Guest Post Malaysia Travel

Malaysia Travel Guide: What to See and Do

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This is a guest post written by Jim from If you would like to write a guest post for Expat and the City, send an email to

Perhaps what distinguishes Malaysia from other destinations in Southeast Asia is the great influence of the colonial era of the British in this country.

Not only does it leave its traits on the architecture, but also on the dynamics of people and delicious food that you may encounter along your journey.

malaysia travel guide

Kuala Lumpur City Centre by Jakub Michankow via Flickr CC.

With a carefully planned trip, you can experience a package of hectic city life, a peaceful ancient town, and refreshing nature – all in one country.

If you’re thinking of traveling to Malaysia, here’s a Malaysia travel guide that will help you plan your itinerary.

When to Visit Malaysia

Malaysia has a tropical rainforest climate which means the temperature is rather hot all year round, with 70% to 90% humidity.

malaysia travel guide

KLCC Park at the Petronas Towers by Conny Sandland via Flickr CC.

You can visit this country whenever you want, but be mindful that during September and October, there would be more rain in the west coast destinations such as Penang and Langkawi.

Also, if you cannot withstand hot weather, it is more ideal to visit Malaysia during the dry season, which is from December to February.

Kuala Lumpur

The capital city represents Malaysia in terms of economic development. You can find all types of service here, as this city is the retail and fashion hub of not only the country but the entire Southeast Asia.

It is recommended that you check out these highly-rated spots:

The Petronas Towers

The twin skyscrapers were once the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. There is a skybridge connecting the two towers on the 41st and 42th floor. Only 1000 tickets are sold to visitors daily so first come, first serve.

malaysia travel guide

Petronas Towers, Malaysia. Photo by Spyderos via Flickr CC

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

This museum owns antiques from the 12th century onwards, which are showcased beautifully. The book collection is amazing and you could easily spend a few hours here. There’s also a great café. However, it is not opened on a Sunday so you should plan your trip to avoid Sunday as it is worth the whole experience. The museum also houses a lovely gift shop.

malaysia travel guide

Antiques from 12th century by Connie via Flickr CC

Changkat Bukit Bintang Nightlife

You can find Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant clubbing scene here. This is the so-called “party avenue” that is lined with lounges, bars and clubs.

malaysia travel guide

Jalan Alor food street, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur by David McKelvey via Flickr CC.

Cameron Highland

malaysia travel guide

Cameron Highlands by Varun Chatterji via Flickr CC.

Have you ever tried the famous Teh Tarik? It is a hot milk tea beverage that is commonly found in Malaysia. For fans of hot milk tea, you should visit Cameron Highland as tea plantations are all around the area. Remember to check out these places:

Mossy Forest

A must-go destination for travellers who love trekking. Trail with wooden walk boards are suitable for an escape into the woods.

Boh Tea Plantation

Serene, sprawling, heavenly tea plantation – definitely a sight to behold. Here you can find a tea processing plant, a cafe which serves very good Teh Tarik, as well as a tea products shop. Along the hallway is a mini gallery which houses the Boh’s history.

malaysia travel guide

BOH Tea Plantation – Cameron Highlands, Malaysia by Clark & Kim Kays via Flickr CC.

Time Tunnel Museum

This museum has a collection of old things that are very traditional in Malaysia. As a time tunnel, the further you go down the tunnel, the older things starts to show up.

malaysia travel guide

Memorabilia at Time Tunnel Museum by Adam Jones via Flickr CC.

Penang Island

Penang was part of the Malay sultanate of Kedah until 1876. After that, Penang was greatly influenced by the colonial era of the British, which lasted around 160 years. The local community is predominantly Chinese, followed by Malays and Indians. This dynamic in demographics and history make Penang a place where you can see all types of architecture, taste all types of street food, and meet all types of interesting people.

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site

George Town, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang, was recognized as a cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 2008. The city comprises of a core zone and a buffer zone, with more than 1700 historic buildings in a total of 259.42 hectares of land. It is recommended that you have a look at the online brochure of the heritage site, which can be found on the Penang state government website when planning your trip.

KehLok Si Temple

This temple is known as the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The name KehLok Si literally means “Temple of Ultimate Happiness”. Located on a hill, KehLok Si is very easy to reach by public bus, taxi, or motorbike.

Keh Lok Si by Cecil Lee via Flickr CC.

The architecture and the artworks here are harmoniously influenced by both Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. An added value for visiting this temple is that you can actually have a view of George Town from above.

Penang National Park

A great escape from the hectic life in George Town. This park is a good place for anyone who enjoys hiking and would love to explore the wildlife of this island. You do not need to go too far into this park to see monkeys, lizards, butterflies and so on. Just make sure that you bring water and mosquito repellent.

malaysia travel guide

Macaque by Theo Crazzolara via Flickr CC.

Have you been to Malaysia before? Let me know if you have anything to add to this Malaysia travel guide in the comment section below!

About the Author

Jim Liang is a writer at Asia Marvels. who loves travelling around Asia and sharing stories & travel guidelines with his readers. He encourages people from all over the world to see the beauty of the landscape, people and culture of Asia.

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  • Reply
    Steven on aFabulousTrip
    July 13, 2018 at 5:34 am

    I think it’s just crazy how ancient and modern collides in Malaysia. You can visit the Petronas Tower and all those skyscrapers, go shopping in big malls etc.. and then you can just go to visit a tea plantation, a ancient temple not far away, see the wildlife. It’s so amazing and I would love to visit Malaysia soon because Asian countries are evolving so fast these days.

  • Reply
    Food and Footprints
    December 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    We loved Malaysia when we visited in February! Even though we only had a brief few days to see as much as we could (we weren’t even supposed to be there!), it left a great impression on us. Tremendous food, nice beaches, architecture and views. Definitely a very underrated country in the region. Can’t wait to go back!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Malaysia is one of the less visited SE Asian countries but I have heard nothing but amazing things about it! The pictures look like it is a cool place!

  • Reply
    Carmen Edelson
    December 21, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Wow, 1700 historic buildings… impressive! Malaysia looks like such a stunning country and the cities look SO clean. I love those big skyscrapers too, thanks for sharing 🙂 I’m adding it to my list in 2018!

  • Reply
    The Roaming
    December 20, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    We fell in love with Malaysia this year, its such a diverse, historic, beautiful place to visit. We loved hiking in the Cameron Highlands and the street art in Penang, a highlight for us was Borneo also.

  • Reply
    Chasing Krista
    December 20, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Beautiful photos, this makes me miss Malaysia and I can’t wait to go back, the food and the people were just beyond friendly!

  • Reply
    Chelsea Brady
    December 19, 2017 at 6:24 am

    OMG that plantation looks magical!! I never got a chance to travel to Malaysia while abroad in Asia, and to be honest it was never really on my list! The Changkat nightlife seems similar to that of Bangkok, which was fun in my experience. I also love that you incorporate guest posts into your content! This post has definitely made me want to add Malaysia to my list 🙂 Miss you too, Sam! Hope all is well!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2017 at 12:45 am

    I was looking for Batu Cave, too:-)… I noticed how foreigner-friendly Malaysia and Malaysians are so we had a great time there.. But this is the first time for me to read about Malaysia being the retail and fashion hub of Southeast Asia:-)

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Malaysia is one of my favorite countries in Southeast Asia and after reading this guide, it’s reaffirmed my love of this place! I’ve had some of my best nights partying in Changkat while finding food surprises down its busy streets. I wish I had know about the Time Tunnel, I truly love old things! Penang’s Georgetown neighborhood deserves a mention for its gorgeous muralwork too! Great beginner’s guide though 😀

  • Reply
    Miss Fancypants
    December 18, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I’ve never visited Malaysia, and i don’t know why. After reading this I feel like i need to get there asap. There’s so much to see and do over there.
    Loved the photos and what especially caught my eye is the fact that there’s vibrant nightlife! yaaasss…:D

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I’ve covered the most of SE Asia over the years having lived and traveled through most of it but Malaysia eluded me. However when I return to that part of the world Malaysia is definitely on the cards. To be honest the more I’ve read blogs about it the more I want to go, seems like there is a lot more than meets the eyes and a lot more than just KL like Cameron Island 😀 – Would love to visit the mossy forest, and the tea plantation.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 5:29 am

    I’ve been planning to visit Malaysia since forever just to see The Petronas Towers. Are they similar to Burj Khalifa in Dubai or is that just my imagination? Would love to explore KLM.

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    December 18, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Teh Tarik in Malaysia is my go to beverage, even if it provides all the sugar I need for a day, who cares when you’re on vacation. As for other notable spots on Malaysia, I highly recommend Langkawi island (1hr flight from Penang) and their famous cable car and suspended bridge – unlike anything I’ve seen or experienced!

  • Reply
    Jenn and Ed Coleman
    December 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    I have been reading a lot about KL and Malaysia recently. I always imagined the hustling city life, kind of like Sex in the City goes to Asia, but you showed a different side. I love the thought of the time tunnel museum and it looks like there are parks and walks to go to as well. Love the perspective on your piece.

  • Reply
    Rocio Cadena
    December 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Wow, Malaysia seems like it has a lot to offer visitors! A few friends have visited and they had nothing but great things to say about this country. I”m starting my backpacking journey next march and i think i may need to stop by and check this out! Did you go to any of the beaches?

  • Reply
    December 17, 2017 at 9:52 am

    We have been to Malaysia before. But there’s so much we haven’t seen! The tea plantation looks gorgeous and so does Cameron Highland. We did try the Teh Tarik. Next time we go, we should try some street food. Malaysian Borneo is also on our bucketlist!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Malaysia is an amazing country! I’ve been to all these place but especially love the Cameron highlands. Such a magical views 😀

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for a great list of places to go and things to do. Also, it’s good to know that the Patronas Towers only gives out 1000 tickets a day (so it’s best to go early). It sounds like George Town and Penang National Park would be must-sees for our family travel.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I loved KL and Penang, but wish I’d had time to visit more of Malaysia’s countryside. Such a gorgeous country with such a rich history!

  • Reply
    Marya The BeauTraveler
    December 16, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I’ve never been to the Islamic Arts Museum, but I’ve been to the Custom Museum in Melaka there. Seeing your picture, I would assume that there’s a particular pattern in their national museum. Your picture looks quite similar with the Custom Museum that I’ve visited. 😀

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I didn’t know about the Time Tunnel Museum……and it seems so lovely 9if you love vintage stuff like me…haha)!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply
    Madurai George
    December 16, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Islamic Arts Museum with its good collection of items dating back to the 12th century looks great. I love Mossy Forest and should be of interest to any tourist to Malaysia. Thank you very much for writing such an amazing article.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Actually your post style is very similar to ours! We have never been to Malaysia but it’s on our list!

  • Reply
    Shelley @Travel-Stained
    December 14, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    We’ve visited Malaysia several times (mostly because we’re transiting through on Air Asia and take a few extra days to explore). In KL, we adored Jalan Alor food street, and eating all the things in Penang and Malacca, but our absolute favourite experience has to be releasing baby turtles into the wild in Malaysian Borneo! From your guide though, it’s obvious we’ve missed a lot! Need to go back, I guess… 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate Carter Hickey
    December 12, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I’m surprised the Batu Caves weren’t mentioned! When I was in Malaysia last summer I LOVED the nightlife in KL. We went on a Monday and drinks were free for ladiss at every bar in a certain district. The late night eats were amazing, too. I loved spending my last day in Putrajaya – if you ever get the chance to visit this newly-built up area outside of KL don’t miss it!

  • Reply
    Ben Zabulis
    December 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

    You have to love Malaysia, it’s a great place to visit and so friendly too. I have never been to the Time Tunnel in KL, it looks really interesting and will certainly pay a visit next time. Would also add Melaka and maybe Fraser’s Hill to the list too – so many good places !

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