Things to do in Malaysia

About a week ago I posted a message about Singapore, and now I want to know more about Malaysia as while in Singapore may as well visit Malaysia. I have been there once on business/pleasure. Loved K.L. but didn’t have much time to go sight seeing. Already been to the Petronas. What other places have you all been to you would recommend to us specifically in K.L., but information on other places in Malaysia would certainly be useful.


Malacca, my wife’s hometown, is worth a visit. It’s about half-way between Singapore and KL and has a lot of “Western” history. It used to be the trading capital of the region, but fell by the wayside when the British took over and displaced it with Singapore and Penang. A lot of antique stores, cool old Portuguese architecture, ruins of military outposts, etc. Be sure to do the river tour if you go.

Penang is another good destination, but it’s way at the north end of the country, although you can catch a train there from KL.

Closer to Singapore there’s Tioman Island, which was where the movie South Pacific was filmed. It’s a huge island though, so be sure to plan ahead if you go. We went there for our honeymoon so we didn’t do much exploring (of the island).

I’ve heard people say Lankawi island (again, way far north, not too far from Penang) is nice, but I didn’t care for it much myself. The water just wasn’t very clear when I was there. The Perhentian island are nice, but hard to get to (at least they were 8 years ago).

Thanks Jeff! Malacca sounds like a cool place!

I have been to Penang for about a day, for business, but did get to see parts of the city, I wasn’t overly impressed with the taxi fees.

Tioman Island also sounds nice, thanks for the warning about time.

I have heard a lot of Lankawi which is actually very near Thailand. And there is a another popular destination on the western island of Malaysia, but it seems I cannot find the name now.

It’s a huge island though, so be sure to plan ahead if you go.

Must be a different Tioman I have been to!? Anyhow, Tioman is nice if you want to relax, it’s really quiet, beautiful beaches and you can go snorkling or diving at reasonable rates. Have been told the islands further north are even nicer (Pulau Redang) - hard to imagine.
You can take a plane from KL (around 45 minutes I think) and touch down on a small strip considered an airport.

Anyway, KL is a good start and beside myriads of shopping centers you could go down to Merdeka square and try to climb the tallest flag pole in the world (yes, they not only have the tallest building but also the tallest flag pole).
Around there are a couple of nice old buildings, the court and the railway station in particular. As well look out for the two rivers merging with the mosque sitting inbetween - the place which gave KL it’s name. Just near Merdeka Square. There is also a butterfly and deer park near it (further west) though I haven’t been there.
China town is an interesting place if you want to shop, ahem, Rolex watches, branded T-Shirts and VCDs. All genuine of course. :wink:

Places to hang out: Beach Club area (near Hard Rock Cafe).

Actually KL hasn’t much in terms of sightseeing, so it would be good to go further away:
West of KL, directly at the coast, you find a small town called Kuala Selangor. Near to it (a bit closer to KL) you find a small “kampung” (township) where you can take a boat and see millions of fire flies at night, sitting in the bushes along the river bank.
Visit Kuala Selangor in the afternoon - forget the nature park but go up the hill instead and feed the monkeys - and on the way back see the “kelip-kelip”. Around 8pm is a good time I rekon.

If you miss Chinese culture too much go up to Genting Highlands, the one and only casino in Malaysia; also got a theme park. It’s a small city on top of the mountain (gotta see it to believe it), refreshing cool and a great view if the weather allows it. If you plan on staying during a weekend make sure to make a reservation, else the Singaporeans which come with hundreds of buses will take up all the place. Use the cable car (longest in Asia) instead of the crazy taxis to get up the last bit.

If you don’t like noisy Genting maybe Bukit Tinggi is something for you, same highway as leading to Genting but a few more exits down the road - again a resort on a hill but more (nature) to see. Here the French town of Colmar was recreated, the ground floors house restaurants while the upper floors serve as hotel rooms. Simple and not cheap but nice, gives you a bit of European flair. Sit ourside on the terrace in the morning and sip a coffee - nice.
The place is also known as Colmare Tropicale. Visit the Japanese garden or the Botanical Garden from where you can trek into the jungle. Supposingly there is a view point from which you can see Genting, due to bad weather I couldn’t go last time. Got a golf course and paint ball shooting range there as well.
Expect possible construction sites around there, too, the plans for expansion and development of the entire area are HUGE (theme park, Spanish village, hotels, condos etc). Not sure if they have started though.

Melakka was mentioned and is a worthy day trip, around 1.5 hours drive south of KL. You can walk along the small shops in the center and go up the hill to the fort (or church?) from where you have a nice view on Melakka and the ocean.

Langkawi: ok if you are there the first time, though the beaches are nowhere as nice as the ones along the east coast. But you can easily spend a weekend there.

Penang: called the Pearl of the Orient but I strongly disagree, Langkawi is definetely nicer and Penang has not much to offer, small strip of beach with a couple luxury hotels along it is pretty much it. Been there many times on business but couldn’t recommend it unless you want an island with easy access (there is a bridge and ferry service which links it to the mainland).

OK, maybe huge is an overstatement (~39 x 12 km), but there’s a lot to see there. We were at the resort down toward the south end of the island and never made it very far from there. There are direct flights from Singapore, too, I believe.

I didn’t make it up to the beach in Penang–just the downtown area, which I enjoyed. But if you’ve already been there it’s probably not worth a second trip.

Thanks for the extensive information Rascal!

I spent most of my time in K.L. in the area around the Hard Rock and the Petronas Towers as that is where my hotel was. Nice area, lots of shopping, food, etc. But I only stayed there a little over a day. Is that all there is to do and see in K.L.?

After seeing Penang I wouldn’t say that I agree with calling it the Pearl of the Orient either. I have been to several other places in southeast Asia that are much nicer.

Didn’t I mention Batu Caves? “The place” to see according to my travel guide, about 10km north of the KL center (well, still considered part of KL actually). Climb up 271 steps to reach the cave which isn’t a cave (got a hole in the “roof”) - you find a small Indian temple in there. A bit dirty, a bit smelly but you can drink a fresh coconut on the way out (downstairs).
Well, don’t plan more than 2 hours for this, that’s probably more than enough. If you are a bit daring you can stop on the way back in the district called Sentul which is mainly populated by Indians.

Oh, perhaps a guided tour into FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) would be nice, you can see some interesting insects there and overlook the jungle with KL in the backgound from the canopy walk. Northeast of KL near Kepong.

While we’re at it:

I’ll have a 10 - 12 hour stop-over in KL on my flights to and from Germany in february. The airline provided me with hotel and food vouchers. Would there be anything that I could see in that time? Would it make sense to go into KL? I know that the airport is approx. 90 min from the city center. I’ve spent a day in KL before and liked it a lot. But it might not be worth it. Is there anything closer to the airport that might be interesting to take a look at?

Any tips? Rascal?



Thanks! I won’t plan too much time for that, but it does sound interesting! Both places you mention are accessable from the subway?


I think it took me about 60-80 minutes or so from the airport the first time I went, I can’t remember, and it really depends on traffic. Being you have almost a half a day you could go into the city center and do some shopping.

Subway? What Subway? Ok, KL got a MRT (well, two actually - clever to have two different ones) which partially runs underground and perhaps a Monorail by now (that makes 3 systems) but the places I mentioned last are nowhere near the stops. Then again taxis are dirt cheap there, just insist on using the meter.

Iris, close to the airport is the newly developed area of Putrajaya (a new state actually which is now the new seat of the federal government) though it’s pretty much confined to government buildings, a huge mosque with a big square in front of the two and residential areas.
Nice area however due to the landscaping (lake etc) and there is a food court below the square overlooking the lake. (Left side of the mosque, look out for the escalators going down) You can also walk up the small hill and stroll around the park.
Else the F1 circuit and a go-cart race track are close to the airport, but nothing much to see there me thinks. And of course there are zillions of oil palm trees around that area. :wink:

So I guess I would rather head for downtown KL, Suria KLCC (below Twin Towers) and Bukit Bintang area for shopping and food.
Can’t remember when you said you have been there but is has changed quite a lot in recent years.

Travel time is around 45 - 80 minutes by car, depending on the time of the day and the driver. Not sure if the new high speed train (ERL) operates already, should only take ~20 minutes to downtown (the new KL Sentral station)!?

The last time I was there was in March 2002, the ERL was not operating yet. At least not to my knowledge.

The new train is operating and is supposed to take 28 minutes to KL. I’ll post the price after I"m back.

However, I was so tired from celebrating Chinese New Year with lots of food, lots of New Year tv shows and being doted on by a very nice Chinese family, I simply took advantage of my hotel voucher and slept the whole afternoon.

Thanks anyway and Happy CNY