woodsball and milsim paintball communities would organize big games open to all, such as the Tanamera big games, Canyon Apocalypse or the M-SOG military simulation oriented events. Notable paintball parks are as follows:
- Canyon Paintball Club (Petaling Jaya, Selangor) – Speedball and woodsball
- Xtion Paintball Park (Kuala Lumpur) – Speedball
- Mudtrekkers Paintball (Shah Alam, Selangor) – Speedball and woodsball
- WTF Training Facilities (Puchong, Selangor) – Speedball
- Tanamera Paintball (Sungai Buloh, Selangor) – Woodsball(large field)
- 89 Arena (Klang, Selangor) – Speedball and CQB recball
- [email protected] Alam Extreme Park (Shah Alam, Selangor) – Woodsball(large field)
- BPP Paintball (Kuching, Sarawak) – Speedball
Note however that, foreign players are prohibited from transporting their own markers into the country, unless officially cleared by the government.
Cycling is a favorite pass time among most Malaysians. There are dedicated bicycle and motorcycle lanes available on some highways and expressways, the most notable one being the bike lane of the KESAS highway serving Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Seasoned road cyclists would flock the lane almost every night throughout the year, rain or shine. Bike lanes within the larger city limits are slowly cropping out, such as those in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. However, the general attitude towards cyclists on the road is still rather primitive, so cyclists are to be mindful of their surroundings. There are tons of cycling events organized throughout the year ranging from the competitive Tour De Langkawi to the massive outings such as the OCBC Cycle KL, and down the more laid back officially sanctioned KL Car Free Morning events.
Another famous cycling spot would be the bike friendly administrative capital of Putrajaya, especially during the night. Government buildings, complexes and bridges would be lit up with colorful shades of light.
Moving away from the public roads, are the immaculate mountain bike trails and routes such as but not limited to:
Bukit Kiara Trails (Kuala Lumpur) – World renowned for its vast interconnected network of trails. There is a trail for every mountain biking discipline, but it is mostly catered towards Downhill and Enduro/trail. Most of the trails are extremely challenging technical singe tracks with high elevation gains and fast flowing downhill sections. But there are also easier trails for the beginners alike. The trails are free for all and entrance is free of charge. This is a good way for riders to experience the Malaysian tropical rainforests, wildlife such as monkeys included. There are many ways to access the trails, but the most common way being through the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club or through the suburbs of Taman Tun Dr.Ismail(TTDI). It must be noted that, some of the more common trails are to be shared equally among the riders and the trekkers, so caution is ought to be practiced. Night rides are common.
FRIM Kepong (Kepong, Selangor) – Mostly XC oriented trails and fire roads here, with some challenging climbs such as the Steroid Hill. Note that this is situated within one of the compounds of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, so a small entrance fee is applicable. Riders would be able to see how local tropical fruits are being cultivated, though for research purposes. The common trails are shared equally among the riders and trekkers alike. The fire roads are also accessible by automobiles.
Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve (Petaling Jaya, Selangor) – There is a small network of trails of mostly single-track. So they are not recommended for beginners. The tracks are extremely technical and are full of obstacles ranging from roots to boulders. The elevation gain can be steep too. The deeper parts can be quite dark. Wildlife such monkeys can be found. The trails are usually empty as it is not rather well known just yet, so riding alone in there can be a rather daunting experience. Entrance is free of charge but visitors are to be mindful of cleanliness since it is a community forest. Night rides are quite common.
Putrajaya Challenge Park (Putrajaya) – This is a complete bike park. There is a dedicated jump park for BMX and free ride. The trails are mostly XC oriented and is pretty laid back.