Split in two — one half just below Thailand, the other across the South China Sea sharing space with Indonesia — visiting Malaysia is a wild ride. One moment you’re getting glamorous in the ultra-modern Kuala Lumpur, the next you’re flying through the rainforest on a waterslide. This South Asian spot is diverse culturally, too, with heavy Chinese, Indian, and Indigenous influences found country-wide.

Use the capital city as your home base, and then get moving toward the water. For an epic diving adventure, look to Mermaid Island. Visit the Batu Caves, a Hindu temple set into limestone. Eat your way through Penang. And while you’re at it, brush up on your Malaysian slang. You’ll be here a while.