31 Best Places to Visit in Malaysia In 2023
If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Malaysia, you’re in for a treat!
Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine.
The country offers something for everyone with its diverse landscape of lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and towering mountains.
From the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur to the idyllic islands of Langkawi and Tioman, there are plenty of unique places to visit in Malaysia.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled holiday or a relaxing beach getaway, here are some of the best places to visit in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a country of contrasts.
There are different languages, and these cultures fuse and merge to create a unique nation that’s quite unlike any of its neighboring countries.
Malaysia is home to beautiful coral reefs; sun-kissed tropical islands.
Humid rainforests in Borneo and on the mainland are full of rare wildlife, while the highlands are always a cooling retreat from the heat.
We list the top Malaysian tourist destinations to help you plan your vacation.
Traveling to Malaysia is a rewarding experience.
You can explore a new destination, get acquainted with the local culture, and create travel experiences that will last a lifetime.
The best part is, if you’re a Malaysian, you get to experience all the attractions in your backyard!
If you’re wondering if Malaysia is safe for solo travel, yes, it is!
However, like any country worldwide, you must practice essential safety tips and exercise caution, especially when traveling alone.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you decide to travel alone.
Trust your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable in a particular hotel or going to a place with someone you don’t know, your instincts are always right.
Watch your stuff: Don’t leave items like your wallet or cell phone out in the open.
Be aware of your surroundings: Avoid listening to music with your headphones on when exploring a city, walk confidently and make sure you know where you’re going.
Keep your family in the loop: Keep in touch and let them know where you’re going that day, or drop them a line when you get back to your hotel.
If you’re kicking off your vacation in Malaysia in 2023, you can start with Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital.
There are plenty of shopping centers, outdoor attractions, old markets, colonial buildings, and Instagram-worthy hotels, with café hopping to fill your agenda in the city.
There is a diverse blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences to discover across this vibrant city.
It’s easy to spend at least three days in KL with all it offers.
Travel Stylus guides offer the best recommendations for what to eat, see, and do in Kuala Lumpur for your next holiday in Malaysia.
1 Kuala Lumpur
Any journey to Malaysia should start in Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital and largest city.
Although it may seem like a sprawling metropolis, once you’ve found your feet, you’ll realize that this is the heart of modern Malaysia.
Old markets and colonial buildings stand in the shadow of the brightly lit Petronas Towers and gleaming skyscrapers.
Malaysia consists of 13 states and three federal territories.
Let’s look at the other states in Malaysia as potential holiday spots. Starting from the north to the south.
2 Kuala Perlis, Perlis
Just a short distance from Thailand’s border, Kuala Perlis is a melting pot of Southeast Asian cultures.
Much of the older city was built on wooden stilts extending across the mangroves along the shoreline.
3 Langkawi, Kedah
Beautiful Langkawi island is a world-renowned travel destination and one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for couples.
The country’s favorite tropical getaway has everything for a perfect weekend escape with its laid-back vibes.
Take advantage of the best beaches, island hopping opportunities, and spectacular vistas.
From scenic Langkawi Cable Car rides, Sky Bridge, and splashing water sports activities.
For shoppers, the island has plenty of duty-free chocolates, alcohol, and cigarettes.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants along the beaches.
A champagne breakfast is a norm at the 5-star resorts in Langkawi.
Penang is not only a fantastic destination worth your time, but the island is also one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for cheap and delicious local dishes!
4 George Town, Penang
World Heritage-listed George Town is the epitome of multicultural Malaysia.
Penang is known as the culinary capital of Malaysia for a good reason.
The deliciousness of Penang’s Asam Laksa, Char Kway Teow, and Nasi Kandar is fit for a king.
Every Malaysian can agree that this is where you should go for the ultimate food adventure.
If this calls for a solo food trip, here are some things to see, eat and do in Penang.
There is vibrant nightlife every day of the week, and the streets are full of character and famous murals.
The state of Perak boasts a surprising number of attractions, and some are the best places to visit in Malaysia.
5 Cameron Highlands, Perak
If you tire of the coast’s heat or the humidity of the cities, head to cool Cameron Highlands.
Founded as a hill station for the colonial British to retreat to in the summer, the excellent, wet, and refreshing highland is famous for jungle walks, tea plantations, and strawberry farms to see up in these beautiful hills.
One of the best things to do at night is to have a steamboat dinner with fresh highlands vegetables.
6 Pulau Pangkor, Perak
Sleepy Pulau Pangkor is one of the best tourist spots in Malaysia.
The last hidden gem is also one of the remaining undiscovered treasures on the west coast.
The idyllic island lies midway between Malacca and Penang; and attracts locals and international tourists.
The Pangkor Laut Resort is set on a gorgeous private island with beautiful beaches, and the jungle terrain is worth a visit.
7 Kuala Kangsar, Perak
Kuala Kangsar is the royal capital of the Malaysian state of Perak, where the Sultan of Perak’s regal palace is located.
Although Ipoh and Taiping have long outgrown this small city, it remains essential in local history.
8 Taiping, Perak
Few people are familiar with historic Taiping, and many travelers visiting Malaysia may not include the laid-back city on their itinerary.
Taiping is a pleasant change from other Malaysian states, with lovely gardens, mangrove reserves, and cooling hill stations that make it ideal for relaxing.
9 Ipoh, Perak
When driving from the Cameron Highlands to the north, Ipoh is often merely seen as a stopover on the map, but it’s worthwhile to stay to see one of Malaysia’s fastest-growing destinations.
Ipoh is a heritage city with excellent food culture and many historic streets to explore.
Ipoh offers inexpensive and tasty street food, from Ipoh Bean Sprout Chicken to Cantonese Dim Sum, Tau Fu Fah, and the incredible Nasi Ganja!
There are limestone karsts, green lakes, and even the ruins of Kellie’s Castle, the only castle ever constructed in the 19th century by a crazy Scotsman nearby for visitors to view.
The top Selangor attractions are a combination of urban and natural activities.
If you’re staying anywhere in the Klang Valley, you can easily access the attractions if you decide to self-drive for an ideal weekend vacation or day trip.
10 Negara Zoo, Gombak, Selangor
The sizable zoo in a tropical setting is one of Selangor’s tourist destinations that is well-liked by families with young children.
11 International Sepang Circuit, Selangor
Formula 1 races and other motorsports competitions are held at the International Sepang Circuit.
You can try Go-Karting, and a brief visit to the National Automobile Museum is highly recommended.
12 Pulau Ketam, Selangor
If you enjoy seafood, a trip to Crab Island is a must.
The ferry journey is quite interesting, and on the island, you can see the lifestyle of a typical Chinese fishing community.
13 Sri Subramaniam Temple at Batu Caves, Selangor
One of the most well-known Hindu sanctuaries outside of India is the Batu Caves, which is dedicated to Lord Murugan.
It is the center of the Tamil holiday known as Thaipusam, where pilgrims gather to keep their promises.
14 Firefly Park Resort in Kuala Selangor’s Bukit Belimbing
One location in Kuala Selangor where people may experience the incredible natural light from the fireflies is Firefly Park Resort Bukit Belimbing.
15 Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, and Sunway Lagoon
Whether you are 8 or 80 years old! Sunway Lagoon offers Malaysia’s most incredible theme park experience, with over 80 attractions across 88 acres.
One of the oldest states to visit in Malaysia is Malacca.
16 Melaka City
They’re a diverse range of architecture and culture to discover, ranging from the ruins of the Portuguese to colonial British-era structures, a bustling Chinatown, and Encore Melaka.
Discover regional culinary treats and Muslim-friendly eateries that include Kristang cuisine, Nyonya food, Asam Pedas, Chicken Rice Balls, and Satay Celup!
When the sun sets, go to Jonker Street to shop for unique gifts and immerse yourself in Melaka’s bustling night scene.
17 Johor Baru, Johor
In the southernmost point of peninsular Malaysia, Johor Baru (JB) is just a short drive across the Causeway from Singapore.
JB is Singopresan’s go-to destination for quick getaways, delicious halal food, fantastic theme parks, and picturesque villages.
You may explore the local culture and view the grand palaces of the Sultan of Johor, who once ruled much of the peninsula.
Kelantan is one of the best places to visit in Malaysia for Malays arts and crafts.
The state is its indigenous art forms such as Dikir Barat, Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong, Menora, Wau Bulan (kite-flying), Gasing (top-spinning), Silat, and Bird-singing competitions!
18 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Kelantan is one of many spots that come to mind when considering the perfect retreat in Malaysia. However, this unhurried location has a lot to offer!
Kota Bharu city has a conservative vibe and is filled with mosques and museums.
A world of adventure awaits the intrepid traveler to witness a side of Malaysia that many east coast communities have long since forgotten.
Savour delectable Kelantanese cuisine with rich, sweet, and creamy flavors and an abundance of fish in local dishes.
There are picturesque hidden jewels, and Kelantan’s top attractions include dining spots and outdoor activities!
19 Perhentian Islands, Kelantan
One of Malaysia’s most breathtaking island paradises is on the east coast- the Perhentian Islands.
There are many islands to explore, and traveling by speed boat is exciting. These tropical clichés provide magnificent white beaches and azure water.
Excellent diving and snorkeling are available, and the atmosphere is relaxed.
Terengganu is famous for its numerous waterfalls and rapids and diverse richness of nature and wildlife.
20 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Charming Kuala Terengganu on Malaysia’s east coast is an under-visited city.
Malaysia’s east shore is very conservative but equally attractive, with an eclectic mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences.
The stunning Crystal Mosque is the city’s best-known attraction and is lovely.
From its white sandy beaches and laid-back vibe, its wealth of activities is a paradise for those who enjoy the outdoors and the natural world in Terengganu!
The state’s top tourist destination, Tasik Kenyir’s enormous 38,000-acre artificial lake, is in Hulu Terengganu.
The lake is inhabited by a wide variety of fish bordered by lush trees.
Travel Tip: Tasik Kenyir closes from October to March yearly during the northeast monsoon season.
21 Pulau Redang, Trengganu
Pulau Redang is one of Malaysia’s most stunning locations, just south of the Perhentian Islands.
The island has extensive marine conservation, and the protected waters are transparent and teeming with life.
The seas are an excellent location to dive in with a snorkel or scuba equipment.
Pahang is a large state in Peninsular Malaysia known for its mountains, rainforests, and the white sands and coral reefs of Tioman Island off the east coast.
Kuantan, the state’s capital, is a major seaport.
In the west, Cameron Highlands’ gentle slopes include resorts, tea plantations, and terraced farms, and Fraser’s Hill resembles an English hamlet.
22 Pulau Tioman, Pahang
One of the best experiences of a laid-back island living in Malaysia is visiting Pulau Tioman.
You get to enjoy tranquil island life with white sands and coral reefs.
Once you are bored with the coast, there is plenty of dense jungle and hiking. It’s chilled out on Tioman and duty-free, too.
23 Taman Negara National Park, Pahang
Taman Negara is the largest national park in Peninsula Malaysia.
The National Park is an area of rainforest and wildlife, one of the last surviving areas outside Malaysian Borneo.
The easiest route to get here is along the river.
Nearby settlements are accessible by boat, where you may stay the night before trying the canopy walks suspended high in the trees.
24 Genting Highlands, Pahang
Genting Highlands is famous for its casinos, theme parks, and resorts.
You can take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain or drive to the summit.
The landscape changes completely once you reach the hill station. The air is cool and crisper at this elevation, with panoramic vistas of the Titiwangsa mountains and a wealth of flora and fauna.
The discovery of the highlands’ rainforests is refreshing, with many endemic, rare, and native species of plants and wildlife inhabiting the bulk of the land.
For those looking for an adventure, there are plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities to enjoy.
One of the biggest reasons to visit Sabah is to experience the vast diversity of landscapes and environments.
Sabah is frequently rated as one of the best ecotourism destinations in the world, home to both parasitic “Rotting Corpse Lilies” and jungle-dwelling monkey.
25 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Without flying to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, a journey to Malaysia would be incomplete.
Besides visiting the museums and art galleries to get to know the ethnic cultures in Sabah, many street markets, scenic beaches, and street food are waiting for you to explore.
The city, known locally as KK, is the gateway to Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia.
Vibrant marine national parks and tropical islands surround Sabah.
26 Sipadan Island, Sabah
Sipadan Island offers the most incredible snorkeling and scuba diving in Malaysia.
Borneo’s best island is a coral atoll surrounded by some of the world’s most diverse and colorful reefs and marine life.
The island is home to white sand beaches and gorgeous green palm trees, and you can view various large and small aquatic species.
Due to its isolation and remoteness, it is not the most accessible island, but it is worth every extra effort needed to travel to Sipadan.
27 Kinabatangan River, Sabah
One of Malaysia’s most magnificent natural tourism destinations is the Kinabatangan River in Sabah.
Popularly referred to as the “Corridor of Life.” the protected river provides essential habitat for the survival of several endangered species in the Borneo area.
Constant deforestation and poachers threaten the survival of many rare animal and plant species.
As you cruise down the river and stay in the forest, you can encounter anything from saltwater crocodiles in the river to primates like wild orangutans and Proboscis monkeys.
28 Labuan Island, Sabah
Labuan Island is in the seas off Sabah, in the Borneo region.
Labuan is a duty-free zone and offshore financial hub popular with tourists searching for cheap beer.
It is a haven for scuba divers interested in exploring some of the stunning reefs and shipwrecks in the area.
29 Danum Valley, Sabah
Danum Valley is one of the world’s last unexplored rainforests.
Since people haven’t lived in the Danum Valley, the biosphere is heavily protected, and so far, it’s escaped poachers and deforestation.
The rainforest’s unspoiled splendor will make you feel like an adventurer in Borneo’s wilds.
Here you can experience some of the island’s most critically endangered animals, such as orangutans, leopards, and rhinoceroses.
On Sabah’s southeast coast, Lahad Datu is the town closest to the Danum Valley Conservation Area and is reachable by land from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, or Tawau.
Alternatively, you can fly into Lahad Datu from Kota Kinabalu via the regional airline MASwings.
The best places to visit in Malaysia in Sarawak include the Bako National Park, The Brooke Gallery, Mount Santubong, the Kuching Esplanade, the Sarawak Natural History Museum, the Sarawak Cultural Village, and the Kuching Mosque.
30 Kuching, Sarawak
Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, offers visitors a playground of sights and sounds.
Its name, which translates to “cat” in Bahasa Malaysia, gave rise to the term “City of Cats,” which describes it as full of personality and laid-back appeal.
When visiting Sarawak, Kuching is a diverse, multicultural place that can be the starting point for any journey further into the rainforests and beautiful scenery of the region.
31 Miri, Sarawak
Miri is Sarawak’s second-largest city adjacent to neighboring Brunei.
The Gunung Mulu National Park is worth a visit to see the fantastic limestone pinnacles spring sharply from the mountains.
You can also visit the Kelabit Highlands, a great location for trekking and learning more about Borneo’s numerous indigenous cultures.
Malaysia offers travelers, holidaymakers, and families the best places to visit.
There are many attractions, from towering mountains, million-year-old rainforests, gorgeous beaches, coral reefs, highland resorts, and historical, contemporary cities home to delectable cuisine, breathtaking scenery, and exciting history and culture.
Travel Stylus is reader-supported and may earn commission from purchases made through links in this article.