Boasting two coastlines, with beautiful beaches and a collection of islands, cool highlands, steamy jungles, dazzling cities and some UNESCO-listed heritage towns, Malaysia is quite a traveller treasure trove.
With so much to traverse, and few taking up the opportunity to do this country justice, Malaysia offers adventure-seekers, beach-lovers, culture-vultures and foodies a tremendous plethora of adventures to enjoy.
Here are the ten best picks of the things to do in Malaysia!
Climb Penang Hill | Penang
This top tourist spot owns many activities and attractions, including national parks, beaches, temples and culinary treats. But heading up our list is climbing Penang Hill.
This can either be done via funicular if you feel lazy or just too hot and humid. If you allow some extra time, you can also choose to walk via your own two legs.
Yes, the hike up Penang Hill is challenging, but the views across the whole island from the top make up for it.
Discover Historic Malacca | Melaka
As such, we highly recommend visiting Malacca during the weekdays to roam the fascinating streets, marvel at the diverse culture, shop, eat and see all the different religious and historic attractions too.
With its riverside setting, Malacca is a great place to unwind as well.
Escape to the Perhentian Islands | Terengganu
Situated out from the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia, there are two central Perhentian Islands – Pulau Besar and the smaller Pulau Kecil, both of which are accessed from the mainland port of Kuala Besut via a short (ish) boat ride.
Both the islands offer unparalleled tranquillity, crystal clear waters, top diving and snorkelling and a lot of barefoot, plan-free days!
Sip Tip in Cameron Highlands | Pahang
Even as you drive up on a bus there, you’ll feel the climate shift and escaping the humidity can come as a welcome relief.
If you want to sample a Malaysian high tea experience or scoff down a punnet of strawberries with a scone, this is the place to come.
You can also see tea growing, learn how it is produced, and drink and buy the stuff here.
Ride the Cable Car on Langkawi | Kedah
Hotels line the beaches in the island’s leading resorts, but the soaring peaks inland here and the quality of the natural scenery means its beauty isn’t diminished.
And one of the best ways to take this in is via the island cable car, which takes you to the top of Mat Cincang Mountain.
Taking around 15 minutes, this is a breathtakingly scenic ride that will fly you over waterfalls and lush rainforests, all to an ocean backdrop!
And if that’s not enough, there’s plenty of hikes, museums, cultural sites and even a Sky Bridge to keep you entertained on Langkawi, as well as great boat trips to the mangroves, caves and UNESCO-listed Geopark of the Kilim River.
Canopy Walk in Taman Negara | Pahang
As such, we are combining these 2 locations makes a great option. Otherwise, there are buses from Kuala Lumpur that take around 4 hours.
Established in 1938, the Taman Negara National Park area protects ancient rainforest thought to be 130 million years old.
You can enjoy a fantastic canopy walk among this ancient landscape – it’s the world’s longest canopy walk FYI – as well as wildlife spotting, mountain biking and general getting outdoor and amongst it!
Well worth a couple of days, this is one of Malaysia‘s best places to visit.
Trek Mount Kinabalu | Sabah
Located in East Malaysia, this is a severe undertaking you shouldn’t consider lightly, especially if you’re going all the way to the 4095m high summit.
However, suppose you do decide to go for it and make sure you’re well prepared and well-trained. In that case, this UNESCO-listed and insanely biodiverse area offers an unparalleled experience of the natural world.
Visit the Famous Batu Caves | Selangor
This unique holy Hindu site has become Instagram famous thanks to its colourful steps.
Get there early, i.e. when the temple opens at 6 am. If you want to grab the best snaps on the steps and then climb them to check out the vast cave temple inside… watch out for the monkeys!
Either you can access the caves via public transport using Grab from Kuala Lumpur, or if you’d like a guide to explain the site’s significance to you.
Relax on Redang | Terengganu
Not known for being as small-pocket friendly as Perhentian, hence why I sadly haven’t been here. I do have it on good authority. However, Redang is another stretch of Malaysian paradise you shouldn’t miss if you can afford it.
Heavier on the resorts than many other Malaysian islands, it’s epic diving and snorkelling that make up the main activities here, plus finding a gorgeous stretch of sand to relax on, too, of course!
Snorkel Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park | Sabah
Also located in East Malaysia (Borneo), this national park comprises five islands. Most people head here as part of a day trip – although staying overnight in one of the luxury resorts is possible too if you have the budget.
Unsurprisingly, the underwater world rules any to-do list here, snorkelling and diving top of the list thanks to some epic coral and marine life.
Alongside this, kayaking and hiking along the public beaches are also popular, where monkeys, lizards and snakes can often be spotted.