admin, Jan 16, 2019


Places to Visit in Malaysia

Backpacking Kuala Lumpur

This is the capital of Malaysia and arguably the most westernized place you’ll visit while here in Malaysia. This is often where most backpackers in Malaysia will start, as it is the main hub for international flights in Malaysia. I only spent a short time in Kuala Lumpur, as it was a lot more expensive than the other areas I visited.


If you only do one thing in Kuala Lumpur check out the incredible Mount Batu Caves. Looking for a party hostel or a good spot to work? Call Us For Recommendation in KL.


The Batu Caves are a short and cheap KTM metro ride from central Kuala Lumpur. The incredible Hindu Temple and Shrine attracts both worshippers and visitors alike. It isn’t one for the unfit; to get inside the temple you have a great stair workout ahead of you and the humidity will make sure even the fittest person ends with beautiful sweat stains. At the top explore the inside of the cave and meet the locals (monkeys!)

On the way down from the Batu Caves stop at the Bat Cave and take the 45-minute tour inside – around 35MYR – wandering into complete darkness and meet the animals that live down here. You may see spiders, bats, snakes, scorpions and plenty of cave dwelling bugs. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and it’s an experience that a lot of travellers miss on the way down!

 If you haven’t spent all your money before you leave KUL, head up the KUL tower. It’s around 105MYR for both decks. Here you will get a pretty awesome view of the city, even better in the evening! Make sure you take a good cheesy picture with the Petronas Towers!


Backpacking Langkawi

A popular spot for Thai visa-runs and a great place to chill out for a few days, the peaceful island of Langkawi sits upon an ancient Limestone shelf and is home to one of South East Asia’s largest eagle populations. This is a great place to head off on an adventure and if you head away from the party beaches you will find some great treks, snorkelling, and scuba diving.


Cenang Beach is where most of the action is – plenty of jet skiing and other watersports but the beach itself is not that great and is usually pretty crowded, to see the real Langkawi hire a motorbike and take to the open road for a day of exploring.


Whilst in Langkawi, I took to the trees with Skytrex Adventure for an action-packed afternoon of high ropes (don’t look down!) and zip-lining through the Forest Canopy. I’ve done a few high ropes and zip-lining courses around the world and this was one of the more challenging ones. It’s definitely worth a go if you want to kick-start your day.


There are a lot of great accommodation options in Langkawi – everything from chilled backpacker dorms and quiet GoingForTour to super posh resorts if you plan on splashing out. Check out this breakdown for some of the best places to stay in Langkawi from my mate Bren.


If you want to stay somewhere really decent that is also affordable, I recommend Yacht club Hotel. This hotel has a cool bar offering a great view over the attached Marina where you can boat-watch as people bring their yachts (lucky bastards) in for the night. This hotel also has some of the best WiFi I found on Langkawi so if you need to work, it’s a good place to stay.


Backpacking Penang


One of the first major areas in Malaysia occupied by the Europeans and once a major trading hub for ships around the world, Penang keeps much of its colonial heritage intact and is an incredible place to chill for a couple of days. ‘Old Penang’ is one of the best places to go for a stroll and is filled with UNESCO sites. It’s a bit like stepping back in time…


Hire a bike for cheap – only around $5 for the day – and explore Georgetown and its legendary street art. Get lost in the beautiful colonial streets, venture through vibrant Little India and follow the street art around the city. There is so much to do in Penang; it’s a beautiful city!


You can’t go to Penang and not visit Kek Lok Si Temple or ‘Temple of Ultimate Happiness’. This Buddhist temple faces the sea and overlooks the ever-growing city of new and old Penang. You can hire a guide at the car park relatively cheap, which I highly recommend. The guide will immerse you in the incredibly beautiful and sometimes, gory history behind each of the 10,000 carved symbols.


If this doesn’t convince you, this temple also has one of the biggest statues you will ever see – standing at 99ft (seven stories) Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy is pretty awe-inspiring. Get to this temple around Chinese New Year. Why? Well for 30 days the temple is decorated with thousands of lanterns. This sight is so beautiful that it will give you Goosebumps.



  1. Hit the Beach in Langkawi
Langkawi is an inhabited island in an archipelago of over a hundred islands in the Andaman Sea. Langkawi Island is popular with both backpackers and honeymooners and has something to suit all budgets.  
  1. Visit Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

This park is a collection of five islands found off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia. This is a popular place to hike, trek, swim, and dive.

One of the best ways to get to grips with a new culture is through the food! Cookly partners with local cooking schools and restaurants in countries all around the world and is an awesome way to go on your very own culinary adventure. Book an Malaysian cooking class here.


  1. Eat the Street Food
Try the authentic food, which in my opinion is not as spicy as Thai food and is, in fact, more flavorful. You will get a HUGE portion for such a tiny price!


  1. Get your Culture on in Malacca

Malacca or Melaka has interesting architecture and a high concentration of museums, galleries, and historical sites to explore.


  1. Island Hop the Perhentian Islands

Come here for fresh seafood, pristine beaches, and scuba diving. The islands can be visited by ferry and water taxis operate between the various islands giving visitors the chance to island hop at their leisure.



  1. Hang out in the Cameron Highlands

These hill stations provide visitors with cool water and fun tea and coffee plantation tours! You can also fruit pick at one of the many fruit farms.

  1. Hang out with Endangered Orangutans
Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is one of the biggest and most well known orangutan sanctuaries in Malaysia. The sanctuary is located nearby Sandakan.  
  1. Haggle for Souvenirs.
This is super common in Malaysia and also great fun. The only way to get a good deal is to bargain. Read up on our haggling guide  for more details.  
  1. Explore Gunung Mulu National Park

Located in East Malaysia, this park is known for its caves and karsts formations. There are ample hiking opportunties around the caves and rainforest


Best Time to Travel to Malaysia

Malaysian seasons range from wet, comfortable, hot and humid. The West and East Coast can experience completely different weather from one another so it really depends on where you want to go in Malaysia.


Overall, the west coast is best between October – March and the East coast is best from March to October.


The east coast gets quite a bit more rain than the west and if travelling to Malaysia in the wet season you may find a lot of stores, hotels and guesthouses closed. I traveled Malaysia from December to the end of January and the weather was spot on



Money in Malaysia

DO NOT buy Malaysian Ringgit before travelling to Malaysia. Why? You will get a crappy exchange rate. Money is easily exchanged upon arrival in Malaysia and you’ll get a much better exchange rate in the country.


Malaysia accepts the majority of international cards so long as they are Visa or MasterCard, but many of these charge pretty insane withdrawal fees so it’s advisable to avoid small ATM transactions and get out a bunch of cash at once – just make sure you hide it well. If you need to transfer money internationally, use Transferwise, it’s the fastest and cheapest way to move money around when travelling.


If travelling to rural areas cash is always best because ATMs will become scarce fast. If arriving by land, exchange only what you absolutely need before entering Malaysia. Some drivers will accept US dollars as payment if you have nothing else, but don’t count on it.


Once you head into the rural areas don’t expect ATMs anywhere. Carry cash with you, just enough for what you will be doing and a hidden backup stash in case of delays.


Scuba Diving in Malaysia

Malaysia has plenty of great scuba diving options. The most famous sites, however, are located on Sipadan Island and Mabul Island. Sipadan is by far the best place to enjoy scuba diving; it is also not that easy to actually dive at because of the restricting rules that are in place (daily permit). Mabul is known worldwide for its amazing muck diving conditions




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