Looking for a Malaysia getaway? Divided into Peninsular Malaysia & Borneo, you are entering a diverse world of terrain and attractions. Spend a couple weeks (the more the better) exploring the different region, and walk away with a lifetime full of memories!
ALL LIFE IS AN EXPERIMENT. THE MORE EXPERIMENTS YOU MAKE, THE BETTER. – RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Fall in love with everything Malaysia has to offer!
PENINSULAR MALAYSIA VISA
Here is a super easy website to determine whether or not you need a visa. Simply enter your nationality and place you would apply for your visa from, and it will show you if you need a visa for Tourist, Business, or Work purposes.
Note, visitors from many countries can visit for up to 30-days without obtaining a visa, so what’s stopping you? Go and see what the fuss is all about…
PENINSULAR MALAYSIA WEATHER
Enjoy the lush greenery!
Overall, the region is classified as having an equatorial climate, meaning it’s hot & humid throughout the year. That being said, the monsoon seasons do heavily impact the area, so travelers should plan accordingly.
- Southwest Monsoon Season: May – September
- Diving is good on the west coast outside of the later monsoon months
- Northeast Monsoon Season: October – March
- Best to avoid the east coast altogether during this period as many islands close down over this period
STAY, PLAY & EAT IN PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
Explore the island!
Start off in the capital city and explore it in all of its glory!
- Step Inn Guesthouse – Nothing fancy, but just a few steps away from China Town and the metro, make this a popular stop for travellers.
- Dorms KL – Stay in the middle of all the action. Just a few minutes away from all the food, bars and spas you could ask for, Dorms KL is a great place to meet people and mingle with fellow travellers.
- YouniQ Hotel – If you’re arriving late, or leaving early, stay at YouniQ for a fresh, comfortable stay near the airport. With affordable, modern rooms, and an airport shuttle available, you’re sure to rest well!
Petronas Towers – They’re stunning from the outside, but if you’re keen to go inside, here’s all the details you’ll need:
Tuesday – Sunday. 9am-9pm (closed between 1-2:30pm Fridays). Child (3-12) $8. Adult (13-60) $20. Seniors (61+) $10
The views from afar aren’t bad at all!
- Heli Lounge Bar – If you’ve ever wanted to indulge on a helipad, here’s your chance. With no cover entry, enjoy this trendy spot with your choice of drink. One of our personal favs – enjoy the 360° views from the rooftop! Beware, if the weather is bad, you may not be able to go on the helipad, though you can still have plenty of fun in the bar downstairs.
Making new friends…
- Skybar – Visit this hip bar by taking the elevator to the top! Catch up with friends while taking in the views inside (yup, it’s got an indoor pool) & outside (ahhh, those KL lights are amazing).
- Nasi Kandar – Enjoy some of the best Indian food in town! And the best news is, it’s incredibly cheap.
- Jalan Alor – It’s also known as “food street” for a reason. Hosting a nightly market, with a range of cuisines, there is something to suit everyone without breaking the bank.
- CH Travellers Inn – At the foothills of town, you’re walking distance to some yummy restaurants, public transport, and a few shops. A bit noisy, but convenient location for a couple days…
- Hire a Scooter – Tour around town, climb the hills, and stop in anywhere that strikes your fancy…fun times await!
- Strawberry Farms – Depending on the season, stop by and pick some yourself. Otherwise, try any of the numerous strawberry delights – from ice cream to chocolate covered berries, your tastebuds will thank you!
- Cameron Bharat Tea Estate – Visit the plantation and enjoy a cup of tea!
Explore the fields before retreating to taste a cup
- Cameron AA Curry House – Choose from a wide variety of traditional Indian dishes from the Curry House on the corner. Enjoy a cold drink from the big selection they have on offer.
- Steamboat – Try one of the many steamboat restaurants in town. Don’t know what it is? Check it out for yourself…
- The Frame Guest House – Visit this refurbished warehouse and make yourself right at home. With dorms, double bed dorms & private rooms, there’s a place to suit everyone!
- Reggae Love Lane Hostel – Situated on Love Lane (aka Backpacker central), set yourself up with a pod style bed for the night to enjoy a bit of solitude after the party ends!
- Street Art – Rent a bicycle or walk the streets to view all the local works on display. A great day out and the best part is it’s free! Check out our Penang street art highlights
Take it all in!
- Penang Hill – Of course, you can take a tram to the top, but check out our guide on hiking up to see the city from above. Trust me, it’s a much more rewarding trip!
Check out the city views whilst enjoying nature
- Wen Chang Hainan Chicken Rice – Head to China Town with your lose change and fill up on this local favorite.
- Wheeler’s Coffee – Be sure to stop by Wheeler’s for a coffee, or load up on a meal…the Western-inspired variety is to die for!
- Tom’s Burger Truck – Perfect for a late night stop!
- Night Market – Do not miss the street food – it’s cheap and it’s delicious!
Say “hi” to Tom for us!
- Zackrys Guest House – For a great stay just outside the hustle & bustle, set yourself up here for a few nights. Walk to a few nearby shops and restaurants or rent a scooter onsite to tour around the island. This family run business can’t do enough for you, so go & make yourself at home!
- Langkawi Cable Car & Sky Bridge – $12. What a bargain! The ticket price gets you a ride up the mountain on the cable car. Once there, take a walk on the wild side and explore the sky bridge. Overlook Thai islands without leaving Malaysia – a truly incredible experience. Also, visit the rabbit petting zoo & 3D dinosaur experience. Great fun for all ages!
The views are incredible!
- Gunung Raya – If you want to avoid crowds, or not keen on paying the fee for the Cable Car, hike up to the top and you can see the same views for free. Beware, it can get extremely muddy depending on the conditions!
- Half Day Island Tour – $8. Do a hop-on, hop-off boat experience to explore some of the nearby islands. Soak up the sun & water in this half day excursion.
- Temurun & Durian Perangin – Take a short hike before jumping in and enjoying the refreshing nature of these falls. A magical experience!
Be sure to take a dip in the refreshing water!
- Cenang, Tengkorak, Tanjung – Stop by, go for a swim, or just find some shade and take in Mother Nature’s beauty. Great stops on an independent tour around the island!
Take a timeout at the beach!
- Yuan Spa – In need of a massage? This is the place to go…a few more dollars than the taunts in town, but the professionalism and top service more than makes up for it!
- Colonial India – Try this authentic Indian restaurant run by natives. The food and service are impeccable!
- Sugar – A great spot right along the beach to pop in for a pre-dinner drink. If you’re hungry, the meals are just as delicious, so be sure to check it out!
- Burau Corner – A great little restaurant with the freshest food. Choose from seafood, meat or vegetarian options!
- Night Market – Langkawi hosts a night market at different venues on the island each night. So no matter what your schedule is, make it a point to visit during your stay.
- Ringo Foyer Guest House – Get lost (literally) inside this old, restored home. Plenty of common areas and great facilities onsite and within walking distance. If you enjoy cycling, take part in one of the nightly rides with owner and cycling enthusiast!
- Ruins of St. Paul’s Church – Walk up the hill and be rewarded with the ruins of St. Paul’s Church! A beautiful setting filled with a plethora of sites & stories about the local history!
Beautiful St. Paul’s
- Porta de Santiago – Part of the A Famosa fortress. Porta de Santiago is a small gatehouse and the only remaining part of the fortress. While a visit will take you no longer than 5-minutes, the history is incredible!
Check out Porta de Santiago
- The Baba Nyonya Museum – Monday-Thursday. 1 hour tours at 10 & 11am, 12, 2, 3 & 4pm. Friday-Sunday. Additional tour at 5pm. Adults $3.50. Children $2.50. Be intrigued as you are guided through a wonderful world of history. The tour is both entertaining and educational – fun for the whole family!
Learn all about the Baba’s & Nyonya’s
- The Floating Mosque – Situated on Malacca’s man-made island, the Malacca Straits Mosque is often referred to as the Floating Mosque. Dress up in traditional garb and take in the beauty of the site.
Go for sunset to see it “float.”
- Selvam Indian Restaurant – Malaysia is filled with Indian heritage and Selvam is no exception! Delicious food served on banana leafs ensure you get the most authentic experience in town. Can’t beat the price either!
- Geographér Café – A fun café environment with food to die for! Smokers sit on one side of the street while you enjoy your food in a smoke free environment.
- Vegetarian Restaurant – This is more than just the name of the restaurant; this is a true dining experience. You will not be disappointed!
- Chicken Rice Balls – Be sure to try one of Malacca’s famous chicken rice balls. Though one will never be enough, indulge on these succulent bites during your visit.
PENINSULAR MALAYSIA BUDGET
We budgeted for $64.45 USD/day (for 2 people). Actual was $54.39/day x 16 days = $870 total.
- Accommodation – $265
- Beverages – $92
- Food – $231
- Transport – $168 *
- Entertainment – $90
- Miscellaneous – $24 **
*excludes flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia & flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Mandalay, Myanmar
**includes laundry & ATM fees
OUR PENINSULAR MALAYSIA HIGHLIGHTS
Try new things…
- Tantalizing our tastebuds on KL’s food street
- Enjoying a cocktail on a helipad!
- Cruising around Cameron Highlands on the scooter for the day
- Exploring the famous Penang Street Art
- Hiking Penang Hill
- Enjoying Penang’s delicious street food
- Celebrating Halloween abroad
- Langkawi’s Cable Car & Sky Bridge experience!
- Swimming in the local waterfalls on Langkawi’s main island
- Enjoying some beach time in Langkawi
- Visiting the floating mosque & wearing traditional garments
- Exploring Malacca’s riverside!
PENINSULAR MALAYSIA TIPS
Enjoy your time in Malaysia!
- To ensure you don’t miss out, arrange your Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers tickets a day ahead of time, being aware they are closed on Fridays.
- If visiting Cameron Highlands, rent a bike to avoid all the traffic – scoot around to all the sites in style, in half the time (just make sure you double check where you can and can not go, as some of the trails are excluded).
- If your visit to Penang is overcast, skip Penang Hill, as visibility is really hindered.
- Transport tips for Langkawi:
- Ferry to Cenang Beach will cost approx $7
- If venturing onto Langkawi from Penang you can take a direct ferry, but it will cost you nearly twice as much ($14). Instead, I’d recommend taking the ferry back to Butterworth, catching a bus to Kuala Perlis & then ferrying across to Langkawi
- Book your ferry tickets in advance to avoid disappointment
- Renting a scooter is the best way to explore the island
- The Baba Nyonya Museum tours in Malacca start on the hour. The price is the same with or without the tour guide, so make sure you time it right.
- Visit Malacca’s “floating mosque” just before sunset. It’s beautiful to see the light shining through the stained glass, and perfect for photographers.
Maybe you’ve seen Penang’s Art Street. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it. Either way, check out the fun we had with this free outdoor 3D interactive art gallery!
With mediums ranging from iron structures to large wall murals, be prepared to delight your senses. Pick up Penang’s Art Street location map from your hotel or the tourist information office, or download this one.
While this is by no mean a comprehensive list of the artwork scattered throughout Penang, these are some of the crowd pleasers so along with some of our personal favorites. Let us know which one is your fav!
Sneaky, sneaky…Rob & his new mate trying to sneak into the windows!
Boys will be boys!
Hmmm…wonder what’s inside there?
Checking it all out!
Being dog people, we were quite amused by this number. What a cheeky lil’ cat with so much personality
Just hanging out!
Hey, two against one hardly seems fair! Push, Robbo, push!
You can do it!
How’s Mr. bashful at the back…kisses for all! xxx
Wondering how to entertain your kids? Get them a pet dinosaur of course. Then they can take him on a walk, play all day & tire themselves out, preparing you for a great night’s sleep.
Rob’s having too much fun teasing the kids with his yummy tart! Too bad you’re behind bars kiddos…
All mine, sorry!
Just shooting some hoops like the greats #Jordan
Delicious! Even though I’m a vegetarian, my dogs still love it when I throw them a bone, much less a steak!
Hey mate, jump off, I wanna have a ride!
Push me! I want to go higher…woo hoo!
Just a swingin’
If this doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will! Gotta love playing dress up with grandpa…
So there you have it, a bit of fun for everyone!
Have you been to Penang’s Art Street? Let us know your favourite piece of art!
If you are on a budget, or like me, love to combine exercise with sightseeing then you will find this guide on hiking the Penang Hill Malaysia a great resource. Read on to find out what to pack, how to get there, and what to expect.
ALL JOURNEYS HAVE SECRET DESTINATIONS OF WHICH THE TRAVELER IS UNAWARE. — MARTIN BUBER
Go outside, take a deep breath and enjoy this day
- Strong bug spray (there were heaps of mosquitos)
- Hiking or running shoes (I wore running shoes and they were fine)
- Walking pole or stick (great for balance as well as scaring off stray dogs)
- Plenty of water (there are no vendors until you reach the top)
- Light rain jacket (the weather changes fast in Malaysia). Note, I don’t recommend hiking the hill if it’s raining as I found the path quite slippery, especially during the initial climb.
- From Penang’s popular backpacking area you need to make your way to the Georgetown Jetty.
- Then take bus 201 to Penang Hill for 2 ringgit/person (take the same bus on your return trip). The bus leaves every 30 minutes between 5:30am and 11:30pm and takes approximately 1-hour.
- Choose your path:
- Penang Hill Forest track. About 5km, Roughly 3 hours to hike up the Hill. Stunning scenery and more off the beaten track.
- Botanical Gardens. About 5km, It takes roughly 3 hours to walk. Well-travelled and offers a good surface, though in my opinion, it’s not as beautiful.
- Both paths take approximately 1.5 hours to walk down.
Finding the Path
Note, this section outlines the off the beaten track path. For details on the Botanical Garden path, reference http://www.travel-penang-malaysia.com/walking-up-penang-hill.html
Once you arrive at Penang Hill Malaysia you will need to:
- Walk away from the attraction & turn right at the bus complex
- Continue walking straight into what looks like a residential area with a number of apartment buildings
Google Maps Overview – Penang Hill Malaysia
This road winds its way slightly up the hill to a turnaround point and dead end with a crumpling green fence. At this point, you will notice a rocky path on the right side of the road leading into the jungle. This is the start of the hike!
You can confirm you are at the right spot with the photo below, stating “Penang Hill” and a yellow arrow pointing the way. This is the signal you will look for to find your way up the hill which is often painted on the path or rocks.
The start of Penang Hill hike
What to Expect on the Climb
The path is narrow, and can be slippery at times, especially at the bottom where the climb is steeper. Though as you make your way into the jungle you soon realise just how beautiful this hike will be.
Keep an eye out for yellow arrows
You can confirm you are heading the correct way by spotting yellow and red arrows and/or yellow Penang Hill graffiti as per the image below. You will see these throughout the path.
Yellow & red arrows marking the way
Initially, the path winds through land used for farming rice and vegetables. You may even pass the occasional farmer going about their daily work. You’ll see locals riding motorbikes up or down the hill, though apart from that no other tourists.
Views over local farms
There is no shade cover for the first part of the hike and the heat and humidity are challenging. After some time you will have amazing views back over Penang, so be sure to stop and take in the views.
Stunning views over Georgetown
As you make your way higher up the hill, the landscape changes and you find yourself surrounded by dense jungle. You can feel the temperature drop slightly and the shade cover is a welcome change. There are many mosquitos so be sure to reapply bug spray.
I found this part of the hike to be the most spectacular. It felt as though I was a world away, with strange animal noises echoing through the trees. I had standoffs with stray dogs and my stick came in handy to scare them off.
Dense jungle with muddy paths
The narrow path winds its way through the jungle. You’ll pass the occasional fallen tree and bamboo everywhere.
We’re in the jungle now
Eventually, you reach a road and feel yourself come back into civilization with signs for accommodation and the railway station which sits on top of the Hill.
The first signs pointing you in the right direction
The hill is dotted with what I can imagine are expensive private homes with amazing views over Georgetown. I found that each residence I passed was undergoing some form of construction.
Not one of the expensive houses!
At the Top
When I finally arrived at the top I was passed by a number of golf carts packed with eager tourists. I made my way to Monkey Cup Café and treated myself to a well-deserved break.
I decided I would get the complimentary car back to the main attraction point rather than walking an additional 2kms. Along the way I got out and took in the designated viewpoints over Georgetown, though the cloud cover had set in and there were no longer views of the city below.
Overall I felt underwhelmed by the attractions and views from the top, though if it were a clearer day I’m sure the views would have been amazing.
Enjoy a coffee at Monkey Cup Cafe
Heading Down the Hill
I decided to take the train back down to save walking further, though once I spotted the line of people and heard the wait can be in excess of 45-minutes I decided to walk the jeep track down to the Botanical Gardens.
Quicker to walk down, than wait in long lines
The road down is well traveled and very well maintained. I passed many locals exercising, walking up and down the hill. Do beware, the road down is quite steep and it was hard on my knees. You can see the entry/exit to the botanical gardens below.
Botanical Gardens “Jeep Track”
There is a bus stop about 500-meters from the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens, where you can then start your journey back to Georgetown.
Botanical Gardens Bus Stop