10 Things To Do In Malaysia

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

Coming in at number one on this list of best things to do in Malaysia, we start on the north or east of the Peninsula on the island of 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.

Penang Hill | Penang

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.

You can get to the bottom of Penang Hill, either to begin the walk or to catch the funicular, via public bus from the island’s capital Georgetown.

Discover Historic Malacca | Melaka

And now we move down the west of the coast of Peninsula Malaysia to another UNESCO-listed heritage town – this time the destination of Malacca.

Smaller than Georgetown and a little more carefree, Malacca is nearer Kuala Lumpur and a favourite weekend trip for locals.

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

But if you want to unwind, then one of the best things to do in Malaysia is to escape to the Perhentian Islands.

Situated out from the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia, there are two central Perhentian IslandsPulau Besar and the smaller Pulau Kecil, both of which are accessed from the mainland port of Kuala Besut via a short (ish) boat ride.

Perhentian Islands | Terengganu

Both the islands offer unparalleled tranquillity, crystal clear waters, top diving and snorkelling and a lot of barefoot, plan-free days!

If you want to detach for a few days in a remote, off-grid kind of location, then the Perhentian islands will be the ones for you.

Sip Tip in Cameron Highlands | Pahang

Moving away from Singapore up to the centre of Peninsular Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands is one of the best places to visit Malaysia, thanks to their cooler, elevated climate.

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.

Cameron Highlands | Pahang

Thanks to this different climate, the Cameron Highlands are most famous as an agricultural area in Malaysia, a place where many fruits and vegetables are grown and the main crop of tea!

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

So while we’re talking about beaches in Malaysia, we certainly can’t look past the delightful archipelago of Langkawi – a collection of 99 islands, of which there are four inhabited ones.

And of these, it’s Pulau Langkawi that is most often visited thanks to its good tourism infrastructure and easy accessibility from either Thailand or Penang by boat/bus or Kuala Lumpur by air.

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.

Cable Car on Langkawi | Kedah

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

And one of the top national Parks we have listed is Taman Negara, situated in Peninsular Malaysia, very near (ish) to Cameron Highlands.

As such, we are combining these 2 locations makes a great option. Otherwise, there are buses from Kuala Lumpur that take around 4 hours.

Taman Negara | Pahang

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

And if outdoors hiking is your thing, do not overlook trekking Mount Kinabalu as one of the best things to do in Malaysia!

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

And without a doubt, another one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to visit the Batu Caves –  a great half-day trip from the capital.

This unique holy Hindu site has become Instagram famous thanks to its colourful steps.

Batu Caves | Selangor

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

And sticking with the island vibes, we come to Redang, another of Malaysia’s many islands where kicking back is one of the top things to do in this country.

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.

Redang | Terengganu

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!

Access to Redang is from Kuala Terengganu and the nicest beaches are meant to be Teluk Dalam Besar (private) and Teluk Dalam Kecil (hard to access).

Snorkel Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park | Sabah

And from the summit to the sea, another splendid national park in Malaysia, and one of the top things to see in this country, is Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.

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.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park | Sabah

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.

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