Malaysia. Home to lush tropical rainforests, majestic mountains, beautiful islands, beaches, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, bustling cities… There’s too much to list! This Southeast Asian country is separated into two regions which comprise the West (Peninsular) and East Malaysia (island of Borneo). If you’ve never been to Malaysia, it’s probably time that you should. It doesn’t matter if you are a city-person, or an outdoor, nature-lover; Malaysia has it all! From Kuala Lumpur, the largest city and capital of Malaysia, to the mountains, beaches and islands of Borneo. Take your pick!
Here, we’ll list out some places you should not miss on your trip here. However, Malaysia has plenty of sites and attractions that are not only limited to this list. It would be too long a paragraph if we were to list them all. Therefore, we hope this shortlist will give you a good head start, and you can explore the rest as you interact with the locals here.
1. Kuala Lumpur
If you’ve been to Malaysia before, we’re pretty sure you may have stopped by Kuala Lumpur. If not, then you shouldn’t miss out on Malaysia’s capital city. Also known as KL among the locals, Kuala Lumpur is a top-rated travel destination for tourists who want to visit Malaysia. Not only that, but KL is also considered to be one of the best shopping destinations in Southeast Asia.
It’s no surprise that KL prides itself with its boasting skyscrapers, impressive architecture, numerous landmarks and as a business hub. However, KL has many natural attractions to offer as well, such as their national parks and hiking trails.
There are tons of activities that you can do in the hustle-and-bustle of KL city and the out-of-town attractions. To give you an idea, here are some you can try out :
- Visit the Petronas Towers at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
- Menara KL Tower
- Chinatown at Jalan Petaling
- Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
- Aquaria KLCC
- Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
There are so much more places you can discover here in KL. If you don’t know where to start, you can refer to this list and go on from there.
2. Georgetown, Penang
Penang is also one of the top places to visit if you’re travelling to Malaysia. The colonial city of Georgetown, also Penang’s capital city, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On your visit there, you can discover beautiful British buildings, churches and Fort Cornwallis. Besides that, Penang has many more attractions to offer. That includes museums, historic homes, seaside forts, traditional shophouses, cafes and famous local food streets.
Also known as the ‘food capital of Malaysia’, Penang prides itself with their authentic and delicious local cuisines. You can find an endless amount of hawker stalls here serving up a variety of different food. Some must-try food here includes the Char Kuey Teow, Assam Laksa, Cendol, Tau Sar Piah, roti bakar, prawn noodles and many more!
No visit to Penang would be complete without taking a walk around the island’s capital city to witness the British colonial architecture, temples, markets, roadside vendors and the iconic street art. Here are a few more attractions to visit during your stay in Penang :
- Penang Hill
Located 800m above sea level, Penang Hill is another popular tourist attraction that you should not miss. From the top, visitors can have a breath-taking view of the whole island. You can reach the summit by onboarding the funicular train. Visitors can also hike here.
- Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
This award-winning mansion represents the best 18th and 19th-century Chinese architecture. Locals call it the Blue Mansion. Awarded with the title of UNESCO’s Most Excellent Project in Asia Pacific Heritage Awards, visitors should not miss this destination!
- Kek Lok Si Temple
This temple is among the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. Founded more than a hundred years ago, visitors can witness beautifully landscaped gardens and temples here.
- ESCAPE Theme Park
If you’re looking for some thrilling outdoor activities, this theme park is worth your visit! Visitors can choose from a wide range of activities hosted in a natural environment. Explore the jungle activities and super slides at the water park here.
3. Langkawi Island, Kedah
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. If you’re looking for a small town to visit and take a look at beautiful beaches or natural scenery, Langkawi is an excellent option for you. It is also a famous hotspot for tourists to visit every year. Besides that, Langkawi also has many other tourist attractions to offer such as a cable car ride, largest indoor aquarium, duty-free shops and many more! Here are a few things you can do to get a taste of island living here in Langkawi :
- Langkawi Cable Car
Take a 15-minute-ride up to the top of Mount Mat Cincang. You can have a magnificent view of the lush rainforests, beaches and surrounding islets. Besides that, there are also restaurants, shops and other attractions for you to enjoy there.
- Pantai Cenang
Pantai Cenang is one of the most notable and loved beaches here in Langkawi. There are so many activities in store for you. For example, you can choose from a wide range of water activities such as jet-skiing, snorkelling, paragliding any many more! Don’t forget to check out the restaurants, bars, and night markets for delicious local cuisine. Did we mention the sunset here is breath-taking too?
- Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls
Also known as the Seven Wells Waterfalls, it is also revered as the island’s most beautiful natural attraction. It is also home to beautiful floras, clear pool for swimming and a jungle trail that runs up to different mountains.
- Island Hopping
Another thrilling activity you can do here is island-hopping. Look out for island-hopping packages that would allow you to visit a few islands in a day! You could swim or go for paddle-boating as you take a look at the islands. One famous island you could see is the Pulau Dayang Bunting or Pregnant Maiden Island.
For more information and ideas on where to visit in Langkawi, click here!
4. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah in the northern part of the island of Borneo. Commonly referred to as KK by the locals, Kota Kinabalu is one of the tourists’ favourite travel destinations because of its proximity to tropical rainforests, islands, sandy beaches, national parks, and Malaysia’s tallest peak, Mount Kinabalu.
If you’d like to spend the day in town, you can have a little shopping spree at the malls located here as well as the cultural craft markets. Not only that, but there are also a wide variety of food shops, restaurants, and cafes here that will satisfy your cravings for local KK food. You can also take a trip to Tanjung Aru beach for one of Borneo’s most spectacular sunsets, or stroll by the Likas Bay for a beautiful view of the coast and islands.
When you’re ready to visit outside of town, there are a few places you could go for as well. For adventure-lovers, you can take the challenge to climb Mount Kinabalu. Don’t forget to train yourselves a little before you head there. If you don’t feel like doing any vigorous activity on your visit here, you can also take a trip and enjoy the cold weather at the highlands of Kundasang.
With that said, here are some other activities you can go for in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah :
- Monsopiad Cultural Village
Learn about ethnic local groups of Sabah here in this cultural village. Visitors can experience the traditions and cultures of the Kadazan indigenous tribe. There, you can find many historical artefacts on display and see the trophy skulls collected by a Kadazan warrior hundreds of years ago.
- Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
Take a trip to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and discover the islands here in Sabah. With affordable packages, you can also island-hop here, bathe under the hot sun and enjoy water activities as well.
If Mount Kinabalu is a little too challenging for you, you can also visit a few hiking trails that will offer you a majestic view of the town. Some famous hills you can go for are Bukit Botak, Bukit Janggut, Maragang Hill and Bukit Padang.
- Desa Dairy Farm Kundasang
Locals here sometimes refer to this place as Malaysia’s version of New Zealand. That is because this cattle farm offers the most amazing scenery one could witness. Located at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, visitors can enjoy the cool breeze here, as well as the beautiful green pastures and view of the mountain. You can also witness several cows there and have a taste of freshly produced milk, gelato and other food at the shop.
Here’s a food guide for you on what to eat in Sabah. Click on the link here.
5. Malacca City, Malacca
Malacca City is the capital of the state of Malacca. This colonial city has been featured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. It’s no surprise that this city is a popular tourist destination filled with beautiful architecture, culture, tradition and local cuisines. Besides that, Malacca is also well-known for their contribution of the Baba Nyonya or Peranakan culture to the Malaysian cultural landscape.
If you’re looking for some more ideas on where else to travel in Melaka, here are a few!
- St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Church is also a tourist spot for first-timers to Melaka. The ruins of the church are located at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill. Although it has been in disrepair for more than 150 years, it is still a beautiful and historic sanctuary near the A’ Famosa Fort.
- A’Famosa Fort
A’Famosa is Malacca’s best-known sightseeing spot. Originally constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1511, A’Famosa used to occupy a whole hillside, but no only a lone gate remains. The remaining features of the fort is now a crumbling gatehouse just downhill from St. Paul’s Church.
- Jonker Street
Jonker Street or Jonker Walk is an exciting place to be if you want to find some delicious local cuisines or shop for crafts and souvenirs. Visitors should visit their vibrant night market filled up a wide variety of stalls selling food, souvenirs, clothes and many more.
This isn’t all there is to it! For more information on what else to do in Melaka, click here!
To list down all the places and attractions in Malaysia would be almost impossible to write. As mentioned, there are many other places that you could go to that are not limited to only this list. However, we hope that this list can give you a head start as you plan your trip to Malaysia for your next vacation!
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