Prepare to ring in 2020 with a slew of sensational events that pave the way for the rest of the year! While the end of the month heralds Chinese New Year, a two-week festival that spills over into February and overflows with vibrant festivities, January’s headliner is undoubtedly the exciting start of the fifth Visit Malaysia Year campaign.
Themed ‘Visit Truly Asia Malaysia’, the year-long initiative promises to be the grandest tourism celebration to-date, featuring over 100 festivals and events that showcase the natural beauty, multicultural heritage and unique multiracial cuisine that have put Malaysia on the map.
The Grand Launch of VMY2020 at Merdeka Square on December 31 led right into a pair of events, both on water, happening across the country this month. Off the north-western coast of Malaysia, the 17th LADA KFC Royal Langkawi International Regatta draws skippers and their teams from around the region, battling it out on the waters of the Andaman Sea for various trophies. Meanwhile on the east coast of Malaysia, the Tioman Surf Festival makes a splash with expert wave riders.
17th LADA KFC Royal Langkawi International Regatta
In February we take to the skies with two airborne events; the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will see highly creative hot air balloons in all shapes and sizes colour the skies above the Padang Polo in Penang, and the International Kite Festival in Johor is packed with both aerial action from the tethered craft and on-ground activities such as kite-decorating demonstrations and a carnival.
Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Moving through to March, the Malaysian Nature Society hosts its signature event, Raptor Watch, at the Tanjung Tuah Forest Reserve in Melaka. Here birders can watch as migratory raptors, from the Greater Spotted Eagle to the Eurasian Kestrel, flock back to their breeding grounds.
In April, the capital welcomes B.A.S.E. jumpers back as the KL Tower International Jump Malaysia gives them the unique chance to leap off the iconic structure, and in May, Sabah explodes to life with the Tadau Ka’amatan Harvest Festival, the culmination of the monthlong harvest festival of the indigenous Kadazan-Dusuns. There will be singing, dancing, feasting, cultural activities, the crowning of the harvest beauty queen, a strongman competition and much more!
KL Tower International Jump Malaysia
Labuan makes its presence felt in June with the Labuan International Sea Challenge, which hosts a number of events including the Labuan Round Island Kayak Challenge, Cross Channel Swimming Challenge and one of the region’s major fishing tournaments.
July brings some of the country’s biggest and longestrunning events which take place in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. The Rainforest World Music Festival gathers international and local musicians to one stage for three sonorous days of indigenous vibes, and the Borneo Jazz Festival offers up a series of riveting performances and improvised jam sessions by seasoned and aspiring musicians.
Rainforest World Music Festival
Taking root in August is Royal Floria Putrajaya, Malaysia’s longest-running flower and garden show with extensive bazaars, workshops, competitions, garden pavilions and much more. We head back onto high seas in September to watch as experienced anglers from across the globe take part in the catch-and-releasebased Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge.
Some 1,200 athletes in peak condition will be gathering on the Jewel of Kedah in October, ready to give it their all in the Ironman Malaysia in Langkawi. This gruelling event combines 3.8km of swimming, 42km of running and 182km of cycling – the winner will have a shot at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua Kona, Hawaii later in the year.
November brings plenty of excitement up and down the country, including the Sarawak Drums Festival, the Penang Bridge International Marathon, Labuan Remembrance Day and the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2020.
Finally, in December, alongside the Christmas and New Year’s festivities that blanket the month, Light and Motion Putrajaya serves up a scintillating light show that features projection mapping on the administrative capital’s buildings, as well as shows and concerts by local artistes.
Light and Motion Putrajaya
These represent only a small slice of what’s happening throughout the year, with countless more events taking place along the length and breadth of Malaysia. There’s something for everyone this Visit Malaysia Year, whether you’re a culture vulture or adventure seeker. Make sure to visit Malaysia Tourism at tourism.gov.my to stay updated on the campaign!