8 Best Places to Visit in Malaysia
Malaysia is one of the richest and most diverse countries in Southeast Asia. What to see and do in Malaysia. Travel itinerary to Malaysia. The best things to do, the most essential places to visit.
Yet not many people know that. In fact, many people don’t know about Malaysia anything at all. Majority of tourists who come to Malaysia stay only in Kuala Lumpur, country’s capital. The reason is – one of the busiest airports in Southeast Asia, KLIA, is located there. In 2017, it handled more than 58 million passengers.
Being one of the most underrated countries when it comes to tourism, Malaysia definitely should be on your “to visit” list.
Why? Malaysia is rich with sights and landmarks. Malaysia has it all – beaches, islands, jungles, nature, rare animals, skyscrapers, amusement parks and, most important, amazingly friendly people!
Malaysia is diverse. It is a multi-cultural country with signs of Chinese and Indian influence in the country. Malaysia is actually one of the most diverse countries in Asia. Go anywhere in the country and you’ll see Buddhist temples, mosques, and Hindu temples. You’ll see a wide variety of dishes sold from the stalls around you. Signs in Malaysia are often written in 4 languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. All these completely different cultures intertwine and make Malaysia so unique.
Are you interested? Check out these 8 amazing places to visit in Malaysia!
8 Best Places to Visit in Malaysia
1. Kuala Lumpur, The Capital
Start exploring Malaysia with its capital – Kuala Lumpur. It is rich with sights and landmarks. Not only there are impressive skyscrapers and world’s tallest twin towers but also parks, beautiful nature, impressive temples, museums, mosques, and traditional neighborhoods just a few minutes walk away from the Petronas twin towers!
While it’s not the country’s food capital (Penang is, see below) it’s a good place to start explore different cuisines of the country – Indian, Chinese and Malaysian. Everywhere you go there are plenty of great local restaurants. But the most popular places where to eat are the markets – various local night markets and street food stalls in Bukit Bintang and Chinatown.
Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is a popular beach destination for both foreign and local tourists.
Even though a lot of new hotels are being built and the island receives more and more visitors every year, it’s still quite a peaceful place to be.
Langkawi might not have the best beaches and bluest waters but it’s definitely a good place to go to get away from hustle and bustle of the capital city.
What’s best about the island is its beautiful nature. Hiking to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang, second tallest mountain on the island, through the jungle and enjoying the view from above. Driving to the top of Gunung Raya, the tallest mountain on the island to enjoy the sunset. Swimming in natural pools at the Seven Wells Waterfall. Soaking in hot spring pools in Ayer Hangat village. This and many more await you in Langkawi.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. But! It’s not the country’s culinary capital!
The food capital of Malaysia is Penang. Some would go as far as saying that Penang actually is one of the greatest street food cities in all of Asia!
When in Penang, try popular foods such as Curry Mee, Penang Asam Laksa, Penang Teochew Chendul and Ais Kacang.
When you are through with eating, visit Kek Lok Si temple – the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, and also an important pilgrimage center for Buddhists from other countries in Southeast Asia.
4. Perhentian islands
Perhentian islands are those picture perfect islands off the eastern coast in Peninsular Malaysia. It’s a good place for snorkeling and diving.
Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil are the two main islands. Tourists stay on either one of those islands.
Unlike Langkawi, there’s not much to do on Perhentian islands besides water activities. So, go there for a relaxing beach holiday.
5. Kuala Sepetang
Kuala Sepetang is not that super famous place everyone visits when they come to Malaysia but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit!
Kuala Sepetang is a small fishing village in Perak, 14 km west of Taiping. Majority of the houses in the village are stilt houses built on water and almost every one of them has a pier where a traditional fishing boat is docked. This environment will make you feel like you’ve gone back to the past!
Also, don’t miss Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve which is located just 1 kilometer from Kuala Sepetang.
Don’t have too much time in Malaysia? You still can visit more than the country’s famous capital! Malacca is a great option for those who are in Malaysia for just a few days. It takes just a two and a half hours to get to Malacca (by bus).
Malacca, once a Portuguese colony, is a great place to visit to see the diversity of Malaysia. I have mentioned Indian and Chinese cultural influences but Malacca is evidence of European influence.
7. Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu, with a height of 4095 m (13 435 ft), is the highest mountain in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu is located on Borneo Island (East Malaysia), so you’ll have to fly to get there from Kuala Lumpur which is in West Malaysia.
Join a group tour to climb the mountain. No mountaineering equipment and skills are needed. You must be in good physical condition to climb the mountain, though.
The name of this city on the island of Borneo possibly was derived from the Malay word for cat, “kucing”. But there are other versions on how and when the city got its name.
Now, this city is all about cats. This feline-themed city is a perfect place for all cat lovers!
Cat statues, cat souvenirs everywhere, the Kuching Cat Museum… And, let’s not forget about the Meow Meow Cat Cafe! It wouldn’t be a purrrrfect cat-city if it didn’t have a cat cafe. It’s a good place to have a cuppa and a snack, and enjoy the company of a few furry friends!
Malaysia: 7 Extra Travel Tips
- You don’t need a visa to travel to Malaysia. EU citizens are entitled to visa-free entry for up to 90 days.
- Visit Malaysia after you have traveled to Thailand or Singapore. Border crossings are easy. And since you don’t need a visa, there’s no hassle.
- It’s easy to get around in Malaysia. The roads are good. The transport system is well organized. Buses are a cheap and comfortable way to travel around Malaysia. Flying is a fast and cheap way to travel between West and East Malaysia.
- While the largest cities are very modern, the smaller towns are more conservative. Pack thin and lightweight clothes that cover your knees and shoulders. Also, temples and mosques have strict rules on dress code.
- Tipping is not customary in Malaysia.
- In large cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang, use Grab (a ride-hailing app). It’s easy to use and cheap, cheaper than a regular taxi.
- If you are on a long holiday, consider visiting other places in Southeast Asia as plane tickets are very cheap. AirAsia (Malaysian low-cost airline) has its main hub in Kuala Lumpur.