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View of the Cameron Highlands

Malaysia Travel Guide

Malaysia is a multicultural country, but not in the sense that many may be familiar with. Rather than merely supporting a homogenous society, Malaysians come together by welcoming and embracing each other's ethnicities, languages, and religions. When great things come together, magic happens and Malaysia's delicious food, rich history, and vibrant cultures are a testament to this.

The Highlights

  • One of the many temples of Kuala Lumpur

    Kuala Lumpur

    Kuala Lumpur is often treated as a layover destination but don’t let the opportunity to experience this vibrant capital go to waste! This metropolitan city highlights key characteristics you can expect to experience in other parts of Malaysia, much like a table of contents of a book, but also consists of skyscrapers, bustling shopping districts, and lively nightlife that make it their own. Aside from the Petronas Twin Towers and the Batu Cave, Petaling Street, the ‘Chinatown’ of Malaysia is also a must-see destination.
  • Turtles and marine life of the Perhentian Islands

    Islands

    Switch out the hustle and bustle of the city for a relaxing vacation at one of Malaysia’s top island spots and indulge in picture-perfect beaches and delicious local cuisine. Snorkel to your heart’s content at Perhentian and Tioman Island and witness wildlife in their natural habitat. Have a preference for land activities? Why not soar through the sky and take in the breathtaking views of Langkawi Island on the Langkawi SkyCab.
  • The incredible mosque at Malacca/Melaka

    Malacca

    If you’re fond of rich history and intricate architecture, why not pay a visit to Malacca (also known as Melaka). Named as a UNESCO World Heritage site, walking into Melaka is like walking back in time to experience a city that once breathed life to the Indonesian, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Experience the ruins of the A’Famosa Fort, built by the Portuguese, the eye-catching red Dutch Christ Church, and the ruins of St. Pauls Church, which was used as a military store by the British in the 19th century. You can’t miss the Jonker Street Weekend Night Market!
  • The beautiful Sarawak beaches of Borneo (Malaysia-side)

    Borneo

    Known as the third largest island in the world, Malaysia shares Borneo with neighbouring countries, Brunei (North) and Indonesia (South). Within Malaysia are two federal states, Sabah and Sarawak - both known for their thrilling adventures and immersive cultural experiences. Whether you're looking to climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah or visit the Deer Cave in Sarawak to witness bats in their natural habitat, there's plenty to do in both states and the possibilities are truly endless!
  • The lanterns that line the streets outside the Kek Lok Si Temple on Penang Island

    Penang Island

    Penang may be an island but travellers flock there for more reasons than just its white sandy beaches. It’s a destination that beautifully captures the country’s multicultural roots on a smaller scale and allows travellers to experience its nice blend of Eastern and Western influences. Also known as one of the street food capitals of Asia, it’s no wonder foodies have declared Penang as the ‘food paradise’ of Malaysia! Don’t forget to try some delicious Asam Laksa soup on your next visit or take a stroll through colourful Georgetown to admire the street art and colonial architecture. 
  • The unusual proboscis monkeys of Bako National Park

    National Parks

    If you’re fascinated by geological wonders, you should visit the Clearwater Cave and Mount Api’s infamous Pinnacles at Gunung Mulu National Park. Want to get close to wildlife? Spend your day at Bako National Park and greet their proboscis monkeys, monitor lizards, and bearded pigs. Staying on the west side of Malaysia but want to still get close to mother nature? Look no further than Taman Negara, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Wherever you are in Malaysia, there’s bound to be a national park nearby!

The Basics

When to Visit

The incredible statue outside the Chin Swee Temple in the Genting Highlands
  1. Peak Season

    varied


    Peak season varies depending on which side of Malaysia you’re visiting. The East experiences drier weather from March to October, which makes it an ideal time to see orangutans in the wild. Diving enthusiasts can also consider visiting Borneo during July and August as waters are less murky and have greater visibility. As for the West, you may experience peak season from December to February and from June to August due to school breaks and end-of-year celebrations such as Christmas and New Years'.

  2. Low Season

    Varied


    Low season similarly varies from the East to the West. In the East, island resorts and beach activities are shut down between November to February due to increased rainfall and turbulent waters. However, those hoping for a dry spell at the national parks may experience fewer crowds during this time. In the West, Malaysia's wettest months are between February to March and September to October but don’t let that stop you from visiting! Rainfall occurs but is short, there are much fewer crowds, and the costs of transportation and accommodation are cheaper.

Malaysia Tours

FAQs about Malaysia

  • Do you tip in Malaysia?

    Tipping isn’t necessary but always appreciated, especially if the service was exceptional. You can at times expect a 10% service charge already added to your bill.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Free Wi-Fi can generally be accessed all over Malaysia, especially at tourist destinations and in major cities like Kuala Lumpur. However, internet access may be less accessible near Borneo and on the islands.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Tap water is safe to drink in some regions of Malaysia but it’s recommended, even amongst locals, to boil it first before drinking. Otherwise, bottled water can be purchased.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes. However, American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Malaysia as Visa and MasterCard. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the toilets like in Malaysia?

    While sit-down toilets are common in Malaysia, especially in most tourist places, you may still encounter the occasional squat toilet. Toilet paper is not always readily available, so if you’re not comfortable with using a hose or a bucket of water, it’s best to carry around some spare toilet paper.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Some of the major public holidays celebrated in Malaysia include Chinese New Year (1st of 1st lunar month), Labour Day (May 1), Yang di-Pertuan Agong's (King's) Birthday (1st Monday of June), Malaysia Day (September 16), and Christmas Day (December 25).
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR