Six of the best: Malaysian views

PENANG HILL, PENANG

This former colonial-era hill resort, studded with crumbling Victorian mansions and colourful Chinese temples, rises 833 metres above George Town. It's most easily summited on a seven-minute funicular ride, and provides cool breezes and spectacular views over the expanding city and glittering sea, with the mainland a smudge beyond. Take to some of the summit's hiking trails around the hillside, however, and you'll find yourself gazing over a startlingly different landscape of untapped forest tumbling down mist-draped valleys where bromeliads flourish and monkeys and langurs leap. An elevated tree-canopy walkway provides an up-close encounter with the rainforest. See penanghill.gov.my

QUEEN VICTORIA'S FOUNTAIN, MELAKA

No better historical viewpoint than to stand at this British-era fountain gazing at the salmon-pink town hall and church left by the Dutch. On the hillside above stand the ruins of a Portuguese fort and church. This port city has also been influenced by Chinese, Indian and Malay culture, providing a rich cultural mix. Turn in the other direction and you'll see the pastel-coloured shophouses of former traders lining the sluggish, muddy river. Across the bridge, Jalan Hang Jebat (or Jonkers Street) is crammed with evening street stalls selling souvenirs and spice-laden snacks. See destinationmelaka.my

ROOFTOP BARS, KUALA LUMPUR

The classic viewpoint is the deck of the 452-metre Petronas Twin Towers, which has impressive panoramas in two directions and allows a close-up view of the Islamic-inspired, geometric patterned architecture. But Kuala Lumpur's rooftop bars are a more enjoyable place to perch. Among a spate of cool, high-altitude hotel haunts is Sky Bar at Traders Hotel and View nightclub at G Tower Hotel, with its airy outdoor terrace. Two-storey Luna Bar at Pacific Regency Suites has an outdoor lounge and pool from which to gaze over the ever-changing, light-twinkled landscape of the Malaysian capital. See visitkl.gov.my

PUTRAJAYA LAKE, PUTRAJAYA

Take to a sightseeing boat on this artificial lake in Malaysia's administrative capital and it feels like a journey into an idealised future. Buildings erupt in towers of glass, minarets soar and avenues of palm trees sprout. The shoreline is lined by grand government buildings and tidy residential apartments surrounded by manicured lawns. Evening is an especially good time, when the eye-popping architecture and futuristic-looking bridges are illuminated, and reflections shimmer on the lake. Silvery Besi Mosque floats like a cubic steel flower, and the huge minaret of Putra Mosque looks like a rocket launch pad. See cruisetasikputrajaya.com

LANGKAWI SKYCAB, LANGKAWI

Let this cable car hoist you up Machincang mountain on the island of Langkawi for magnificent views. The halfway station has viewing platforms above the forested valley and rugged karst formations, while the summit station at 708 metres provides 360-degree sights over the rock-tumbled island and a chunk of southern Thailand. If you have the nerve, take the glass-floored SkyCab for an added thrill. You'll get more views from the suspended Skybridge that curves above the treetops for splendid panoramas of the glittering Andaman Sea. At its centre, it curves unnervingly over a plunging ravine. See panoramalangkawi.com

BHARAT TEA PLANATION, CAMERON HIGHLANDS

The British escaped the lowland heat and humidity by taking to these rainforest-draped hills backed by distant blue ridges, and added tiers of tea plantations and cottages where roses and poinsettia bloom in gardens. Bharat Tea Estate, on the main road into the highlands, offers one of the best and breeziest outlooks, accompanied by scones with strawberry jam and cream. Waves of rolling hills are covered by ranks of carefully tended tea bushes, their rows following the contours in ripples into the distance. Spectacular tropical butterflies occasionally flit by in satin blue or yellow. See bharattea.com.my

The writer was a guest of Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia.

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