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10 Top Reasons Why You Should Visit Malaysia

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The country of Malaysia, located in Southeast Asia, is an incredible mixing pot of cultures. Bordering everything from Thailand and the South China Sea to Brunei and Indonesia , Malaysia has a central location that shouldn’t be skipped when exploring Southeast Asia.

What makes Malaysia so fascinating is its diversity. In the same country, you can explore thriving, modern cities, explore colonial architecture, relax on some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet and hike through lush green jungles. Here are just some of the top reasons to visit Malaysia on your next trip to Asia.

10. Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture

The city of Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic place to admire the more modern architecture found in Malaysia, and in particular the contemporary skyscrapers that create one of Asia’s most iconic skylines. If possible, take time to see the Petronas Twin Towers in the district known as the Golden Triangle.

Once the tallest buildings in the world, and now connected by a skybridge, the Petronas Twin Towers are just a short walk from other incredible structures like the KL Tower and its viewing deck.

9. Chinatowns


Malaysia has been influenced and colonized by cultures from around the globe. Proximity to China means that Malaysia is home to excellent Chinese cuisine and a vibrant heritage. You can experience this influence first hand by exploring one of the Chinatowns in Malaysia, the largest of which is in George Town.

In this Chinatown, you can see a 200-year-old Kuan Yin Teng Temple or indulge in the local street fare. Don’t miss dining at one of the local dim sum restaurants or trying the hot egg waffles sold from vendors right on the street.

8. Tea Plantations

Tea Plantations

The tea industry has long been a part of development and trade in Malaysia, particularly in areas like the Cameron Highlands . There, near the highest point of the country, temperatures are cool enough for tea plantations.

In the Cameron Highlands, you can take a guided tour of the nation’s largest tea company, hike through the plantation itself or sip local teas at some of the smaller plantations in the vicinity.


Hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Malaysia, but the country actually boasts a number of excellent hiking spots. None, however, can compare to Mount Kinabalu. In the state of Sabah, Mount Kinabalu boasts miles of hiking trails that pass through six distinct vegetation zones at varying elevations. To climb the entire summit, expect to spend two days hiking with a night of camping in between.

6. Colonial Architecture

Colonial Architecture

With Malaysia’s long colonial history, it boasts an array of colonial architecture. If you’re interested in this blast from the past, there can be no better spot to visit than Melaka . The city has been ruled by the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese, and its architecture reflects that.

Just some of the buildings you can explore include the ruins of a 16th century Portuguese fortress, the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia and the Stadthuys Town Hall, which still stands as the oldest as well as the largest Dutch colonial building in the region.


One of the most popular reasons to visit Malaysia is for the chance to go diving. Just off the tip of Malaysian Borneo is Sipidan, known as one of the world’s best dive sites. Diving in Sipidan’s protected waters is limited to just a set number of people each day, and it provides the chance to see things like turtles, barracudas, sharks and parrotfish.

If you can’t make it to Sipidan, islands like Redang and Tioman are also excellent, although their diving seasons are more limited.

4. Diverse Culture

Diverse Culture

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Malaysia is its diverse culture. In addition to colonial influences, there are a mixture of Asian cultures present in the country. Malays make up approximately half of the population, Chinese make up roughly one quarter and there is a strong Indian community.

In addition, the Orang Asli people, a group indigenous to Malaysia, still makes up 12 percent of the population. These groups live together harmoniously in Malaysia and give the country its vibrant culture and heritage.

3. Wildlife


Much of Malaysia is undeveloped, allowing wildlife to roam freely. One of the top spots to admire wildlife in its natural habitat is in Taman Negara National Park. Among waterfalls and canopy walks, you can spot tapirs, wild boar, deer, monkey and countless birds and insects.

In Borneo, you may be able to see even bigger animals, and guided tours can get you up close and personal with the likes of elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans.

2. Beaches & Islands

Beaches & Islands

Malaysia is a tropical country with a warm climate and miles of coastline, so it should come as no surprise that beaches are plentiful. While there are excellent beaches on the mainland, it is Malaysia’s islands that are the most popular for beach lovers. Langkawi is the ultimate spot for a relaxing beach vacation, complete with shopping and dining. If you’re after a more secluded, less touristy getaway, Redang is a pristine island that also serves as a turtle sanctuary.


In Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, is Gunung Mulu National Park. This park has a history dating back for more than 3,000 years, and it is best known for its incredible caverns. On guided tours, you can explore Turtle Cave, the so-called Garden of Eden or the Wind Caves, all of which are in the park.

Some caves require you to bring flashlights and rapel, but others are simple strolls in incredible environments. If you’re staying closer to Kuala Lumpur, you can set off on a day trip to the Batu Caves, which are made from limestone and offer some challenging hikes as well as amazing scenery.

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November 4, 2016 at 5:25 am

Thanks for featuring my home country, i am really proud with our beaches and islands, rated one of the best in Asia 🙂 Especially Perhentian Island and Tioman Island, both a diving paradise 🙂

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why tourist visit malaysia

13 Reasons to Visit Malaysia in 2024

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dan Around The World is part of the Amazon Affiliate program and may receive a small commission when you purchase products on this page at no extra cost to yourself. 

Malaysia is one of my favourite countries. My very first solo travels were to Malaysia in 2010 and that’s where the travel addiction started.

Since then, I’ve been back countless times and have fallen in love with a different part of the country each time. Whilst it’s neighbours, Thailand and Indonesia, often get all the plaudits and tourism dollars, I think Malaysia is massively underrated. There are so many reasons to visit this unique county with a fascinating history.

I think their tourism slogan of “Malaysia Truly Asia” sums up this south east Asian country. It has a little bit of everything you think of when you think of Asia. The mix of local cultures from Chinese, Indian and Malay along with a modern western influence, gives Malaysia so many opportunities on the world stage as it is starting to grow into a regional economic powerhouse.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why you should visit Malaysia, I’ve got thirteen reasons below that will give you that little push to book that trip.

The 13 Reasons To Visit Malaysia

Malaysia has everything  .

I won’t go into it too much here because otherwise there is no point in the rest of the post, but it really does have it all. From cities to jungle, street food to fine dining, traditional way of life and an ultra modern outlook. It’s one of those places that has a bit of everything for every taste.

The beaches

Some of the beaches in Malaysia are to die for. The picture perfect white sand in places like Langkawi are a holiday makers dream. Go to quieter destinations like Perhentian or Tioman for beaches without the crowds. And the white sand surrounded by coral reefs on Pilau Sipadan make it seem like you’re in dreamland.

Even when it may seem like you’re in a built up city in Penang, a golden sand beach isn’t that far away.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Malaysia is affordable

For those coming from western countries, Malaysia is an incredibly affordable destination for travel. Day tours start at £30, budget hotel rooms at £20 and a bowl of noodles from a street vender can be less than £1.

To get around is also cheap, flights on Malaysian Airlines to popular destinations such as Penang, can be less than £20 in a sale, or choose one of the ever increasing budget airlines for even more discount fares. Intercity buses have fares that cost RM15-20 for extremely comfortable seats for journeys of 2-3 hours.

For those that like luxury, its easy to find 5 star chain hotels for £90 per night.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Malaysia has the best food in the world.

There, I said it.

The mix of cultures, of Indian and Chinese, gives rise to an incredible mix of foods and flavours that an unlike anything else. Penang is known for its incredible street food such as char kuey teow and mee goreng (both noodles dishes) due to the heavy Chinese influence.

Curry noodles, beef rendang, laksa (a spicy and sour noodle soup), nasi lemak, amazing seafood. I could go on and on about the variety and quality of foods in Malaysia.

Nasi lemak, penang, malaysia

Friendly people

I have found time and time again that Malaysians are genuinely friendly. I have struck up random conversations with people in the street who are just curious about you and want to get to know you.

I have found in other countries in the region that the people are friendly, but you are still a tourist to them and they will still want something in return. In Malaysia, you’re just another person who they want to get along with.

Man in traditional Malay dress, Dan, Kuching, Malaysia

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A mix of cultures

Malaysia is made up of a variety of cultures that all live and mix togther.

The traditional Malays are muslim and have been living on the Malay peninsula for generations. Chinese settlers came as traders from southern China over the last few hundred years and brought their own culture and food. Indians arrived first as traders, then as workers on farms msotly from southern India bring Tamil culture and language with them.

As these cultures mixed, European cultures were also added creating Nyonya and Perankanan cultures which is best describes as a fusion between them all.

And that hasn’t even touched on the variety of ethic groups and tribes in Sabah and Sarawak where Christian missionaries coverted a lot of the Dayak, Iban and countless more of the more than 30 ethnic groups from Borneo.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Incredible nature

I feel like you could film and entire David Attenborough documentary in Malaysia.

The rainforests of Borneo, known as one of the most remote and inaccessible places on the planet, offers one of the last places on earth to see orang utans in the wild. Add to this probiscus monkeys in Bako National Park , the variety of sea snakes that can be found on some smaller islands, lush tropical rainforest in Taman Negara…. I could go on and on…

Alpha male orangutan, eating, semenggoh, Kuching, Malaysia

Many UNESCO sites

Malaysia has numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Georgetown in Penang and Mulu National Park in Sarawak. Mount Kinabalu and Malacca are also included as is the Lenggong Valley, home to one of the earliest records of human kind outside of Africa.

Each of these sites has been added to the list for different reasons; wild rainforest, soaring mountains, European colonial architecture and Chinese culture. I think those reasons sum up the difference in Malaysia.

Kids on bikes street art in Georgetown

SCUBA diving

Malaysia is know for having some of the best scuba diving in the world . Around Mabul and Sipadan, crystal clear waters, healthy coral and schools or fish are in abundance. The diving there is literally world class and if often on lists of the best dive sites in the world. Pulau Tiga, Pulau Tioman, Perhentian and Langkawi also offer diving of various qualities throughout the year.

why tourist visit malaysia

Can climb mountains

If getting deep isn’t your kind of thing, what about getting high?

Climb the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu and watch sunrise from 4095m above sea level. The highest point between the Himalayas in India and the Southern Alps in New Zealand, it’s a relatively straightforward climb that can be done with a good level of fitness and no mountain climbing experience.

Go with a guide and make the trip in 2 days return.

It’s modernising rapidly

Malaysia is a rapidly modernising country with the capital Kuala Lumpur , epitomising it. With the Petronas Towers being built in the late 90’s creating an iconic skyscraper and world monument standing tall in the middle of the city, it is now surrounded by similar size buildings.

The brand new Mereka 118 will be the second tallest building in the world when it fully opens in 2024. Smartphones are QR codes are everywhere with even the smallest hawker stall having the possibility to pay with their phone.

KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Easy visa entry for many

For many nationalities, it’s possible to enter with just your passport and receive a 90 day visa on arrival for social visits. Although nearly 3 months isn’t enough to see everything in Malaysia, it’s possible to leave and re-enter shortly after.

Flying into Kuala Lumpur airport is the major gateway of entry, but with cheap flights to Singapore and Bangkok, a short connection makes it easy to visit via a variety of routes.

A growing digital nomad destination

With the growing hordes of digital nomads heading to neighbouring hotspots of Chang Mai and Bali in Thailand and Indonesia respectively, Malaysia is often overlooked. However, with a new digital nomad visa, excellent internet speeds and an affordable cost of living, I don’t think it will be long until Malaysia is a preeminent digital nomad destination in its own right.

Currently, Penang and Kuala Lumpur are hotspots for digital nomads, although Langkawi isn’t far behind.

Langkawi, Malaysia, digital nomad

Why you should visit Malaysia

Ever since my first trip to the country in 2010, Malaysia has been one of my favourite destinations. Each time I return, I find another reason to rank Malaysia as highly as I do.

What most people look for in a great destination (good food, good people, good weather, good nature), Malaysia has in abundance. The thing that appeals most to me is the variety that is on offer. Whether you want to travel slow and be awed by nature or relax on a beach in a resort, Malaysia has just the option for you.

All these and many more reasons to visit Malaysia should make it top of your list when looking for your next destination.

Check out my other posts for travelling around Malaysia:

  • 13 Reasons to Visit Malaysia
  • Essential Malay Phrases For Travellers
  • Visiting Bako National Park From Kuching: A Detailed Guide
  • How To See Orangutans at Semenggoh Nature Reserve
  • Visiting Mulu National Park: The Essential Guide

Kuala Lumpur

  • How To Get From KL International Airport To The City Centre
  • What To Do In Kuala Lumpur: Top 10 Things
  • Which Lounge Should You Choose at KLIA
  • Petronas Twin Towers vs KL Tower: Which Is Best To Visit?
  • Visiting Pantai Pasir Panjang, Penang from Georgetown
  • The Best Coffee Shops in Georgetown, Penang
  • What You Must Eat in Penang: Top 10 Foods To Try
  • 16 Things to See and Do in Langkawi
  • Langkawi Digital Nomad Guide

why tourist visit malaysia

Dan is an avid traveller from London. His first big adventure was in 2010 living in Malaysia for 3 months and becoming a divemaster. He has been on the road almost constantly since 2015 travelling to destinations that aren’t on the mainstream tourist trail.

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  • 10 Reasons To Visit Malaysia That Will Trigger Your Wanderlust

As they say, Malaysia is Truly Asia. This is one country where you can set foot and get to experience the best of what Asia has on offer. A multicultural country, Malaysia gives you a glimpse of the heritage of Chinese, Indians, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries as well. In terms of landscape, this country allures with beaches, hills and even glistening cityscapes like that of Kuala Lumpur. It has its arms open wide to greet travelers from across the world, serving them delicious food, pampering them with a buzzing shopping scenario and traditional spas.

Top Reasons To Visit Malaysia That Will Compel You To Pack Right Away

If you ask us to give reasons to visit Malaysia, we’d suggest you to take a deep breath as the list is going to be lengthy. But, in this post we have managed to keep it short, listing the top ten reasons that are indeed irresistible.

1. This is a tourist destination for every pocket

cityscape of kuala lumpur

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Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or are looking for a splurging vacation, Malaysia will please you! You can choose to stay in a welcoming hostel or pick a luxury hotel with all the modern amenities. Most of the sightseeing attractions in this country have reasonable entry charges. You can also save money on commute by opting for frequent public transportation. Or if you want some special treatment, you can always hire a limo for yourself.

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2. Malaysia will mesmerize you with its stunning beach getaways

Perhentian Island in Malaysia

Almost everyone wishing to travel to Malaysia knows about the beauty that Langkawi is. But that’s not this country’s tropical beauty is all about. There are number of archipelagos here in Malaysia, which honestly will put even the Bahamas to shame. You will agree too! Just sneak a peek of Perhentian Island and you’ll ride on the same boat.

Best beach and island getaways in Malaysia: Langkawi, Perhentian Island, Tioman Island, Redang Island and Borneo

Must Read: 10 Blissful Beaches In Malaysia

3. The country is bestowed with lush rainforests

longtailed-macaque amid wilderness in Malaysia

We don’t even need another reason once we realize how affluent Malaysia is in terms of nature and wildlife as well. Almost two-third of this country is covered in rainforests, serving as a habitat to twenty percent of world’s animal species. Trekkers and wildlife and bird enthusiasts from around the world find themselves being pulled by the beauty and rawness of its nature.

You don’t even have to compromise on luxury while exploring these areas as you have many resorts to pick from. But if you’d rather keep it real, just pitch your tent wherever you please, just make sure you know it’s safe.

Best places in Malaysia for nature and wildlife: Taman Negara National Park, Kinabalu National Park, and Gunung Mulu National Park

Suggested Read: 14 Top Festivals In Malaysia In 2022 To Witness Its Vibrant Culture & Rich Traditions

4. There are a myriad of adventure activities to try

two men tandem skydiving

This country understands that travel is not limited to sightseeing, so it spoils you with choices of activities. You could be a beginner or an expert, there still be a long list of things to do in Malaysia for you. So scuba dive to witness the enchantment of marine life or jump out of a chopper to skydive; choice is yours.

Top adventure activities in Malaysia: Scuba diving, skydiving, white water rafting, paragliding, parasailing, bungee jumping and jungle trekking

Top places in Malaysia for adventure-seekers: Kuala Lumpur , Langkawi, Selangor, and Kota Kinabalu

Suggested Read: You’d Be Sorry If You Miss These Awesome Malaysia Tourist Attractions

5. It’s a melting pot of different cultures with intriguing history and architecture

mosque in Malaysia

As you wander through the streets of Malaysia, you will realize there are not just Malays who call this place home; the country also belongs to a significant amount if Indians, Chinese and Sri Lankans, as well as others. Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures from around the world, and this blend of different ethnicities is what makes this country stand out.

There are various UNESCO Heritage Sites here that narrate tales and flaunts a heritage that will inspire you from within.

Best places in Malaysia for culture-enthusiasts: Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Ipoh, and Putrajaya

6. The capital, Kuala Lumpur is a global city with attractions for all ages

kuala lumpur

The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a city which leads with its futuristic infrastructure, nightlife and what not. This global city is in the list of travelers and immigrants regardless of their geographical boundaries. You could be traveling with kids, spouse or even solo, and there’s never going to be a time you’ll find a dearth of anything.

Kuala Lumpur is one of the main gateways to the country and will spoil you with choices, whether you are talking about accommodation, shopping, sightseeing or food. Just make sure you are dedicating significant amount of time to this city during your visit to Malaysia.

Best tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Tower , Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Merdeka Square , Aquaria KLCC, Petaling Street, and National Mosque of Malaysia

Suggested Read: 19 Cardinal Places To Visit In Kuala Lumpur

7. The country will lure you with its buzzing shopping scenario

Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur

Want to pop tags of exclusive premium brands? Or would you rather go street shopping in Malaysia and bargain? Well, guess what Malaysia is a paradise anyway. This country is every shopaholics dream come true, even if they are traveling on a budget. Different cities such as Ipoh, George Town and Kuala Lumpur have shopping malls where you can find stores of brands like Zara, Armani and Gucci. While you also have option of shopping for local handicraft etcetera as you wander through street markets.

Best places in Malaysia for shopaholics: Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Ipoh, Malacca and George Town

8. Malaysian street food will leave you asking for more

malaysian food

It’s said if you don’t let yourself indulge in the street food of Malaysia, your trip isn’t really complete. Here, you get to titillate your taste buds with a delicious blend of flavors and spices. This is where you get to relish the best of noodles, rice, soup and what not!

Best known for its continental food, Malaysia might not sound too appealing for vegetarians. But there is always something for them too, you can get to know better through this guide to Malaysia for vegetarians .

Top street foods to try in Malaysia: Assam Laksa, Rojak, Koay Chiap, Chee Cheong Fun and Ice Kacang

Suggested Read: 21 Malaysia Islands You Must Visit For Having The Best Holiday Of Your Life

9. Locals are friendly and welcoming


Let’s get real, as we travel overseas, or even a few hundred kilometers away from our home, the way locals treat the travelers can make or break an experience. Malaysia is one such countries where locals are welcoming and friendly. They are there to help you with directions, they’ll smile at you as you pass them in the streets, they will be around to talk about their culture and everything. The people here truly add on to the experience.

10. Thanks to its favorable year-round weather you can plan a trip to Malaysia anytime you want


The country experiences favorable weather conditions almost all around the year. Thanks to its huge size, you can always pick the best for yourself regardless of when you are traveling. As most part of the country is covered in rainforest, you will indeed enjoy pleasant weather.

There are indeed a zillion reasons why this country has to be in your bucket list, shortening that to a list of ten was quite a task, but we hope you got the idea about what awaits. If you are planning a visit, which we’re sure you are after reading the post, you must assure eradication of all the hassles, and Travel Triangle’s Malaysia tour packages will be your saviour in that.

Further Read: Best Hotels In Malaysia: For Those Who Love Living Life To The Fullest

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Home » Southeast Asia » Malaysia » 13 EPIC Reasons Why You Should Visit Malaysia

13 EPIC Reasons Why You Should Visit Malaysia

Pretty Malaysia is now well and truly established as an essential port of call on the Southeast Asia circuit and it is very easy to see why. Malaysia naturally & effortlessly melds together influences from all across Asia offering the flavours of Southeast Asia (but without the crowds) mixed with tantalising far-Eastern delights.

In so many ways Malaysia is an ultimate backpacker travel destination – cheap, cheerful and packed with adventure. It is a country where the old meets the new and where tradition collides with modernity. This makes it a perfect backpacking destination and many travellers have now  placed at the top of their travel bucket lists.

From the secluded Tropical Spice Gardens in Penang, to the peaceful quiet resorts, we will show you exactly why you too should be excited about visiting Malaysia.  So, let’s take a look at our 15 EPIC Reasons why you should visit Malaysia.

1. Malaysian Street Food

2. explore kuala lumpur, 3. see the wildlife of borneo, 4. take in the malaysian rain forests, 5. drink endless cups of tea, 6. hike kinabalu national park, 7. visit penang, 8. shop at malaysian markets, 9. celebrate the festivals, 10. get bang for buck, 11. the pulau gemia private resort, 12. unwind on malaysian beaches, 13. meet the malaysian people.

malaysia safety food

Ok so why visit Malaysia? Well the food for one!

I am starting with this one partially because Malaysian street food is amongst the best in the whole world, but also because it’s getting kinda close to lunchtime and I think my stomach is trying to send a message to my brain.

Malaysian street food is a delicious mix of Asian cuisines with appreciative nods towards the culinary scenes of Thailand, China and Vietnam. Classic Malaysian Street foods dishes include “Penang Assam Laksa” (drunken rice noodles in a fish soup), “Lok Lok” (mixed skewers cooked in broth) and “Apom Balik” which a sweet, savoury sticky rice pancake.

Malaysian street food is ubiquitous and you can usually find it anywhere, any time of day so you won’t go hungry when visiting Malaysia. It is also very damned cheap – which is perfect for budget travel in Malaysia – but unless you exercise some serious restraint, you may gain a waist size of two. To find the best stuff you can simply head out and explore, ask the locals (provided you get over the language barrier) or join a street food tour where your guide can show you the best places.

There are now Malaysian Street food stalls cropping up all over the world but absolutely nothing beats the real thing.

Classic Malaysian Street Foods

  • Penang Assam Laksa – Rice Noodles in Fish Soup
  • Ipoh Hor Fun – Flat Rice Noodles Served in Broth
  • Hokkien Mee – Yellow Egg Noodles in Soy Sauce
  • Nasi Lemak – Breakfast Dish Served in Banana Leaf
  • Char Kuey Teow – Flat Noodles Cooked in a Hot Chinese Wok

Kuala Lumpur

When I was a kid and I heard people mention Kuala Lumpur on the television, I honestly thought it was a made up place like Never-never-land, Hogsmeade or Kathmandu. I guess I just presumed that a city named after a hybrid between a cute little Australian bear and a not-so-cute, orange chocolate factory worker had to be some kind of a joke?

But I was wrong! Kuala Lumpur is a real city and what a real fine city it is. Kuala Lumpur represents bright, bold new Asia at its very best and over the last decades have transformed into a modern metropolis. There are loads of great places to visit in Kuala Lumpur and a city tour is one of the very best things to do Malaysia.

The skyline is now dominated by high-rise glass skyscrapers and is a sugar rush of shopping malls, street vendors and Malaysians on the go. Of course, the city has still retained its own charm and you’ll still find Kuala Lumpur’s colonial neighbourhoods , quaint suburban areas, and one of the biggest China towns outside of China.

National Museum Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Best Things To Do in Kuala Lumpur

If you only have a short time in KL then we recommend the following Kuala Lumpur itinerary for a handy microcosm of Malaysia;

  • The Iconic Petronas Twin Tower
  • Batu Caves Hindu Shrine
  • Sultan Ahmed Building – Moorish style former British HQ

Your Malaysian odyssey may well well either start or end at KL as this is where the major airport is. It is definitely worth hanging out for a few days. However, the city can get a bit intense and the real magic of Malaysia is found outside of the capital.

Check out  Kuala Lumpur’s best hostels .

And the top attractions in Kuala Lumpur .

Plan your  trip itinerary to Kuala Lumpur .

Or take swanky Kuala Lumpur Airbnb  instead?

Borneo is my go-to image of all things exotic, lush & untouched and the island is covered in some of the most enchanting, green forests on earth.

Straddling both hemispheres, Borneo is actually the 3rd largest island on earth and is currently divided between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Kingdom of Brunei. Malaysian Borneo is home to Orang-utans, Malaysian Gorillas and some incredibly unusual animal species the likes of which are found nowhere else on earth.

malaysia safe to visit

You can go and visit them too. There are wildlife sanctuaries, reserves and eco-resorts dotted up and down Malaysian Borneo.

In case you get bored of seeing animals in the wild, then instead go and check people living (kind of) in the wild. The Iban people of Borneo continue to live a traditional way of life even with the application of mod-cons. They were once feared warriors but these days are quite welcoming and you can arrange to stay on their land and live amongst them.

There are regular, good value flights from Kuala Lumpur to Borneo and you can visit using your Malaysian visa as long as you are staying in the Malaysian controlled areas.

Borneo is for many, the very best of areas in Malaysia and an experience not to be missed.

The rainforests of Malaysia are one reason to visit.

In case you don’t have the time or money to get to Borneo, there are also some incredible rain-forests back on the mainland as much of the country is covered in them. You can arrange guided tours, treks or even stays at eco-resorts to get your fill of nature, tranquility and fresh air. There are even bungalows for rental just outside of Kuala Lumpur just in case you can’t bear to me more than 50km from the nearest Starbucks.

Considering the rate at which humanity seems determined to destroy the rainforests, you really should go and visit now while you can.

Sorry to put you a bummer there. Don’t worry, I’ll make it all better in the traditional British way – with a nice cup of tea!

Why visit Malaysia? Malaysian tea plantation.

Who doesn’t love a nice hot tea? Whether you take black, green, milky or sugary, a good old cuppa is a go-to ritual across cultures. Tea is used for starting the day, ending the day, socialising or for a fix of energy. It’s probably even used as an aphrodisiac someplace but to be honest, that’s not a place I ever wanna go.

Malaysia is blessed with countless acres of tea plantations, making it one of the world’s major producers. The stepped, tiered plantations are absolutely breathtaking and make for some seriously impressive photographs. You can take tours of the tea plantations and see for yourself how the stuff is grown, harvested and blended.

You may even get the chance to brew your own and take some back as a souvenir if you behave.

Alternatively, seek out the forest trail, plan to stay in the Cameron Highlands for a while. There are loads of one-day or multi-day treks through the tea zone – this is another highlight of Malaysia.

national parks of Malaysia

Not that many people know about it, but there are quite a lot of places to go on epic hikes in Malaysia , especially in Mayalsia’s national parks .

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo. The area surrounding it has become the Kinabalu National Park. The primary attraction of the park is scaling the mountain and at just above 4000 metres, it is very doable. You can book a 2 tour trek which will take you up and down the summit with the aid of a guide.

Packages cost around $400 and it no longer possible to DIY it. It’s still about $96,600 cheaper than Everest and you are less likely to die here too!

audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so  damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Penang National Park

The island state of Penang sits adrift the north-western tip of Malaysia. “The Pearl of the Orient” is widely held as being the food capital of Malaysia so if you are hungry after all that mountain climbing, dig in!

The best things to do in Penang include staying in the city of George Town famed for its colonial architecture, iconic street art and the Chinese mansions. Then there is the serene Tropical Spice Garden and the delightful sandy beaches of Tanjung Bungah. The Buddhist Snake Temple also has real-life Vipers so you won’t get me in there. 

Penang is home to one of the most entertaining Malaysian festival ; The Dragon Boat Festival. The event has been running for over 30 years and the experience is not to be missed.

Backpackers, book a  Penang budget hostel !

And then scope out Penang’s coolest sights .

Need some help with your  Penang itinerary ?

Or planning where to stay in Penang ?

Malaysia markes

In case all of that time spent in rainforest and up mountains was a bit boring for you, then you will be delighted to know that Malaysia is also a consumerists paradise (in fact, consumerism is fast overtaking Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism as the major religion of Malaysia).

There are day and night markets across the country although the biggest are found in KL and Georgetown. The markets of Malaysia are a great place to pick up “Made in China” wares ranging from USB chargers to Yo-Yo’s to novelty vacuum cleaners.

Thankfully, there are also artisan markets selling traditional wares which make great souvenirs. Do be sure to leave some extra case in your backpack for all the extra stuff you are gonna buy. Or if your backpack is full, simply buy a new suitcase at the market and then fill it up!


The sheer breadth of cultures here ensures that somebody somewhere is celebrating something at pretty much any time of day or night. There are festivals for Chinese New Year, Ramadan, the Hindu festival of Diwali and that’s without even taking into account the countless indigenous festivals.

Which festival in Malaysia is happening will depend on when exactly you visit. 

Malaysian Ringots

Still wondering why to visit Malaysia? Well you will love this next reason! OK so another great reason to visit Malaysia is simply its price tag. Like much (all?) of Southeast Asia, a holiday in Malaysia won’t set you back too much at all and the country is pretty cheap.

For example, a hostel dorm in Kuala Lumpur will cost you $8, soft drinks under $1 and street food is usually around $3-$4. Note that beer is pretty expensive and may cost $5 – I have noticed this also happens in “cheap” countries like India, Morocco & Pakistan too and is kind of annoying.

Of course, cheap doesn’t always mean cheerful and sometimes we need to splurge. But Broke Backpackers can be encouraged to learn that with a few budget tips and tricks , a cheap trip to Malaysia is more than possible.

If you have 70 euros to spend on a night, we advise considering a visit to the private island resort of Pulau Gemia.

The crystal-clear waters are populated by turtles, rays and sharks and the quiet and peaceful beaches will certainly help you unwind quite easily. The charge per night is far from being a fortune, and the resort administrators frequently organize kayak incursions in the surrounding waters and islands.

If you go kayaking, make sure to visit the neighbouring island of Kapas, which will make a sensory delight. The white sands here have a flour-like texture: puffy and fine.

If you have the money to spare, this could be one of your personal Malaysia highlights. And even Broke Backpackers need some creature comfort sometimes.

backpacking Malaysia budget travel guide

Most tourists to Southeast Asia know all about the incredible beaches of Thailand and Indonesia but not many appreciate that Malaysia also has some amazing beaches .

Whether you are on the mainland, Penang or Borneo, Malaysia has some cracking beaches that are 1000 times quieter than the ones in neighbouring Thailand.

The beaches in of the Langkawi area and archipelago is possibly the most well. It is renowned for accessible snorkelling although there are plenty of other things to do in Langkawi Beach if you are not comfortable in the water.

Long Beach in Perhentian Kecil is great for backpacker parties and turquoise waters and Perhentian Besar is one of our favourites in the region.

Make sure you tick off as many Malaysian islands as you can, because these places are like a buffet of tropical awesomeness

Note that some areas of Malaysia observe pretty conservative Islamic values. Nude or topless sunbathing is not encouraged anywhere. Pay attention to regional dress norms and follow local cues but remember that as a rule of thumb, beach-wear is for the beach.

backpacking Malaysia budget travel guide

Finally, we meet the people!

Malaysia is well renowned as an Asian melting pot and peoples from across the continent have settled here over the centuries from Thailand, India & China. There are all kinds of historical, political, economical reasons for this. Whilst we will not go into them here I totally suggest you do learn all about the, once you are in Malaysia by checking out the fine museums, taking walking tours and hanging out in neighbourhoods.

But the upshot of this rich fusion of Asian cultures can be tasted in the food which borrowers ingredients from China and Thailand and in the nation’s architecture. You can also experience it in the nations spiritual side.

All 3 of the great Asian religions are practiced here (sometimes simultaneously). The Batu Cave temples are one of the holiest Hindu sites outside of India, there are Buddhist temples across the nation and the big Mosque in Kuala Lumpur is a marvel of modern religious architecture.

This also means that there are religious festivals happening pretty much all the time.

For me, it is usually the people that make or break a country. When people ask me why my favorite countries are Colombia, Spain and Romania then my answer is simple – the friendly, helpful, amazing people (or in Colombia’s case the female people…).

Whatever you are seeking from a backpacking adventure in Southeast Asia , you will find at least a little piece of it in Malaysia. From street food to Orang-utans to pristine beaches, and then back to street food, you will have an amazing time in Malaysia.

Did you find our guide to the best things to do in Malaysia helpful? If so, let us know. Or maybe you missed out your personal best place in Malaysia? Well let us know that!

Always Be Insured

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the travel insurance for Malaysia, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favorite travel insurance provider.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

why tourist visit malaysia

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

why tourist visit malaysia

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

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Aiden Freeborn

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why tourist visit malaysia

11 reasons to visit Malaysia that will trigger your wanderlust

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From shoes to spas and highlands to islands; for the young or old, thrill seekers or sun seekers – Malaysia is an extraordinary country that offers it all.

Steeped in history and rich in culture – there is never a dull moment for the inquisitive traveller. 

From the buzz of city high fashion, trendy hot-spots and modern cuisine, a natural escape is never far away. Be it sandy beaches or highland rainforests, a visit to the many spa or country resorts in Malaysia is a must. 

Some like it luxurious, others like it organic – whatever it may be, there’s something here for everyone as Malaysia Truly Asia awaits to amaze you.

1. Kuala Lumpur

The experience begins from the moment you arrive at the world-class Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where smiles and friendly greetings welcome you to the country. For a city that never sleeps, Kuala Lumpur will leave you hungry for more – be it the food, colourful culture, shopping, spas or nightlife. In this city where East meets West, architecture of all sorts – colonial, traditional and religious – all share the same space with ultra-modern infrastructures to create a spectacular cityscape. The multiracial element of Malaysia defines the nation and contributes to its exceptional concoction of culture, tradition and food.

why tourist visit malaysia

2. Mind-blowing wilderness experiences

Malaysia is plentiful in its rainforests, national parks and wildlife. An escape from the daily noise into the wilderness is a therapeutic experience that you cannot miss.

Did you know that 75 per cent of the animals live on the crowns of the rainforest? What better way to watch these animals than by walking along the world’s longest rainforest canopy walk. Sungai Sedim’s Tree Top Walk is 925 metres long and stands 26 metres high from the forest floor. Along this walk you can bird watch and spot animals. You can also take part in jungle trekking, tubing and white water rafting.

Lose yourself in the 130 million-year-old pristine rainforest at Danum Valley . The 43,800-hectare area is home to more than 500 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Danum Valley is also home to the world’s tallest tropical tree; the 100.8 metre Yellow Meranti or Shorea faguetiana was discovered by a team of scientists from the United Kingdom and Malaysia.

3. Endless beach getaways

Soak up the sun at any of Malaysia’s pristine beaches. We’re talking about spots such as Langkawi , Mataking Island, Penang, Perhentian Islands and Sabah . 

You can recline in the sun or make a splash with water activities like snorkelling, diving or water sports all day long. Plus the convenience of first-class luxury and budget accommodation means you can stay just footsteps away from the sand and sea.

why tourist visit malaysia

4. Adventure park thrills

Unleash your inner child at Malaysia’s many amusement and adventure parks. Whether you’re travelling with kids, friends, as a couple or solo, a theme park is always a thrilling experience.

Adventure-seekers should head to Sunway Lagoon Theme Park , Selangor to slide their way down from an 11-storey slide tower. The Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is also home to the 5D Waterplexx, the first of its kind in Malaysia. It offers an amazing cinematic ride with multi-sensory thrills of wind, fog, mist, sprays, lasers, and more to give you a close-to-real water adventure.

Do you dare to walk 100 feet above the ground? Those yearning for that adrenaline rush can stroll across the sky on the glass cliffs at Tower Walk 100 while enjoying the beautiful cityscape of Kuala Lumpur.

If heights aren’t really your thing, perhaps you’d prefer the thrills of the sea. About two hours from Kuala Lumpur, the Kampar River is a hotspot for water rafting. The river provides three thrilling classes of rafting and along the way you can appreciate the natural beauty of Gopeng Forest.

why tourist visit malaysia

5. Wellness travel

Why not pamper yourself at a luxury resort with traditional massages and spas? Or try glamping within ancient rainforests with waterfalls as your natural jacuzzies. Malaysia is the ultimate destination for wellness travel.

Enjoy a traditional Malaysian Urut massage at the Banjaran Hot springs Retreat , Ipoh, Malaysia’s first luxury natural hot springs wellness retreat. The retreat’s techniques have been handed down for generations, including the recipe for its distinctive herbal massage oil, which is painstakingly prepared by boiling palm oil with various herbs and spices with warming and detoxifying properties.

For five-star luxury head to Tanjong Jara Resort . The resort offers accommodation, dining and an award-winning Spa Village. It has gardens, pools and houses a therapy centre featuring programs for relaxation, reinvigoration and stress relief based on traditional Malay, Arab, Indian and Chinese healing methods.

why tourist visit malaysia

6. A foodie’s paradise

No visit to Malaysia is ever complete without a gastronomic adventure of the country’s multi-ethnic culinary diversity.

Each region in Malaysia has something unique to offer. If you’re in Penang, you can’t go past an Assam Laksa, which was rated seventh on the World’s Best Foods by CNN Travel.

For a taste of authentic Malaysian street food visit Jalan Alor . Located near the ever-bustling area of Bukit Bintang, the whole stretch of Jalan Alor is designated for hawker stalls. Sample the best street food from Malaysia’s different cultural communities including the Malays, Chinese and Indians, as well as the many ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak.

why tourist visit malaysia

7. A land of myths and legends

Stories that are told and passed from generation to generation are an integral part of Malaysian culture. These stories are told by tribal and community leaders and deliver important lessons about life.

Today, these stories are told at tribal gatherings, through street art, shadow plays and traditional dances.  

You can hear or see the telling of these stories at Moon Shadow Stories , Convergence, the street art murals of Penang or Perak , or watch a play at the Malaka Encore theatre.

why tourist visit malaysia

8. Cultural diversity

The term multicultural is an understatement when describing Malaysia. The country has its own unique blend of religions, traditions, festivals and people that truly embody the spirit of diversity and unity. 

Cultural activities and festivities are celebrated all year round, and visitors are welcome to take part. During Hari Raya (Eid Ul Fitr), at the end of Ramadan, it has become a long-standing tradition for Malaysians to open their homes to gather and feast.

Celebrate Chinese New Year by sampling some of Malaysia’s most popular dishes such as Yee Sang, Char Kuey Teow and Bak Wa. Then, head to Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur to experience lion and dragon dances as well as fireworks.

Witness Deepavali (also known as Diwali) preparations in Kuala Lumpur’s Brickfields district, known locally as ‘Little India’. Or visit the Batu Caves just outside of the city. The stunning natural limestone caves are adorned with temples and shrines and are a place of pilgrimage for Hindu devotees.

why tourist visit malaysia

9. A home away from home

You’ll feel at home with Malaysia’s world-renowned hospitality. For a truly authentic cultural experience, take part in one of the country’s many homestay programs.

Experience living with the indigenous people of Sarawak with a Longhouse stay . Replace hot showers with cool and refreshing river dips and reconnect with nature in this immersive and communal living space. Here you can dance to traditional music played on unique Sarawakian instruments, sample local dishes and listen to stories, folklore and legends.

Enjoy traditional Malaysian village life with the Mescot Kopel eco-tourism initiative. Take part in activities such as cooking, farming, wildlife encounters and village sports.

why tourist visit malaysia

10. Rich heritage

Malaysia as we know it combines the tradition of indigenous communities with colonial influences and contrasting modernity. The result? A melting pot of architecture and history, as diverse as the people that inhabit it.

Embark on a historical trail and watch heritage unfold. In Penang, the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site features Malaysia’s best restored traditional architecture as well as a multitude of heritage trades and arts. Inside, the ‘Street of Harmony’ reflects the influence of the diverse communities that have made Penang their home. The World Heritage Site is compact enough to be explored on foot, bicycle or trishaw (a three-wheeled bike with a driver).

Discover Malaysia’s treasure-trove of iconic historical buildings. In the Penang region, visit Pinang Peranakan Mansion , an ornate abode combining Chinese, Malaysian and European design. When in Kuala Lumpur, be sure to visit the hyper-modern Petronas twin towers and Saloma Bridge. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is another must-see,  one of Malaysia’s most prominent and treasured heritage buildings.

why tourist visit malaysia

11. Mountain adventures

Malaysia’s terrain is built for adventure with hundreds of peaks just waiting to be conquered.

Take on Mount Kinabalu , one of the highest mountains in South East Asia. Witness the beauty of Borneo from above on the ‘Walk The Torq’ trail, suitable for hikers of all fitness levels.

At the summit of Mount Brinchang in Pahang sits the enchanting Mossy Forest . Said to be the oldest forest in Malaysia (around 200 million years old), a visit with a local guide is a must.

Or discover dizzying views on the  Mulu Canopy Skywalk , one of the longest tree-based walkways in the world.

This article on 11 reasons to visit Malaysia was produced in partnership with Tourism Malaysia .

Image credits: Tourism Malaysia

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Ten Good Reasons to Visit Malaysia

Updated September 1, 2017

// By Margherita

We have spent the whole of April retracing the steps of our trip to Malaysia, to celebrate Visit Malaysia 2014. We got lost in the jungle and witnessed ancient festivals, tried delicious food and explored amazing nature.

Do you need any more convincing? To say farewell to Malaysia, we have rounded up ten good reasons to visit this great country.

1) Locals are kind and friendly

Cameron Highlands Ridiculously Photogenic Tea Picker

There’s something different from the rest of South East Asia. None of that walking ATM feeling; fewer touts, no attempted scams, and a general feeling of being safe at all times. To us, Malaysians seemed genuinely happy to see tourists and were always ready to help whenever we found ourselves in trouble.

On top of that, English is widely spoken, courtesy of the fact that Malaysia used to be a British colony. It was easy to chat, on the bus and in food courts, on beaches and in hostels. Some of these connections became wonderful travel memories.

Get the best price for stunning hotels in Sipadan !

2) wildlife.

Sepilok Orangutan Sitting

Whoa, don’t get me started! Wildlife was one of the reasons why we decided to visit Malaysia, and perhaps THE reason why we flew over to Borneo for two weeks. And let me tell you, we were not disappointed. We visited Sepilok, an orangutan rehabilitation centre , that allowed us to get close to these wonderful creatures. Then, we spent an amazing three days in the jungle , where we saw wild orangutans, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, monitor lizards and thousands of colourful critters.

Cameron Highlands Tea Hills with Road

From jungles to mountains, hills to beaches, Malaysia offers a variety of beautiful landcapes that will please even the fussiest photographer and landscape junkie. We fell in love with the jungle of Taman Negara and the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands ; and there are several scenic spots we did not have time to visit, such as Gunung Mulu National Park and the Perhentian Islands . Well, another excuse to get back!

Get the best price for charming hotels in Cameron Highlands !

4) trekking.

Mt Kinabalu Sunrise

Malaysia is a land of natural beauty, and exploring on foot gives you the chance to get close to nature. There are plenty of trekking opportunities; we explored the jungle of Taman Negara independently (even though we did end up getting lost… ), trekked around Penang Hill and Mount Kinabalu , and spent two days hill walking in Cameron Highlands. And this is not all. We heard about the great beach scene of Langkawi , a tropical island paradise, and that the world’s tallest trees have recently been discovered in Borneo .

Get the best price for luxury lodges in Borneo !

Kinabalu Prayer and boy with drink

This is probably the reason why we loved Malaysia so much. Few countries are as culturally diverse as Malaysia, and that becomes instantly clear walking around cities; mosques give way to Taoist pagodas, while South Indian temples appear just around the corner. Malaysia today is the product of three different cultures, Malay, Indian and Chinese. Truly Asia, indeed.

6) Festivals

Penang Chinese New Year Drummer boy

Great festivals are a direct consequence of cultural diversity. We visited for a month between January and February, and we had the chance of witnessing two great celebrations; Thaipusam and Chinese New Year . Every month there are festivals around the country; religious or secular, sports and cultural events. Malacca is also supposed to be an amazing place, definitely on our list for our next visit!

Get the best price for great hotels in Penang !

7) value for money.

Penang Blue House

It may not be the cheapest South East Asian country, but Malaysia offers great value for money. Prices are more than reasonable in comparison to Western standards, and the quality of accommodation and transport is excellent. On average, we spent between RM 50 and RM 80 for double rooms in hostels and budget guesthouses, often even with air-con and private bathrooms. Buses and trains are also a step up from cramped Thai and Laotian affairs!

Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers

I have a soft spot for big cities in Asia. I love the traffic and the buzzing atmosphere, the food courts and the street markets, faiths and cultures mingling. Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur (KL) is one of South East Asia’s best cities, with enough sightseeing to keep you busy for a few days. However, the real surprise for us was Penang ; our favourite destination by far. A great city, delicious food, cultural sights and incredible nature packed into a small island.

Get the best price for top city hotels in Kuala Lumpur !

Kinabalu Beach

We are not beach people, one day or two is plenty enough for us. Having said that, we did find some amazing beaches in Malaysia. Pulau Sapi  off the coast of Kota Kinabalu makes for a wonderful day trip, and there are some lovely stretches of coast on Langkawi , a honeymoon island a short ferry ride from Penang. Diving enthusiasts will also be spoilt for choice; the coast of Pulau Sipadan is considered among the top dive sites in the world !

Get the best price for stunning hotels in Langkawi!

Fried tofu with spring onions and chilli

There was no other way to conclude this list; pure and simple, Malaysian food is the best in the world. The best of the best in our opinion is the food from Penang; have a look at our Penang in Ten Dishes post , but be careful if you’re hungry!

Do you have any other Malaysia tips? Great places, treks, beaches or festivals? Places to go to sample Malaysian food?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book your accommodation through these links I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which will help me maintain the site! 

32 thoughts on “Ten Good Reasons to Visit Malaysia”

Nice list of reasons! Being a Malaysian, I might be a bit biased though, heh! 😉

In my blog, in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign, I have a monthly guest post section for local Malaysian travel bloggers to write about top things to do/see in their hometown from their (a local’s) point of view. Some of the recommendations are quite interesting and different, even for another local like me. Feel free to check them out here: …

Thanks! Loved the post and will definitely share it of I hear of people visiting Malaysia!

Hurrah! So glad you enjoyed your visit to Malaysia. I haven’t even been to East Malaysia although I grew up here. Perhentian is definitely worth coming back for, and Mulu is a UNESCO site — can’t get any better endorsement than that!

Thanks May! I would love to come back so much, I feel Sarawak calling my name!

An excellent post of traveling to Malaysia, all of those resonate with me and my experience there, although my favorite small city filled with cultural and historic significance is Malacca and the food there outstanding!

Hey Noel! Unfortunately we didn’t visit Malacca, yet another reason to visit!

We definitely have to make some time to visit at least one or two spots in Malaysia this year. It’s so close – we’re not taking advantage!

Hey Bronwyn! You should definitely visit Malaysia if you live close, the food (and everything else, of course) is so amazing you’ll always want more!

You’ve seen more of Malaysia than I have, and I’ve been here for 3 years. I agree it’s a great place to visit or even live. I think that the blending of cultures, multitude of festivals and fantastic food are why I love it so much. Ever since the monkeys stole my clothes and roaches infested my car, the wildlife has been a love-hate relationship for me.

hey Michele! I guess that’s what always happens. You end up visiting more when you travel than when you live somewhere, but experiencing different lifestyles is just as good as travelling, if not better!

Thankyou for sharing such amazing tips! I love the idea of the Cameron Highlands! We loved Penang culture and food so much!

Hey Bron, Cameron Highlands are really stunning! I’ve written a whole post about the area, if you want to check it out, here it is feel free to contact me for advice!

Just stunning! I travelled around Malaysia 16 years ago, and I think it’s time I went back! Such a great place! 🙂

Hey Emma! You should, it’s amazing!

I love the pictures!! That picture of the Cameron Highlands is just stunning! I’ll be in SE Asia beginning of next year, and really hoping to make it to Malaysia.

Definitely save some time for Malaysia in your itinerary! It’s often overlooked, but it was my favourite South East Asian country!

I want to go so bad! Love the pics

Thanks! You’ll love Malaysia!

So many good reasons! #10 is enough for me but everything else sounds great too 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #SundayTraveler again!

Malaysian food is so good, definitely reason enough to travel! Hope you make it down there one day!

Great round up, guys! Not surprised you felt in love with the Cameron Highlands – the scenery is really breathtaking. I also like the fact that you’ve encountered fewer touts, and no attempted scamps. Enjoyed reading your Penang in Ten Dishes post. Everything on your photos looks delicious.

Thanks guys, glad you liked the post. Malaysian food is tops, I will never get tired of it!

You can visit, it’s amazing place…

It is indeed! Thanks

For people with kids, I can add another reason! It is a fabulous country to visit with kids. I actually wasn’t a fan of Malaysia until we went with our young children. To me, it felt like there was a warmness missing, compared to when we have been to Bali or Thailand. Kids changed all that. People were so welcoming and loving towards our children. It made it a real pleasure to spend time in Malaysia.

Great to hear that Sharon. I thought Malaysians were great people, I can only imagine how warm and kind they would be with children.

I have about one more week of vacation to plan and I want it to be this fall. It’s going to be Jordan but now I am in doubt because I got a really cheap offer to fly to Malaysia and it sure looks stunning. I’d only have about 10 days though… the Cameron Highlands seem so gorgeous!

Hey Antonette! Jordan is amazing too, keep Malaysia for your next vacation as ten days won’t be enough!

Great list, and I agree with all of your points. I’ve been to Malaysia three time, with side trips to the state of Sarawak — to me, the most amazing part of this amazing country. But every part of Malaysia has great things to discover. I recently wrote a post highlighting my six best undiscovered destinations, and Malaysia was at the top of the list.

When we visited Malaysia last year, I didn’t really know what to expect.

However, I fell totally in love with it. It is such a friendly country, with so much history and culture. And you are definitely right about the food – delicious!

We spent a month there and managed to visit Melaka, KL, Cameron Highlands, Penang and Langkawi…. But there is still so much I want to see! Definitely need to go back!

Oh same here!Love it so much!

I’m malaysian. Thank you for a best review about my country. Malaysia is indeed the food paradise and have a magnificent of cultural diversity. we really flexible about food. we like to try new food from around the world too, that’s why you can find a diversity of foreign restaurants here. Thank you again and please welcome to my country again and again and we’re very pleased to give a warmth welcome to tourists. 🙂

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Top 15 Reasons on Why You Should Visit Malaysia!

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If I had to choose only one word to describe Malaysia it will be “diversity”. I’ve never been to a country that spreads such great cultural liberalism and variety! In March 2017 I spent some wonderful 3 weeks in West Malaysia. The time was enough to experience the amazing diversity of this country when it comes to culture, religion, nature, sightseeing and the local cuisine! Malaysia is the exotic dream because of its amazing “Always Summer” climate too! There are so many wonderful destinations to visit – from highly spiritual, to very modern places, or such where you can reconnect with the breathtaking nature of Mother Earth! Malaysia is the best country to enjoy the flair of South East Asia without sharing all the best spots with tonnes of tourists! Visit Malaysia now, before it turns as touristy as its neighbour countries.

Kecil Island, Perhentian Islands

Reasons To Visit Malaysia

1. the extremely friendly people.

I have good friends from all over the World, but before going to Malaysia I’ve never had a chance to meet anyone from this beautiful country! The very first person from Malaysia I talked to was the girl sitting right next to me in the flight from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur. She was one of the kindest “strangers” I’ve ever been talking to in my entire life. The girl told me pretty much everything about how to make the best of our stay in Malaysia. She gave me the best tips on how to do like a local in order to save money and time!

I was absolutely surprised about how open and helpful she was, but she was the first of all different kind persons we met during our stay in Malaysia! When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur (KL) we talked to many locals and we realized how warm, kind and friendly all Malaysians are! Maybe because of the overly rich cultural and religious background, but the Malay people are absolutely welcoming and open to any kind of cultural diversity!

2. The “Always”  Warm Weather

I’m the greatest “Warm-Weather-Junkie” who loves and reckons the one and only Sun God! Malaysia has the best weather I could imagine for myself. One of the girls I met during my holidays told me something very serious “You know, we have four seasons too – warm, hot, hotter, the hottest”. And then she laughed at me!  Even during the monsoon season, it is still hot in Malaysia! In March it was raining for 30 minutes in the afternoon, maybe every second day. The rain in South Asia is the mother of all rains:

“We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain … and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.” – Forrest Gump

But the funny thing about it – only 15 minutes after the rain, every single raindrop was gone!!! And this is the reason why Kuala Lumpur the greenest capital is I’ve ever seen so far.

Kecil Island, Perhentian Islands

3. Malaysia is a Cultural Hub

All Asian cultures are presented and respected in Malaysia. Additionally, there is a colourful mixture of people from all over the World who live here. Malaysia is a country of many different cultures and beliefs and there is enough place for everybody! The Malays are about 50% of the population, about 25% Chinese, 10-12% Indians and the rest is Orang Asli or the “aboriginal people” in Malay. The same situation is the religion.

The Malay live in a peaceful environment full of respect and admiration for each other! The people of Malaysia practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and others. They live together. They respect each other.

The Malay build their Hindu temple right next to the Buddha temple, right next to the Mosque, and right next to the Church. They celebrate all kinds of religious and cultural holidays. They celebrate all together. And yes, they have many holidays during the year!

4. The Language

Malaysia is home to many cultures and people from all over the world! Therefore, as a foreigner you won’t have problems because of your language skills – all Malays speak at least Manglish! Manglish is the colloquial form of spoken English here, which has a heavy influence on Malay or Chinese language. Peninsular Malaysia is represented by speakers of 41 different languages! The most common are Malay, Sarawak, Chinese, Tamil, Thai and of course English.

Reasons to Visit Malaysia

5. OMG, the Food!

Malaysia is the worst country if you’re on a diet! Don’t do it during your vacation, do it after your vacation! There is nothing you cannot eat here! The richness of Malaysian cuisine is nothing I was expecting it to be! The whole World meets in your stomach and celebrates the existence of delicious Malay food! If you ask me what the traditional Malaysian food is? The very delicious food is the traditional food! Again, it is influenced by Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indian cultures and often is very spicy. You’ll find a lot of rice and noodle dishes, but the Malays eat a lot of meat and vegetable too! And my favourite part – the variety of tropical fruits! Welcome to Heaven!

6. Malaysia is a Budget Friendly Destination

If you’re living in the USA, Australia or Western Europe you will definitely consider Malaysia as a budget-friendly destination. Anyway, the country is much more expensive than Thailand, Cambodia or Indonesia. I would say that the price level is very similar to the price level in Eastern Europe.

7. The Modern Architecture

The city of Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic example of modern architecture in Malaysia! The skyline in KL is terrific and probably one of the most iconic in Asia! The most well-known buildings are the Petronas Twin Towers, which also are the highest Twin buildings in the World!

8. The Infrastructure and Transport

The Infrastructure and transport in Malaysia were nothing I had in mind before visiting the country! If you have some pictures in your mind from Thailand where the whole family enjoys a single roller at the same time? Or from Vietnam, where you wait like half an hour if you want to cross the street? Or a picture of an insanely crowded train in India? Malaysia is different! This country has blown my mind by how well-developed the infrastructure is! In fact, it is waaaay better than the infrastructure in the Balkan countries! The public transport in KL is even better than the public (stinky) transport in Paris for example – much cleaner, modern and always on time!

George Town, Penang

9. The Chinatowns

I’m the biggest fan of Chinatowns! I could stay here for hours while searching for the next “must buy” thing! And in Malaysia, I was definitely a “lucky girl”! We visited several Chinatowns in these three weeks, the largest of which was in George Town, Penang. In this Chinatown, you can see the Kuan Yin Teng Temple which has more than 200 years of history to share with its visitors.

10. Temples

Hindu Temples, Buddha Temples, all kinds of Temples! They are everywhere in Malaysia and I love them! My favourite Hindu Temple is definitive the Temple in Batu Caves. And my favourite Buddha Temple – the Kek Log Si in Penang!

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

11. Tea Plantations

As I saw the pictures of the Cameroon Highlands on Google, I was sure I’m going to visit Malaysia this year! The flora and fauna in this mountain region are more than just stunning! The Cameron Highlands are located right in the heart of the Malaysian peninsula and is also well known for their diverse wildlife but most of all for their tea plantations! If you are travelling to Malaysia, make sure that the tea plantations of Cameroon Highland have a place on your bucket list!

12. Colonial Architecture

Malaysia has a very long colonial history! A good evidence for this is the colonial architecture as the country has been ruled by the British, Portuguese and Dutch! Best examples of colonial architecture can be seen in Cameroon Highlands, George Town and Melaka.

13. OMG the Beaches!

“Life is better at the beach” in Malaysia! Why are the tropical beaches in Malaysia better than the beaches in Thailand for example? It is still less touristy and nature is still virgin! Malaysia is not that well known for its waterfront, but it has miles of coastline and plenty of beautiful beaches! Anyway, the best beaches are located in the tropical paradise of the South China Sea – the islands Pulau Redang, the Perhentians, Pulau Tioman and the beaches of Borneo.

14.  Diving and Snorkelling

One of the best reasons to visit Malaysia is for the chance to go diving and snorkelling. This country has some of the best coral reefs in the world!  The best examples where you can enjoy marine nature and wildlife are again the islands Pulau Redang, the Perhentians, Pulau Tioman and the beaches of Borneo. Here you can see pretty everything – coral reefs, huge turtles, whale sharks, reef sharks, skatefish, giant mussels, barracudas … and you will find Nemo and Dori too!

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

15. The Rainforests and Wildlife

If you want to discover Malaysia’s authentic wildlife – go for a (guided) trekking tour! The National Park Taman Negara and the jungle of Borneo are the perfect places for such an experience! Malaysia has the greatest diversity when it comes to wildlife: big cats (e.g. Indochinese tiger, the Malayan tiger, the Indochinese leopard), rhinoceros, the tapir, Asian elephants, orang-utans, gibbons, macaques, all kinds of monkeys, langurs and many, many others! Unfortunately, Malaysia is home to 250 reptile species to, among which 150 different kinds of snakes (which terrifies me a lot!). If you go for some trekking experience in the jungle, I would recommend you to book a guided tour – you don’t want to become a continental breakfast, right?

KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur

If you love travelling and spending your holidays in beautiful and tropical countries, you definitely need to visit Malaysia! Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you should choose Malaysia among all other countries in South East Asia, but these are my top 15!

You Might Be Interested In

Penang: george town world heritage site, malaysia, langkawi travel guide: what to know before you go, the best places to visit in kuala lumpur, malaysia, street art in george town ~ penang, batu caves, the stairway to hindu heaven ~ malaysia, planning a trip to malaysia, malaysia accommodation.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kuala Lumpur

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The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a must-visit destination. It is an eclectic and gorgeous hub of culture and class, a true gem of Southeast Asia. KL is also one of Malaysia’s major business centers, bringing people together – so here’s why it’s worth a trip.

The world’s melting pot.

Kuala Lumpur has undergone so much development since its heyday as one of the major areas for tin mining during the Industrial Revolution and as a Commonwealth nation. With its colorful inhabitants of every race and religion adding their flair to the city, KL has now become a center for Malaysia to invite and accommodate the rest of Asia; creating a metropolis like no other . On every corner is a testament to the assimilation into urban life regardless of origin and class, adding to the vibrancy of Kuala Lumpur in every way possible, from the glittering skyscrapers to the quaint coffee shops. Marvel at the tenacity and beauty of every walk of life coming together as you tour the sights and flavors it has to offer.

Kuala Lumpur

International buffet

Lot 10 Food Court

Preservation of the Old

To preserve the rich and diverse history of Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur, many museums dedicated to the arts and lives of Malaysia’s people have been established all over the heart of the city. Whether it be carefully curated collections in polished galleries or the still living, breathing streets filled with old timers and curious explorers, Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly proud of the rich chaotic mix of history grown and blended by its people. Spend an entire day doing a history crawl, from the beautiful halls of the National Islamic Museum to the alleys of Jalan Pudu and Brickfields and witness the city grow through its architecture and inhabitants.

people cheering on a mountain

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Old Market Square

Capital transportation

Despite the apparent chaotic nature of the city’s development, Kuala Lumpur is quite tightly connected through an extensive series of train lines and bus routes. You will surely not miss a stop at KL Sentral, the central station beating life into the veins of Kuala Lumpur, on your journey to explore the many attractions of the city. The many new developments to the transit line have opened up even more access points all over the Klang Valley, providing ease of commute to the entire state. It is advisable to be mindful of the rush hours, as you might be stuck waiting for up to three trains.

Kuala Lumpur Monorail

Monumental monoliths

The beacons of this shining city, Kuala Lumpur Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers proudly claim their record as being among the tallest towers of the world, showcasing world-class architecture and deep-rooted artistry. These fantastic pieces of skyline are instantly recognizable all over the world, showcasing the achievements of Malaysia as a global force. And if the man-made ones aren’t enough, the area of Kuala Lumpur also stretches out to the natural giants; the most popular of which are the Batu Caves and the Klang Quartz Ridge to the North. Most of Malaysia’s mountains are composed of limestone, which cultivates an entirely unique eco-system both in and on the exterior of the crags.

Sensational shopping

Like its shopping-centric neighbor Singapore, Kuala Lumpur takes equal standing in providing visitors with some of the most illustrious shopping malls this side of Southeast Asia. Many popular luxury brands have established flagship stores in premier malls such as Bukit Bintang, Starhill Gallery, Pavillion and even the lower cost Sungei Wang. In addition to those are boutiques of brands that are home-grown, bringing Malaysian designers to the ranks of global fashion. And if a normal shopping experience wasn’t enough, visit Berjaya Times Square for an amazing indoor theme park, the largest of its kind this side of Asia.

Affordable for all budgets

Whether you’re habitually thrifty or on a treat splurge, most of the things in Kuala Lumpur are reasonably affordable. From the fancy restaurants and flagship luxury stores in Bukit Bintang to the food courts and small stalls on the roadsides of Petaling Street, anyone at any budget can enjoy a nice day out shopping and eating to their hearts’ content.

Nightlife like no other

Malaysians are generally not known for hitting the hay early, so an evening in Kuala Lumpur is sure to bring the term nightlife a whole new meaning. Changkat is a popular spot catering to tourists from all over the world for a night of booze and exotic foods; while the cheaper alternatives in the rest of the city are popular among locals who don’t want to retire for the night just yet. Stop by the Indian Mamaks, popular for being open 24 hours a day for a simple yet refreshing meal of roti chanai and a glass of teh tarik after partying or catching up on a live football match. Fun fact, most of the mamaks pull out a giant projector screen for all their customers during the season, so don’t feel bad occupying a table for more than four hours.

Wondrous wildlife

As Malaysia is home to some of the most fascinating wildlife on planet Earth (think of the many BBC nature programs featuring Borneo), Kuala Lumpur is the next best place to go looking for exotic creatures. While it may not be as impressive as the East Malaysian reserves the animals originate from, the National Zoo and Aquaria KLCC host the largest collection of native and international fauna available for public visiting. For the more specific wildlife lovers, visit the KL Bird Park for a dizzying collection of birds and the KL Butterfly Park for creepy crawlies of every kind.

Malayan Tiger

Everywhere you look, everything your eyes fall upon is a unique pattern made by the many inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur. From the temples to the food to the skyscrapers, marvel at the knowledge that each is pieced together through the blending of more than one culture; from the Indian Hindu motifs of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple to the Spanish tiles that adorn its gates. An even more obscure challenge to have fun with is the taste-testing. Keep an eye out for some hawker stalls bearing the names of more northern states and compare their foods with similar variants from the southern regions. Minds and taste buds will be blown when discovering how different a bowl of laksa is constructed down the country.

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Tourism in Malaysia

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Tourism in Malaysia is big business! But why is this industry so important and how is it best managed? Read on to find out…

Geography of Malaysia

Tourism industry in malaysia, statistics about tourism in malaysia, most popular tourist attractions in malaysia, most popular types of tourism in malaysia, impacts of tourism in malaysia , faqs about tourism in malaysia, to conclude: tourism in malaysia.

Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation known for its diverse cultures and verdant landscapes, holds a prominent position on the global tourism map. Within the tourism industry, Malaysia offers a multitude of opportunities, but also faces its own set of challenges. This article seeks to explore the depths of Malaysia’s tourism sector, emphasising its economic contributions, growth trajectories, and the imperative for sustainable and inclusive development.

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country located on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It is divided into two main regions: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.

  • Peninsular Malaysia: This region is situated on the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, bordered by Thailand to the north and connected to the island of Singapore via a causeway. The landscape of Peninsular Malaysia is characterized by a coastal plain along the western and eastern coasts, with mountainous regions in the interior. The Titiwangsa Mountains, running from north to south, form the backbone of the peninsula and include the highest peak, Mount Tahan. The peninsula is also home to several rivers, including the Perak, Pahang, and Johor rivers.
  • East Malaysia: This region occupies the northern part of the island of Borneo, sharing borders with Indonesia and Brunei. It is divided into two states: Sabah and Sarawak. East Malaysia features a diverse geography , including coastal plains, hilly areas, and mountain ranges. Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia, is located in Sabah. The region is known for its lush rainforests, which are part of the biodiverse ecosystems of Borneo.

Malaysia has a tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The country is also rich in natural resources, including oil, gas, timber, and minerals. Its coastal areas are dotted with beautiful beaches and islands, such as Langkawi and Tioman, which attract tourists from around the world.

Additionally, Malaysia has several significant bodies of water. The South China Sea borders Malaysia to the east, while the Strait of Malacca separates Peninsular Malaysia from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The country is also home to numerous rivers and inland bodies of water, including Lake Kenyir, which is the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia.

Overall, Malaysia’s geography offers a mix of diverse landscapes, from mountains and rainforests to coastal plains and stunning islands, making it a visually captivating and ecologically significant country.

Tourism in Malaysia

The tourism industry in Malaysia has emerged as a vital economic driver, contributing substantially to the nation’s GDP and acting as a catalyst for socio-cultural development. Malaysia’s diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and strategic geographical location have positioned it as an attractive destination for international and domestic tourists alike. This paper aims to provide an academic exploration of the various facets of Malaysia’s tourism industry, encompassing its attractions, government initiatives, challenges, sustainable practices, and future prospects.

Malaysia boasts a plethora of natural and man-made attractions that captivate visitors from around the globe. The country’s scenic beauty encompasses pristine beaches, lush rainforests, majestic mountains, and captivating islands. The iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, historic sites like Melaka City, and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed George Town further add to Malaysia’s allure. Additionally, the country’s cultural diversity, represented by its vibrant festivals, culinary delights, and traditional arts and crafts, offers visitors a unique and immersive experience.

Malaysia’s cultural heritage is a significant draw for tourists seeking to explore the country’s rich history and multicultural society. The nation is home to a harmonious blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures, which coexist and contribute to Malaysia’s distinct identity. Visitors can immerse themselves in cultural celebrations such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, and Deepavali, or delve into traditional practices and arts, such as batik painting, shadow puppetry, and traditional music performances.

The Malaysian government recognizes the tourism industry’s potential for economic growth and has implemented several initiatives to promote and support its development. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) spearheads efforts to enhance tourism infrastructure, attract investments, and implement policies to facilitate tourism growth. The “Visit Malaysia” campaign, launched periodically, serves as a platform to showcase the country’s attractions and increase visitor arrivals. Furthermore, collaborations with international organizations and stakeholders help bolster Malaysia’s tourism reputation on a global scale.

The tourism industry in Malaysia faces certain challenges that require attention for sustained growth. Factors such as seasonality, changing travel patterns, and global economic fluctuations influence tourist arrivals. Ensuring visitor safety and security, preserving environmental sustainability, and maintaining cultural authenticity amidst rapid development pose ongoing challenges. Furthermore, competition from neighboring countries and emerging destinations necessitates continuous innovation and marketing strategies to remain competitive.

Recognizing the importance of sustainable tourism, Malaysia has made significant strides towards promoting environmentally and socially responsible practices within the industry. Efforts include the establishment of eco-tourism destinations, conservation projects, and community-based tourism initiatives that empower local communities. The Green Tourism Initiative and the Malaysian Sustainable Tourism Criteria are notable examples of the government’s commitment to sustainable tourism development.

Malaysia’s tourism industry holds immense potential for future growth and development. The government’s focus on diversifying tourism products, improving connectivity, and enhancing visitor experiences paves the way for continued success. Furthermore, emerging trends such as ecotourism, wellness tourism, and experiential travel present opportunities for innovation and niche market development. The country’s strategic location within the ASEAN region and its well-established infrastructure further contribute to its favorable prospects in the global tourism arena.

The tourism industry in Malaysia represents a vibrant and dynamic sector that contributes significantly to the nation’s economy and cultural fabric. With its diverse attractions, rich cultural heritage, proactive government initiatives, and commitment to sustainable practices, Malaysia continues to attract a steady stream of visitors from across the globe. By addressing challenges and embracing emerging trends, the industry is poised for continued growth and the realization of its full potential in the years to come.

Tourism in Malaysia

Now lets take a look at some of the key statistics that help us better understand the scale of tourism in Malaysia:

  • Tourist Arrivals: In 2019, Malaysia welcomed a record 26.1 million international tourists, which increased by 5.1% compared to the previous year.
  • Top Source Countries: The main source countries for tourism in Malaysia are Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, and India.
  • Tourism Revenue: In 2019, tourism receipts in Malaysia reached approximately RM86.14 billion (around USD 20.6 billion).
  • Employment: The tourism industry in Malaysia provides significant employment opportunities, with around 3.5 million people working directly or indirectly in tourism-related jobs.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Malaysia boasts four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including George Town, Melaka, Gunung Mulu National Park, and Kinabalu Park.
  • Medical Tourism: Malaysia is a popular destination for medical tourism, with state-of-the-art facilities and competitive pricing. In 2019, the country received over 1.3 million medical tourists.
  • Eco-Tourism: Malaysia’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty attract eco-tourists. The country has numerous national parks, rainforests, and marine parks, offering diverse flora and fauna.
  • Shopping Tourism: Malaysia is known as a shopping paradise, particularly in cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The country offers a wide range of shopping malls, markets, and duty-free zones.
  • Muslim-Friendly Tourism: Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country and has developed a reputation as a Muslim-friendly destination. Halal food, prayer facilities, and Islamic attractions cater to the needs of Muslim travelers.
  • Cruise Tourism: Malaysia has become a popular destination for cruise ships. Ports such as Port Klang, Penang, and Langkawi attract many international cruise liners, contributing to the growth of cruise tourism in the country.

Malaysia, a multiethnic country with a unique fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures, offers a wide range of tourist attractions. This study focuses on the most popular destinations that have achieved widespread acclaim and consistently attract a significant number of visitors.

  • Petronas Twin Towers: The Petronas Twin Towers, located in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, stand as an iconic symbol of modern architecture and engineering prowess. These identical towers, reaching a height of 452 meters, held the title of the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. Visitors are captivated by the towers’ stunning design, the Skybridge connecting the two structures, and the observation deck offering panoramic views of the city.
  • George Town: Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, George Town is a historic city located on the island of Penang. Its unique blend of architectural styles, including British colonial buildings, traditional Chinese shophouses, and Indian temples, showcases the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Malaysia’s history. The city’s vibrant street art, bustling markets, and delectable local cuisine contribute to its immense popularity among tourists.
  • Langkawi: Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands situated in the Andaman Sea, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. Pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and clear turquoise waters create an idyllic setting for leisure and relaxation. The island offers various attractions such as the Langkawi Cable Car, which provides visitors with stunning panoramic views, and the UNESCO-listed Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, where tourists can explore mangrove forests and limestone caves.
  • Mount Kinabalu: Located in the state of Sabah, Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in Southeast Asia, standing at 4,095 meters. This majestic mountain, surrounded by the Kinabalu National Park, entices adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts from around the world. Scaling its summit requires physical endurance, but the reward is a remarkable sunrise view above the clouds and an opportunity to explore the park’s rich biodiversity, including unique plant species and diverse wildlife.
  • Malacca City: Malacca City, also known as Melaka, is a historical gem that bears witness to Malaysia’s colonial past. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vibrant city showcases a fusion of Portuguese, Dutch, and British architectural influences. Visitors can explore St. Paul’s Church, A Famosa Fort, and the vibrant Jonker Street, famous for its antique shops, night markets, and culinary delights. The city’s rich history and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination.
  • Taman Negara: Taman Negara, meaning “National Park” in Malay, is one of the world’s oldest rainforests, dating back over 130 million years. Encompassing dense jungles, cascading waterfalls, and thrilling canopy walkways, this ecological wonderland offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature. Guided jungle treks, river cruises, and wildlife spotting expeditions provide a truly adventurous experience.

Tourism in Malaysia

Malaysia, known for its vibrant multicultural society and captivating landscapes, has emerged as a prominent tourism destination in Southeast Asia. With a diverse range of tourism offerings, the country has successfully attracted visitors seeking various experiences. This study focuses on elucidating the most popular types of tourism in Malaysia and provides a nuanced understanding of their characteristics, significance, and impact.

  • Cultural Tourism: Cultural tourism plays a vital role in Malaysia’s tourism industry due to the country’s rich cultural heritage and ethnic diversity. Visitors are enticed by the harmonious coexistence of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures. Cultural attractions such as religious festivals, heritage sites, traditional arts and crafts, and culinary delights form the core of this tourism type. Popular cultural tourism destinations include George Town (Penang), Malacca City, and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Nature and Ecotourism: Malaysia’s abundant natural resources, including rainforests, national parks, and pristine islands, make it an ideal destination for nature and ecotourism. Tourists are drawn to explore the country’s diverse ecosystems, engage in activities like jungle trekking, wildlife spotting, bird watching, and diving in marine reserves such as Sipadan Island and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The promotion of sustainable practices and conservation efforts are integral to maintaining the allure of nature-based tourism in Malaysia.
  • Adventure Tourism: Adventure tourism caters to thrill-seekers and adrenaline enthusiasts who seek unique and challenging experiences. Malaysia offers a plethora of adventure tourism opportunities, including white-water rafting, rock climbing, caving, canopy walks, and paragliding. Destinations such as Taman Negara, Gunung Kinabalu, and Langkawi Island attract adventure tourists with their awe-inspiring landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities.
  • Medical and Wellness Tourism: Malaysia has emerged as a prominent medical and wellness tourism destination, renowned for its quality healthcare services, modern facilities, and affordable treatments. International visitors often choose Malaysia for medical procedures, including cosmetic surgery, dental treatments, and wellness retreats. The country’s medical hubs such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang boast internationally accredited hospitals and wellness centers, catering to the growing demand for healthcare tourism.
  • Gastronomic Tourism: Malaysia’s diverse culinary scene, influenced by Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cuisines, attracts food enthusiasts from all over the world. The country is renowned for its street food culture, offering a mouthwatering array of flavors and delicacies. Destinations such as Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Ipoh are known as gastronomic hotspots, showcasing a rich tapestry of culinary traditions and local specialties.

Tourism in Malaysia

Tourism plays a vital role in Malaysia’s economy, contributing significantly to its GDP and employment opportunities. However, it is crucial to evaluate the broader consequences of tourism in order to make informed decisions regarding sustainable development and resource management. This paper investigates the social, environmental, and economic impacts of tourism in Malaysia, presenting a comprehensive analysis of its positive and negative effects.

  • Social Impacts of tourism in Malaysia: 

Positive Impacts: a. Cultural Exchange: Tourism facilitates cultural interactions, fostering a sense of understanding and tolerance among visitors and locals. 

b. Socio-cultural Revitalization: The preservation and promotion of traditional arts, crafts, and customs contribute to the conservation of cultural heritage. 

c. Job Creation: Tourism in Malaysia generates employment opportunities, particularly in the service sector, thus improving the livelihoods of local communities.

Negative Impacts: 

a. Socio-cultural Disruption: Rapid tourism development can lead to the commodification and commercialization of local cultures, potentially eroding traditional values and practices.

 b. Social Disparities: Income disparities between tourism-rich regions and less developed areas may increase, exacerbating social inequality. 

c. Sociocultural Conflicts: Cultural clashes between tourists and locals, often fueled by differences in behavior, customs, and expectations, can strain community cohesion.

  • Environmental Impacts of tourism in Malaysia: 

Positive Impacts: 

a. Conservation Efforts: Revenue from tourism in Malaysia can be channeled into environmental preservation initiatives, contributing to the protection of natural resources, biodiversity, and ecosystems. 

b. Awareness and Education: Tourism in Malaysia provides opportunities to educate visitors about environmental conservation, fostering a sense of responsibility and encouraging sustainable practices.

a. Environmental Degradation: Overcrowding, unregulated development, and increased waste generation can place strain on fragile ecosystems and biodiversity.

 b. Natural Resource Depletion: Unsustainable tourism practices, such as excessive water consumption and deforestation for infrastructure development, can deplete valuable resources. 

c. Carbon Footprint: Tourism-related transportation and energy consumption contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change concerns.

  • Economic Impacts of tourism in Malaysia: 

Positive Impacts:

 a. Foreign Exchange Earnings: Tourism in Malaysia generates foreign currency inflows, bolstering the country’s economic stability and reducing trade deficits. 

b. Economic Diversification: The tourism sector provides an alternative source of income and employment opportunities, reducing dependence on traditional industries.

 c. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Development: Tourism in Malaysia stimulates the growth of SMEs, including accommodation providers, tour operators, and local artisans, fostering entrepreneurship and regional economic development.

Negative Impacts:

 a. Leakage: Profits from tourism in Malaysia may leak out of the local economy due to foreign ownership, importation of goods and services, and repatriation of earnings by international companies. 

b. Seasonality and Dependency: Destinations heavily reliant on tourism in Malaysia can face challenges during low season periods, leading to economic instability and job insecurity for locals.

 c. Inflation and Cost of Living: Rapid tourism growth can drive up prices, particularly in popular tourist areas, potentially impacting the affordability of essential goods and services for local residents.

The impacts of tourism in Malaysia are multifaceted, encompassing social, environmental, and economic dimensions. While tourism has brought numerous benefits, such as cultural exchange, job creation, and economic diversification, it has also presented challenges, including cultural disruption, environmental degradation, and economic dependencies. To ensure sustainable tourism development, it is imperative to implement effective policies and strategies that maximize the positive impacts while mitigating the negative consequences, promoting responsible tourism practices, and prioritizing the well-being of local communities and the environment.

Now that we know a bit more about tourism in Malaysia, lets answer some of the most common questions on this topic:

Tourism in Malaysia

Q: What are the must-visit tourist destinations for tourism in Malaysia?

A: Some of the must-visit tourist destinations in Malaysia include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Malacca, Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak), Cameron Highlands, and the Perhentian Islands.

Q: What is the best time to visit Malaysia?

A: Malaysia has a tropical climate, so it is generally warm and humid throughout the year. The best time to visit depends on the region you plan to explore. The months from March to October are generally considered the best time to visit the West Coast (Peninsular Malaysia), while the East Coast (Perhentian Islands, Tioman Island) is best visited from April to October. Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) can be visited year-round, but the dry season from March to October is recommended.

Q: Is it necessary to have a visa to visit Malaysia?

A: The visa requirements for Malaysia depend on your nationality. Many countries have visa-free entry for a certain period, while others may require a visa on arrival or a pre-approved visa. It’s advisable to check with the Malaysian embassy or consulate in your country for the most up-to-date visa information.

Q: What are the popular activities to do in Malaysia?

A: Malaysia offers a wide range of activities for tourists. Some popular activities include exploring the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, visiting heritage sites in Malacca, enjoying the pristine beaches of Langkawi, diving in Sipadan Island, wildlife spotting in Borneo, experiencing street food in Penang, and trekking in the Cameron Highlands.

Q: Is English widely spoken in Malaysia?

A: Yes, English is widely spoken in Malaysia, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. Most Malaysians are bilingual and speak both English and Malay (Bahasa Malaysia). You should have no trouble communicating in English with locals.

Q: What is the currency used in Malaysia?

A: The currency used in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). It’s advisable to carry some cash, but credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and major establishments.

Q: Is it safe to travel to Malaysia?

A: Malaysia is generally a safe country for tourists. However, it’s always advisable to take normal precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or tourist spots. Take care of your belongings and avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.

Q: What is the local transportation like in Malaysia?

A: Malaysia has a well-developed transportation system. Major cities have public transportation networks, including buses, trains, and taxis. In Kuala Lumpur, the MRT and LRT (light rail transit) systems are efficient and convenient. Ride-hailing services like Grab are also popular in Malaysia.

Q: What is the cuisine like in Malaysia?

A: Malaysia is renowned for its diverse and delicious cuisine. You can enjoy a variety of dishes influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. Some popular dishes include Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Laksa, Char Kway Teow, and Satay. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the street food scene in places like Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

Q: Are there any cultural etiquettes to be aware of in Malaysia?

A: Malaysians are generally friendly and welcoming. It’s advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. It’s also polite to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or places of worship.

Malaysia, a confluence of diverse cultures, landscapes, and traditions, remains a significant cornerstone in Southeast Asian tourism. As the nation strides forward, the fusion of environmental stewardship with cultural integrity is paramount. By upholding these tenets, Malaysia reinforces its position as a captivating and sustainable destination on the global stage.

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15 of the best things to do in Malaysia

Anita Isalska

Jan 22, 2024 • 11 min read

why tourist visit malaysia

Experience the best of Malaysia © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

Can't decide between visiting dive sites and tropical beaches, hiking through mountains  or exploring swish city centers? Deliberate no more – Malaysia has you covered with its amazing array of things to do. 

This Southeast Asian nation has an astonishing variety of landscapes, cultures and cuisines. In the cities, minarets, mandirs and Chinese temples share the skyline with space-age high-rises. Beyond the urban bustle are rainforests, mountains and radiant beaches .

From Peninsular Malaysia to the island of Borneo , traditional arts, crafts and recipes endure – even as cities hurtle towards the latest architectural and gastronomic trends. Here are Malaysia's unmissable experiences.

1. Sip tea at the source in the Cameron Highlands

Once upon a time, Malaysia's sweaty British colonialists fled to higher ground, founding hill stations where they could retreat from the heat and jump-start a tea industry. The most famous are in the Cameron Highlands , and today it's mostly tourists (local and foreign) who come to seek respite from Malaysia's muggy lowlands.

These 1300m to 1829m heights (4265ft to 6000ft) offer plenty of hikes , as well as strawberry plantations and souvenir stalls where you can burn a few ringgit. But the quintessential Cameron experience is sipping a bronze-hued cuppa while looking out at the rippling carpet of tea plantations. 

Planning tip:  Boh Sungei Palas not only has emerald hillsides to gaze upon, it also has the most informative displays on tea-making. Alternatively, there's a splendid tea house overlooking the estate at Cameron Valley Tea House  and a further-flung option at  Boh Tea Garden , which offers guided tours. You're sure to find an experience that suits you ( a T).

A huge gold statue stands in front of a rainbow-colored staircase leading up into a cave system in the rocks

2. Climb up into the magical Batu Caves

Sheer limestone cliffs rise above you. Ahead stretches a staircase of 272 steps. And looking you smack in the eye is an imperious gilded statue, the Hindu god Lord Murugan.

Newcomers to Malaysia won't soon forget their first heady ascent to Batu Caves , nor the cheeky macaques that beset them on all sides. But this popular day trip from Kuala Lumpur (just 13km/8 miles, and easily done by train) also draws repeat visitors galore. Tourists, pilgrims and locals all clamor to experience this natural wonder and spiritual spectacle. 

This complex of limestone caverns has entrancing temples, each with dioramas showing mythical scenes. The central Temple Cave has been a Hindu shrine since 1890. After touring inside its two yawning chambers, take a side quest across a short bridge to the quieter Ramayana Cave , where dioramas illustrate the eponymous Sanskrit epic poem of duty and virtue.

Planning tip:  If the regular crowds don't daunt you, time your visit for the Thaipusam festival (late January or early February) when crowds of devotees descend upon the caves, some partaking in ritual piercings – it's an immersive and unforgettable event.

3. Eat at the best food markets in George Town, Penang

The capital of Penang island is awash in street art, festooned with British Raj–era buildings, and crammed with boutiques selling arts and crafts. But before hitting these George Town attractions, heed your grumbling stomach… The best things to do in Penang revolve around eating and drinking – and state capital George Town has the biggest banquet.

In a city rife with food markets, elegant cafes, and everything in between, the only dilemma is where to begin. Our dream menu features chicken curry at venerable Indian spot Hameediyah , slurping Hokkien mee (noodles) at Lorong Baru Hawker Stalls , and following our nose to grilled satay skewers and spicy-sweet rojak salad at Anjung Gurney Night Market . Other must-try dishes are spicy, fishy Penang laksa, and char kway teow , rice noodles sizzled with huge prawns (some of the best are served at Kafe Heng Huat ).

Planning tip:  You'll want to save room for dessert (or two!). Gateaux are worth lingering over at China House , while glistening displays of kuih nyonya (colorful rice and coconut cakes) beg to be snapped up from the markets.

A pair of scuba divers at sea lean towards each other for a kiss on the surface in a tropical location

4. Snorkel or dive in the pristine Perhentian Islands

Culture, check. Food, check. Malaysia is also one of Asia's best honeymoon destinations, especially the Perhentian Islands , where gin-clear waters lap golden sand. 

But don't doze off in your sun lounger just yet. Pulau Perhentian is even more magical beneath the water. Snorkelers can spy on coral reefs within reach of the beach (try Teluk Pauh and Shark Point, both on the big island). Better yet, wriggle into a wetsuit and dive among green sea turtles, barracuda and colorful reef-dwellers like yellow boxfish. 

The Perhentians are a wonderfully calm (and comparatively cheap) place to take a PADI course before testing your skills among the local nurse sharks (they're harmless). More experienced divers can join excursions down to the MV Union Star . This sunken freighter is known as the "Sugar Wreck" for the cargo it transported before meeting its rusty end; today, the wreck swirls with stingrays and scorpionfish.

5. Scale the sublime summit of Mt Kinabalu

The highest mountain on Borneo, Gunung Kinabalu is Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Viewed from below, this cloud-spearing summit (4095m/13435ft) inspires awe: an outlying peak that rises far higher than its neighbors in the Crocker mountain range. But experienced from the summit, Mt Kinabalu is even more heavenly. 

Your penance for this heavenly vantage point? A thigh-burning ascent, some 8.7km (5.4 miles) each way. But every phase of the journey (split across two days) opens up a new natural wonder. The rough steps and stony pathways propel you ever higher above the treeline, past lunar rockfaces, high-alpine grasslands, and tangled carpets of ferns, rhododendrons and bamboo. At Panalaban (3272m/10,735ft), you'll bed down in a hostel for the night… or at least for a few fitful hours because you'll be out of bed early to reach the spiky granite summit at sunrise. 

Planning tip:  March to August is dry season for climbing. Limited permits to climb are issued each day, and you have to climb with a guide.

A row of colorful four-wheel cycles stand in a main square backed by a large church building painted red

6. Ride a trishaw around historic Melaka

Trishaws: bone-rattling, traffic-dodging, three-wheeled form of transport. To some, they're a joyride; to others, a menace. But in Melaka , trishaws are out of this world. 

This historic port city is home to the blingiest trishaws around, adorned with Hello Kitty neons, the Frozen logo, and lighting rigs that could almost guide lost ships to shore. Lavished in flowers, tinsel and knock-off logos, more than 300 ostentatious trishaws ply their trade in Melaka, some offering history tours.

Aboard a trishaw, you might trundle past the Sultanate Palace and the spiky silhouette of the replica Flor de la Mar . You can spin through Dutch Square , which is lined with pinkish buildings like Christ Church . And as the sun dips below the horizon, your trishaw will begin to twinkle with fairy lights, lanterns and neon signs – it's hard to resist snapping a selfie.

7. Take a hike through Taman Negara

Reality check: for all Malaysia's natural splendor, the country faces serious environmental challenges, like encroachment of palm plantations on forested land. These threats make pockets of unspoiled nature like Taman Negara even more precious.

Literally " National Park ," Taman Negara is 4343 sq km (1676 sq miles) of primeval, protected land crossing Pahang, Kelantan, and Terengganu states. Its 130 million-year-old rainforest is among the oldest in the world (pipped to the title by Australia's Daintree), and along its trails, you're enclosed by the deafening soundtrack of jungle life. Fairy-sized katydids whirr through the forest, macaques chatter in the branches, and hornbills clack their beaks from above. If you're lucky, a gaur, an Asian bison with a distinctive bowl cut, will lumber into view. If you're incredibly lucky, you'll see a glimpse of a tiger, elephant or ultra-rare Malayan peacock-pheasant. 

Planning tip:  Whatever your fortunes spotting wildlife, don't miss walking the 45m-high (148ft-high) canopy walkway, taking a firefly boat ride or joining an after-dark hike to see things that go bump (or squeak, or scuttle) in the night.

8. Witness a flight of bats at eerie Mulu Caves

The island of Borneo is an every day Eden, where rainforests and reefs teem with wildlife. Amid this natural abundance, it's challenging to zoom in on one particular spectacle, but Gunung Mulu still rises to the top. 

At this national park, toothy limestone pinnacles add drama to a landscape of 60 million-year-old rainforests, twisting streams and deep grottoes. The most momentous experience is seeing the skies blacken with bats pouring out of the mouth of Deer Cave . Up to three million bats hang around in these dank chambers, and their mid-air acrobatics are to flummox hawks waiting for a mammalian mouthful.

Planning tip:  Tours take you inside Deer Cave and amid the spiraling stalactites of nearby Lang Cave, before you step outside to watch the aerial spectacle from around 5pm.

Two women sit by the side of a pool near a waterfall in a jungle

9. Go off-grid on a private jungle island in Royal Belum State Park

What does solitude even mean in the era of smartphones? Find out by going cold turkey on a private island in Royal Belum State Park , way up north in Peninsular Malaysia's Belum-Temenggor Rainforest.

Taking the longboat to the resort, your vibrating phone will fall into a slumber. To replace the constant overstimulus, dive off the island jetty for a swim, sleep in an A-frame tent, and awake to watch for all 10 species of hornbills swooping overhead. You can take guided hikes through the jungle in search of whopping great rafflesia blooms, and watch out for tell-tale elephant footprints in the mud. 

10. Join a cooking class in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is a confluence of cuisines. There are thriving scenes for Malay, Peranakan, Indian and Chinese food, always with distinctly local and regional twists; try Penang laksa , Ipoh chicken beansprouts, and every variety of cendol (an icy, coconut milk refresher) you can find. Fading colonial influences, like Dutch, British and Portuguese, also lend their recipes to this steaming smorgasbord.

Some flavors will forever be a twinkle in the chef's eye, but you can take a few recipes home by joining a cooking class. Kuala Lumpur is an excellent place to go, offering myriad options where skilled chefs will guide you through recipes like prawn fritters, nasi lemak (coconut rice with all the trimmings) and famous beef rendang .

Planning tip:  LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking has been around since 2007, and offers a changing menu that spans classic rice noodle dish char kway teow , fragrant kapitan chicken and sago pudding. 

11. Dive with turtles at Sipadan Island

Malaysia boasts a few marine paradises, but Sipadan is uncommonly remote and wild. The island is an extinct volcanic cone where coral reefs flourish, and palm trees provide scant shade on bone-white beaches. These waters are a catwalk of superstars: head out on a dive and spot big-eye trevallies, hammerhead sharks and two species of turtle – green and hawksbill. They're so abundant that it's not unusual to see a dozen turtles on a single dive!

Planning tip:  The journey to Sipadan takes effort: after landing on Malaysian Borneo, you'll either connect to Tawau or bus onwards to Semporna , from where you can day trip to the island (or stay elsewhere on the archipelago; Sipadan itself doesn't allow overnight stays).

A family of beaded pigs (parent and three babies) snuffle along in the sand of a vast empty beach backed by jungle

12. Look for bearded pigs in Bako National Park

Sarawak's teeming Bako National Park checks off much of the Bornean wildlife ticklist: dense jungle, mischievous monkeys, slinky water monitors and orchids peeping from the ground. More than 190 bird species flit, soar and chatter through Bako, the oldest national park in Sarawak.

So, what makes it distinctive? Firstly, the sea stacks that lend it a dramatic silhouette, sculpted by the action of water (admire them from Pandan Kecil beach). And secondly, the prospect of spotting bearded pigs, whose fuzzy bodies and shaggy snouts make for a gruff and adorable encounter. 

Planning tip:  Staying overnight is the best way to maximize chances of a sighting. Take a night walk with an experienced guide who will point the way. 

13. Meet magnificent apes in Sepilok, Borneo 

We share approximately 97% of our DNA with orangutans, so why not pay these long-lost relatives a visit? Make Sepilok your base: at the 43 sq km (17 sq mile)  Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre , you can watch shaggy apes swing into view. The center pairs young primates with older partners to school them in the ways of the jungle before release. Next, head to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary , less than half an hour's drive away. Listen for the thundering sound as they race across the wooden boardwalk at feeding time. Their squishy noses and pot bellies have a strange dignity… so like us humans! 

Add a third mammalian encounter by visiting Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre , which rescues members of Southeast Asia's smallest bear family. There are 45 of these honey-guzzling cuties on site.

14. Get a bird's eye view on Langkawi Island

Langkawi is a true holiday island, with blonde beaches and rugged jungles. The best way to experience its splendor? Get up high.

Ride the SkyCab up to Gunung Machinchang (713m/2339ft), where engineering marvel Langkawi Sky Bridge stands; or drive up to admire views from 881m (2890ft) Gunung Raya. Alternatively, zip-lining helps you feel the wind in your hair and gives you a shot of adrenaline as you fly above the geopark's canopy, startling a few hornbills along the way.

15. Marvel at a spectacular mosque in Kuala Kangsar

Malaysia is studded with magnificent mosques, from Mogul-era marvels to functional modern constructions, but one masjid steals the show for its sheer grandeur: Masjid Ubudiah in the rocky region of Perak. Designed by famed architect AB Hubback, the mosque's whopping gold domes and Italian marble are a visual feast. It's not the only showpiece in town, either: take a spin around Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar and the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah for an extra dose of architectural opulence.  

This article was first published February 2022 and updated January 2024

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Dive Into Malaysia

Dive Into Malaysia

Top 21 BEST Places To Visit In Malaysia [2024]

Malaysia is a popular travel destination but when many visitors think about where to visit in Malaysia, they settle for the big city of Kuala Lumpur and the beautiful beaches in Penang and on the island of Langkawi, leaving so many other best cities in Malaysia to visit.

The reality is that there are so many more Malaysia tourist attractions to see. Malaysia spans several large and small islands, and the truth is there are many answers to the question “where to travel in Malaysia”!

A diverse country, there are so many wonderful and attractive places in Malaysia. Not just in its pristine beaches and islands but nature parks too. You could spend months visiting Malaysia tourist places and not cover it all.

Top 20 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia [2021]

What’s more, Malaysia is very budget friendly, the locals are warm and welcoming and the food is inexpensive and delicious.

Travelling to Malaysia? Click here to download your free Malaysia Trip Planning checklist . We’ll help you get ready for your trip!  

So, if you’re wondering Malaysia – where to travel or perhaps you need more encouragement to visit Malaysia? Read on for our list of 21 of the best places to go in Malaysia. This is our ultimate list of the very best Malaysia travel destinations and you’re sure to find some must see places in Malaysia that are perfect for your vacation!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions?  Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

Top 21 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia

Kuala lumpur.

why tourist visit malaysia

A list of the best places to visit in Malaysia would be incomplete without the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Top on my list of Malaysia attractions 2024, KL is often the first place people think of when planning where to go in Malaysia, and regularly features as one of the top cities to visit in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia, the major financial center of a melting pot of different cultures. This makes it one of the most exciting cities in Malaysia and shouldn’t be missed.

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur include a trip to the world famous Petronas Towers if you’re looking for the best place to visit in KL, taking a trip to the ancient Hindu temple at the Batu Caves, sampling some of the most amazing street food, visiting markets, mosques, theme parks, shopping and much more.

There’s no shortage of wonderful places to visit in Kuala Lumpur and you’ll likely struggle to fit in all the Kuala Lumpur tourist spots in a single visit. When it comes to the Malaysia best places to visit, Kuala Lumpur is a very strong contender, and it’s also one of the most fun places to visit in Malaysia.

If you’re wondering where to start with where to travel in Malaysia 2024, then you can do no wrong with starting in KL.

Getting to Kuala Lumpur: Kuala Lumpur has two major airports – KLIA and KLIA2. It is also well connected to the rest of Malaysia by bus and train.

Top Attraction to visit: The Petronas Towers are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia.

Top place to stay:  Berjaya Times Square Hotel – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Kuala Lumpur here .

visit Malaysia 2021 Langkawi island

One of the top travel destinations Malaysia has (especially for beach vacations), Langkawi is a Malaysia must see and many would argue the best island in Malaysia. Not only a beautiful destination with great beaches and attractions, there’s something to suit everyone in Langkawi on either ends of the main island.

When you picture best places to visit Malaysia in your head, it’s very likely the image you see is of Langkawi. This island is definitely one of the options for best place for vacation in Malaysia.

Langkawi is actually an archipelago but the main island offers a range of different locations to visit and stay. Pantai Cenang is one of the most popular beach destinations and home to Underwater World. Other more peaceful destinations are dotted throughout the island. If you love beaches, Langkawi is definitely one of the places to visit in Malaysia that you’ll want to consider. 

Temurun Waterfall is another popular attraction in Langkawi, as well as the Langkawi Cable Car which takes you to the peak of Gunung Machinchang where you’ll find restaurants, shops and other attractions. This is the best way to see that this option of Malaysia best places is not just about gorgeous beaches but also gorgeous jungle interior.

Getting to Langkawi: The best way to get to Langkawi is to fly. Flights leave multiple times daily from Kuala Lumpur and other cities.

Top Attraction to visit: Langkawi Cable Car 

Top place to stay:  Ritz-Carlton Langkawi – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Langkawi here .

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why tourist visit malaysia

Another popular Malaysia tourist spots and top destinations in Malaysia is the state of Penang. This state offers many Malaysia places to visit for both first time and return visitors as it’s quite diverse, and it’s one of my personal favourite places to go Malaysia.

There’s a multicultural mix of influences and plenty of beaches, interesting architecture and affordable resort style accommodation. It’s also one of the best places in Malaysia to eat, offering some of the best cheap food.

If you’re wondering what to visit in Malaysia, you will love the array of things to do and see in Penang. Penang is home to important and culturally significant temples like Lok Si Temple, as well as British colonial leftovers like Fort Cornwallis, dating back to the 18th century when Penang was occupied by the British, as well as the historic George Town.

There’s so much to see and do in Penang, making it one of the top places in Malaysia and somewhere you should add to your list of what to see in Malaysia!

In fact, the combination of great food, interesting heritage, beaches and ease of getting here and around makes Penang my personal pick for the best place in Malaysia and definitely one of the best holiday places in Malaysia. If you’re new to Malaysia, best place to travel options are plenty here in Penang.

Getting to Penang: You can get to Penang by train, bus or plane. From Kuala Lumpur, flying is the quickest way to get there.

Top Attraction to visit: George Town

Top place to stay:  Shangri La Rasa Sayang – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Penang here .

Bukit Merah

why tourist visit malaysia

Malaysia is well known as the home of the orangutan, and another thing visitors often include on their list of what to do in Malaysia is seeing orangutans.

One of the famous places in Malaysia where you can see orangutans is Bukit Merah.

Located just outside of Taiping, the town is surrounded by a lake. Its main attraction is Orang Utan Island – a sustainable tourist destination and one of the top things to see in Malaysia. The town is home to another sustainable attraction, the EcoPark – an enclosure home to many native and rare animals.

When you’re comparing Malaysia vacation destinations, know that this isn’t a cheap destination to visit, but this eco-tourist destination puts what they receive back into maintaining the environment, so it’s a place you can feel good about visiting. It really is the best place to see the orangutan in peninsular Malaysia.

If you want to support ecotourism and want to have a once in a lifetime experience, then Bukit Merah is definitely one of the best place to vacation in Malaysia options for you.

Getting to Bukit Merah: The best way to get there is to drive from Taiping. There are also buses. It’s also possible to day trip here from Penang.

Top Attraction to visit: Orang Utan Island

Top place to stay:  Bukit Merah Laketown Resort – Click here to see the latest prices.

Kuala Kangsar

why tourist visit malaysia

Kuala Kangsar is a royal capital, and there is some amazing architecture to see and explore. When we visited, we found the city quiet yet still with a commanding presence owing to the grand buildings. These buildings are why it’s on this Malaysia place to visit list.

This is a town of palaces, and there are plenty to view like the Istana Iskandariah, the Istana Kenangan (constructed of wood), and the Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery.

If you want to go and explore somewhere off the beaten tourist track, then this best destination Malaysia might just be right up your street.

The major draw-card of this town is definitely the pretty architecture. There aren’t many attractions, but it does make a nice Malaysia tourist destination for a day trip.

Getting to Kuala Kangsar: You can get there by car, train and bus. The journey takes about an hour from Ipoh.

Top Attraction to visit: Ubudiah Mosque

Top place to stay:  The Shop Hotel – Click here for the latest prices

Streets of Ipoh

When we visited Ipoh, we didn’t know what to expect. We ended up loving it. Ipoh is the state capital of Perak and a fantastic destination for a short getaway with plenty of interesting places in Malaysia located in this city. Ipoh is definitely one of the nice places to visit in Malaysia which sees fewer tourists (a good thing in our view!).

If you’re idea of a Malaysia best place to visit includes fantastic food, interesting attractions and lots of fun then visit Ipoh.

There’s the unfinished Kellie’s Castle to explore, Tempurung Cave, the popular Sunway Lost World Of Tambun (great for families) and much more. The Old Town area is a fabulous place to walk around with cute alleyways and numerous street art to find and enjoy.

Plus, there’s Ipoh’s famous white coffee – a must try.

Ipoh is also a gateway to the Cameron Highlands – coming up next. If you’re wondering where to go in Malaysia for short trip, or just looking for an interesting place to visit in Malaysia, Ipoh is somewhere to consider.

Getting to Ipoh: The best way to get there is train, bus or hiring a car. You can also fly.

Top Attraction to visit : Old Town street art

Top place to stay:  Regalodge – Click here for the latest prices

Find all our Ipoh guides here.

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Cameron Highlands

Boh Tea Estate, Cameron Highlands

To escape the city life in Kuala Lumpur and the heat at lower altitudes, Malaysians go to The Cameron Highlands. It’s easy to see why and be tempted to join them if you’re looking for the best place for holiday in Malaysia to escape the heat and see something of the interiors of Malaysia too.

This best place to go in Malaysia option is beautiful. Its located high in the hills with rolling tea plantations, places of worship, museums and more. It’s also home to the highest point in Malaysia – Gunung Brinchang , as well as many beautiful hiking trails.

The higher altitude makes it a great place to cool down in tropical Malaysia, and with plenty of places to eat, drink and stay to suit all different budgets, it makes for a great place to see in Malaysia. If you love hill stations and greenery, the Cameron Highlands are definitely one of the best places in Malaysia to visit for your trip.

Getting to Cameron Highlands: The best way to get to the Cameron Highlands is by bus or hiring a car. Top Attraction to visit:   Boh Tea Plantation

Top place to stay: Nova Highlands Resort and Residence – Click here for the latest prices

Find all our Cameron Highlands guides here.

Port Dickson

why tourist visit malaysia

Port Dickson is a popular destination from Kuala Lumpur for a beach getaway. There are plenty of top quality resorts with particularity good accommodation for families. We found the Avillion Port Dickson to be the best resort in Malaysia for family visits to Port Dickson or the Grand Lexis if you want your own pool. If you’re looking for a beach holiday within easy access of KL and fun places in Malaysia by the beach, PD is a place to consider visiting.

The resorts are generally outside of the main town, which is small but does have some nice restaurants and shops. There’s also some pretty beaches, but many of these are private.

There’s not a huge range of Malaysia attractions in Port Dickson, but there is the Tanjung Tuan lookout. Time is best spent here at one of the great resorts or the beach. This is my pick of the Malaysia destinations if you want some great priced resort time.

Getting to Port Dickson: You can get there by bus, taxi or rental car. It is about 60km from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Tanjung Tuan

Top place to stay: Lexis Hibiscus – Click here for the latest prices.

Read our best guides to Port Dickson here .

Melaka (also known as Malacca)

why tourist visit malaysia

One of the other best places to see in Malaysia is Melaka. This is also one of the top historical places in Malaysia to visit, and a contender for the best city in Malaysia if you like your cities bite-sized, navigable and full of history. Malacca is also home to some of the main tourist attractions in Malaysia when it comes to cultural history.

This is a very pretty city and one of Malaysia points of interest for those interested in theology. The city is dotted with numerous churches like St Paul’s church, as well as temples and mosques, thanks to its rich cultural past.

There are also numerous other heritage sites around the city. What’s more, it’s a super easy place to explore on foot or on a trishaw.

Two of the major attractions in Melaka are the A Famosa Resort and the Dutch town of Stadthuys. Jonker Street is where you’ll find many of the main attractions. You’ll also want to visit Melaka River and the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum.

Melaka isn’t just a great place to visit but also makes top 10 places to visit in Malaysia lists because it is so easy to get here. It’s very accessible from Kuala Lumpur or Kuala Lumpur International Airport and you can day trip here from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

Getting to Melaka: You can get there by plane, bus, car and boat.

Top Attraction to visit:  Jonker Street

Top place to stay:  Swiss-Garden Hotel Melaka – Click here for the latest prices.

Read our best guides to Melaka here .

Johor Bahru

Legoland Malaysia The Great Lego Race VR Coaster

Johor Bahru is one of the easy places to go in Malaysia from Singapore as it’s just across the border.

While not necessarily being one of the Malaysia holiday destinations, it’s still worth a visit, particularly if you are in Singapore. The city offers visitors several attractions including a mix of museums and natural landmarks like the Gunung Ledang National Park and Gunung Lambak.

For families with young kids, there’s also the famous Legoland which makes the city one of the best places to visit in Malaysia with family.

Other attractions include the traditional Kukup Fishing Village. You can also explore the shops and restaurants at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

As the city is also just across the border from Singapore and one of the practical places to visit in Malaysia from Singapore, it’s one of the best place to visit in Malaysia for a one day trip.

Getting to Johor Bahru: Get there by plane, bus, car and boat.

Top Attraction to visit:  Legoland Malaysia

Top place to stay:  Hotel Jen – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Johor Bahru here .

Tioman Island

Juara Beach Tioman Island

Tioman Island was once named one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Despite being a somewhat popular nice place to visit in Malaysia, it’s easy to feel like you have escaped the world here. It’s relatively untouched and makes for a wonderful destination to visit in Malaysia. And the beaches are some of the best in Malaysia.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs which make it great for scuba diving. Must see spots include Air Batang (or ABC Beach), one of the main settlements on the island, where you can find cheap beer and meals, and J uara beach.

The Island is also great for hiking. You’ll want to visit Aash Waterfall, hike across the island from west to east , as well as visit Paya beach.

If you are looking for Malaysia places to go which are not too hard to get to but feel like you are away from it all, consider Tioman.

Getting to Tioman Island: You can get to Tioman Island by ferry or plane. Flights leave from both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Click here for full details.

Top Attraction to visit: Air Batang is the main village on the island.

Top place to stay:  Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Click here for our full guide to Tioman Island.

Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara Canopy Walk

You may have noticed a theme – Malaysia is home to a vast array of beautiful national parks. Taman Negara National Park holds the title as Malaysia’s largest national park. This 130 million year old rainforest is home to a huge array of local plants and animals and offers plenty of short and long hikes. It’s definitely worth adding to your Malaysia where to go list.

Once inside the park, there are several attractions to visit including Lata Berkoh , which is a short boat ride and a place where you can swim. You can also opt to climb Bukit Teresek, a 334m high hill. The Canopy Walkway is also a must do – and the longest like it in the world.

Note that the best time to visit is during the dry season, which is between February and September each year. If you are visiting at this time of year, definitely go to this Malaysia best place.

Getting to Taman Negara National Park: You can get there by train, taxi or car. It is a 3.5 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Lata Berkoh

Top place to stay:  Mutiara Taman Negara Resort – Click here to see the latest prices.

Malaysia holiday destination 2021

Speaking of tourist places in Malaysia, have you considered Cherating if you’re planning to visit Malaysia 2024? This laid back coastal town has some lovely beach resorts and guest houses, as well as Club Med is also located here – arguably the best beach resort in Malaysia.

While the main attraction in Cherating are the beaches and resorts, there’s other Malaysia interesting places to visit like the nearby Turtle Island. This island is free to enter but you need to pay for the boat there. It helps nurture endangered turtles in an environment where they can thrive.

The beaches in Cherating aren’t as pretty as other parts of Malaysia (apart from the stunning option at Club Med) but the resorts are great and many are well priced. It’s a great place for a short trip in Malaysia.

Getting to Cherating: The best way to get there is by bus or hire car. You can take a bus from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Cherating Beach

Top place to stay:   Club Med Cherating Beach

Kuala Terengganu

Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the state capital of Terengganu, a city on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the best places Malaysia if you love good food, friendly locals and an interesting range of low key attractions, and you’re looking for places to visit in East Malaysia.

It’s also the jumping off point for beautiful Redang Island (coming up next as it’s also a best place to visit Malaysia).

There is an interesting Chinatown to visit complete with street art, some great museums and some magnificent mosques. What really stood out to me when I visited this best destination in Malaysia, however, is the friendly locals. I have never felt so welcome anywhere in Malaysia.

Getting to Kuala Terengganu: Flying is the fastest/easiest way to get there with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur but it’s also a major bus hub.

Top Attraction to visit : Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (or Floating Mosque)

Top place to stay:  Grand Puteri Hotel – Click here to see the latest prices.

Click here to see our full guide to Kuala Terengganu..

Redang Island

Long Beach, Redang Island from Laguna Redang Malaysia visit places

A list of the most beautiful places in Malaysia often includes Redang Island, and it’s easy to see why. This is most simply, the most beautiful place I have ever visited, and unsurprisingly Redang was my best trip in Malaysia of recent years. 

Redang Island is a mix of pleasant resorts and pristine, white sand beaches. It makes for the perfect relaxing getaway and best tourist place in Malaysia. Several of my memories of the best travel in Malaysia are from here.

The main beach is Pasir Panjang (or Long Beach) and, located on the east side of the island, it is one of the popular holiday places in Malaysia for those visiting the east of the country.

While there’s not a whole lot to see if you aren’t a nature lover nor is there a big nightlife scene like some other islands in Malaysia, this is a best place to travel in Malaysia for a calm stay and for cheap, beautiful and easy snorkeling. If you love islands and beaches, then Redang is definitely one of the best place to travel in Malaysia!

Getting to Redang Island: You can get there by plane or boat. Several flights leave daily from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Pasir Panjang

Top place to stay:  The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Read our best guides to Redang Island here.

Kenyir Lake

why tourist visit malaysia

An artificial lake located in Terengganu, Kenyir lake is the largest man-made lake in South East Asia. This lesser known attraction in Malaysia has been developed as an ecotourism destination and the lake provides hydroelectric power to the region.

It’s also one of the top inland fishing destinations in Malaysia and a gateway to Taman Negara.

This interesting place in Malaysia has several attractions around the like the caves of Bewah and Taat as well as Anglers Heaven, jungle walks and waterfalls. Lake Kenyir Resort is also a pleasant place to stay.

To access the actual lake you’ll need to have a boat to access the lake which you can organise with a tour operator easily. A visit to this Malaysia travel place is the perfect way to see a different slice of Malaysia while enjoying nature.

Getting to Kenyir Lake: A 50 minute drive from Kuala Terengganu Airport. You can fly there from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: The lake

Top place to stay:  Lake Kenyir Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Perhentian Islands

resort long beach Perhentian

Less explored than Langkawi, but rated by many as the best holiday destination in Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands offer serene beaches with crystal clear water.

These islands are a travel place in Malaysia that you won’t want to leave, and although there are no museums or culturally significant monuments, there are pristine beaches, crystal clear water and beautiful coral reefs at the appropriately named Coral Bay with sunsets that’ll linger in your memories for a while after you do have to go home.

This is the ultimate place to go snorkeling and scuba diving in Malaysia. You can also go jungle trekking and do activities like kayaking.

Although there’s not much else to do on the island, its natural environment shows the best of Malaysia and it’s one of my personal best places to travel in Malaysia.

Getting to Perhentian Islands : You will need to take a boat there. The main ferry terminal is in Kuala Besut. Instructions are here.

Top Attraction to visit: Coral Bay

Top place to stay:  Perhentian Island Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Read our best guides to the Perhentian Islands here .

Kampung Kraftangan, Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu is the state capital of Kelantan, a conservative city on the east coast of the mainland.

This one of the Malaysia cities to visit is relatively laid back with some interesting places to visit like Istana Jahar, a 19th century royal residence, Istana Balai Besar or Grand Palace, as well as other museums and mosques.

There’s also a vibrant night market and street art scene. While Kota Bharu may not make it to top of the list for the top place to visit in Malaysia, spending a few hours or a couple of days in Kota Bharu allows you to see laid back Malaysian life – without the tourists – and it’s a useful stop over if you’re heading to Kuala Besut for the Perhentian islands as well.

The one of the best cities to visit in Malaysia offers visitors a chance to experience a different pace of life and to see the cultural heart of Malaysia. As such, it’s one of the interesting places to visit in Malaysia.

Getting to Kota Bharu: Flying is the fastest/easiest way to get there, but you can also get there by train, bus and car.

Top Attraction to visit : Istana Jahar

Top place to stay:  Hotel Perdana – Click here to see the latest prices

Click here to see our guide to Kota Bharu.

why tourist visit malaysia

Kuching, also known as Cat City, is a port city located on the island of Borneo. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sarawak, Borneo. The city is interesting yet still one of the more relaxing places to visit in Malaysia, so if you want to head to Borneo, why not give Kuching a try?

This charming city is abound with museums like the Sarawak Museum and Cat Museum (a must visit in Cat City!) and places of worship like Tua Pek Kong Temple.

It’s also located near some beautiful national parks like Bako National Park as well as Kubah National Park.

The range of activities to visit in the surrounds and the lovely riverfront area makes Kucking my pick for the best city to visit in Malaysia.

Getting to Kuching: The best way to get to Kuching is to fly. Several budget airlines fly here.

Top Attraction to visit: Cat Museum

Top place to stay:  Hilton Kuching – Click here to see the latest prices

Kota Kinabalu

Sunset in Kota Kinabalu

A quiet destination in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a pretty city on our Malaysia tourist places list offering visitors several attractions and activities.

Kota Kinabalu is one of the top places to visit in Malaysia to go island hopping – but think relaxation, not partying. Gaya Island is one of the most popular, as well as Manukan which is one of the islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. These islands great for jungle trekking and diving.

In town, you can climb to Signal Hill Observatory to soak in the city sites and do some shopping at the local markets.

The access to beautiful beaches as well as nature treks make Kota Kinabalu a top destination in Malaysia Borneo. If you’re looking for the best place Malaysia to stop over en route to trekking and jungle exploration, consider stopping off in Kota Kinabalu.

Getting to Kota Kinabalu: The easiest way to get to Kota Kinabalu is by flying.

Top Attraction to visit: Signal Hill

Top place to stay:  Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Borneo Orangutan in Sandakan, Sepilok, Sabah

Sandakan is a small option of where to go Malaysia with few attractions inside the town itself. However, it has huge historical significance from World War II. The Sandakan Memorial Park pays homage to this dark part of history.

The small museum and accompanying walk is dedicated to the prisoners of war from the Borneo Death Marches and commemorates those who lost their lives. This makes for a confronting memorial. While it’s not the most obvious of vacation places in Malaysia, it’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in history or are visiting to see the graves and memorials here.

The city itself has plenty of cheap markets and places to eat, and is a gateway to other significant attractions like the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, one of Malaysia famous places. Here, you can get up close to rescued orangutans who are being rehabilitated. There’s also the Turtle Islands Park.

Getting to Sandakan: Located on Borneo, the quickest way to get there is to fly.

Top Attraction to visit: Sandakan Memorial Park

Top place to stay:  Sabah Hotel – Click here to see the latest prices

Looking for the easiest way to get around Malaysia to these great places? Find our long-distance taxi service here . It can take you door-to-door anywhere in peninsular Malaysia.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions?  Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now!  It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

We hope you found somewhere just right for you in this Malaysia tourism place list. Read more about other destinations in Malaysia or find the best time to visit Malaysia here or the best things to do here. Looking for places to visit in Malaysia in 2 – 4 days? Read our itineraries here  and find our ultimate article to planning your trip to Malaysia here.

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why tourist visit malaysia

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.

Wow, Very beautiful places I must visit this year. Love from Pakistan

It’s worth it!

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why tourist visit malaysia

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  • Food & Travel

Malaysia Ranked Most Visited Southeast Asian Country in 2023; Indonesia Ranked 5th

why tourist visit malaysia

Najla Nur Fauziyah

why tourist visit malaysia

Petir Garda Bhwana

27 February 2024 13:23 WIB

why tourist visit malaysia

TEMPO.CO , Jakarta -  Malaysia has become the most visited country in Southeast Asia throughout 2023, according to VN Express International . The country received close to 29 million tourists last year.

Singaporean was the biggest contributor of foreign tourists in Malaysia with over 8.3 million, followed by visitors from Indonesia, Thailand, China, and Brunei, Focus Malaysia reported.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the record for the most visited country in the region was held by Thailand, with more than 40 million tourists in 2019. This year, Thailand targeted 35 million foreign tourists to visit the country.

In 2023, Thailand ranked second with more than 28 million foreign tourists, followed by Singapore which recorded 13.6 million foreign tourists. Vietnam held fourth position with 12.6 million visitors, while Indonesia noted 11.7 million arrivals. 

Both Phillippines and Cambodia pulled around 5.4 million foreign visitors in 2023. 

Visa-free policy

Southeast Asian countries raced to attract foreign tourists with flexible immigration policies from late last year. From Dec. 1, Malaysia allowed30-day visa-free entry for citizens from mainland China and Indiain a similar move to Thailand.

From mid-August, Vietnam granted three-month tourist visas for citizens from all countries and territories and tripled the duration of stays in Vietnam to 45 days for citizens of13 countries unilaterally exempted from visas.

Last December, Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno revealed that the government was considering applying a visa-free policy to 20 more countries, including the United States, China, Australia, India, South Korea, Germany, the UK, and France in hopes of increasing arrivals.


Editor's Choice:   77 Visa-free and Visa on Arrival Countries for Indonesian Passport Holders

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LANGKAWI, 28 th February 2024 – Tourism Malaysia plays host to Routes Asia 2024’s Networking Evening held today at Resorts World Langkawi, unveiling the best of Malaysian gastronomy and culture to international delegates from over 60 countries.

As the host country for the 20 th edition of Routes Asia, the mythical paradise of Langkawi becomes the home of over 800 delegates for three days, from 27 th to 29 th February 2024. In collaboration with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), Tourism Malaysia is the co-host of the three-day event, bringing together Asia Pacific’s leading airlines, airports, and industry players.

Serving as another milestone for the MICE segment, Routes Asia 2024 also sets a precedent as Malaysia prepares to host next year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2025, followed by Visit Malaysia Year in 2026 – ultimately anticipating a surge in tourist arrivals for the coming years. To reach this goal, Tourism Malaysia has introduced a matching grant initiative aimed to stimulate the expansion of new direct and charter routes to Malaysia.

“Tourism Malaysia is eager to collaborate with international airlines and tourism agencies to enhance air accessibility, frequency, and seat capacity to Malaysia via the International and Charter Flight Matching Grant (GSPC). We truly look forward to having more carriers designate Malaysia as their preferred destination,” said Mr Manoharan Periasamy, the Director General of Tourism Malaysia.

Malaysia recorded a total of 20.1 million international tourist arrivals and RM71.3 billion in tourist receipts in 2023. This year, Malaysia aims to woo 27.3 million arrivals with RM102.7 billion in tourism revenue.

About Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, also known as Tourism Malaysia, is an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia. It focuses on the specific task of promoting Malaysia as a preferred tourism destination. Since its inception, it has emerged as a major player in the international tourism scene.

The next Visit Malaysia Year, set to take place in 2026, will commemorate the sustainability of the nation's tourism industry, which is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

Furthermore, Tourism Malaysia actively endorses the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), working towards the realisation of the IMT-GT Visiting Year 2023-2025, with the shared aim of promoting the region as a unified tourism destination. For more information, visit Tourism Malaysia’s social media accounts on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , YouTube , and TikTok .

For enquiries, please contact:

Ahmad Husni Ahmad Basri Deputy Director Corporate Communications Division [email protected] Tel: +603 8891 8767

Muadz Samat Assistant Director Corporate Communications Division [email protected] Tel: +603 8891 8755

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Manoharan appointed as new Tourism Malaysia DG

Monday, 26 Feb 2024

Related News

‘Ammar was demoted, not fired’

‘Ammar was demoted, not fired’

I did my job and met my kpis, says ammar, ammar now tourism malaysia deputy dg due to under-performance, says tiong.

PETALING JAYA: After the much-talked-about demotion of Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar, Manoharan Periasamy has been appointed as Tourism Malaysia director-general.

In a post shared on Tourism Malaysia’s Facebook page, the board congratulated Manoharan after his appointment on Monday (Feb 26).

Manoharan had served three terms as director of Tourism Malaysia for India and senior director for international promotion (Asia & Africa).

During his previous post, he had established the first National Tourism Organisation (NTO) office in Mumbai, India in 2001.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing had said that Ammar was unable to perform well and, as such should give way to another person.

Ammar, who was appointed to the post in April last year, was given a four-day notice about the “penamatan lantikan” (service termination).

The letter, signed by Tiong and dated Feb 22, stated that the termination was to take effect on Feb 26.

A second letter addressed to Ammar stated that he would be made deputy director-general (planning). His grade – Pegawai Ehwal Ekonomi Gred Utama B – remains the same.

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Tags / Keywords: Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar , Manoharan Periasamy , Tourism DG , Tiong King Sing

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I did my job and met my KPIs, says Ammar


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