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Malaysia Travel Guide: Overview

Welcome to our Malaysia travel guide, your ultimate source for all things Malaysia! Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your trip. From when to visit to where to stay, what to see, and more, our blog post has got you covered. When it comes to the best time to visit Malaysia, this Southeast Asian gem offers pleasant weather all year round, but do take note of the monsoon seasons which vary depending on the region. As for accommodation, Malaysia boasts a wide range of options that cater to different budgets and preferences, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. With regards to the top attractions, Malaysia offers a diverse range of experiences, from the pristine beaches and tropical rainforests of Langkawi and Borneo to the bustling city life of Kuala Lumpur and the rich cultural heritage of George Town. We are always updating our places to see and eat on the site so check them out here.

Table of Contents

Best Time to Visit Malaysia

malaysia travel guide

The weather in Malaysia is tropical, typified by high humidity and temperatures ranging between 77°F and 95°F all year round. However, the best time to visit largely depends on the region you’re planning to explore, as this beautiful nation encounters a unique dual monsoon system.

The Peak Season (December – February): The busiest and widely considered the “best time” to visit Malaysia, specifically the western parts like Penang and Langkawi, is from December to February. This period fits well within the dry season, offering the most conducive weather for sightseeing, beach activities and wildlife exploration. The East coast, however, experiences heavy rainfall this time, so it’s less ideal for visits.

The Off-peak Season (March – October): For travelers who prefer fewer crowds yet still have their hearts set on an enjoyable trip, the months of March to October serve as a great window. It’s the best time to explore the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Malacca or experience the enchanting greenery of the Cameron Highlands without much interference from either footfall or rainfall. Moreover, these months, especially September and October, are the turtle hatching season, offering a unique spectacle on the beaches of Cherating, Redang and the Perhentians.

The Festive Flavor (Anytime): Malaysia is a country of festivities – a splendidly woven cultural fabric with a myriad of hues. From the vivacious Chinese New Year and colorful Hindu festival of Thaipusam to the soulful vibes of Islamic celebrations like Hari Raya, each month brings something special. Check the festival calendar before planning to be a part of these vibrant local experiences.

To sum up, the best time to visit Malaysia largely depends on your interests and the regions you wish to traverse. Regardless of when you choose, the country’s beguiling charm never fails to mesmerize its visitors. Bon voyage!

Getting to Malaysia: Various Modes of Transportation

Malaysia, a vibrant destination in Southeast Asia, offers numerous transportation options to reach its diverse attractions. Whether you prefer flying or traveling by land or sea, here are the various modes of transportation to get to Malaysia.

Air Travel to Malaysia

Malaysia is well-connected to the world through several international airports. Here are some of the popular airports in Malaysia:

Several international and regional airlines operate flights to Malaysia. Some popular airline carriers include:

Land Travel to Malaysia

Traveling by land to Malaysia is possible through neighboring countries such as Thailand and Singapore. Various bus services provide comfortable cross-border transportation. Some prominent companies offering land travel services to Malaysia include:

Sea Travel to Malaysia

With its extensive coastline, Malaysia is accessible by sea via various ports. Some popular ports of entry in Malaysia include:

Several international cruise liners also offer voyages to Malaysia. Contact your preferred cruise company for further details.

Getting Around Malaysia

Malaysia is a fascinating country with diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and stunning natural beauty. To truly explore everything this destination has to offer, it’s crucial to know the various modes of transportation available. From planes to buses and trains, here are the pros and cons of each as well as details on popular airports and transportation companies:

Air Travel

For long distances or remote areas, air travel is the most efficient mode of transportation.

Pros:

  • Fast and convenient for covering long distances
  • Access to remote destinations and islands
  • Opportunity to enjoy aerial views of Malaysia

Cons:

  • Relatively higher cost compared to other modes of transportation
  • Limited luggage allowance

Popular domestic airports in Malaysia include:

Several airline carriers operate domestically in Malaysia:

Bus Travel

Bus travel in Malaysia is an affordable option for shorter distances, often offering scenic routes.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective for traveling short to medium distances
  • Extensive network connecting major towns and cities
  • Opportunity to witness Malaysia’s picturesque landscapes

Cons:

  • Relatively slower compared to air or train travel
  • Possible traffic congestion, especially in urban areas

Notable bus companies in Malaysia:

Train Travel

If you enjoy a leisurely journey while immersing yourself in Malaysia’s breathtaking scenery, train travel is an excellent option.

Pros:

  • Relaxing and scenic travel experience
  • Opportunity to interact with locals
  • Comfortable facilities on contemporary trains

Cons:

  • Longer travel times compared to air travel
  • Availability limited to certain destinations

Malaysia’s primary rail operator is:

Exploring Malaysia is an incredible experience, and understanding the various transportation options allows you to make informed decisions. Whether you choose to hop on a domestic flight, enjoy a bus journey, or embrace the scenic train routes, Malaysia has something for every traveler’s preference and budget.

15 Essential Travel Tips for Exploring Malaysia

Embarking on a journey to Malaysia? This enchanting Southeast Asian country is known for its diverse culture, vibrant festivals, delectable cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes. To make the most of your trip, consider these valuable travel tips:

  1. Prioritize Safety: While Malaysia is generally safe for tourists, it’s important to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions. Avoid secluded areas during late hours, safeguard your belongings, and be cautious of scams or pickpocketing in crowded places.
  2. Save on Accommodation: Look for budget-friendly accommodations, such as guesthouses or homestays, which provide comfortable stays at affordable prices. Consider booking in advance or being flexible on days to secure better deals.
  3. Language: English is widely spoken in Malaysia, making communication relatively easy for travelers. However, locals greatly appreciate simple greetings in Malay, such as “selamat pagi” (good morning), “terima kasih” (thank you), or “maaf” (excuse me).
  4. Currency: The official currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Familiarize yourself with the currency denominations and exchange rates before your trip. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments or street vendors.
  5. Delightful Cuisine: Malaysia is a food paradise offering a fusion of flavors from various cultures. Savor local dishes like Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Char Kuey Teow, and Laksa. Venture beyond restaurants and explore bustling street food stalls for an authentic gastronomic experience.
  6. Festivals & Events: Immerse yourself in Malaysia’s vibrant festivals like the Thaipusam, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or Chinese New Year celebrations. Each festival showcases unique customs, traditions, and cultural performances. Check the calendar and plan your visit accordingly.
  7. Uncommon Laws & Customs: Malaysia has certain customs and laws that might be unusual to visitors. For instance, it’s considered disrespectful to point using your index finger and public displays of affection are generally frowned upon.
  8. Transportation: Malaysia has an extensive transportation network. Utilize the efficient public transportation, such as buses, trains, or Grab (ride-hailing service), to explore cities. For intercity travel, consider using domestic flights or long-distance buses for cost-effective options.
  9. Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate of Malaysia can be humid, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Carry a reusable water bottle and drink filtered water available at most accommodations. Avoid drinking tap water to prevent any potential stomach discomfort.
  10. Plan for Rain: Malaysia experiences consistent rainfall throughout the year. Pack a lightweight waterproof jacket or umbrella to be prepared for sudden showers. This will allow you to continue exploring without any interruptions.
  11. Respect Local Customs: Malaysians are known for their warmth and hospitality. Show respect for their customs and traditions, such as removing shoes before entering places of worship or dressing modestly in certain conservative areas.
  12. Keep Mosquito Repellent: Mosquitoes can be prevalent in certain regions of Malaysia. Protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases (like dengue fever) by applying insect repellent, particularly during sunrise and sunset.
  13. Stay Connected: Consider purchasing a local SIM card upon arrival to stay connected throughout your Malaysian adventure. Having access to data can assist with navigation, communication, and discovering local attractions.
  14. Explore Nature: Malaysia is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife. From pristine rainforests to breathtaking islands, embrace nature by visiting the iconic Taman Negara, Kinabalu National Park, or the breathtaking Cameron Highlands.
  15. Discover Hidden Gems: Explore beyond the tourist hotspots and uncover Malaysia’s hidden gems. Visit lesser-known destinations like the charming cities of Melaka or Ipoh or embark on adventurous hikes in captivating off-the-beaten-path locations.

These travel tips will help you navigate your way through Malaysia with ease and make your trip unforgettable. Leave ample time to explore, embrace the local culture, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this captivating country!

Must-Try Foods and Drinks in Malaysia

Delicious Malaysian Cuisine

Exploring Malaysia’s vibrant culinary scene is a must for any food lover. Indulge your taste buds with these delightful Malaysian dishes:

1. Nasi Lemak

A popular dish and national treasure, Nasi Lemak is a fragrant coconut rice served with sambal (chili paste), fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, and a boiled egg. Don’t leave Malaysia without trying this flavorful and satisfying dish.

2. Roti Canai

A staple breakfast or anytime snack, Roti Canai is a flaky and crispy Indian-influenced flatbread, typically served with a variety of delicious dipping sauces such as curry, dal, or fish curry. The perfect combination of softness and crunch makes it irresistible.

3. Char Kway Teow

Indulge in a plate of Char Kway Teow, a stir-fried flat rice noodle dish featuring succulent prawns, egg, bean sprouts, and Chinese sausages. Bursting with flavors from soy sauce, chili, and dark soy sauce, this dish is a local favorite.

4. Satay

Satay is a delightful skewered and grilled meat dish served with a rich peanut sauce. The marinated meat, usually chicken or beef, is grilled to perfection, resulting in juicy and tender morsels. Satay is perfect as a snack or as a main course.

5. Laksa

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a blend of Chinese and Malay cooking traditions. It is worth mentioning that “Peranakan” refers to the descendants of 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants in Malaysia and Singapore.

The key ingredient to any Laksa is the Laksa paste, an aromatic blend of chilies, spices, and herbs, usually including lemongrass, galangal (a type of ginger), garlic, and turmeric. There are two main types of Laksa: Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa.

Refreshing Malaysian Drinks

Quench your thirst with these delightful Malaysian beverages:

1. Teh Tarik

Experience the art of “pulled tea” with Teh Tarik, a hot milk tea that is expertly poured back and forth between two containers, creating a frothy and velvety texture. Enjoy its comforting flavors and watch the tea preparation skills of local vendors.

2. Cendol

Perfect for Malaysia’s perennially warm weather, Cendol is a popular traditional dessert made with shaved ice, green rice flour jelly noodles, palm sugar syrup, and creamy coconut milk. It offers a delightful combination of sweet, creamy, and refreshing flavors.

3. Sirap Bandung

Sirap Bandung is a popular pink-colored drink made with rose syrup and milk, providing a sweet and aromatic blend. It is often enjoyed as a refreshing treat on a hot day. Be sure to give this uniquely Malaysian beverage a try.

4. Teh O Ais Limau

For a zesty and invigorating drink, opt for Teh O Ais Limau. This drink combines black tea, iced water, and a refreshing squeeze of lime. Its tangy and cooling properties make it a perfect companion to beat Malaysia’s heat.

Traveling in Malaysia: Typical Costs

When planning a trip to Malaysia, it’s essential to understand the typical costs you may encounter. From accommodations to food, transportation, and attractions, here’s a breakdown of what you can expect.

Accommodations

Malaysia offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget.

Budget Accommodations

For budget-conscious travelers, Malaysia provides plenty of affordable options. Guesthouses and hostels are a popular choice, with prices hovering around $10 to $30 USD per night. These establishments often offer basic amenities and dormitory-style accommodations.

Mid-Range Accommodations

If you prefer more comfort and privacy without breaking the bank, mid-range accommodations are a great choice. You can find cozy guesthouses, boutique hotels, and budget-friendly resorts for approximately $30 to $100 USD per night. These properties usually provide more amenities and sometimes even breakfast included.

Luxury Accommodations

For those seeking luxury and indulgence, Malaysia offers an array of high-end resorts and hotels. Prices for luxury accommodations range from $100 to $500 USD per night, depending on the location, facilities, and services offered. These properties often boast breathtaking views, spacious rooms, exquisite dining options, and top-notch amenities.

Food

One of the highlights of traveling in Malaysia is indulging in its diverse culinary scene.

Budget Food

Malaysia is renowned for its street food, where you can savor delicious local delicacies at affordable prices. Hawker centers and street stalls offer a wide selection of dishes for around $1 to $5 USD per meal. You can savor flavorsome dishes like Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, and various noodle dishes without breaking the bank.

Mid-Range Food

If you prefer cozy restaurants or casual eateries, mid-range dining options are available throughout Malaysia. Expect to pay around $5 to $15 USD for a satisfying meal at these establishments, which often provide a diverse menu of local and international cuisines.

Luxury Food

For a fine dining experience, Malaysian cities offer an impressive selection of upscale restaurants. Prices for luxury dining establishments can range from $20 to $100+ USD per person, depending on the venue and the menu’s sophistication. These establishments boast exquisite ambiance, world-class chefs, and a wide range of international flavors.

Transportation

Getting around Malaysia is relatively affordable and convenient, thanks to its well-developed transportation network.

• Buses: Local buses are a common mode of transportation, particularly within cities. Prices typically range from $0.20 to $1 USD.

• Trains: Malaysia’s train services are efficient and cover extensive routes. KTM Komuter and LRT/MRT lines are popular choices, with fares ranging from $0.30 to $1.50 USD.

• Taxis: Taxis can be readily found in cities but negotiate the fare before boarding. Prices may vary, but short rides typically cost around $2 to $5 USD.

• Ride-hailing: Services like Grab are widely available and provide a convenient and affordable means of transportation. Prices vary based on distance and demand.

Attractions

Malaysia offers a myriad of attractions to enthrall visitors of all interests.

National Parks: Entry fees to national parks in Malaysia are generally affordable, ranging from $1 to $10 USD per person.

Historical Sites: Tickets to historical sites, such as UNESCO World Heritage sites, usually cost between $2 and $10 USD.

Theme Parks: Prices for theme parks in Malaysia can vary significantly. You can expect to pay around $20 to $60 USD per person, depending on the park’s popularity and the number of attractions within.

Cultural Performances: Enjoying traditional dance or musical performances may cost around $10 to $30 USD per ticket.

Keep in mind that specific costs may vary depending on the location, season, and exchange rates. However, this general overview should give you a good idea of the typical expenses involved when traveling in Malaysia.

Popular Destinations in Malaysia

people walking on street during daytime

Batu Caves

Cityscape of George Town from the seashore. Aerial view

George Town

malaysia travel guide

Kuala Lumpur

Tanah Rata

Tanah Rata

Top Places to Visit in Malaysia

Taman Negara National Park
boat ride

Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara National Park is a sprawling rainforest located in Malaysia, spanning across three states – Pahang, Kelantan, and Terengganu. It is one of the oldest rainforests

Langkawi Sky Bridge
Bridges

Langkawi Sky Bridge

The Langkawi Sky Bridge is a breathtaking attraction located in Langkawi, Malaysia. This unique bridge is suspended high above the ground, offering visitors stunning panoramic views of

Penang Hill
cable car

Penang Hill

Penang Hill is a popular attraction located in Penang, Malaysia. It is a hill resort that offers stunning views of the city and surrounding areas. Tickets: Tickets

Cameron Highlands Trail No. 10
Hiking Trails

Cameron Highlands Trail No. 10

Cameron Highlands Trail No. 10 is a popular hiking trail located in the Cameron Highlands region of Malaysia. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park
boat ride

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park is a stunning natural attraction located in Langkawi, Malaysia. This park is known for its unique karst formations, lush mangrove forests, and diverse

Street Art in George Town
george town

Street Art in George Town

Street Art in George Town is a vibrant and captivating attraction located in the heart of Penang, Malaysia. It is famous for its colorful and interactive murals

Best Places to Eat in Malaysia

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bars and restaurants

Anak Baba

“Anak-Baba” is a unique restaurant in Kuala Lumpur that celebrates the Peranakan culture, also known as anak baba. Located in the heart of the city, this charming

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kuala lumpur

Jalan Alor

The one place you can’t miss in Kuala Lumpur if you’re a foodie. This place has all kinds of options and it’s super cheap. The chicken wing

Malaysia Photographs

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Malaysia Tours & Experiences

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