Watch bats flutter through prehistoric caves, climb Mount Kinabalu’s picturesque peak and savour sweet, freshly picked durians – in Malaysia, this is just the beginning.
From the lush tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur’s Batu Caves and Mount Kinabalu’s ranges, Malaysia offers a diverse tapestry of cultural and culinary discoveries.
Take the work out of building your own Malaysian itinerary and enjoy the country’s diverse and captivating experiences with this ultimate travel guide.
Ready to escape? Discover our collection of Malaysian stays.
1. Taste authentic Malaysian tea at a plantation in the Cameron Highlands
Amid undulating hills and majestic mountains lays the Cameron Highlands of Pahang, dotted with flourishing plantations and renowned tea estates. BOH Tea Plantation, founded during the British colonial period in the 1920s, reigns as Malaysia’s largest black tea producer. It prioritises the tea-making process, ensuring top-notch quality from bush to cup. This sprawling site produces four million kilos of tea each year across its 1,200 hectares. Also onsite is Sungai Palas Tea Garden, a renowned tourist attraction where you can enjoy a local cup and tasty treats, take part in a free educational tour on traditional tea processing, and even purchase some tea for yourself to take home. If your itch isn’t yet scratched, venture nearby to the plantations of Habu, Fairlie and Cheeding Hills in Selangor.
2. Explore the Batu Cave temples in Gombak and Mulu Caves in Sarawak
A trip to Malaysia is not complete without an adventure through some of the country’s world-famous cave temples. Just a 20-minute drive from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are a must-see for their natural beauty and religious significance. Gaze in wonder at the Lord Murugan Statue and Cave Staircase, and make your way through the Temple Cave, Dark Cave and Ramayana Cave. In Sarawak is Gunung Mulu National Park, home to the Deer Cave, with a vast entrance containing the world’s largest passage on record. Exploring its moon-like landscape can take an entire afternoon, with the mesmerising bat exodus at sundown; a spectacle well worth seeing. A longboat trip up Melinau River leads to Wind Cave, one of the world’s longest cave systems at an impressive 200km, and Clearwater Cave with its rare orchid species.
3. Go island-hopping from Langkawi to Penang Island
Venture beyond the mainland and explore the pristine nature of the country’s famous island clusters. Jump aboard a speedboat tour around Langkawi’s popular islands from Pulau Dayang Bunting, Langkawi’s second-largest island and home to the famous Lake of the Pregnant Maiden, to Big Lion Island, to watch eagles and relax at Pulau Beras Basah (Wet Rice Island). Just off the mainland awaits the local flavours and natural beauty of Penang Island. Explore the Reclining Buddha Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Dharmikarama Burmese Temple and Snake Temple (Fu Xing Gong), witness batik crafting and admire butterflies at Entopia.
4. See endangered orangutans at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah
Sure to warm the hearts of animal lovers, this sanctuary complex is home to a variety of orangutans, orphaned apes, sun bears, gibbons and elephants given refuge and care. Stroll through the centre along well-defined pathways, that assist in the conservation of the animals while allowing visitors to respectfully observe them. Learn about wildlife conservation and the dire consequences of deforestation as you learn the ongoing endeavours to protect Malaysia’s orangutan habitats.
5. Embark on a foodie trail around Penang’s George Town
Let your senses guide you through the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, filled with rows of restaurants and bustling markets offering traditional treats of all kinds, perfumed with peppery aromas. Explore an array of Malay, Indian, Chinese and fusion dishes on an enlightening cultural and culinary adventure around the city’s best eats, whether you prefer a self-guided itinerary or allowing an expert to light the way. Savour Siam Road’s famous char koay teow, slurp up a plate of mee goreng from Hameed Pata, and wash it all down with a cold Teochew cendol along Penang Road. Now you’re eating like a true Penang local.
6. Climb to the peak of Sabah’s Mount Kinabalu
Pull on your day pack and lace up your hiking boots to ascend Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Park that sprawls over 4,500 square kilometres. This geological wonderland teems with unique flora and fauna, 90 endemic orchid species and the elusive crimson-headed partridge, a global rarity. Mount Kinabalu’s ancient rocks and stunning granite formations are not only visually impressive, but also bear testament to the Earth’s extraordinary geodiversity. Throughout your hike, take in picture-perfect views of sprawling rice paddies, rolling valleys and more than 400 villages thriving under the mountain’s watchful eye.
7. See bearded pigs at Bako National Park in Sarawak
Although it’s one of Southeast Asia’s smallest national parks, Bako contains wonder in abundance, with thriving wildlife, sparkling secluded beaches, walking trails, and jungle waterfalls, and – if you’re lucky – catch a rare glimpse of an Indigenous Bornean bearded pig or a proboscis monkey. Search for the incredible bearded pig, distinguishable by its wiry beard and tasselled tail, around the lush rainforest and mangrove areas of the national park or look to the canopies to spot the big-nosed, pot-bellied proboscis monkey swinging through the trees.
8. Pick your own durians at an organic farm in Penang
Commonly referred to as the ‘king of all fruit’, Durian is the apple of Malaysia’s vibrant eye. While they’re available year-round in Penang from street vendors and market stall holders, many consider the best place to try this sweet delicacy is straight from the source. Durian farms are scattered throughout Malaysia, with some of the best fruit grown in rural Penang, where farms have been around for generations. The organic Bao Sheng Durian Farm offers the chance to pick ripe fruit and indulge in a traditional Penang durian buffet feast. On the east coast is Green Acres, an eco-retreat on a 16-acre durian farm that’s been nestled in the hillside of Balik Pulau for 70 years. Here, you can stay overnight in a treehouse in the presence of hanging fruits – and if fortune smiles on you, experience a durian choosing you, as it falls from the tree and rolls over to your feet, ready to be devoured.
9. Take a speedy cable car through Langkawi Island’s fluffy clouds
Elevate your Malaysian adventure by soaring among the clouds on the Langkawi SkyBridge. This remarkable suspended bridge, one of the world’s highest, promises an adrenaline rush like no other, and it definitely delivers. Begin your journey on the Langkawi SkyCab cable car, an exhilarating ride that includes stops at two viewing platforms at the peak of the towering Machinchang mountain, granting breathtaking panoramas of Pulau Langkawi. As you pace the swaying 125-metre bridge the spectacular vistas will momentarily distract you from its thrilling height 700 metres above the sea, so you’ll feel like you’re travelling through ethereal clouds.
10. Treat yourself to a shopping day in the heart of Kuala Lumpur
Leave behind the lush rainforests and magnificent mountains for the day to indulge in a luxurious shopping experience in the heart of Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia’s retail capital. Committed to the art of retail therapy, the city is decorated with an array of glittering shopping malls. The most popular, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, is a sprawling complex across 10 levels and 700 stores within the trendy Bukit Bintang district. This pinnacle of city shopping is as glamorous as it is expansive, boasting international retailers including Versace, Coach, COS and Zara with something for every wallet size. Situated at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC offers services beyond a traditional shopping mall: in addition to fashion retailers, it offers an aquarium, science discovery centre and park to keep the whole family entertained between try-on sessions.
11. Tick off the famous 7 World Wonders of Penang
Like the world’s breathtaking seven wonders from the Colloseum to the Great Wall, Malaysia’s vibrant Penang region is home to a collection of their own seven wonders. Adventure through all seven beginning at the famous Penang Hill funicular railway which has the steepest tunnel track in the world. Next up, wander over the Langur Way Canopy Walk – the world’s highest altitude stressed ribbon bridge, and then a visit to the world’s first tropical butterfly and insect santuary: Entopia. Glide down the world’s longest water slide at Escape Penang, experience the first tower curved skywalk at Rainbow Skywalk, defy gravity while trying the highest ropes course challenge at The Gravityz, and finally, lose your breath at G-Drop, home to the world’s first free-standing vertical drop slide.
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