14 Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia
One of the world’s most beautiful countries allows Travel Stylus to introduce Malaysia’s top holiday destination.
Malaysia is Southeast Asia’s stunning tourist destination that offers exotic holidays.
The country is divided into the Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo Malaysia – exotic wildlife rain forests.
With a beautiful blend of cultural attractions, Malaysia is a nation of diversity in its people, ethnicity, language, and food.
Old colonial buildings, ancient temples, and modern architecture juxtaposed with terraced tea plantations, clean white-sand beaches, luxurious accommodations, and simple village homestays.
The weather is sunny all year round with seasonal rains, the locals’ fascinating culture, and their enormous insatiable love for food 24/7.
You will fall in love with Malaysia – enjoy blending with the friendly locals and pick up the Malay language.
Even if you don’t, don’t worry; Malaysians speak good English and are natural-born foodies who will point you to the best eats in the location.
Let us look at some of the must-visit places and the top tourist destination in Malaysia.
Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia – City Centres
01 Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital and one of the most visited tourist destinations in Malaysia.
As a central entry point to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is connected worldwide via its famous Kuala Lumpur International Airport, about 40 km from the City Centre.
The fastest airport transfer from KLIA to Kuala Lumpur City Centre is only 33 mins.
Kuala Lumpur is the largest city with glass skyscrapers and modern architecture, quality accommodation, living amenities, and world-class infrastructure.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre is dotted with sky-scrappers and colonial architectures and is also known for stunning natural attractions, cultural heritage sites, and lavish temples.
Top Tourist destinations include visiting the famous Petronas Twin Tower to the historical Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Dataran Merdeka.
Visit the 400 years Batu Caves – a religious site that draws up to a million devotees during the Thaipusam festival.
It no secret that Kuala Lumpur has excellent food. Sampling local cuisine is top on visitors’ itinerary.
The city has excellent international cuisine and outstanding seafood, amazing grilled meats, and influences from neighbouring influences.
You have many choices of where to stay in Kuala Lumpur, with reasonably priced rooms from basic to luxury.
From Kuala Lumpur, get to your next destinations either by driving, bus, or the ETS train.
Distance from airport: situated at a distance of 55 km.
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital, but Putrajaya, about 15 miles (24 kilometres) away, is the government’s seat.
This planned city was laid out in the mid-1990s with manicured gardens, majestic buildings, and space-age architecture spread around a human-made lake.
Putrajaya is a popular choice for architecture fans.
Putrajaya city’s architecture includes the rose-pink Putra Mosque, circular Putra Square, sail-shaped Seri Wawasan Bridge, and the green-domed Perdana Putra, home to Malaysia’s government.
Landmarks not to miss include the three-tiered Putra Bridge is inspired by Iranian architecture, with four minaret-type piers overlooking the human-made Putrajaya Lake.
Strict dress code: Men need to wear collared shirts, closed shoes, and long pants, while women should cover shoulders, knees, and décolletage.
The buildings are most impressive when seen from the air via balloon flights, or you could take an excursion to lake cruises.
At the Putrajaya Botanical Garden or Agriculture Heritage Park, you can find traditional Malaysian crops such as rubber, palm oil, fruit trees, cocoa, herbs, and species.
Most visitors prefer to base themselves in Kuala Lumpur, which has broader food, accommodation, and nightlife options.
You can get to Putrajaya about 20 miles (32 kilometres) from Kuala Lumpur’s international airports on the KLIA Transit rail service.
Distance from Kuala Lumpur: situated at a distance of 33 km.
Malacca is rich with old traditions at every corner.
Malacca is one of the smaller states in Malaysia, rich in history and tourist attractions.
Listed as UNESCO world heritage sites in the year 2008, Melaka is rich with heritage buildings, colonial structures, and ancient sites.
The British, Dutch, and Portuguese influence have left their mark in forts, museums, churches, towers, and cuisine.
In the early fifteenth century, a beautiful princess from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, Hang Li Poh, arrived in Malacca with her entourage to be presented as a bride to the Malacca Sultan.
This entourage settled down in Bukit, China, and eventually married the local Malays.
The mixed marriages marked the beginning of a new generation of people in Malaya, the Straits Born Chinese, or more commonly known the Peranakan, aka ‘Baba Nyonya.’
Your visit to Melaka’s historical city would be amiss without a delicate taste of the Peranakan cuisine’s legacy, which marries Chinese cooking techniques with Malay flavours and spices.
You can see many historical places such as these and more.
- Christ Church
- the Stadthuys
- St. Paul’s Hill
- Dutch Fort
- Portuguese Settlement
Located about 145 km from Kuala Lumpur and 240 km Singapore
Melaka is easily accessible via PLUS Highway, many buses from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and other cities.
You can self-drive as there is a sound network road system.
Nearest airport: Malacca international airport is the closest airport
Ipoh city is an offbeat destination known as a gateway to the Cameron Highlands hill station.
A former tin mining town, Ipoh is the third-largest city of Malaysia for adventure, heritage, and architecture.
Ipoh is a stopover gateway for Cameron Highlands.
Ipoh is one of Malaysia’s few top tourist destinations to attract foodies, devotees, and adventure lovers.
You can find out about the tin-mining industry and Hakka community at the Hakka Miners’ Club.
Han Chin Pet Soo is a museum Sam Poh Tong is a Buddhist temple in a limestone cave.
Further south, you can visit an unfinished mansion built by a Scottish planter, Kellie’s Castle, or go caving in Gua Tempurung for its dramatic rock formations.
Ipoh is famous for its Chinese cuisine drawing in the weekend crowds from all over Malaysia.
- Dim Sum
- Taugeh (Beansprout) Chicken Rice
- Gai Se Hor Fun
- Hakka Mee
- Salt Baked Chicken
- Ipoh White Coffee
- Caramel Egg Custard
Distance from Kuala Lumpur: situated at a distance of 200 km
Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia – Nature
Selangor is one of the most developed and wealthiest states of Malaysia.
In the state capital, Shah Alam, the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque has four soaring minarets and a huge blue dome.
Selangor is still a very green state with plenty of jungle-covered hills, parks and forest reserves, home to protected biodiversity areas and eco forests.
You can visit natural parks.
- Gabai Waterfalls
- Taman Rimba Ampang
- Taman Rimba Komanwel
- Sungai Tekala, Kanching
- Gunung Nuang
Crab Island (Pulau Ketam) is a must if you enjoy seafood in this typical Chinese fishing community.
You can check out Selangor’s quiet corner and see Kuala Selangor, the world’s largest colony of fireflies.
Take A trip to the Paya Indah for the human-made wetlands area with crocodiles and hippos among its star attractions.
Sekinchan is a small fishing village with rice paddy fields, a small beach, and has many seafood restaurants.
There are several naturally occurring hot springs in Selangor, believed to have therapeutic benefits.
- Sungai Serai Hot Springs
- Dusun Tua Hot Spring
- Hulu Tamu Hot Springs
- Kuala Kubu Bharu Hot Spring
- Kerling Hot Springs
- Selayang Hot Springs
Malaysia’s top tourist destination would be the Sky Mirror, a mysterious beach in the middle of the sea!
A strip of sand that only emerges from under the sea twice a month where the sea is so shallow and calm the reflections captured looks like a mirror on the horizon.
Do visit this wonderfully developed city located very close to Kuala Lumpur.
Distance from Kuala Lumpur: situated at a distance of 30 km
06 Taman Negara
Taman Negara is a national park in Peninsular Malaysia and one of the world’s oldest deciduous rainforests, estimated to be more than 130 million years old.
Kuala Tahan, the main entry point, is a base for the nearby canopy walkway, river trips, and treks through the jungle to Mt. Tahan’s top.
Visitors can enjoy the tropical virgin rainforest,
- jungle trekking (Tenor Rentis)
- river views along the Tahan River
- explore Gua Telinga (cave system)
- Lata Berkoh (rapids)
The park is home to tigers, macaques, and birdlife.
You can trek to see the Rafflesia, a giant speckled five-petaled flower with a diameter up to 106 cm and weighing up to 10 kg.
This parasitic plant without any leaves, stems, and roots and uses nutrient-absorbing threads to absorb nutrients from the host on which it lives.
When in bloom, the Rafflesia emits a repulsive odour, similar to that of rotting meat. This odour attracts insects that pollinate the plant.
One of Malaysia’s top tourist destinations for ecotourism, Taman Negara, attracts thousands of local and international travellers.
The national park is the perfect place for travellers who love wildlife viewing, jungle trekking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, and camping.
The weather is a tropical, humid climate with temperatures averaging 86°F (30°C). Taman Negara is opened throughout the year.
Taman Negara is popular among tourists as one of the destinations during their Malaysia tour, usually includes Cameron Highlands, Perhentian Island, Penang, Malacca, and Langkawi.
07 Malaysian Borneo
Borneo is a giant, rugged island in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago, shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan, and Brunei’s tiny nation.
Malaysian Borneo is a rare and unique place on the earth and home to two Malaysian states – Sabah and Sarawak.
The biodiverse rainforest is home to wildlife, including orangutans and clouded leopards.
In Sabah is 4,095m-tall Mount Kinabalu, the island’s highest peak, and, offshore, the famed dive site Sipadan Island.
Both Kuching, Sarawak, and Kota Kinabalu’s capital, the capital of Sabah, serve as the usual entry point and base for exploringBorneo’se wildlife attraction.
You will come across Orangutans in the thick forests; one can go for a trek in the rainforest while exploring the wildlife or climb Mt. Kinabalu.
Nearest airport: Kota Kinabalu is the closest airport
Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia – Hill
08 Genting Highland
Genting Highlands is considered to be South-Asia’s Las Vegas and the most visited hill station in Malaysia.
Set in the cold mountain air and a majestic 100 million-year-old rainforest Resorts World Genting is known for its casinos, luxury hotels, spacious guestrooms with breathtaking mountain views., water parks, and amusement parks, an 18-hole golf course, cave temples, strawberry farms, and nightlife.
The weather is always pleasant throughout the year and is adventure enthusiasts like abseiling, indoor rock climbing, and flying fox activities.
Locals escape from their hectic city during the weekends, from dining to the best attractions and activities at the three and five-star properties on-site.
Located just 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur city centre, Genting Highlands offers all these as the ‘City of Entertainment,’ the cold mountain air makes jungle trekking, star gazing, and firefly watching an infinitely pleasurable experience.
Distance from Kuala Lumpur: situated at a distance of 55 km.
09 Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands is a scenic hill station in the state of Pahang.
The highland resort lures travellers to experience the true meaning of relaxation with cold air, lush rolling hills, and a touch of colonial nostalgia.
Malaysia’s weekend top tourist destination is blessed with a stunning landscape, the lush greenery of terraced tea gardens and strawberry farms.
Cameron Highlands has some stunning waterfalls, green mossy forests for trekking, beautiful lakes and rivers, and aboriginal villages.
No visit to Cameron Highlands is complete without visiting the vast tea plantations, flower garden, and a big fresh vegetable steamboat.
The area is known as a major supplier of vegetables to both Malaysia and Singapore.
Visitors enjoy a cold climate, with temperatures no higher than 25 Celsius and sometimes falls below 12 Celsius at night.
Nearest airport: Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Distance from Kuala Lumpur: situated at a distance of 200 km
Cameron Highlands is popular among tourists as one of the stopping points during their tour to Malaysia, including Taman Negara, Perhentian Island, Penang, Malacca, and Langkawi.
You can get there either by self-drive or shuttle service, or public bus.
10 Mount Kinabalu
Mountain Kinabalu is protected as Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site. Kinabalu is the highest peak in Borneo’s Crocker Range and is the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago, and the highest mountain in Malaysia.
Gunung Kinabalu (Mount Kinabalu), at 4,095m high, is the tallest peak in South East Asia and Asia’s popular climbing destinations.
One of the safest and most conquerable peaks globally, Kinabalu National Park is Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its ecology, flora, and geology.
Mount Kinabalu is one of the main attractions where you can see wildlife like Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Sunbear, Pygmy Elephant, and Hornbill of Borneo.
To reach Mount Kinabalu, fly direct to Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
From the airport, either go to Kota Kinabalu City Center or straight to Kundasang, Ranau, Sabah.
Have a good rest and be prepared for the hiking.
Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia – Islands
Beautiful Langkawi is an archipelago made up of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea on Malaysia’s west coast.
These stunning islands are a paradise on earth nature with white beaches, jungle-clad hills, and paddy fields – famed for the legend of Mahsuri.
There are many choices activity at this top tourist destination in Malaysia – Island Hopping at Dayang Bunting, diving at Pulau Payar Marine Park, Mangrove River Cruise, ride the steepest cable car at Gunung Mat Chingcang, Mahsuri Mausoleum, Crocodile Farm, Laman Padi, Handicraft Complex and more.
Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi, spanning almost 100 square kilometres, is noteworthy for mangrove swamps, pristine beaches, and vertical karstic hills.
Langkawi is a duty-free island, with designated stores and shopping centres for you to cart home some exotic chocolates, alcohol, and cigarettes.
Nearest airport: Langkawi international airport is the closest airport.
Penang still retains its old-world charm with many colonial-era buildings to this day.
One of the most stunning and favoured top tourist destinations in Malaysia, George Town, the capital, is a UNESCO world heritage site.
While the island is known for its hawker food and murals, there are some wonderful hidden sandy beaches and coves to discover.
Make time for your itinerary to include
- Penang Hil
- Snake Temple
- Kek Lok Si Temple
- Dhammikarma Burmese Temple
- Wat Chaiyanabgalaram
- Batu Feringgi
- Gurney Drive
If you want a visit off the beaten track, head out to the picturesque Frog Hill known as Bukit Katak, it was once a hidden gem in Penang.
This former tin mining site is located in North Seberang Perai.
You can only get there by hiking up a hill with loose red clay, which gives way to rock as you go higher.
It’s a short but steep climb to the top, which is worth the spectacular drone photographs you see on Instagram.
Tips: The right time to visit Frog Hill will be in the evening before the sun goes down! The lake will look extremely blue.
Don’t go too early; if not, you will get sunburn as there are no big trees on the hills and it is not a place to go alone or in pairs.
Some visitors only head to Penang to eat hawker food, breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and have it as snacks in between.
Take the opportunity to taste the famous local delicacies; you may want to go in a group to taste even more street food.
- Penang Rojak
- Char Kway Teow
- Asam Laksa
- Nasi Kandar
Nearest airport: Penang international airport is the closest airport.
13 Tioman Island
Time Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world’s most beautiful islands in the 1970s.
Tioman Island is one of Malaysia’s best-kept secrets and is famous for its spectacular corals and stunning white sand beaches, making it a haven for scuba divers.
For non-divers, they can enjoy snorkeling and Kayaking.
Tioman Island is one of the most beautiful islands globally, covered in the tropical jungle with countless mountain streams and waterfalls for hikes and Jungle walk.
Tioman is ideal for tourists in many categories, such as a family with small children, honeymooners, scuba divers, backpackers, and adventurers.
You get there by air straight from KLIA to the island or via land transport to the jetty either in Mersing or Kuala Rompin, the continuing by ferry to the destination.
Nearest port: Mersing on the mainland of Malaysia.
Distance from Kuala Lumpur: situated at a distance of 300 km
14 Perhentian Islands
Perhentian Islands are well known all over the world because of their pristine beaches and crystal clear water.
The island and coral are relatively unspoiled and popular stopping off points for tourists exploring Malaysia and this part of Asia.
Play and walk on the soft and white sand with many broken corals in places.
The sea is turquoise and crystal clear make Perhentian Island the best place for snorkelling in Malaysia, do it right in front of your resort.
You can swim, snorkelling, playing at the beach, and kayaking for the whole day.
Perhentian Island is popular among tourists as one of the destinations during their Malaysia tour that usually includes Taman Negara, Cameron Highlands, Penang, Malacca, and Langkawi.
You can get there either by self-drive or shuttle service or public transport (bus & taxi) and boat.
Suggested Itinerary for Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia
Day 2: Kuala Lumpur city tour
Day 3: Malacca
Day 4: Cameron Island
Day 6: Penang to Langkawi
Day 8: Langkawi
Day 9: Traveling to Kuala Lumpur; Departure
Best time to visit the Top Tourist Destination in Malaysia
Malaysia enjoys tropical weather year-round and is often quite humid.
Malaysia does not have four seasons (spring, summer, winter, autumn), but it has sunny days and rainy days throughout the year.
Temperature ranges from a mild 20°C to 30°C average, with the highlands experiencing colder temperatures.
Malaysia faces two monsoon winds seasons, the Southwest Monsoon from late May to September and the Northeast Monsoon from October to March.
Overall, the best time to visit Malaysia for an island holiday is between the dry season months of December and February for Penang, Langkawi, and Pangkor.
If you’re planning a trip to the country’s east coast to visit Perhentian and Tioman Island, it’s from May through September.
The east coast island closes during the Northeast Monsoon from October to March.
From December to February, when the weather is pleasantly cold and perfect to explore the western regions.
While the country receives plenty of sunshine and heavy rains, it is best to avoid travelling in Malaysia’s monsoon.
November is considered to be the wettest month; thus, it is the worst period to visit.
Here is a comprehensive list of things to do at the top tourist destination in Malaysia, from the not-to-be-missed activities to uniquely local favourites.
Keep this list for your next long weekend or school holidays to enjoy Malaysia travels!