If you’re planning a holiday to Malaysia, this page aims to assist you. From beaches to rainforests, mountain ranges and exotic islands, Malaysia offers plenty of attractions and exciting things to do. This popular tourist destination could be a place to visit and suitable for any traveler, such as family travelers, backpackers, and couples. Here is a list of the best places to visit in Malaysia that you may consider putting on your tour itinerary.

Best Places to Visit in Malaysia

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To facilitate tourists planning their list of things to do in Malaysia, I pin all popular tourist destinations on Google Maps. It covers all highly recommended tourist attractions in Malaysia, including Unesco world heritage sites, cities, beaches, islands, national parks, highlands, and theme parks.

Best Cities To Visit in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Malacca are the three best cities to visit in Malaysia. I chose these cities because they have many unique places of interest and allow tourists to understand Malaysia’s cultural diversity in a shorter time. Ideal for tourists who do not have time to explore the whole of Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur City

Our first list place to visit in Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur city. First-time tourists traveling to Malaysia must visit Kuala Lumpur and spend one or two days exploring Malaysia’s most diverse city. The size of the city, covering 242 square km, is considered small for a city in Southeast Asia.

This tiny city has many popular tourist attractions, making Kuala Lumpur the best city to visit in Malaysia. Tourists can spend the whole day exploring the city and surrounding areas, such as Petronas Twin Towers and Batu Caves. Then, in the evening, tourists explore one of Malaysia’s most unique places to visit in Kuala Selangor, watching fantastic Fireflies sync their light together in Kuala Selangor Fireflies Park.

Kuala Lumpur is also an excellent city for stopover airline passengers. Moreover, with the perfect road system, tourists can make one day trip from Kuala Lumpur. Cameron Highlands and Melaka day trips are popular activities among stopover airline passengers before continuing their flight to their final destination.

Read also about Places to Visit in Kuala Lumpur

best cities to visit in Malaysia
Beautiful architecture building exterior city in Kuala Lumpur skyline at night

Melaka City

Melaka is the correct spelling and name, not Malacca. Melaka, situated in the southern part of Malaysia, is Malaysia’s first international city and entrepot. Besides that, it was the only city in Malaysia colonized by Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Japanese for 500 years.

For travelers interested in learning about Malaysia’s modern history, they must visit Melaka. This ancient city is where tourists can witness how cultural evolution happens when different races and cultures clash. Melaka is a living testimony to Malaysia’s multi-culture and has many historical sites with exciting stories and activities, such as Nyonya Heritage Museum and the Melaka river cruise. Because of history’s uniqueness, Unesco granted Melaka a World Heritage city in 2008.

To make it easier for tourists to understand how the first Melaka Malay government founded by Pareswara in 1401 influenced the monarchical system in Malaysia, tourists should go with a private tour guide. The beauty of the preserved and still used historical place makes Melaka the best place to visit in Malaysia.

places to visit in Malaysia
Melaka River Cruise

George Town, Penang

George town is the capital city of Penang, one of the most famous islands in Asia. It was named by the British after King George 3, George Town, situated in the heart of Penang Island. George town received the Unesco World Heritage city status in 2008.

Georgetown is the best alternative to understanding the modern history of Malaysia if tourists do not have the opportunity to visit Melaka. In stark contrast to Melaka, Captain Francis Light established Penang in the 18th century as one of the bases for the British India Company sailing from India to China.

British ruled Penang from 1789 to 1957. However, due to the free duty policy, the mass influx of immigrants from China and India had a sociocultural impact on Penang specifically and Malaysia.

George Town City
The Heritage of traditional Malaysian colonial houses at Beach Street in Georgetown, Malaysia

Beach in Malaysia

Do you know Malaysia’s coastline covers about 4675km long? Many people visit Malaysia for everything except the beach. Tourists will find amazing beaches with crystal-clear water in a tropical climate, perfect for water activities such as sunbathing, swimming, diving and snorkeling.

Beach in Malaysia is situated on three different seas.

First is the beach situated on the Straits of Melaka coastline. The beaches in the Straits of Melaka have calmer waves and currents as they are not affected by any wind blocked by the island of Sumatra.

Second, the beaches located in the South China Sea are more affected by the Northeast winds, which usually cause heavy rains and rough seas during the monsoon season.

The final list is the beach in Borneo, located between the South China Sea and Sulu Sea.

place to visit in malaysia
fisherman begins the journey into the sea during monsoon season at Beserah beach, Pahang, East coast of Malaysia.

West Coast Beach

Suitable to visit throughout the year.

  • Port Dickson (Negeri Sembilan)
  • Batu Feringgi (Penang)
  • Pantai Cenang (Langkawi)

East Coast Beach

Best time to visit on April to October.

  • Cherating (Pahang)
  • Teluk Cempedak (Pahang)

Borneo Island

Best time to visit April to October

  • Hawaii Beach (Sarawak)

Best Island to Visit in Malaysia

As a country surrounded by three seas Strait of Malacca, the South Chinese Sea and the Sulu Sea, make an island in Malaysia rich with marine life suitable for water sports. Besides scuba diving or snorkeling, we have an island just for those who prefer to be laid-back and sunbathe.   

An island situated in the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea is suitable for adventure tourists who like to explore the sea by scuba diving and snorkeling. The Scuba Travel website rated Barracuda Point on Sipadan Island in Sabah state as the best dive spot globally. 

While the island situated in the Strait of Melaka, such as Langkawi and Pangkor islands, is more appropriate for non-adventure activities. Ideal for relaxing, sunbath and little tour. Tourists should consider putting one of the islands on their list of places to visit in Malaysia for relaxation before traveling back.

best place to visit in malaysia
Diving Activities in Tioman Island, Malaysia

Islands on West Coast

Best for sunbath, laid back, sightseeing and exploring. Available throughout the year.

  • Penang
  • Langkawi (Kedah)
  • Pangkor (Perak)

Islands in East Coast

Best for sunbath, relaxing, scuba diving and snorkeling. Available from April to October.

  • Perhentian Island (Terengganu)
  • Kapas Island (Terengganu)
  • Tioman Island (Pahang)
  • Redang Island (Terengganu)

Islands in Malaysia Borneo

Perfect for sunbath, laid back, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

  • Linkayan Island
  • Sipadan Island (Sabah)
  • Gaya Island (sabah)
  • Mataking Island (Sabah)

Gaya Island consists few islands and it is part of Tuanku Abdul Rahman National Park.

Hills Station and Mountain

Although Malaysia is better known as a maritime country, it also has several mountains and hill stations. Mountains and highlands in Malaysia have different heights ideal for various extreme activities or relaxation.

For example, Mount Kinabalu (World Heritage Site), 4095 meters from sea level, is ideal for extreme activities such as mountain climbing. While Cameron Highlands has an altitude of 1500 meters, located in Pahang is a popular tourist destination because of the beauty of tea plantations and moderate temperatures. Ensure you include Cameron Highlands in the list of places to visit in Malaysia.

Genting Highlands situated about 1.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, which has an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level, is very popular among locals because it has the largest theme park in Malaysia.

Mount Kinabalu Sabah
Mount Kinabalu Standing at 4095 meter

Highlands in East Malaysia

  • Cameron Highlands
  • Genting Highlands
  • Frazer Hills
  • Gunung Tahan

Highlands in Borneo Island

  • Mont Kinabalu (Sabah)
  • Kundasang

National Park

Malaysia’s equatorial climate creates an ideal environment for flora and fauna. As a result, forests in Malaysia are one of the most complex ecosystems in the world. Therefore, if you plan to visit Malaysia, you should consider visiting National Park in the list of places to visit in Malaysia. In addition, Unesco recognizes Kinabalu Park and Gunung Mulu National as world heritage sites.

Many of them are around the country, and they all have unique characteristics. For example, Pahang national park age more than 130 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests globally. These vary from lush jungles to marine parks and mountains. Tourists can go camping, jungle trekking, wildlife observation, visit indigenous people, canopy walk, scuba diving and snorkeling. The great thing about these national parks is that they easy to access and suitable for everyone.

Malaysia National Park

National Park in West Malaysia

  • Taman Negara Pahang
  • Endau-Rompin National Park
  • Penang National Park
  • Royal Belum National Park

National Park in East Malaysia

  • Mulu National Park
  • Bako National Park
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
  • Taman Kinabalu
  • Niah National Park (Sarawak)

Wildlife and Nature

Malaysia is committed to protecting wildlife affected by land clearing for development and plantations. The Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Center and the Sepilok Orang Utan Conservation Center are wildlife conservation centers tourists can visit.

Peninsular Malaysia

  1. Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation
  2. Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park
  3. Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation

Sabah and Sarawak

  1. Semenggoh Nature Reserved
  2. Sepilok Orang Utan
  3. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
  4. Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Places to Visit in Malaysia
Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre

Theme Park in Malaysia

Malaysia offers a few indoor and outdoor theme parks suitable for every age level as a country promoting family orientation tourism. In addition, Malaysia has a few water and animal parks ready to entertain your children.

List of Theme Park

  1. Legoland Malaysia
  2. Kidzania
  3. Sunway Lagoon
  4. Icity Leisure Park
  5. Genting Skyworld
  6. Berjaya Times Square
  7. Jump Street Malaysia
  8. Wet World Water Park
Theme Park in Malaysia
Legoland Malaysia Resort and Theme Park

Places to Visit in Malaysia FAQ

What are the best places to visit in Malaysia with a 10-day itinerary?

You need to break your holiday into two parts. The first part is where you do the tour visiting attractions in Malaysia and another part for relaxing.
Let’s say you start your holiday in Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur. You can do the city tour, maybe a day trip to Malacca the next day.
Following day tourists can consider doing an Elephant conservation tour, staying one night in Taman Negara. After Taman Negara, move to Cameron Highlands for one night, then travel to Penang. Stay in Penang for two nights, and take a flight to Langkawi. Finally, stay in Langkawi for a few days.