New book on world's secret marvels features Malaysia's glass temple, Portuguese Settlement, Thaipusam fest

Two pictures of the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Temple in Johor Baru, the only glass temple in Malaysia.
Two pictures of the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Temple in Johor Baru, the only glass temple in Malaysia. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK - Did you know that Malaysia has some very unusual practices and unusual places? Maybe not so unusual to Malaysians, but perhaps to the rest of the world.

In Lonely Planet’s new book, Secret Marvels Of The World, there are three entries from Malaysia that are featured. What do you think they are?

Well, one that you can already guess from the picture above is the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Temple in Johor Baru. It is cited for being the first and only glass temple in Malaysia. Presumably it would be hard put to find many such religious structures elsewhere in the world too. Find out how many glass beads and mosaic pieces were used to construct this amazing temple in the book.

Christmas decorations put up at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujung Pasir, Melaka, in 2016. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

The other entry is on the Portuguese Settlement in Melaka. This is possibly something even international visitors are more familiar with. Find out why it made the cut for the book.

Finally, making it to No. 1 on the list of the Top 10 Eye-Popping Asian Festivals is none other than that riotous procession of colour, Hindu religious piety and crowds that number a million at least. Yes, Thaipusam makes it to the top of the pile for the sight of various kavadi bearers with skewered bodies, cheeks and tongues climbing up the 272 steps  to the temple in Batu Caves. All done to fulfil a vow they have undertaken.

The Thaipusam festival, which sees pilgrims climbing up 272 steps to the temple in Malaysia's Batu Caves. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

From eerie natural wonders to historical oddities and unusual architecture, the book is a travel companion for the incurably curious, and features communist bunkers, burning gas craters and at least one sponge-rock fluorescent grotto built by Polish monks. Within these pages are also rainbow eucalyptus trees, a stomach-churning cocktail, ghost towns, a bridge made of trees, an underwater museum, and a town called Hell.

Besides Malaysia, Asia is represented in the book by multiple entries, including Thailand’s See Uey Sae Ung and the Chao Mae Tuptim shrine in Bangkok, Hong Kong’s Buffalo Beach, Taiwan’s Rainbow Village and Beneficial Microbes Museum, and multiple entries from China including a Toilet Fountain. Go figure.

There are also entries from Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam

The hardcover book is now available in stores priced at RM99.90 (S$31.8).