Best Places to Visit in Malaysia
Malaysia is a country of contrasts–an eclectic mix of colonial architecture, stunning parks and beaches, contemporary skyscrapers, and a unique landscape covered in tea plantations. A melting pot with influences from neighboring lands, as well as Western countries, Malaysia has something for everybody–from the world-famous Petrona Towers to the cultural and religious diversity that makes this a destination like no other.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Malaysia and make your trip enjoyable.
12 Best Places to Visit in Malaysia
Here are the top 12 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Malaysia:
1. Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia’s capital and largest city have a lot to offer travelers. Probably best known for the Petronas Twin Towers (the tallest twin towers in the world), Kuala Lumpur is a very popular tourist destination and is regularly ranked among the ten most visited cities in the world.
A mix of colonial, modern, Asian and Malay architecture flows through the city, giving the city a unique look you won’t usually find in other Southeast Asian capitals. The National Palace and the Parliament Building are two examples of Kuala Lumpur’s stunning architecture – well worth a visit even if you don’t plan to explore the interior.
More exciting things to do while in Kuala Lumpur include visiting Merdeka Square, shopping on Petaling Street in Chinatown, and exploring the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.
Kuala Lumpur is considered one of the best shopping destinations in Southeast Asia – not only does the city have close to 70 malls, but it is also packed with indoor/outdoor markets (like the huge Central Market with over 800 shops and stalls). Great place for hand carved wood and tin.
If you don’t mind leaving the city quickly, the massive limestone Batu Caves (sanctuary and home to thousands of bats) are less than an hour away.
2. George Town
The second largest city in Malaysia, the old town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but George Town is as famous for its food as for its architecture. Known as the “Food Capital of Malaysia”, George Town offers some of Asia’s best street food, best experienced at places like the waterfront Gurney Drive and Giulia Street, a popular backpacker destination and home to one of the city’s oldest streets.
While George Town’s harbor and waterfront areas are popular with tourists, there is much more to see and do here. The city’s tallest skyscraper is home to the U-shaped Rainbow Skywalk, a 68-story outdoor glass viewing platform. Take the tram to the top of Penang for a less stressful view of the city – the cityscape is beautiful, especially at night.
Less adventurous travelers might want to browse the Penang Batik Museum or visit the colorful 19th-century Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple before picking up some batik souvenirs from the local market.
3. Gunung Mulu National Park
Named after Mount Mulu, the park attracts tourists from all over Asia for its hiking, caving, hot springs and natural beauty that has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.
Climbers can reach the summit of Mount Mulu after a 24-mile, 1,200-meter hike from the park center – but there are also easier trails in the park for those looking for an easier day out.
However, the main attraction of the park is its cave and the millions of bats that live in it. Located deep in the surrounding rainforest and karst cliffs, the caves have set records in a variety of ways, including having the longest cave system in Southeast Asia and the largest cave passage in the world. At 115 meters high and 600 meters long, Sarawak Cave is the largest cave in the world and is difficult to access and can only be explored as part of a guided tour.
Since it’s right across the South China Sea, it’s no surprise that Kuantan’s main claim to fame is its beaches. Just a few minutes from the city center, Teluk Cempedak Beach has a clean, tree-lined coastline; nearby Cherating Beach is home to a turtle sanctuary and a cultural village where traditional batiks are produced and sold.
Sungai Pandan Waterfall and Marina Park, where you can take a boat ride to see the city in a completely different way, are also popular attractions, offering many opportunities to explore the surroundings, hike or swim.
Located on the site of a former large underground tin mine, the Tin Museum is a unique attraction worth visiting. Nearby, visitors can also find the Charah cave complex (prepare for an hour’s hike through tropical palm trees to reach the cave), which houses a suspension bridge and a large reclining Buddha.
5. Perhentian Island
These secluded coral-lined islands offer many opportunities for kayaking, exploration, snorkeling, and scuba diving (including the popular candy-bearing shipwreck site), while also offering volunteers working with local organizations in green and hawksbill conservation efforts.
The islands are still underdeveloped which means there are no major hotels, restaurants or facilities on the islands. For those looking to stay the night, there are several guesthouses and homestay options to choose from, but others are not.
Jungle hiking is another major attraction, as the trails here connect the islands and wind through lush forests inhabited by monitor lizards and monkeys. Asphalt roads also connect Coral Bay with nearby beaches and picturesque fishing villages.
6. Borneo Rainforest
The island of Borneo (part of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei) is densely covered by one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests and is a natural refuge for endangered species such as the eastern Sumatran rhino and Borneo orangutan.
If you want to see orangutans up close while supporting a good cause, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is the most environmentally friendly way to do it.
Tourists travel to Borneo to learn about its rich Aboriginal culture, jungle wildlife, and some of the best countries walks in the world – many of which can be explored at the Rainforest Discovery Centre, an educational destination that does a great job of promoting the island.
Located on the northwest coast of Malaysia, Langkawi consists of 99 islands, has three protected geological forest parks and many coconut-lined coastlines, and is one of Malaysia’s best beaches. While some beaches, such as Pantai Cenang Beach, are very popular with tourists, those on the smaller islands to the northeast are more secluded with limestone cliffs as a backdrop.
Take the island’s cable car to one of the island’s highest peaks for the best view of the island and ocean. Once here, you can ride the 125-metre Langkawi Sky Bridge, a walking path that rises 660 meters above sea level. Just a few minutes from the cable car, there is also the Telaga Tujuh waterfall with beautiful clear pools for swimming and a forest path through two different mountains.
The small museum and rice fields of Laman Padi Rice Garden are an interesting quick stop, while the 50-acre Legenda Langkawi Park provides a great space to explore the heritage and history of the area through manicured gardens, traditional buildings and sculptures. Giants, mythical creatures and other Langkawi folk characters.
8. Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands is a hilly region with a tradition of growing tea on sloping slopes. The tea plantation remains a major attraction today and one of the most photographed, but Cameron Highlands is also home to lavender and strawberry farms. The Moss Forest Boardwalk, an always foggy tropical evergreen setting with orchards, herb gardens and nurseries, and designated walkways for up-close viewing of local flora and fauna.
If you only have time to visit one plantation, BOH Tea Plantation is a great choice – not only is it the largest tea producer in Malaysia, but tourists can take a tour to see the tea making process up close, visit the gift shop, and explore the estate’s pavement.
For an in-depth look at Malaysia’s farming and farming practices, Mardi’s Agri-Tech Park is an unexpectedly interesting destination where you can tour the orchards (including a large area devoted to its unusual breath) and even spend the night.
9. Taman Negara
Taman Negara is a 130-million-year-old deciduous rainforest refuge that offers several daily activities and attractions. Besides jungle trekking and bird watching, tourists come here to climb Mount Tahan (considered one of the toughest treks/climbs in Malaysia), try canopy hiking, or jump in the Ratabok River rapids.
Exploring the entire Gua Telinga limestone cave system takes weeks, but a personal guided tour of the main cave is possible; here you have to crawl, squeeze, go through narrow underground tunnels and possibly get wet to reach the main cave chamber.
The park is home to many endangered species, including the Malayan tiger and the Malayan peacock pheasant – two rare species, an experience in itself.
10. Kota Kinabalu
The capital city, Kota Kinabalu, or KK, is in the South China Sea, in the northern part of Borneo, surrounded by primeval forests and great mountains.
Nearby Mount Kinabalu (named after the city) is Malaysia’s highest mountain and a highly respected climbing spot. Because the mountain is protected and home to many endangered species (including orangutans with five-petaled flowers reaching a meter in diameter and giant vines called rafflesia), climbing is only in the company of park rangers.
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is another major tourist attraction – the park covers about five hectares spread over five islands. It offers visitors the opportunity to sunbathe on sloping white-sand beaches, explore coral reefs, or take in the many hiking trails that wind through lush tropical forests.
Must-sees for those wishing to explore the cultural side of KK include the Sabah State Museum, Merdeka Square (where the Declaration of Independence took place), and the Monsopiad Cultural Village, where visitors can learn more about the local ethnic group.
11. Batu Ferringhi
Technically a suburb of George Town, Batu Ferringhi is a well-known beach destination for both domestic and international tourists and has a lot to offer for sunbathers and those seeking an active vacation in the sun.
Rocky ledges and luxury resorts line the turquoise coastline, and visitors have the opportunity to paraglide and windsurf or rent a jet ski on the beach. After sunset, Batu Ferringhi’s most popular attraction is the night market, where tourists can buy their favorite batik, handmade souvenirs, and local handicrafts.
The market’s food stalls offer the best opportunity to sample traditional Malay food in the city in a lively and colorful atmosphere with vendors and live entertainment. There is also a batik factory in town if you want to see how this unique painting technique works.
For a glimpse of Malaysia’s jungle paradise, head to Tropical Spice Garden, an 8-acre park with lush hiking trails, waterfalls and herb gardens.
Malaysia’s third largest city is known for its colonial-era architecture, traditional cuisine (a mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay influences) and beautiful unspoiled nature. Close to the Kinta River, Ipoh’s Old Town is a great place to see Chinese shops and the narrow “Concubine Road”, a trendy district filled with restaurants, pop-ups and souvenir shops.
However, Ipoh’s most unique feature is street art, which is painted over buildings in the form of large murals, bringing Ipoh’s heritage to life.
While you’re in town, take some time to stop at the Birch Memorial Clock Tower for a few great photos; Visit D. R. Seenivasagam Park for a tour of the Japanese Garden or experience the thrilling rides at The Lost World of Sunway at Taman Sunway; The theme park also has Hot Springs, a water park, and an adventure area with a zipline and climbing wall.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Malaysia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Malaysia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.