There are many fun things to do and experience in Malaysia – the country that often being left out of the traveler list of destinations to visit in SE Asia, but well-worth being explored.
My two weeks Malaysia itinerary took me through the highlights of the country and I loved every second of it. If you ask me, I’ll definitely recommend you to put Malaysia on your bucket list of places to visit. Malaysia is multicultural, it has wonderful landscapes, lovely white sand beaches, great wildlife, the food is amazing and it offers varieties of fun activities throughout the country.
With so many fun things to do and experience in Malaysia, it’s guaranteed that you’ll love the country as I did and as everyone else who decides to give it a chance and explore it. It’s different from the other SE Asia destinations, Malaysia it’s unique on its own. So, next time when you find yourself in this part of the world, don’t hesitate and visit it.
The Fun Things to do & Experience in Malaysia
Table of Contents
Eat, eat, eat!!!
I can’t stop repeating to myself and to others, how amazing Malaysian food is! Malaysian cuisine is a symphony of flavors. It’s highly complex and diverse. The traditional cuisine is influenced by the three major ethical groups, Malays, Chinese, and Indians.
Malaysian food is definitely one of the reasons why you should visit the country. (You’ll thank me later)
Hawker centers are available everywhere around Malaysia and are your best bet for authentic and delicious eats. Except for the food, in Malaysia, you’ll also find plenty of fresh juices, and my new favorite drink –the ice tea with milk, I seriously got addicted to it!
In Malaysia, you’ll also find Durian everywhere. The King of Fruits that many people dislike can be found until late at night at a Durian stall. I personally liked the Durian fruit after I tried it for the first time in The Philippines. If it’s not your favorite fruit and you don’t like eating it fresh, you can try many of the sweets that the Durian is used for – chocolates, ice creams, biscuits.
Are you a vegetarian? – No worries, there are lots of vegetarian options available throughout Malaysia. Out of the three main cuisines in the country, the Indian offers the most vegetarian options. My favorite were chapatti, puri, roti, dosa, naan – those are all flatbreads that could be ordered with a filling, or just with side dips – so cheap, filling, and most of all delicious!
Get fat at Malaysia’s food capital, Penang
Penang is the food capital of Malaysia – in the historical city of Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Georgetown is also one of the best cities for food not just in Malaysia but in the whole world. Malays and people from all over the world are visiting the city to eat.
There are many places to visit in Penang, but the chances are that when visiting Penang and Georgetown, you’re going to spend most of your time tasting different local delicacies. Well, at least that’s what I did.
In Penang, you’ll find the best Malay, Chinese, and Indian street foods. The places to find them are the hot hawker centers and street stalls – cheap and full of flavors. The dish you chose to order will be cooked right in front of you, while you’re soaking all the good smells coming from the surrounding stalls.
Penang must-tries are Char Koay Teow (my new favorite food from around the world!!), Assam Laksa, Nasi Kandar, Oyster Omelette, Popiah, Dim Sum, Mee Goreng and Cendol.
The night markets
I know, I talk about food a lot, especially when it comes down to Malaysian food – sorry, I just can’t help it, and it’s just so good that except a reason to visit the country in the first place is also absolutely one of the best things to do and experience in Malaysia.
So, what about the night markets in Malaysia?
Night markets have been around in Malaysia for a long time now and they are part of the country culture. The night markets can be found in almost every city and small town in Malaysia and nowadays, a visit to at least one of them (or as much as possible) should be part of your itinerary.
Where to find the night markets?
The night markets are held in a different place each night of the week.
- Monday – Chow Kit Night Market
- Tuesday – Sri Petaling Night Market
- Wednesday – Taman Connaught Night Market
- Thursday – Plaza Mont Kiara Fiesta Night
- Friday – Pasar Sentul Night Market
- Saturday – Setia Alam Night Market
- Sunday – Kampung Baru Night Market
- Monday – Macallum Street Night Market
- Tuesday – Tanjung Bungah night Market
- Wednesday – Farlim Night Market
- Thursday – Batu Ferringhi Night Market
- Friday – Jelutong Night Market
- Saturday – Sungai Dua Night Market
- Sunday – Paya Terubong Night Market
- Monday – Ulu Melaka Market
- Tuesday – Kedawang Market
- Wednesday & Saturday – Kuah Night Market
- Thursday – Temoyong Night Market
- Friday – Air Hangat Night Market
- Sunday – Padang Matsirat Night Market
Admire the street art in Georgetown
Except for the food, Georgetown is famous for being UNESCO World Heritage Site and for its colorful streets. The street art in Georgetown is one of the things the city is known for – you’ve all have probably seen some of its murals on photos on Instagram.
The iconic art that you can find everywhere around Georgetown is a blend of fun, cool, and provocative murals.
Most of the street art has been done by the London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic. In 2012, Penang’s council hired him to spawn awareness of the rich history of the streets, turning them into a tourist point of interest. They definitely make the aimless wandering through the city a little bit more exciting.
For more inspiration, check this Georgetown travel guide.
Explore Kuala Lumpur
The capital, Kuala Lumpur is the place that you’re most likely to start your Malaysian trip from. The city is a great transportation hub, but it’s also fun to explore.
There are many attractions in Kuala Lumpur. One of the most recognizable landmarks of the city is the Petronas Twin Towers, who dominate the city with their height of 451 meters. The Towers are a must-visit and if it fits your budget, you can also walk the sky bridge that connects them both. The price of it is 85 RM.
What I liked the most about Kuala Lumpur is how so many people from different countries, religions, and backgrounds live together in peace – such a multicultural and nice city!
P.S. make sure you don’t miss the sky bars and the rooftops pools on your Kuala Lumpur itinerary.
Visit the Batu Caves
A trip to Malaysia cannot go without a visit to the worldwide famous Batu Caves. The 400 million years old caves are one of Malaysia’s most frequented tourist attractions.
The Cathedral Cave, which is the largest and most popular cave among the three of them, is really impressive for its size and it’s worth the visit. I must say that in my opinion is not anything more special than any other cave and I have seen far more interesting and beautiful caves, but a day trip to the Batu Caves is a fun thing to do and I would still recommend the trip there.
To get to the cave, you need to climb up to 272 steps. On the way to the top, you’ll be greeted by the local monkeys. Have in mind that those monkeys sometimes attack people and keep your valuables hidden. Don’t give them food too.
By the way, I was one of those people and I got attacked by the monkeys. While I was taking a photo of someone that was in my company, one of the monkeys jumped on my hand and tried to bite me. It all happened very fast and the monkey didn’t succeed in biting me – but just so you know.
How to get to the Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur:
The easiest way would be to share a Grab with other people. It would cost pretty much the same as if you go by bus and the rain, but far faster. We went there on the bus and the train and then got back with a Grab.
If you’re looking how to get there by train, ask at the front desk at the place where you’re staying, or someone local. When I visited the Batu Caves (February 2018), we needed to get a metro, then a bus, then a train to get there. Usually, I know that you should be able to get there just by taking the right train from KL Central.
Enjoy the white sand beaches
Malaysia has a beautiful coastline. White sand beaches and clear blue waters – so, if you were thinking that Thailand is the only country in SE Asia that can offer stunning beaches, you’re wrong. The beaches in Langkawi and Malaysia are more unknown, which makes them less crowded, more unpolluted, and cheaper.
During my two weeks in Malaysia, I visited only Langkawi island, an island in the northwest of the country, close to Thailand. Langkawi is a wonderful place to visit, but I also heard that the East coast of Malaysia is even better. Sadly, I was in Malaysia in February which is part of the monsoon season. The monsoon season lasts from November until March, and unless you don’t want a lot of rain, it’s not the time to visit the East coast – have this in mind when you’re planning your trip to Malaysia.
I would love to visit the East coast of Malaysia on my next trip to the country and perhaps even living the slow life on Kapas Island.
Explore Langkawi Island on a motorbike
One of the most fun things to do and experience in Malaysia is to explore the beautiful island of Langkawi on a motorbike. There are many things to do in Langkawi, but because the island is not so big and you can easily explore it all over in a few days on a motorbike. There are many nice beaches, waterfalls, cool things to do, and lovely places to visit. Plus, there are cute monkeys on the road too!
Motorbike around the island is the best way to get around and see what you want – although, it’s not that big many places that are worth going to are not in the main tourist area.
With a big choice of destinations, Malaysia is a great place for jungle trekking – it’s also known for this kind of activity. Most of the jungle trekking trails are based around National Parks and forest reserves. All those places are offering a variety of flora and fauna.
While jungle trekking in Malaysia, you’ll come across some rare and endangered species, typical for the country. During the jungle trek that I did in the area of Tanah Rata, I saw so many interesting and fascinating trees and plants that I haven’t seen anywhere else before.
If you’re looking for a jungle trek trail around the places you’ll be visiting on your way, just search online, or ask around the locals – there are many trails that you cannot find on the Internet.
You can find a large variety of Jungle Trekking tours, but you can also do it independently.
Visit the Cameron Highlands
Another must-do on any trip to Malaysia is a visit to the Cameron Highlands.
The Cameron Highlands is a highland situated at almost 2 000 meters above sea level. The region of the Highlands is characterized by extensive tea plantation, which is also the reason people are visiting this place. Except for seeing the plantations and drinking tea, you can visit the Cameron Highlands for the beautiful surrounding nature, wonderful walking opportunities, to escape the heat and to overall enjoy this attractive part of Malaysia.
Other Interesting Places In West Malaysia
- Ipoh – Continue the food tour in history-rich Ipoh, the capital of Malaysia’s silver state, Perak. This unique hilly region was once hailed as a major producer of the world’s tin in its heyday! Now, it’s well-loved foodie heaven! There are wonderful temples built into a number of the natural cave systems too! That you can include in your Ipoh itinerary!
- Malacca – If you can’t get enough of Nyonya or Peranakan culture and food, Malacca like Penang is full of it! And more formidable historical landmarks too. Like a Portuguese church (Christ Church)! All close to the iconic Red Square (Dutch Square) and along the picturesque Malacca River. Where there are river cruises too.
- Tioman and Redang Islands – Both are snorkeling paradises on the east coast of West Malaysia. The warm waters are teeming with tropical fish and there are numerous beaches, islets, and jungle trails to explore! It’s a long journey from Kuala Lumpur by bus (4-6 hours) and a ferry from Tanjung Gemok or Mersing (~2hours). But so worth it!
One of the most fun things to do and experience in Malaysia is hitchhiking. Hitchhiking in Malaysia has been a great experience for me and a memorable part of my trip. I meet some of the nicest people and had a great time spending a few hours with the locals.
Hitchhiking in Malaysia in my opinion and experience is safe. Generally, the locals are nice, friendly, and hospitable.
And that’s all folks. Those are my best suggestions on things to do in Malaysia. Do you have any other recommendations?
Thanks for reading,
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