Places to Visit in Malaysia – Top 15 Destinations

Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s wealthiest countries in terms of attractions and places to visit. It is a remarkable destination, celebrated not only for its natural beauty but also for its historical and cultural heritage. While the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur might be the first image that comes to mind when thinking of Malaysia, the country offers much more. It is a place that deserves to be seen for its exotic islands, delectable cuisine, iconic structures, and vibrant nightlife, all of which are still waiting to be fully discovered. In this travel guide article I have prepared, you will find information on topics such as ‘Where is Malaysia and how to plan a holiday tour?’ and ‘What are the most beautiful cities to visit?

Best Places to visit in Malaysia Tioman Island

Best Places to visit in Malaysia – Tioman Island

Part of the country is located on the Malay Peninsula (Malacca Peninsula), while the other part is on the island of Borneo. In both territories, legendary places are to be seen, offering unique experiences. Additionally, the country, with its paradise-like tropical islands, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the region due to its natural beauty. Indeed, it possesses some of the best features of Southeast Asia, making it an indispensable stop for travelers.

Trip to Malaysia

In the country that adapts to the times while maintaining its modern lifestyle, some still preserve their traditions and customs. In cities where Malays, Chinese, and Indians live together, you can already feel this. This shows how beautiful and diverse Malaysian culture is. It’s a fantastic stop for those who want to engage in cultural tourism.

Places to Visit in Malaysia

As I mentioned above, although the country is often associated with the Petronas Towers, it also boasts exotic islands and numerous national parks that are natural wonders. Many of these are yet to be discovered. For example, the most popular place for swimming is the Langkawi Islands. However, there are other islands you can explore, away from the crowds, where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy a peaceful holiday.

1- Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, ranks among the country’s most visited destinations. Not only does it host some of the world’s tallest buildings and skyscrapers, but it also preserves its rich traditions. The cultural diversity is immense, thanks to the cohabitation of Malay, Chinese, and Indian communities, making it a unique blend of cultural beliefs. This diversity is just one of the many factors that make Kuala Lumpur special.

Capital City of Malaysia Top places to visit in Kuala lumpur Nightlife near Petronas Tower

Capital City of Malaysia – Top places to visit in Kuala Lumpur – Nightlife near Petronas Tower

Known as KL, the city is not only affluent but also a popular choice for those looking to shop on a budget. Beyond the sea, Kuala Lumpur offers everything: modern lifestyle, traditional structures, temples, nightlife, shopping, and more. For those wondering where Kuala Lumpur is, it’s situated in the central region of the country. A two-day stay is often enough to get a good feel for the city. For a list of affordable hotels in KL, consider using booking websites.

Top Attractions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • Petronas Twin Towers
  • Batu Caves Temple
  • Merdeka Square
  • Menara KL Tower
  • Masjid Jamek
  • Bukit Bintang
  • Chinatown
  • Jalan Alor
  • Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Kuala Lumpur is not just Malaysia’s bustling capital but also a doorway to the diverse cultural heritage and modern marvels the country has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the Petronas Twin Towers, wandering through the vibrant streets of Chinatown, or indulging in the lively nightlife at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler

2- Langkawi Island

Langkawi, the most touristic island of Malaysia, is comprised of over 100 islands, making it a hub for maritime tourism. Described as a slice of paradise, the island is also known for its nightlife and proximity to Thailand, making it a popular stop for those touring Thailand.

Located in the Andaman Sea, Langkawi Island welcomes millions of tourists from all around the world each year. Therefore, it’s a popular holiday destination visited by people from all walks of life. It’s even recommended as a winter honeymoon destination. Given its popularity, I believe one should travel to this untouched beauty sooner rather than later to experience its pristine condition. Also, don’t forget to take a boat tour. For those wondering where to stay in Langkawi, Malaysia, you can find a list of hotels at this link.

Things to do in Langkawi Island Beautiful places to visit in Malaysia

Things to do in Langkawi Island – Beautiful places to visit in Malaysia

Places to Visit in Langkawi Island, Malaysia:

  • Langkawi boasts some of the most beautiful beaches perfect for swimming.
  • Langkawi Sky Bridge: A must-visit for breathtaking views.
  • Cable Car: Offers a scenic ride to the top.
  • Eagle Square: Known for its majestic eagle sculpture.
  • Pantai Cenang Beach: A lively beach area with plenty of activities.
  • Tengkorak Beach: A serene spot for relaxation.
  • Pantai Tengah: Another beautiful beach to explore.
  • Pulau Dayang Bunting: Home to the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden.
  • Pulau Payar Marine Park: A great spot for snorkeling and diving.

Langkawi Island in Malaysia is a treasure trove of beautiful beaches, exciting attractions, and natural wonders, making it a must-visit on your Malaysia trip itinerary.

3- Penang Island and Georgetown

Penang Island and its capital, Georgetown, rank among the most beautiful cities on the list of places to visit in Malaysia. Penang, a tropical island where modern life intertwines with history, is renowned for its diverse cultures and unique Malay dishes. It’s also among the places with the highest quality of life in Asia.

The magnificent city of Georgetown is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historical streets’ wall paintings are among the first things that catch tourists’ attention, making them perfect for Instagram-worthy photos. Georgetown, with its vibrant nightlife, is a city where you should spend a few nights. For hotel reservations in Penang State, you can use booking websites.

Georgetown Penang Island One of the Best Countries in Southeast Asia

Georgetown, Penang Island – One of the Best Countries in Southeast Asia

What Else to Visit on Penang Island?

  • Clan Jetties: A glimpse into the traditional stilt houses on water.
  • Fort Cornwallis: A landmark of Penang’s colonial heritage.
  • Penang Hill: Offers panoramic views of the island.
  • Batu Ferringhi: Known for its beaches and night markets.
  • Gurney Drive: A famous seafront promenade for food enthusiasts.
  • Miami Beach: A quieter beach option on Penang.
  • Penang National Park: Home to unique wildlife and hiking trails.
  • Kek Lok Si Temple: One of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia.
  • Pinang Peranakan Mansion: Showcasing the rich culture of the Peranakans.
  • Monkey Beach: A beautiful beach within the national park, accessible by boat.

Penang Island is a fusion of historical charm and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring Malaysia.

4- Malacca

Malacca, located around the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the first cities travelers visit after KL, mainly because it’s only about a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride from the capital, making it easily accessible.

Given the city’s historic roots, in the center of Malacca, you can see many relics from the Malacca Sultanate, Portuguese, Dutch, and British periods. Buildings, structures, commercial establishments, and colorful streets remaining from the colonial era, along with delicious foods, make it a must-visit stop on a tour of Malaysia. Its multicultural fabric also makes the people exceptionally warm and tolerant. For those wondering where to stay in Malacca, you can find a list of hotels at this link.

Top Tourist Places to Visit in Malaysia How to get to Malacca

Top Tourist Places to Visit in Malaysia – How to get to Malacca

Among the countries with a crescent on their flag, what places are there to visit in Malacca, one of Malaysia’s most historic cities?

  • Christ Church: A notable landmark of Malacca.
  • Jonker Street and Night Market: Famous for its vibrant atmosphere and unique items.
  • St. Paul’s Church: Offers a glimpse into the city’s colonial past.
  • The Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum: A replica showcasing the history of the Malacca Sultanate.
  • Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum: Reflects the culture of the Peranakans or Straits Chinese.
  • Cheng Hoon Teng Temple: The oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia.
  • Menara Taming Sari: A revolving tower offering panoramic views of the city.
  • Masjid Kampung Kling: Known for its unique architectural blend.

Malacca is a city steeped in history, offering visitors a rich blend of culture, architecture, and cuisine, making it a key destination in Malaysia’s array of attractions.

5- Putrajaya

Putrajaya, a city built from scratch, is located about 20 minutes by train or approximately one hour by bus from the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Despite not being the capital, it houses many of the country’s ministries, making it the administrative center of the nation. This city was specifically constructed for this purpose.

Putrajaya, home to thousands of government employees, can be described as a city where everything is man-made. For example, it features artificial lakes, vast parks, and modern mosques—all of which have been constructed relatively recently. Therefore, while the city might not meet everyone’s expectations, if you have the time, visiting Putrajaya offers a unique opportunity to see how a city can be built from the ground up. Check the hotel list in Putrajaya.

Where is Putrajaya Pink Mosque

Where is Putrajaya – Pink Mosque

Key attractions in Putrajaya include:

  • The Pink Mosque (Putra Mosque)
  • Riverfront and boat tours
  • Seri Perdana
  • Millennium Monument
  • Putrajaya Lake
  • Putrajaya Wetlands Park
  • Putrajaya Water Sports Complex

6- Belum Rainforest

The Belum Rainforest is one of the most remarkable natural wonders on the list of places to visit in Malaysia. As one of the few untouched forests left, Belum is an incredible stop for nature enthusiasts traveling in Malaysia. Located near the border with Thailand, the forest is home to indigenous tribes, a variety of tropical plants, and wildlife. It is especially renowned for hosting the rare Rafflesia flower, which is a sight worth seeing.

The area, also known as the Belum Forest Reserve, includes a lake, Lake Temenggor, which covers part of the forest. You can reach it by bus or by renting a car from the capital. Don’t forget to bring a raincoat and a waterproof bag, as these will be essential for your rainforest trek.

How to go to Belum Rainforest

How to go to Belum Rainforest

7- Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia, is a perfect retreat with its cool climate and tranquil nature. Located within the boundaries of Pahang State, Cameron Highlands offers a peaceful vacation spot filled with bird songs, tea plantations, strawberry farms, and forest trails. It is a place where nature shows its lush and refreshing face. Situated at an average elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level, it provides an ideal escape from the tropical heat.

For nature lovers seeking a serene holiday in Malaysia, Cameron Highlands is a must-visit destination. Some activities you can enjoy include visiting the BOH Sungai Palas and Bharat Tea Plantations. Additionally, you can head to the strawberry farms to buy and taste fresh organic strawberries right where they are grown. Other beautiful spots to explore include the Butterfly Garden, Gunung Brinchang, and Mossy Forest.

To stay in Cameron Highlands, check the hotel list in this link.

Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation Nature

Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation – Nature

8- Genting Highlands

Genting Highlands, located near the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, is an ideal destination to escape the oppressive heat of the city. Home to the world’s fastest cable car system, Genting Highlands is set in a mountainous terrain and offers flawless views. If you have ample time during your tour of Malaysia, you can visit this spot for a day trip.

So, what can you do in Genting Highlands? Situated at an elevation of 1,800 meters, this complex features an amusement park, resorts, casinos, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. Located approximately an hour away from the center of Kuala Lumpur, transportation is incredibly convenient. Indeed, it’s a popular weekend getaway for the Malaysian people.

Places to visit in Malaysia Where is Genting Highlands

Places to visit in Malaysia – Where is Genting Highlands

9- Perhentian Islands

Comprising Kecil and Besar Islands, the Perhentian Islands are one of Malaysia’s most beautiful tropical paradises. If you’re looking for a place to unwind by the sea, the Perhentian Islands are an ideal choice. Since they are not yet very popular, I would recommend choosing them for a peaceful Malaysian vacation. They could even be considered as a honeymoon destination during the winter.

Located off the northeast coast of the country in the South China Sea, Kecil Island tends to be more popular among backpackers, making it relatively cheaper compared to Besar Island. It also offers a unique opportunity to observe local island life.

Situated near the northern border with Thailand, the islands are a viable alternative to Thailand, with their beautiful underwater reefs and diving spots. You can snorkel in the clear waters, sunbathe on the pristine white beaches, or relieve stress by reading a book. I recommend visiting these islands before they become too popular. Click here for budget-friendly hotels.

Perhentian Islands Tropical Beaches

Perhentian Islands – Tropical Beaches

10- Pangkor Island

Located in the Malacca Strait on the west side of the Malaysian Peninsula, Pangkor Island is among the most beautiful vacation spots to visit. With a population of about 30,000, the island features pristine, untouched beaches and resorts, making it one of the country’s hidden paradises. If you’re looking to experience something akin to living on a deserted island, this destination is perfect for you.

As for activities, the island’s waters are rich with coral and sea cucumbers, making snorkeling a must-do activity. Since the island is relatively small, you can rent a scooter to explore every corner. If you’re looking for a bit of adrenaline, you can also engage in water sports and activities like jet skiing, banana boating, and canoeing.

Pangkor Island Where to swim in Malaysia

Pangkor Island – Where to swim in Malaysia

How to get to Pangkor Island? First, you need to travel from Kuala Lumpur to the port town of Lumut, which is a 4-hour bus ride away. From the port, you’ll take a 30-minute ferry ride, for which you’ll need to purchase a ticket. As for accommodations on Pangkor Island, you can find hotels to suit your budget at this link.

11- Tioman Island

Tioman Island, another tropical paradise on Malaysia’s list of must-visit places, is a true vacation haven. Time Magazine once named it one of the world’s most beautiful islands in the 1970s, and it still retains its charm today.

The island, often compared in shape to a teardrop or a water droplet, offers diving spots where you can see exotic fish, colorful corals, and reefs. Snorkeling is also a must-do activity here. With its tropical rainforests, Tioman Island is highly appealing to nature lovers. Additionally, the photogenic Asah Waterfall, featured in some scenes of the 1958 Hollywood movie “South Pacific,” is located within the island’s rainforests.

Places to visit in Malaysia Beautiful Beaches Tioman Island

Places to visit in Malaysia – Beautiful Beaches – Tioman Island

The island features beautiful bays where you can swim, all of which are tranquil spots. To get here, you first need to travel to the port city of Mersing and then take a ferry. For accommodations, you can book places with free cancellation options on the international hotel booking site,

12- Taman Negara National Park

Another destination that should be on your Malaysia itinerary is Taman Negara National Park, famous for its lush nature. Taman Negara, one of the world’s oldest rainforests, sits at the heart of the country and has become a popular spot for tourists.

Activities like canopy walks, climbing, river tours, and nighttime jungle walks are at the top of the list here. Just three and a half hours from Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara offers a captivating diversity of flora and fauna for those eager for an exciting nature expedition.

Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara National Park

The wildlife here is also noteworthy. You can encounter Malaysian tigers, Asian elephants, and gaurs, also known as Indian bison, making it a memorable part of any Southeast Asia trip. The park is also home to a vast array of birds, insects, snakes, and fish. Since some animals are nocturnal, it makes sense to embark on both day and night walks to fully experience the park’s vibrant life.

13- Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru, featured on the list of must-visit places in Malaysia, ranks among the country’s most visited cities. The city boasts a mosaic of religious beliefs, allowing visitors to see mosques and temples side by side. Moreover, Johor Bahru is not only a hotspot for cultural tourism but also a favored destination for budget-friendly shopping.

Additionally, Johor Bahru offers several notable attractions such as Legoland Malaysia, Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, The Old Temple Of Johor Bahru, and the Grand Palace. Furthermore, the city is easily accessible and shares a land border with Singapore to the south. If you’re unsure about where to stay in Johor Bahru, you can find a list of affordable hotels at this link.

Where is Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar Johor Bahru

Where is Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar – Johor Bahru

14- Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands out for its rainforests, rich biodiversity, and large caves. Additionally, its karst landscapes make it a fascinating place. The park features sharp limestone formations that resemble razors and knives, presenting a stunning natural spectacle.

One of the highlights of the park is the Sarawak Chamber, recorded as the world’s largest cave chamber. Reportedly, it can accommodate 40 Boeing 747 aircraft. The park also boasts a network of interconnected caves due to its unique geological structure. Furthermore, Deer Cave is famous for being home to millions of bats.

Located on Borneo Island near the border with Brunei, a visa-free destination, accessing the park first requires a flight to Miri in the state of Sarawak.

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park

15- Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, situated among the cities of Borneo Island in Malaysia, stands out as a destination rich with attractions. As the capital of Sabah State, the city offers a blend of culture, nature, and marine tourism. Kota Kinabalu, though not widely known, allows you to experience unique flavors at its night markets, making it an alternative holiday route for those without high expectations.

The city takes its name from Mount Kinabalu, one of the region’s tallest mountains and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re interested in mountain climbing, this is a great option. The summit reaches 4,095 meters. Additionally, you can see the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, at Kinabalu National Park.

Top places to visit in Malaysia Kota Kinabalu

Top places to visit in Malaysia – Kota Kinabalu

For marine tourism, you must visit Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, which comprises five stunning islands. While some are ideal for hiking through tropical forests, others are better suited for scuba diving and snorkeling. However, visiting all of them is beneficial. The white sandy beaches and beautiful seas will surely meet your expectations.

What are the must-visit places in downtown Kota Kinabalu? The KK Waterfront, night markets, Likas Bird Park, and the Sabah Museum are all worth seeing. You can also take various day trips to explore different areas. For accommodations in Johor Bahru, use the booking app that offers free cancellation options.

Places to Visit for Nightlife in Malaysia

Nightlife in Malaysia, especially in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, is quite lively. Quality restaurants, fun nightclubs, and rooftop bars with unique views make for an enjoyable evening. Particularly, you should visit SkyBar, which offers a legendary night view of the Petronas Twin Towers.

In Georgetown, some places you might want to check out for nightlife include the Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant And SkyBar, The Press Rooftop Bar, Slippery Senoritas, Soho Free House, Soju Room, and Boom Boom Chambre.

Places to visit in Malaysia Malacca nightlife

Places to visit in Malaysia – Malacca nightlife

For those curious about nightlife in Malacca, consider stopping by Geograher Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe Malacca, Mixx Club, and Reggae on the River.

While here, don’t expect the nightlife to be as intense as in Thailand, Vietnam, or the Philippines, but you can still socialize and enjoy fun evenings. You can try different flavors at night markets and sip on local beers to make the most of your time. Even if you do nothing else, the night markets alone are among the highlights that make nights in Southeast Asia delightful.

Where is Malaysia, Which Continent is it on, and How to Get There?

Where is Malaysia? This country, rich in cultural heritage and abundant natural beauty, is located in Southeast Asia. Part of Malaysia is situated on the Malay Peninsula while the other part lies on the island of Borneo. The Malay Peninsula shares northern borders with Thailand and southern borders with Singapore. Borneo, one of the world’s largest islands, shares land borders with Brunei and Indonesia.

Let’s discuss alternative transportation options for exploring Malaysia’s attractions. If you find cheap flights to Singapore or Thailand, you can first travel to these countries and then switch countries either by road or air. If you choose this route, I recommend checking flight prices with the low-cost carrier Air Asia.

Where is Malaysia Places to Visit in Southeast Asia map

Where is Malaysia – Places to Visit in Southeast Asia – Map

When to Visit?

Malaysia’s weather is warm throughout the year. However, the main concern is avoiding the monsoon rains. Therefore, the best period to visit for a holiday is between December and April. Hence, it is a country listed among warm holiday destinations ideal for a winter getaway.

In Conclusion

That’s all for this guide on places to visit during your trip or tour of Malaysia. If you have anything to add or ask, feel free to write to me below. I wish you a pleasant holiday in advance.