Malaysia is famous for its mouthwatering food, stunning beaches, dynamic cities, tranquil islands, and national parks packed with rainforests and fascinating wildlife. The country is truly the melting pot of Asiana culture, from Muslim Malays, Hindu and Muslim Indians, to religiously diverse Chinese all living peacefully along with aboriginal groups. Tourists in Malaysia can have a delightful experience of exploring urban cities, having an adventure in ancient rainforests, or watching wildlife in its natural habitat. One week in Malaysia is probably not enough, but if it’s what you have, then here’s our recommended itinerary to give you an idea of how you should spend your time in the country.
Day 1 and 2: Kuala Lumpur
Since many international flights arrive in and leave Kuala Lumpur, this capital city will be your first as well as your last stop in Malaysia. The city is big and busy and is filled with restaurants, street food stalls, bars, and numerous things to see and do. On your first day, you should visit the Batu Caves, which is located around 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. It is a limestone hill with a series of caves and cave temples. The cave temples are one of the most famous Hindu shrines outside India. These caves are dedicated to Lord Murugan. Today, it is the focal point of Thaipusam, a Hindu festival, in the country. Besides the caves, you can admire the world’s tallest statue of Murugan.
If you are staying near Chinatown, it is best to visit the area on your first day. Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is a paradise for those who love bargaining. You can find everything from Chinese herbs to imitation goods. If you visit the area at night, you will be able to enjoy its vibrant night market which is packed with stalls offering all types of goods at very affordable prices, and you can still haggle down those prices!
On your second day, you visit the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Standing at 451.9 meters, these towers are currently the tallest twin towers in the world. They’re very impressive from the outside and will give you breathtaking views of Kuala Lumpur from the inside. However, since it is the most popular attraction in the city, make sure to book your tickets in advance. The best time to visit the towers is around sunset, which will give you an unmatched view from the observation deck on the 86th floor. Another best place to admire Kuala Lumpur from above is the Menara KL (KL Tower). Standing at a height of 435 meters, it is taller than the Petronas Towers. It is the also seventh-tallest communications tower in the world.
To taste the local foods, make sure you visit Jalan Alor Food Street where you will find an array of street vendors selling Malay, Chines, or Thai cuisines. The most famous food in this street is its satay, which is served straight from the grill. If you find some coconut ice cream, don’t forget to try them because they’re super delicious.
Day 3 and 4: Penang
After exploring Kuala Lumpur, it’s time to travel to Penang on your 3rd day. Your visit to Penang will start in George Town, which is Malaysia’s second-largest city. George Town is protected by UNESCO. It is home to numerous arts and it has the largest collection of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia. This city is the best place for anyone who wants to indulge in cultural sights.
When you’re done exploring the city, it is time for you to immerse yourself in Penang’s nature. Start by having a relaxing time at Batu Ferringhi beach on the Northern coast of the island, around 330 minutes from George Town. The area has a stunning stretch of coastline, with miles of sandy beaches, and there are plenty of activities to do. You can chill out on the beach, try some water sports such as jet-skiing, or have a massage. However, if you decide to go for a swim, make sure to watch out for jellyfishes.
On your second day, it is a good idea to see Penang Hill, which is the highest peak in Penang and one of the most popular tourist destinations. You can hike to the summit or ride the funicular train. From the summit, you can enjoy the views of the island and the coastline. You can find various landmarks at the top of the hill, such as the Bel Retiro Bungalow, the Hill Mosque, and the Thirumurungan Hindu Temple.
Penang is known as the food capital of Malaysia, so you should definitely savor the local cuisines. Culinary in Penang is a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, Thai, and European. The most popular traditional cuisines you need to try are Assam Laksa, Lok Lok, and Nasi Lemak. If you prefer vegan food, you can find vegetarian versions of these famous dishes in various Chinese and Indian outlets.
Day 5 and 6: Langkawi
Next up is Langkawi, an archipelago made up of 99 islands. Langkawi will give you a tropical paradise experience. This archipelago is home to clear shores, pristine beaches, as well as rich rainforests. When you arrive in Langkawi, make your way north to the Langkawi Cable Car. As you ride the cable car, you will get spectacular panoramic views. Besides the cable car, you can get a ticket to walk on the famous SkyBridge, which is the longest curved and free span bridge in the world. It takes you between 2 mountains. After you’ve taken the views of the island, make your way back down and go to the Seven Wells Waterfall. If you visit the Langkawi Cable Car in the morning, it is best to visit Tanjung Rhu beach in the afternoon to enjoy some relaxing time under the sun. The beach has interesting rock waters and calm water that is perfect for swimming. There are also mangroves nearby, which you can take a tour of. If you still have some energy left, you should complete your first day by visiting the Durian Perangin waterfall. It’s just a short drive away from Tanjung Rhu. The waterfall is beautiful and popular among both local and international tourists.
On the morning of your second day in Langkawi, try some watersports on Pantai Cenang. You can find a selection of watersports on this beach, from parasailing to jet skiing. However, if you don’t want to try any watersports, the beach is the perfect place to soak up the morning sun. In the afternoon, visit the famous Eagle Square.
Day 7: Back to Kuala Lumpur
Day 7 will be your last day in Malaysia. It is advisable for you to go back to Kuala Lumpur before your flight. You can save time by staying in a hotel near the airport. While you’re in the city, visit Bukit Bintang, which is a major shopping district packed with shopping malls that sells everything from bumbags to bikinis. It is also a good place for you to stock up on some souvenirs. You can also visit any of the places you did not get time to visit on your first two days in Malaysia.