2 week itinerary: Malaysia

Hello from us again! We just spent 2 weeks in Malaysia and thought we should share our itinerary! 

 

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia June 2017

 
 

 

Stop 1: Kuala Lumpur (3-4 days) 

The capital of Malaysia is definitely a Must-see when visiting this beautiful country. Allow yourself at least two days in KL (but ideally 3-4) as there is plenty to see. There are a lot of interesting areas and attractions and all easy to get to which is an extra bonus because you can take public transport in order to save money.

 

Some of our favorites were:

China Town, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia June 2017

Chinatown - street vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine, restaurants and bars, and if you are into people watching it's a perfect place to sit back and enjoy! The food was good, authentic and inexpensive! 

Central Market - located near one of the busiest bus and train stations, Pasar Seni, the Central market is easy to get to and it has plenty to offer. This blue, two story building has been home to the market since 1937. It has been classified as a Heritage Site by the Malaysian Heritage Society and it is now a landmark for Malaysian culture. The market is split into two levels, the first level is dedicated mainly to clothing, souvenirs and jewelry vendors and the main section of the second level assigned to several different restaurants, offering a variety of delicious food. Towards the back of the second level you will find more options for clothing and accessories, seeming to have the more unique and popular styles.  

Petrona Towers, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia June 2017 

 

Batu Caves - located just outside of KL, the Batu Caves are an important and stunning attraction that everyone must see. For more info check out our post here.

The Petrona Twin Towers - KL's famous Twin Towers are not to be skipped. Whether you admire those 451 meter giants from outside or you opt for the chance to ascend the towers to the Skybridge and observation deck. Tickets cost 85 MYR for foreign Adults (around USD $21) but they sell out quickly so make sure to grab them early! Right behind the towers, there is a really nice park with a viewpoint. Make sure to visit at night and enjoy the view and the light show as well. Pack a picnic and watch the show for the ultimate laid-back night out. 

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Malaysia June 2017

Bird Park KL - we are a bit split on this one as I didn't enjoy it that much but Loren loved it. The park is one of the largest bird parks in the world, as the“largest free-flight walk-in aviary in the world”. It spans over almost 21 acres and is home to over 3000 birds and 200 species. It is a great way to spend an afternoon especially for families with kids. There are many areas with birds walking around the path along with you so you can get a close-up look to these amazing creatures. Entrance is 45 MYR for Adults (USD $11). 

 

Masjid Negara a.k.a National Mosque - the design is very 1950-1960s as demonstrated by the modernist style and the extensive use of mosaic tiles. The mosque was designed for a capacity of 10,000 worshippers during the weekly Friday prayers, the National Mosque is also an "Official Mosque" and under the preview of the Islamic Department (JAKIM). The building is open to the public but check visiting hours for non-muslims prior to getting there. Masjid Negara is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s tourist belt amidst the lush greenery of Perdana Botanical Gardens and within walking distance to the Islamic Arts Museum, Bird Park and National Planetarium.

 

Where to stay in KL: 

Hotels and hostels are on every corner with prices ranging for all budgets, look online for the best deals or decide the area you like and you can simply “shop” door to door. We stayed in Agosto Guesthouse located near Pasar Seni and Chinatown. While the location was perfect and the place was extremely affordable we didn't quite enjoy our stay there. The walls are so thin that you could hear everything happening outside of the room or in the neighboring rooms. We opted for a private room since it was cheaper for us, the privates are located on the first level where all showers are and the main entrance so we could hear every single person coming and going to the bathroom. If you are not bothered by noise than definitely check this place out as it was located in a great spot with plenty of shops and restaurants nearby as well as close to the most central busses and trains. The hostel was nice and clean and the shower was good and warm. We just didn't love it due to the noise issue.  

Depending on your budget accommodation in KL is quite easy to find as there are plenty of low, mid or high budget options. Two of our friends had a private high-rise apartment secured through AirbnB for $40 per night… Definitely check AirBnB as you might be able to find something cheaper. 

 

Food:

The best place for affordable and good food is definitely Chinatown but a close second for us was the Central market. There are plenty of street vendors or little restaurants offering classic Chinese dishes or authentic Malay cuisine for roughy 5 MYR. 

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Catch an early bus (around 4 hours) to Cameron Highlands for 35 MYR

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 

Stop 2: Cameron Highlands (2-3 days) 

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia June 2017

Located in the heart of Malaysia Cameron Highlands is the country’s most extensive hill station, famous for its tea, strawberry plantations and hiking trails. We suggest you spent 2 days here but if you want to relax a bit after a few days in busy KL then take an extra day and soak in the peace and quiet of Cameron Highlands. We stayed in Tahan Rata which is the biggest town in the area offering plenty of hotels, food and shopping options. What do there? Book a tour! Now, we aren’t those people who sign up for super organized tours when we travel, we just haven’t really been fans of following a predetermined itinerary. However, transportation is a bit tough here, and overall we decided it made more sense to book a tour then pay for numerous taxis back and forth between places we wanted to go. Getting to the tea plantations is a bit hard without a car or a scooter and even then the roads are not the best so save yourself the trouble and book a tour. We chose the full day one which took us to the Tea plantations, Strawberry farms, Mossy Forest, BOH Tea factory, Local market, Butterfly Pavilion and the Time Tunnel museum in town for 90 MYR each. They also had a half-day option that was the better choice as the Butterfly Pavilion and the market were cool but nothing to rave about. The only part that the full day had and the half one didn’t was the museum which was pretty cool-all of the items featured have been collected and stored by a local man and tells the story of Cameron highlands and Malaysia. If you are not into tours then enjoy hiking or simply sit back and enjoy the silence. 

 

Where to stay:

We would strongly recommend to stay at the Mentigi Guesthouse - it’s located off the main street in Tahan Rata so it’s nice and quiet (takes less than 10 minutes to walk to from the main street). The hotel is located up on a hill so you also get a great view of the mountains and the town. The place was big, clean and the front desk staff was really nice. They helped us book our ferry tickets as well as the tour we took.

 

Food:

Like we mentioned before, we LOVE Indian Food and we found a delicious restaurant in Tahan Rata, called Cameron aa Curry House - it’s located right at the beginning (or end, depending how you look at it) of the main street. They offer a variety of Arabic, Indian and Malaysian dishes but we can vouch that their Indian is to die for. They also make their own naan there - so fresh, warm and yummy! Very nice servers and some seating outside which was perfect for enjoying the nice weather.

If you are in a mood for Western food then check out My Cake home of a great selection of desserts as well as sandwiches, pastas and burgers. 

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Catch an early bus to Penang and then a ferry to George Town - total of about 4.5/5 hours. The bus ticket costs about 40 MYR and the ferry is only 1.2 MYR. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 

Stop 3: George Town (3-4 days) 

George Town, Malaysia June 2017

This old British colony known as the cultural capital of Malaysia was one of our favorite stops. This old, British colony, a Unesco Heritage Site since 2008, still carries on the old victorian British architecture — the colorful buildings (although a bit neglected) shape up this city and add to its charm. Stroll down the streets of George Town and explore the street art, there are a ton of all styles and it is everywhere! Grab a drink on Love Lane - tons of little bars, cafes and restaurants, young people and cool vibe. 

 

Some of the popular attractions among tourists are:

Penang Hill - located just outside George Town Penang Hill offers an amazing view of the city and the bay. We visited on a rainy, gloomy day and despite the weather not being on our side we were stunned by the view. It is free to go, BUT if you want to use the train, you will have to purchase a ticket to get to the top of the hill. If you don’t want to pay, you have the option of hiking up on foot which takes roughly 2-3 hours at a pretty decent incline. Needless to say, we chose the train and it was pretty fun. It looks like a giant cable car but it’s quite fast and the views and the experience were definitely worth the money. Once we got to the top we were able to walk without paying any extra fees but any of the attractions there do require an additional payment. Some of the points of interests are Owl Museum, Love deck, Earthquake and Typhoon Pavilion which are paid. You canalso find a Mosque, a Temple and a few view decks that are open to everyone and free. Penang Hill is worth visiting mostly due to the stunning views but if you are a traveling family then it is a great way to spend an afternoon or even a full day with the kiddos because of the added child-friendly activities. 

George Town, Malaysia June 2017

We already mentioned Love Lane so make sure to grab a drink there and walk down Chulia Street - tons of good food and street art.  (The intersection of Chulia Street and Love Lane is considered ground-zero for the backpacker’s area as well.)

Little India - great restaurants! If you are like us and you love Indian food then this is the place for you, cheap and delicious! 

Armenian Street - another touristy but lovely street, the buildings still have the old, authentic look from the past. Another great place to spot some street art. 

 

 

Where to stay:

When we were in Penang we stayed on Love Lane at Casa 56. Please do not stay there, do not waste your time. While the facilities were fairly clean, the noise was even worse than KL. Right below the bedrooms is the lounge/bar of the hostel and they blast loud music from 9 am to 1 am every day. Now, that might not be a deal-breaker for you, but just know it is the same 12 songs for 14 hours straight… and when we say loud, we mean loud. We couldn't even have a normal conversation in some areas. 

 

Places to eat: 

Check out the restaurants on Love Lane - there are several cafes and coffee shops, our favorite Wheeler’s Coffee. The food and drinks were amazing and the staff is really, really nice! There are plenty of options on Love Lane - from Western food to traditional Malay. 

Another favorite, is Woodland Vegetarian Restaurant in Little India, it is a great Indian restaurant with delicious food and everything is vegetarian! 

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

From George Town take the morning ferry to Langkawi for 60 MYR per person. It’s a fast ferry so from Penang to Langkawi it takes about 3 hours, give or take a few minutes. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 

Stop 4: Langkawi (3-4 days) 

Langkawi, Malaysia July 2017

A beautiful island right off the border of Thailand and Malaysia. In fact, they have ferries from Langkawi to Thailand that only take 45 minutes! What to do there? Relax, and go to the beach! Take a tour. Like I said, tours are not our favorite but Langkawi is fairly big and unless you want to rent a scooter then you have to either take taxis or get a tour. We decided not to take cabs or Uber as it can get pretty expensive. We could have rented a scooter and we contemplated getting one but when we spoke with several locals they cautioned against it as the police are quite strict and you must have the International Driver’s Permit and in some cases a Motorcycle License. In the end, we decided against operating a motor vehicle since we don't have the International Driver’s Permit. The police are very corrupt so you can always bribe them but some of them will still give you a ticket and/or take you to jail. Since we didn't want to visit any jails while in Malaysia (or anywhere as a matter of fact) we chose to take a tour which happened to be really fun. The tour was pretty standard and every single tour agent offered a slightly different version of it. Unfortunately, we do not remember which company we went with but the name of the tour was Mangrove Tour! It cost us a total of 160 MYR for 6 hours of entertainment which included: transport to and from our hotel, checking out the Bat Cave, feeding fruit to some cute, little monkeys (who swam onto our boat - SO COOL), Eagle watching, visiting a Fish Farm, eating a delicious lunch (free), an hour of beach time, and learning about and seeing the Mangrove forest up close and personal. We pretty much spent the day on a boat circling around the island and enjoying everything it has to offer.

 

Where to stay:

We used an AirBnB which was located about 15 minutes away from downtown Langkawi (or the main street which is home to all restaurants and bars). Our little apartment was located in an area known as the Village and we were surrounded by locals which was quite nice. It was amazing not being surrounded by other tourists but still being so close to the action. Find the link it here. 

 

Where to eat: 

One of our favorite restaurants in Langkawi was Yasmin Syrian Restaurant - they offer a variety of Arabic dishes and everything we tried was delicious. Try the falafel shawarma! Yum!

 

So here it is - two weeks in Malaysia! You can always extend the suggested itinerary by visiting Team Negara (national park) as well as spending longer than just a few days at each place. 

The nice scenery, the food options and the affordability of Malaysia make this country a great spot for every type of traveller. And the locals are just the cherry on top! We were amazed by how nice the locals are, seriously some of the nicest people we have ever had the pleasure of meeting! If we have to be completely honest, however we cut our timeline a bit shorter than originally planned. Why? In our opinion, especially in comparison with other popular backpacker’s destinations, Thailand for example, Malaysia is more family oriented as it offers a ton of family-friendly activities. It is a great place to go on “holiday” but does not have that “backpacker” vibe. And while we would like to think of ourselves as pretty chill and flexible the fact that we had to partake in organized tours and rely on guides was a little of a drawback for us.