Unfortunately, Malaysia is just a quick flight hopping destination for many travelers. That’s a shame, because those who actually decide to spend some time there and explore the country, know how fascinating and amazing Malaysia is!
In my opinion, Malaysia is the most underrated country in SE Asia and I cannot explain myself why – the capital city is so livable and vibrant, the beaches are dreamy, the landscapes are spectacular and the food is now one of my favorites in the world!
While two weeks in Malaysia won’t be enough time to see the whole country, it would still give you enough time and the opportunity to fall in love with it as a destination and to make you want to come back.
Check out my two weeks Malaysia itinerary for tips and inspiration for your first trip tо the country.
|Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in December 2020.
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Ever since I started planning my first SE Asia trip, Malaysia was on my list of destinations to visit. When I was boarding my flight to The Philippines in Dubai, I was asked about a return ticket and because I didn’t have one they made me book one in order to board the plane. Then, I booked a ticket to Hong Kong which in the end I only wasted and after the Philippines, I went straight to Malaysia.
I spent two weeks in Malaysia starting in the capital city Kuala Lumpur and then moving to the North. I didn’t know what to expect from Malaysia before visiting, but I quickly came to loving it. Now, I know that one day when I go back to this part of the world, I would love to visit Malaysia again and explore other parts of the country that I haven’t got the chance to on this trip.
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Visa for Malaysia
Nationalities of most of the countries can enter Malaysia visa-free for up to 90 days. That includes all English speaking countries, almost all countries in Europe, etc. Nationalities of other countries can enter Malaysia visa-free for either 30 or 14 days. Nationalities of a few Asian countries can get an E-Visa and then a visa in advance is enquired for the citizens of Columbia, Afghanistan, and other African countries. There are also certain restrictions for the citizens of Israel, Serbia, and Montenegro.
Make sure to check in which list is your country of residence before booking your trip. Also, make sure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the intended date of departure.
So, here’s the two weeks Malaysia Itinerary for you:
Places to visit & things to do in two weeks in Malaysia:
Kuala Lumpur is among the fastest-growing metropolitan regions in SE Asia, in both population and economic development. The city is very livable and although many people say that there isn’t much to do in Kuala Lumpur, I believe this is just a rumor and that the capital city actually has plenty to offer. Honestly, I don’t think I dedicated enough time to explore it and sadly, I didn’t have the chance to discover many of the hidden gems of the city, but at least that’s another reason to be back.
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!
Without any further ado, here’s how to spend your time in the Malaysian capital:
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Twin Towers & Sky Bridge
The Petronas Twin Towers are the world’s tallest twin towers standing at 451.9 meters above the ground. They are one of Kuala Lumpur’s most recognizable landmarks and a must-visit site on any trip in the city. If you’re interested and if it fits your budget, you can also walk the sky bridge that connects the towers. The ticket costs RM 80.
Address: Concourse Level, Lower Ground, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm
Visit the KL Tower
The KL Tower is the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur that’s open to the public. The observation deck is at a height of 276 meters and offers a 360-degree view of the city. To enjoy this panoramic view it would cost you RM 49.
Address: No. 2 Jalan Punchak Off, Jalan P. Ramlee
Opening hours: Daily, from 9:30 am to 10 pm
Relax at KLCC Park
This is one of my favorite things to do in Kuala Lumpur. The KLCC Park has been designed to provide greenery to the Petronas Towers and the surrounding area. It’s free to visit and you can easily spend an entire day relaxing in the park. It’s a great spot for meetings.
Shop at Suria KLCC
While there are far better things to do in two weeks in Malaysia if shopping is your thing, then stop by Suria KLCC, which is considered the best shopping mall in KL. Located at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers, Suria KLCC also offers a view of the KLCC park and Lake Symphony.
Address: 241, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Opening hours: Daily, from 10 am to 10 pm
Chinatown is one of the busiest districts of KL. On Petaling Street, which is the heart of Chinatown, you can always find crowds of both locals and travelers. Haggling is a common sight here. Chinatown is one of the best areas for shopping and street food.
Day trip to Batu Caves
Batu Caves are one of the most famous and visited places in Malaysia, as well as the best day trip to Kuala Lumpur. The 400 million years old caves are not to be missed!
To enter the caves, you need to climb up to 272 steps. On the way there, 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.
How to get to 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 train. When I visited the Batu Caves, we went by public transportation and then came back sharing a Grab.
To reach the Batu Caves by train, you need to take a train from KL Central. The train leaves every half an hour and the journey takes about 30 minutes. One-way ticket costs RM 2.60.
Shop at the Central Market
Built in 1928, the Central Market is one of KL’s popular tourist attractions. Unlike the Suria KLCC where you can find luxury boutiques, the Central Market is an authentic market where you can find souvenirs to take back home. It’s where the city’s artistic community is selling also handicrafts, local merchandise, authentic Malaysian batik prints, and more.
On the second floor, you can find several restaurants and a food court.
Address: No. 10, 1st-3rd floor, Jalan Hang Kasturi
Opening hours: Daily, from 10 am to 10 pm
The food is amazing! Taste as much as you can!
Malaysian cuisine is very, very delicious. It consists of cooking traditions found in Malaysia and reflects the multi-cultural makeup of its population. While spending two weeks in Malaysia, you’re also going to visit the country’s food capital, but don’t miss tasting as much as you can no matter in which part of the country you are.
There are many food courts and markets around the city, and I’m pretty sure that no matter where you choose to have a bit, you can’t go wrong.
Check out Kuala Lumpur’s street art
If you’re a street art fan then this is another reason to like Kuala Lumpur. Street art is a big part of the KL culture and beautiful and meaningful graffiti could be found in many places around the city. Some of the best areas for hunting street art include Jalan Sultan, Jalan Gereja, Jalan Alor, and Petaling street to name a few.
Have a drink at one of the KL’s rooftops bars
Well, what’s better than ending an exploration day with a drink and a view? Kuala Lumpur is one of the best rooftop cities and a trip to the Malaysian capital won’t be complete without such an experience.
Getting around the city for FREE
The purple and pink buses will take you all around the main attractions and business centers. That’s one of the most convenient ways to get around the city and one of the best free things to do in Kuala Lumpur.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Budget: Travel Hub Guesthouse (where I stayed)
Situated within a 5-minute walk away from Chinatown and Central Market, this hostel offers daily breakfast and a free flow of coffee and tea throughout the whole day. It’s an accommodation choice for all types of travelers and it’s easy to meet fellow tourists to get around with, especially if you’re traveling solo.
Both hotels are very centrally located and within a walking distance to some of the top tourist attractions of KL.
Luxury: Mandarin Oriental
If it fits your budget, Mandarin Oriental is an amazing hotel to stay in during your time in Kuala Lumpur. The hotel offers an infinity outdoor pool and fabulous views overlooking KLCC Park.
Tanah Rata + Cameron Highlands
Except as a getaway to the Cameron Highlands, Tanah Rata is also a starting point for many jungle treks just around the town. Translated from Malay, ”Tanah rata” means flat ground and it refers to the relatively flat area on which the town is located comparing the highland region.
Tanah Rata is the largest town in the Cameron Highlands region and also a transport hub for the area, connected with buses to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, and even Singapore.
Thanks to its location, situated at a higher elevation, Tanah Rata is also a pleasant break from the hot SE Asian weather.
Things to do in Tanah Rata & Cameron Highlands
Explore Tanah Rata
You can easily explore the small town of Tanah Rata in one hour. The center consists of one main street lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and a food market.
Тhere are a few hiking trails starting from the town of Tanah Rata. In my opinion, jungle trekking is the best thing to do in Tanah Rata and you should definitely give it a try.
Check out the tea plantations
The Cameron Highlands is a unique area of Malaysia famous for its lush green landscapes and tea plantations. The highlands is the largest tea producing area in Malaysia and one of the largest in SE Asia. BOH (best of highlands) tea plantation is an 8,000-acre plantation spreading as far as the eye can see.
Enjoy the view from the BOH center
But don’t waste your time sitting to drink a cup of tea there. The atmosphere isn’t that nice because of the crowds of people.
Visit the Mossy Forest
Situated at an elevation of 2,032 meters above sea level, the Mossy Forest is deemed as the oldest forest in Malaysia being around 200 million years old! Spreading at around 914 hectares, the Mossy Forest is located near the summit of Mount Brinchang, only 5 km away from BOH.
The Parit Falls is one of the two waterfalls that can be found in the Cameron Highlands. Access is easy as the trail starts from the town of Tanah Rata and can be reached in just half an hour.
Explore the region on a motorbike
One of the best ways to explore the region is on a motorbike. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to find and rent one, so make sure you do that on the previous evening or very early in the morning.
Strawberry Farm, Bee Farm, and other farms
There are a few farms in the region that you can visit. My personal opinion is that they are a bit boring, but that really depends on your personal interests.
Where to stay in Tanah Rata
Budget: Map Travelodge
Known as the best place to stay in Tanah Rata, the Map Travelodge is located only 5 minutes walk away from the bus terminal. Nearby you can find restaurants, a convenience store, and a pharmacy.
Penang it’s most famous for the food and it has been called the unofficial food capital of Malaysia. Seriously, the food in Penang it’s to die for and people from all over the country are coming to Penang just to eat. I’d be honest and say that I spent my time in Penang mostly exploring the food markets and tasting all the food. It has been too hot anyway, so I wasn’t in the mood for doing any other activities.
Penang’s capital and largest city is Georgetown, where you’ll end up staying and spending most of your time in Penang. Georgetown is also Malaysia’s second-largest city and it’s home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Things to do in Penang
Penang Hill is one of the most famous tourist spots on Penang Island. From the hill, you can enjoy a view over the island – the highest point is 833 meters above sea level. To get to the top of the hill, there are two options: hiking and Penang Hill funicular railway.
Penang Hill funicular railway is the only one of its kind in Malaysia and considered as having the steepest tunnel track in the world.
One of the other coolest things to do in Penang is just wandering the Old Georgetown streets and exploring its famous and vivid street art. The street art of Georgetown is one of the highlights of the city – in 2012, Penang’s council hired Ernest Zacharevic to spawn awareness of the rich history of the streets, turning them into a tourist point of interest. Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are many other things to do on Penang Island, but don’t ask me about them, as I was busy feasting on the local food in Georgetown. That being said, at least, I can give you recommendations on what you need to try in Penang, the food capital of Malaysia.
What to eat in Penang
- Char Koay Teow – bring me more of it, please!!! Ever since I first tried this dish it became my new favorite meal of all time.
- Nasi Kandar
- Mee Goreng
- Assam Laksa
- Oyster Omelette
- Dim Sum
- Nasi Lemak
- Cendol – Malaysia’s favorite dessert.
Where to stay in Penang
Budget: Old Penang Guesthouse (where I stayed)
Old Penang Guesthouse is a heritage guesthouse that combines the charm of Penang’s yesteryears with modern amenities. Conveniently located in the heart of Georgetown. This beautiful house is where I meet the lovely Sara who later showed me her home city Yerevan!
Mid-Range: Jalan Burma
Luxury: Muntri Grove
Welcome to the beach! Langkawi is an archipelago made up of 99 islands. Surrounded by clear blue waters, the main island is a little paradise on Malaysia’s west coast. I liked the island a lot and enjoyed my last days in Malaysia before heading to my next SE Asia destination, Singapore. (P.S. there are direct flights between Langkawi and Singapore)
The Island is in the North of Malaysia, close to the border with Thailand. It’s easy to go from one country to another from/to Langkawi.
Things to do in Langkawi
Langkawi is fun & offers plenty of activities to its visitors. Here are my best recommendations for things to do in Langkawi:
Motorbike around the island
The best way to explore Langkawi is on a motorbike. The island is not so big and could be easily explored for a few days on a motorbike. There are many places from where you can rent a motorbike. The price of rent starts at 30 RM. Fuel in Malaysia is cheap. I loaded with fuel for 5 RM that lasted me for an entire day.
Visit the Telaga Tujun Waterfalls (Seven Wells)
Remember, if you hike the rocks up until where the water from the waterfall is falling, there is a small spot that forms a little pool – take your spot there and enjoy! I visited the waterfall with a friend that I made at the hostel. We found this spot and stayed there for about 2 hours. It was awesome!
The food in Langkawi has been just as great as in the rest of the country. While you’re exploring the island, avoid eating out in the main tourist area, which is the beach street. Close enough, you can find many local restaurants that serve amazing food for cheap.
The night markets
The night market is held in a different place each night. The Pantai Cenang (Thursday) is probably the main one. About the others, ask the locals around, they would know better.
Relax at the beach
Beautiful white sand beaches are welcoming you to lay down and do nothing for a whole day.
Explore Oriental Village, Langkawi SkyCab & SkyBridge
Oriental village is best known as the home of the Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge. It is a themed open-air complex where you can walk around, as well as find an art gallery, souvenir and handicrafts stores, and more.
Langkawi Cable Car is the Oriental Village’s most popular attraction. It takes passengers from the village to Mount Mat Chinchang situated at 709 meters above sea level.
Langkawi’s sky bridge is the final station of the cable car. This is the best spot to see the whole island.
The ticket price for the cable car and sky bridge combine starts at RM 60 for tourists.
An island hopping tour is one of the most popular activities in Langkawi. It’s a great opportunity to explore Langkawi’s surrounding islets, all year round. The price for an island hopping tour starts at RM 80. The tour typically lasts about 4 hours.
Go duty-free shopping
Save between 25 % and 75 % shopping at Langkawi’s duty-free outlets. If this is your last stop on your two week trip in Malaysia, it’s a great deal to stock on tobacco products, liquors, chocolates, clothes, perfumes, and many more.
Where to stay in Langkawi
Budget: Backstreet Monkey Backpackers Hostel (where I stayed)
A great place where to meet like-minded travelers. It’s nothing fancy, but if you’re traveling on a budget, this is your best bet. I really liked the staff, they were extremely nice and friendly. Plus, there is a very nice chillout area.
Mid-Range: Langkawi Yacht Club Resort
An award-winning 250-berths marina situated on the south-east corner of Langkawi Island.
Luxury: Berjaya Langkawi Resort
Set on the edge of tropical rainforest, this resort is absolutely stunning! If it fits your budget, take a look at it or check this list of the best luxury hotels in Langkawi.
Malaysia Travel Tips & Things to Know Before you go:
The official currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit. One ringgit is divided into 100 sen.
Somewhere, I read that Malaysia is an expensive country in SE Asia to visit. Hmm, at least from my spendings, I don’t think it is and I actually find it very affordable. The food is super cheap, accommodation is at reasonable prices, transportation as well.
While spending two weeks in Malaysia, I was staying in hostels, eating the street food (because it’s so delicious), and wasn’t spending lots of on things that are very expensive, such as alcohol. I did, on the other hand, bought new sunglasses, shorts, a towel, cream, and some other things that I came up to the point of needing after spending 4 weeks in the Philippines – things that added to my total spending.
So, how much did I spend on my two weeks Malaysia itinerary?
My total spending for those two weeks in Malaysia was estimated at RM 1 083. In other currencies, this is 446 BGN / 228 EUR / 276 USD or 200 GBP.
That means that I have been spending RM 77 per day on average. That’s 31 BGN / 16 EUR / 20 USD or 14 GBP.
I found Malaysia to be a super safe country and the people to be very nice and friendly. I have been walking the streets in Kuala Lumpur and Penang at night and feeling completely safe. My experience of hitchhiking in Malaysia was completely safe and worry less, too.
However, having common sense is always advisable.
The largest ethnic groups in Malaysia are Malay, Chinese, and Indian. There are also many other people from all around the world living in Malaysia and lots of languages are spoken by those people. English, in my experience, is widely spoken as well.
The only time when I had a language barrier was when I was buying a SIM Card and the girl’s English was poor, but apart from that everyone else was using English freely throughout the country.
Getting around in Malaysia
Getting around in Malaysia is easy and stress-free. The Malay buses are great and comfortable. The buses that I rode on has the biggest seats than any other bus I have been on.
You can also fly from one place to another if you wish so. Ferries are also being used, especially for getting in and out of Langkawi and the mainland of the country.
Routes and price (as of October 2020):
- Bus from KLIA Kuala Lumpur Airport to the city center – from RM 12
- Bus Kuala Lumpur to Tanah Rata – RM 35
- Bus from Tanah Rata to Penang – RM 32
- Ferry ticket Penang to Langkawi – RM 60
Kuala Lumpur has a subway available. Uber and Grab can be used at all of the places mentioned in this two weeks Malaysia itinerary.
Alcohol in Malaysia
If you want to party, Malaysia is not the place to go to. Most of the country’s population is Muslim and alcohol in Malaysia is very expensive. The excise rate paid on beer in Malaysia is the second highest in the world. Luckily, though, places like Langkawi are all designated tax-free zones. So, stock up on booze while you’re there.
What to pack
Malaysia is a warm country but at the same time is also a Muslim country. While it is completely fine to wear shorts and short dresses, make sure to dress modestly if you’re visiting any religious sites or places where inappropriate outfit might be found offensive to the locals.
For Malaysia pack light, breathable clothing, comfortable shoes, because there’s just so much to explore, and of course, a swimsuit for when you hit the beaches (or the rooftop pools).
Hopefully, this two week Malaysia itinerary will help you find your way around the country. If you have any additional questions or have anything to add to it, feel free to contact me.
Thanks for reading,
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